You can always count on UConn women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma to give the media a colorful and honest quote. But on Tuesday he reached new heights, giving perhaps the quote of the year before 2023 has even reached its official halfway point.
While speaking to the media at his annual charity golf tournament, Auriemma discussed the much-anticipated return of injured star Paige Bueckers, but his boldest and most Geno-esque statement came when he was talking about the disappointing end to UConn's 2023 season. During this year's NCAA Tournament, UConn lost to Ohio State in the Sweet 16, breaking their 14-year streak of consecutive Final Four appearances.
It was a rough way to end the season, but Auriemma is already over it, and seems to want people to stop talking about it altogether.
"This isn't a 1970s rock band out for their 60th tour and they have to give every tour a name. You know, everybody's got a 'redeem team' and everybody's got a 'reload team' and everybody's got an 'unfinished business team' and everybody's got, you know, all this stuff going out there. You know, maybe we're not very social media savvy. How about we just shut the f*** up win games? How about we just do that? Maybe that's what the tour should be. Shut the f*** up and win games."
Anyone who thought the 2023-24 UConn women's basketball team might spontaneously turn into Aerosmith or ZZ Top or the Doobie Brothers is going to be very disappointed.
Paige Bueckers should be ready for start of season
Auriemma wasn't just throwing around F-bombs before his charity golf tournament. He also spoke about the return of Bueckers, one of UConn's standout stars. She's very close to returning from a devastating ACL tear she sustained in August 2022, which was her second serious knee injury in as many years.
The injury forced Bueckers to miss her entire junior year season. But despite all that lost time, Auriemma said she's looking spectacular on the court, and has been taking care of not just her body, but her mind.
"This is the best she's ever been, the strongest she's ever been, the fittest she's ever been," Auriemma said via ESPN. "This is the most time she has spent working on her body, her mind, [and] just taking care of herself... [The injury layoff] showed her, if you want a long career, this is how you're gonna have to go about it from here on in injuries, no injuries, it doesn't matter. This is what you're gonna have to do. And she's embraced it.
"I've never seen her better either at playing one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three, what she's doing in the weight room. Just her whole walk, the way she walks around, the way everybody looks up to her and the way everybody hangs on every word she says, there's just a maturity about her."
Bueckers said in mid-June that she may not be ready to play in UConn's European exhibition games in August, but it appears she's already on board with Auriemma's "shut the f*** up and win games" mentality.