Lauren and Michala redux | The Boneyard

Lauren and Michala redux

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msf22b

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The plight of Lauren and Michala and the legions of bench-warmers before them continues to fire up my interest notwithstanding Nan’s frustration when the thread turned to speculation about possible transfer options which is a no-no. (see her thread above).

I certainly would like to know how promising players who find themselves in that position adjust to that reality. And what is their precise contribution to the team. (without speculating).

An early UCONN puff piece about Lauren (for example) seems to indicate that her High School coach expected a continuation of the excellence and leadership that she displayed throughout those years ( http://uchuskies.com/2010/05/02/spotlight-on-lauren-engeln/ ). To understand her present feelings, I suppose you’d have to ask her and the people around her.

I imagine that thorough research and investigative reporting is the only avenue to such enlightenment and to avoid the speculation so frowned upon in this forum.

Perhaps I’ll do it, it would make an interesting book, perhaps very interesting.

I had a parallel experience in my youth, as a lowly 3rd-clarinet player in the back of the West Point Band, a young recruit, straight out of basic training sat down in the chair next to me and I knew, within five minutes, right there and then, that I was not going to be a professional clarinet player. The young man was Larry Combs, for decades, principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Instead of practicing every afternoon, I took up skiing. But that was me.
 

RadyLady

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How Many folks have the courage to be that honest with themselves and their own abilities?
 

Kibitzer

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As I have often done in the past, I invite attention to Red Auerbach, whose credentials are well documented.

Red insisted that "practice players" are essential to a team's success. By that he meant players who didn't start or were part of the rotation. Players who seldom got playing time except during blowouts.

BUT. . .

Players who show up every day, ready to play and bust their buns during long and arduous practice sessions. These players make good players (starters and those in the rotation) better and there is some satisfaction in that. Perhaps the satisfaction of being an important (if often overlooked or unsung) part of a championship team is what drives them. Playing a game they love every day, coached by the best in the business, contributing in their own way, getting a turn to cut nets down. . .
 
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Concerning playing time, every player knows that if they perform well in practice, they will be in the game rotation. The coaching staff wants everyone to play and they work hard to develop each player to her full potential. So, being a Husky gives players their best chance to continue their basketball careers after college.

After watching the recent RU/Tenn. game I was reminded of the line in the movie, Chariots of Fire: "I've seen better organized riots." Except for the period in the second half, when RU gained the lead by playing surprisingly good team basketball, I don't remember seeing one legitimate assist on either team. Are those players being developed to their full potential?

Professional basketball, even for the best players, ends at a young age. If any of the Uconn players wants to continue in coaching, sports administration or in the media, having been part of the Uconn program puts them at the head of the line. How many articles have we read about the awe that surrounds former Uconn players when they are hired by other colleges.

Who was the head coach who recently said that he was amazed at how much he had learned about the game of basketball from a former Uconn player who he had brought in as one of his assistants.

Every player who makes it through the rigors of playing for Geno to graduation are Uconn Huskies for the rest of their lives. It's kind of like being a member of an elite military unit, with the memories of comradeship and personal and group achievement through sacrifice.
 

DaddyChoc

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The plight of Lauren and Michala and the legions of bench-warmers before them continues to fire up my interest notwithstanding Nan’s frustration when the thread turned to speculation about possible transfer options which is a no-no. (see her thread above).

I certainly would like to know how promising players who find themselves in that position adjust to that reality. And what is their precise contribution to the team. (without speculating).

An early UCONN puff piece about Lauren (for example) seems to indicate that her High School coach expected a continuation of the excellence and leadership that she displayed throughout those years ( http://uchuskies.com/2010/05/02/spotlight-on-lauren-engeln/ ). To understand her present feelings, I suppose you’d have to ask her and the people around her.

I imagine that thorough research and investigative reporting is the only avenue to such enlightenment and to avoid the speculation so frowned upon in this forum.

Perhaps I’ll do it, it would make an interesting book, perhaps very interesting.

I had a parallel experience in my youth, as a lowly 3rd-clarinet player in the back of the West Point Band, a young recruit, straight out of basic training sat down in the chair next to me and I knew, within five minutes, right there and then, that I was not going to be a professional clarinet player. The young man was Larry Combs, for decades, principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Instead of practicing every afternoon, I took up skiing. But that was me.
and you wouldn't consider yourself a quitter, instead of embracing the challenge you ran from it? Then you look back and say "see I knew I sucked and Larry Combs would be the man".

Everyone cant be Michael Jordan so they gotta settle for being Ray Allen, cant be Diana Taursi so they gotta settle for being Taj McW-F.

Doty could have given up...knowing that she wasnt going to be the same but not she didnt quit and actually signed up for an additional year......all because she love the game and mostly importantly the people around her.

