Welcomed by around 25 fans in Huskies gear, UConn coach Geno Auriemma walked into Buffalo Wild Wings in Manchester, Conn., Wednesday night ready to give insight into his team's upcoming season.
Auriemma was there to participate in the UConn Coaches Radio Show, which he'll be a part of throughout the season. Wednesday was the only time he could be seen on the show in person, though, so fans flocked to the bar area of the restaurant to listen in for any and all information Auriemma was prepared to dispense.
Over the course of the next hour, the longtime coach eased fans' worries about the offense and gave updates on a majority of the players on his roster so fans know what to expect when they see UConn play on Sunday against Ohio State.
"Early on (the offense is) not going to look spectacular because we're trying to incorporate some new people in there with different skills so there are some things that we do this year that are a little bit different and a little bit better than last year. ... It'll look a little different," Auriemma said. "There are still a lot of similarities. We may end up shooting quicker, we may end up getting a lot more transition baskets than last year. ... It'll be interesting to see how everyone adapts to their new roles."
Here's a look at what Auriemma had to say about some of his players' development:
- Napheesa Collier
"I can tell that she's become much more comfortable. As I said, she has a lot of room to operate this year. It is kind of like her sophomore year where she could kind of go anywhere she wants, and it seemed like every time she touched the ball as a sophomore she scored. (Napheesa) scores, that's what she does. Everybody knows that. She scores from a lot of different places. I can't explain it, but she figures out a way to score..."
- Megan Walker
"We're seeing some progress. Megan's got a lot of talent. She's got a lot of ability. There's a tremendous upside. She's been shooting the ball really, really well. We're trying to get her as many touches as we can because we need to add another scorer down around the basket... We need another scorer."
- Christyn Williams
"She's going to be really good being around (Napheesa) and Crystal (Dangerfield). She's just a natural scorer and that's what she likes to do so when she catches the ball that's her first instinct, which is good. We're going to try to work real hard to make sure she doesn't get caught up in 'What play are we running? What does coach want us to do?' as opposed to doing the things that she did in high school that just come natural to her, which is drive it and shoot it. She's got great mid-range game so with Christyn it's just a matter of getting experience, getting her that game experience. ... You can't rush it. It's going to happen in its own time."
- Olivia Nelson-Ododa
"Olivia's got a lot of talent and a lot of skill to her. My guess is going to be that she's going to play probably a little bit better in games than she does in practice because she seems to have a knack for doing it and doing it really well, but having to do it over and over and over again (doesn't work) work for her..."
- Mikayla Coombs
"She's been practicing and she's improved a whole lot. She's the most non-confident kid - non-confident and really good athlete - that I've been around. She doesn't even know what it is that she has so we have to constantly get her ... and say 'Hey listen, when you get the ball run straight down there to the rim' because when she does that no one can stop her. ... And then when the shot goes up she probably gets her hands on more offensive rebounds than anybody. She has a knack for it."
- The bench as a whole
"Every one of the kids that we have on the bench from last season, every one of them has one thing that they're pretty good at and the trick is going to be how do we get them to do that one thing in a game where we need them to do that one thing. Because sometimes you may not use someone until you absolutely positively need them, and then you're going to ask them to do that one thing ... "
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