Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma has helped countless players grow during his 28 seasons at UConn. Some have become All-Americans. Some have won National Player of the Year honors. Some have been a part of a national championship team. Some have gone on to win an Olympic gold medal.
Auriemma has also had an impact on fellow coaches taking part in clinics over the years. He will look to do it again tonight and Saturday as part of the Nike Championship Basketball Clinics at Maine South High School in Chicago. And he will also be looking to learn a few things as he will be joined by fellow Hall of Famer and legendary Indiana men’s basketball coach Bob Knight.
“He hasn’t coached in awhile so maybe some of the young coaches won’t appreciate what he’s meant to the game and how many coaches he’s influenced over the years,’’ Auriemma said. “But for the two of us to spend four hours (tonight) and then almost 10 hours on Saturday just talking basketball and working with a team in front of a bunch of coaches, it’s a thrill for me because he’s one of the greatest teachers of the game that’s ever lived. It’s an opportunity for me to get a little better at what I do.’’
The event is billed as a “Hall of Fame Two Man Clinic with Bob Knight and Geno Auriemma’’ and “Knight and Auriemma Discuss Basketball Their Way.’’
They will discuss man-to-man offense, man-to-man defense, zone offense, zone defense, motion offense, set offense, practice concepts and team building drills to develop fundamentals and improve skills. The clinic will run 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. tonight and from 9 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. tomorrow with lunch and dinner in between.
“What the normal routine when you speak at a clinic is … Let’s say there are 10 coaches that speak,’’ Auriemma said. “So this guy might do an hour on zone offense. This guy might do an hour on man-to-man defense. This guy might do an hour on rebounding. This guy might do an hour on practice drills. This guy might do an hour on zone defense. Whatever the case may be. And what we do, he and I, is take every topic and just split it up among the two of us. Some just one, some us together, and try to cover as many topics as we can.’’
The event was set in motion by Director of Nike Championship Basketball Clinics Ed Janka, who served as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Fairfield in the 1980s. Auriemma said that the last time he spoke with Janka there were already 500 coaches registered for the clinic.
“A friend of ours who does this for a living just thought it would be a great idea,’’ Auriemma said. “He’s usually had Coach Knight at three or four of his clinics during the year and I would do two in the spring and sometimes two in the fall. And he just thought it would be a great idea to have just the two of us. And he asked me if I would do it and I said, `Sure, absolutely.’’’