Maybe that how LE & MJ feel and its what they signed up for plus they dont want grown a** men (or women) posting comments on message boards calling them ingrates, saying they deserted and abondoned the team and hoping they dont be successful on their new team.
 
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Lauren and Michala’s situation doesn’t seam to bother them so why are we concerned about it.

Based on what I have seen of her, Lauren could be starting for a lot of programs. She had to know that coming to the Huskies. she would see limited playing time. She is getting one heck of a BB education to go along with a degree. It worked out pretty good for JF didn’t it?

Michala’s injuries have put her behind the other girls but I believe that Geno will be 100% fair with her if she can get over them.

Bottom line is that both girls came to UCONN knowing where they stood. If they aren’t complaining, why are we concerned abut it.
 
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Some one said if you practice well you will get playing time in the uconn system, by that measure it sounds like those in question don't practice well virtually ever, or only five to seven actually practice well regularly according to this assumption... I would not call those that quit the team ingrates but I would certainly not then cheer for them at any time while on an opposing team ever. Cheering on an opponent is somewhat odd behavior in the sporting world. Oh and these very intelligent young women certainly do not need to be protected from the very mild speech entertained on this MB.
 
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The plight of Lauren and Michala and the legions of bench-warmers before them continues to fire up my interest notwithstanding Nan’s frustration when the thread turned to speculation about possible transfer options which is a no-no. (see her thread above).

I certainly would like to know how promising players who find themselves in that position adjust to that reality. And what is their precise contribution to the team. (without speculating).

An early UCONN puff piece about Lauren (for example) seems to indicate that her High School coach expected a continuation of the excellence and leadership that she displayed throughout those years ( http://uchuskies.com/2010/05/02/spotlight-on-lauren-engeln/ ). To understand her present feelings, I suppose you’d have to ask her and the people around her.

I imagine that thorough research and investigative reporting is the only avenue to such enlightenment and to avoid the speculation so frowned upon in this forum.

Perhaps I’ll do it, it would make an interesting book, perhaps very interesting.

I had a parallel experience in my youth, as a lowly 3rd-clarinet player in the back of the West Point Band, a young recruit, straight out of basic training sat down in the chair next to me and I knew, within five minutes, right there and then, that I was not going to be a professional clarinet player. The young man was Larry Combs, for decades, principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Instead of practicing every afternoon, I took up skiing. But that was me.

Every bench player adjusts to the situation differently. A good example would be JF who played her heart out when she was in the game despite limited athletic ability. I never saw her brood or complain about her limited minutes. She was proud to be a UCONN Husky.
 
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Unlike some coaches who may prevaricate with bench players, Geno is utterly frank about their standing on the team and what they'd have to do in order to earn playing time. He doesn't promise unrealistic things to recruits -- just a chance to earn a role. At the end of every season -- an probably more often if needed -- he delivers a candid assessment. Players either see a realistic way for themselves to move up in the rotation or they reconcile themselves to the realities of life on the team or they move on. I'm sure he makes the choices very clear.
 

doggydaddy

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Let's see....

1. Free education at a terrific school
2. Learn from the best coach and staff in women's college basketball
3. Hang with some terrific young ladies
4. Practice against some of the best players in the country
5. Travel to and be part of games of national interest

Yes, they could go to a lower level school and play in games and maybe even start, but maybe, just maybe what I mentioned above is something that satisfies them.
 

alexrgct

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This is a very difficult question to answer because I don't think any of us knows what exactly their expectations were coming in, what Geno and CD told them, why they picked UConn, etc. Certainly, Michala was hampered by a knee injury coming out of high school, and lauren's ranking was much lower than most of the girls UConn recruits. That still doesn't necessarily indicate what their expectations were.

I also don't think any of us can state what specifically these two young woman see as benefits, but generally speaking, I'd say the benefits could be any of the following:

1. An opportunity to be part of a championship team. It's a unique experience, and UConn gives you the best chance of having it.

2. UConn preparation. No program gives you the kind of coaching or holds its kids to the kinds of standards UConn does. You could be a bit player and still be able to play professionally (Meghan Gardler), and plenty of women who have not been able to play due to injuries or other circumstances seem to do very well for themselves (Jacquie, Mel, Shea, etc.). UConn is well connected and grooms its kids in all facets of the game/presentation/etc. in a pretty unique way.

3. Academics. Once you start in one academic program, transferring may seem especially onerous.

4. Social. For many people, the friends they make in college are the closest friends they ever make. Once you've established yourself socially, you may not want to leave.

5. Living a dream. Lauren and Michala were eight years old when UConn won its second NC and began a run of five consecutive F4s and four NCs. They were probably just getting into organized ball during this period. Who knows? Maybe it was their dream to put on a UConn jersey, and they're living it, even if they aren't playing as much a they would be elsewhere.

