UConn’s Geno Auriemma unleashes on heralded WNBA rookie class, says Caitlin Clark is being ‘focused’

Longtime UConn ladies’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma usually has no downside sharing no matter is on his thoughts. 

The eleven-time nationwide championship winner shared his ideas on Caitlin Clark on a number of events. However this week, he provided his newest ideas on how Clark is adjusting to the WNBA, suggesting she was being negatively impacted by a “delusional fanbase.”

“The delusional fanbase that follows her disrespected the WNBA gamers by saying she’s going to go in that league and tear it aside,” Auriemma stated throughout a current look on “The Dan Patrick Present.”

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UConn Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma addresses the media throughout a press convention on the conclusion of the sport between the UConn Huskies and the Vermont Catamounts within the First Spherical of the NCAA Womens Basketball Championship Seattle Regional 3 on March 18, 2023, at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos)

“There have been truly odds, like she’s third or fourth in betting odds on being MVP of the WNBA. These persons are so disrespectful and so unknowledgeable and so silly that it provides ladies’s basketball a foul title. The child was arrange for failure proper from the start.”

He additionally addressed the concept opposing groups have “focused” the previous Iowa Hawkeyes star throughout her first handful of video games within the execs.

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“There’s an enormous goal on this child’s again,” Auriemma stated earlier than including that he believed that Clark is singled out by “society, focused by her seems to be, focused by her fame, focused by the disrespect that they’ve proven to the WNBA.” 

Geno and Clark

Caitlin Clark talks with Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma earlier than the 2024 WNBA Draft on the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Necessary Credit score: (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports activities)

He doubled down on his stance on Tuesday in Connecticut on the UConn Coaches Highway Present. “Is she dealing with the rookie problem, the rookie hardships which are inherent with being a rookie? Sure,” Auriemma stated. “She’s additionally being focused.”

Auriemma did reward Clark for the way she is navigating the challenges she confronted within the early portion of her professional basketball profession.

“I feel she’s dealing with it nice. I feel she talks quite a lot of s–t, and she or he will get quite a lot of s–t again,” Auriemma stated. “So she deserves all the things she will get, as a result of she provides it nearly as good as she will get.”

Whereas Auriemma doesn’t consider Clark is “constructed for the physicality” of the WNBA, he famous that she is going to finally get acclimated and might at all times depend on her top-notch skillset.

“She’s simply not constructed for the physicality of this league, and she or he’s not fast sufficient to get away from the physicality. So, there’s quite a lot of studying curve like Diana [Taurasi] stated. When she will get it, she has elite expertise which are going to actually assist her. However she must be on a greater workforce, and she or he must be extra skilled, and that can come.”

WNBA ball goes through hoop

The WNBA brand on a basketball throughout warmups between the Seattle Storm and the Connecticut Solar at Local weather Pledge Area on June 20, 2023, in Seattle, Washington.  (Steph Chambers/Getty Photos)

Auriemma, who recorded his milestone 1,two hundredth profession win earlier this 12 months, additionally threw some chilly water on the hype and expectations surrounding the 2024 WNBA rookie class. He even steered that this 12 months’s group of rookies is inferior to different current courses.

“I assumed Cameron Brink stated one thing actually sensible,” Auriemma stated. “She stated now they’re anticipating this rookie class to be excellent. This rookie class isn’t even probably the greatest rookie courses within the final 10 years. However they’ve been put out to be that, due to the way in which social media is at present. So, what sort of affect is that this rookie class having within the WNBA?”

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Though Auriemma now famously didn’t recruit Clark when she was in highschool, the legendary coach spoke extremely of the NCAA Division I all-time main scorer throughout males’s and ladies’s basketball forward of UConn’s Last 4 matchup in April.

Clark is averaging 15.6 factors and 6.4 assists over the primary 11 video games of her WNBA profession.

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