Geno Auriemma: 'If you don’t do it, I’ll find somebody who will'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Saturday April 04, 2015

Jon Gruden sat down with UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma for a conversation on player evaluation, and Auriemma described what he looks for in a player.

Auriemma is going for his 10th national championship next week, which would tie John Wooden, and he basically has his pick of high school players, but Auriemma said that pool is very big when they’re freshman and shrinks each successive year. It's more than talent he wants.

“When I watch them play, who plays their butt off every possession?” Auriemma said. “They come down here, they get a rebound, they outlet it, and they get a layup at the other end. Then they run back, block a shot, and they just play like that the whole game. That’s one.

“Are they unselfish? Are they a great teammate? When they get subbed out of the game, do they go sit at the end of the bench, put a towel on, or are they involved in the game? Are they the kind of person I want in my house for dinner? Are they the kind of kid that’s going to go to class all the time?”

The Huskies have won their four tournament games this year by an average of 40.5 points per game. When most games are uncompetitive blowouts, how do you get kids to keep giving effort? Gruden said he creates effort tapes, and Auriemma does the same thing.

“We have a film. It takes about five minutes, and we go through the years,” Auriemma said. “See this kid? That was 30 years ago. Look at the play they just made. There’s the best player in America, Diana Taurasi, diving on a loose ball at half court. When a kid doesn’t dive on that loose ball, I don’t care what the score is — one of the nice things about having eight high school All-Americans on our team, if you don’t do it, I’ll find somebody who will. It just keeps feeding itself.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to