6. UConn WBB has a lot of extras that you don't always get elsewhere; they get the best of everything, the best travel, the best training, etc. Maybe you feel like SOMEBODY if you're a part of the program in a way you wouldn't be elsewhere.

I'm sure there are a lot of other possible benefits, but I'm drowsy this morning.
 

doggydaddy

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There will be several games on the schedule that Engeln and Johnson will get 10 minutes of playing time.
 
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Both of these players may just be happy to be a part of the UCWBB family. There is something to be said for being a part of a team where you are wanted. Maybe there's a parallel with Chris Daly. As we've discussed before, she could probably write her ticket as a head coach, but seems to be content with her role in the program. Not everyone wants to be the star.
 

HGN

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and you wouldn't consider yourself a quitter, instead of embracing the challenge you ran from it? Then you look back and say "see I knew I sucked and Larry Combs would be the man".

Everyone cant be Michael Jordan so they gotta settle for being Ray Allen, cant be Diana Taursi so they gotta settle for being Taj McW-F.

Doty could have given up...knowing that she wasnt going to be the same but not she didnt quit and actually signed up for an additional year......all because she love the game and mostly importantly the people around her.

Maybe that how LE & MJ feel and its what they signed up for plus they dont want grown a** men (or women) posting comments on message boards calling them ingrates, saying they deserted and abondoned the team and hoping they dont be successful on their new team.
Here, here, DaddyChoc..............Two (2) thumbs up !!
 

Vowelguy

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Lauren and Michala’s situation doesn’t seam to bother them so why are we concerned about it.
...
Bottom line is that both girls came to UCONN knowing where they stood. If they aren’t complaining, why are we concerned abut it.

I think you misinterpret the question -- for me, it's not "concern", it's curiosity. And it has nothing to do with the particular players - it's more of a general question about being in that position.

Geno's practices are tough, if not agonizing at times. Starters get to more immediately see the fruits of that labor by playing in games. A bench player has to be getting something much different out of the experience. I'd be curious to hear how they view it.
 

grizz36

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Let's see....

1. Free education at a terrific school
2. Learn from the best coach and staff in women's college basketball
3. Hang with some terrific young ladies
4. Practice against some of the best players in the country
5. Travel to and be part of games of national interest

Yes, they could go to a lower level school and play in games and maybe even start, but maybe, just maybe what I mentioned above is something that satisfies them.

and ... 6. When you travel to these games you eat at the best restaurants and receive an education through visits to historic sites or by attending great artistic performances.

Does it get any better than that?
 
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Concerning playing time, every player knows that if they perform well in practice, they will be in the game rotation. The coaching staff wants everyone to play and they work hard to develop each player to her full potential. So, being a Husky gives players their best chance to continue their basketball careers after college.

After watching the recent RU/Tenn. game I was reminded of the line in the movie, Chariots of Fire: "I've seen better organized riots." Except for the period in the second half, when RU gained the lead by playing surprisingly good team basketball, I don't remember seeing one legitimate assist on either team. Are those players being developed to their full potential?

Professional basketball, even for the best players, ends at a young age. If any of the Uconn players wants to continue in coaching, sports administration or in the media, having been part of the Uconn program puts them at the head of the line. How many articles have we read about the awe that surrounds former Uconn players when they are hired by other colleges.

Who was the head coach who recently said that he was amazed at how much he had learned about the game of basketball from a former Uconn player who he had brought in as one of his assistants.

Every player who makes it through the rigors of playing for Geno to graduation are Uconn Huskies for the rest of their lives. It's kind of like being a member of an elite military unit, with the memories of comradeship and personal and group achievement through sacrifice.
Excellent post!The # of players male and female who are able to play professionaly beyond college is incredibly small. What may be learned playing in college is expressed here,re former CT players who played for Geno and everything surrounding that! Whether they go into basketball or any other field I suspect his influence benefits that work place!
 

HuskyNan

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I also don't think any of us can state what specifically these two young woman see as benefits, but generally speaking, I'd say the benefits could be any of the following:

<snip>
7. If someone aspires to be a coach, Geno's former players have done quite well in the coaching ranks including players that haven't seen a lot of time on the floor such as Jacquie Fernandes. Other players have gotten jobs in the media. At UConn, there is an opportunity for tremendous exposure to various parts of the sports world beyond the basketball court that may not be available at most other schools.
 
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Lauren and Michala’s situation doesn’t seam to bother them so why are we concerned about it.

Based on what I have seen of her, Lauren could be starting for a lot of programs. She had to know that coming to the Huskies. she would see limited playing time. She is getting one heck of a BB education to go along with a degree. It worked out pretty good for JF didn’t it?

Michala’s injuries have put her behind the other girls but I believe that Geno will be 100% fair with her if she can get over them.

