Connecticut women’s basketball has been the most dominant force in the last decade on the college level. Year after year, they win and bury teams in the process. And the dominance just keeps coming in waves. Behind star forward Breanna Stewart, the Huskies were able to pull off yet another title, making it four of four for Stewart in her career in Storrs, Connecticut. Connecticut’s nemesis used to be the University of Tennessee and its storied program, but Connecticut has even surpassed them as the top program in the country. The man behind all that success for the Huskies is Geno Auriemma. The veteran coach has taken that team and program from obscurity to someone tons of female basketball players want to play for. He has had tremendous success there at Connecticut and that would surely continue under him. But like most successes, everyone else wants you to bring that type of success to their organization. Well, that time is coming around again where teams inquire about coaches and what their availability or interest is. Geno has reportedly said that he would eventually like to be in the NBA, either as a head coach of a highly-paid assistant coach. The veteran coach has not indicated when or if he will or won’t make that move to the NBA. But if he is smart, he will stay in college as long as he can.
The Huskies just did not become good because of the talent Geno brought in. Geno worked his women hard everyday, trying to make sure they were prepared to make the season the best season they have ever had. Geno wants all his players to succeed, but he especially pushes his star player. He admittedly is always harder on the best players he has on his team because he expects the best out of them. That seems to work well for him in college, but that would not fly in the NBA. There may be some players that he could pull that on, but the majority would look at him like he was crazy if he came at them like he does the best players on his teams. Eventually, Geno would have a problem with his star player because of the treatment. And at the end of the day, the NBA is a player’s league and not a league where coaches are the rockstars (college basketball). His professional basketball job would be over before it even began because ownership would side with the players more than the coaches.
But Geno would not only struggle with player interactions, but he would struggle trying to identify with men’s basketball. In an article with Sports Illustrated back in 2015, Geno described the men’s basketball game as “a joke”. If Geno has this view on college basketball, I wonder what he would feel about the NBA and the things they have going on. I can imagine that he would not have the greatest feeling knowing that more and more kids are jumping into the NBA after spending one season playing Geno’s favorite sports: men’s college basketball. Geno would have a headache trying to teach millionaires that have made it to the NBA the game of basketball. Eventually his patience would wear thin and he would snap, causing him to lose that player and probably that team he is coaching on. And just like the first scenario, he would be looking to head back to college quicker than he thought he would.
Geno Auriemma is an excellent women’s coach. Quite honestly, he could claim to be the best coach in women’s basketball history with all that he has done. But Geno leaving women’s college basketball for the NBA is definitely a rough proposition that his ego probably would not be able to take. In the end, Geno is made for college and the University of Connecticut and both should be together until Geno decides he wants to retire. But unfortunately, Geno will get the itch to prove a few things on the next level and leave Connecticut. We all don’t see it coming, but you never see some things until they surprise you. If Geno is smart, he doesn’t rock the boat by going to the NBA.