Bottom line is that both girls came to UCONN knowing where they stood. If they aren’t complaining, why are we concerned abut it.
I agree that the 2 fine young women mentioned had their own unique situations coming to CT. Lauren was not an elite level player<rankings> and Michaela's had the unfortuent ACLS injury which she still is not considered back to a place where she is able to get minutes. Michaela prior to her injury was ranked in the top 20. Both took the scholarships to the best womens program in the country. We are talking about the UCONN Women! Not chopped liver and you certainly do not get anything re significant playing time just by being on the team. I think they both know and knew that.Hopefully both are contributing on and off of the court. I would be happy for them and us if they can contribute in regular and post season games! I have not heard anything negative regarding them. I had heard before the season that Micehaela had work to do to break through to the rotation,
 

cohenzone

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Obviously how the kids actually feel about limited playing time only they know, especially if there is no injury issue as in Johnson's case. If during the recruiting process Laura was told something like, "You'll have a hard time seeing the floor except in garbage time, but come here if you want to be part of a great program and we need practice players", then I'd guess she is a one in a million non-walk on. I'd really think that she had some expectation, realistic or not. that she could play at least some during meaningful time because 1)she was a star in HS and 2) Uconn bothered to recruit her all the way from CA. Once she arrives and gets the general idea that deservedly or not she won't see a lot of time other than at the end of run-away games and chooses to stay anyway, especially after already being on the scene for 2 years, there are several possible reasons why she hangs in and only she knows. But I'd be darned surprised if she had such a vision of herself when she signed on the dotted line no matter how frank GA and staff are about what it takes to play a lot.
 

sarals24

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I think Geno tells all his recruits the same thing. No one is guaranteed minutes. Recruiting is kind of a crapshoot, anyway...there are obviously players who look really good in high school that don't pan out in college, and players that are under the radar who become key members of teams.

For whatever reason, Lauren especially has not been able to break into the lineup. Last year it was apparent that she wasn't that comfortable on offense, she has a tendency to dribble a bit too much. This year she looks better, but she hasn't been in enough for me to tell. When she plays against the "blow-out" teams, it's obvious to me that she would be a starter and probably one of the best players on the opposing team, so there is no question that she can play at this level.

This year, when I've seen her out there, she doesn't seem to be able to keep up defensively. Her footwork isn't bad initially, but she seems to lose a step and often fouls or lets her girl get by her. I sympathize, because that's exactly the type of player I was. I could see it in video, but I just wasn't quick enough to get in front of some players. If you can play defense you will get minutes in Geno's system, which is part of the reason I think MJ and Lauren have struggled. MJ lets her player get in front of her in the post, and she doesn't have the strength to really body up most centers.

And who knows? Maybe one of them wants to be a coach someday, and wants to learn from the best. Not a bad way to do it. A lot of times, bench players make the best coaches later on because they had so much time to sit and observe.
 
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Concerning playing time, every player knows that if they perform well in practice, they will be in the game rotation. The coaching staff wants everyone to play and they work hard to develop each player to her full potential. So, being a Husky gives players their best chance to continue their basketball careers after college.

After watching the recent RU/Tenn. game I was reminded of the line in the movie, Chariots of Fire: "I've seen better organized riots." Except for the period in the second half, when RU gained the lead by playing surprisingly good team basketball, I don't remember seeing one legitimate assist on either team. Are those players being developed to their full potential?

Professional basketball, even for the best players, ends at a young age. If any of the Uconn players wants to continue in coaching, sports administration or in the media, having been part of the Uconn program puts them at the head of the line. How many articles have we read about the awe that surrounds former Uconn players when they are hired by other colleges.

Who was the head coach who recently said that he was amazed at how much he had learned about the game of basketball from a former Uconn player who he had brought in as one of his assistants.

Every player who makes it through the rigors of playing for Geno to graduation are Uconn Huskies for the rest of their lives. It's kind of like being a member of an elite military unit, with the memories of comradeship and personal and group achievement through sacrifice.
Awesome Post, you hit the nail on the head......Some kids figure out that they are not got to start at UCONN, but they can learn so much about BB, Life and builsing a team from the Master, Geno.....Plus, you get to travel 1st Class, eat at the best places and stay at the best hotels. I remember a tournament game in ST Thomas, when all the other team players were in sweats and eat at the hotel, the UCONN women were dressed to the 9's and head out to a 5 Star restaurant in heels and full make-up. The other players asked them where they were going, they said a team dinner.
D'Oh????.......PLAY for the best, get the best in return.......
 
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Maybe that how LE & MJ feel and its what they signed up for plus they dont want grown a** men (or women) posting comments on message boards calling them ingrates, saying they deserted and abondoned the team and hoping they dont be successful on their new team.
.
What irrelevant people say is irrelevant. They matter not a whit. If you respect the opinion of an invidual then their words matter. The words you have about yourself matter most!
.
 
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