Looking Back At St. Louis

By Richard Kent
Updated: April 9, 2009

Final Four CONNECTICUT — My previous article about Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer has received an unprecedented number of responses.

In light of that, I feel compelled to respond further. First of all, congratulations to her on a richly deserved honor being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

She is certainly going in with good company in David Robinson, in John Stockton and Michael Jordan. Does she deserve to be in the Hall? Absolutely.

Based on her overall resume, she is one of the greatest women’s basketball coaches of all-time. My problem with her relates at times to her bench coaching, her development of talent and her stubbornness.

My comments were echoed and responses not only by other coaches throughout the country but by writers who are far more on the national stage than I am.

– UConn has demonstrated once again by going 39-0 that they are the best program in the country with the best coach. Bar none and that includes Pat Summitt of Tennessee.

Geno Auriemma is adaptable and develops players better than anyone. He was on a mission this year with his team to get a National Championship for the best point guard in the nation, Renee Montgomery.

He and his team accomplished that and in the process demonstrated that Maya Moore is the greatest player in the game and will probably go down along with Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi as the greatest women’s players of all time.

– Kudos must go out to Louisville head coach Jeff Walz who led a team devoid of any high school All-Americans into the National Championship game and in the process beat two no. 1 seeds.

Walz certainly had a great player in Angel McCoughtry, but it was his ability to focus his team on a task at hand on a game by game basis that made Louisville better and brought Walz into the National limelight as one of the best coaches in the game.

– For only the second time in history we saw two men coaching their teams in a National Championship game. The club of women’s basketball coaches should not be exclusive to women and should be more inclusive to men.

We see more and more athletic directors passing over highly qualified men to choose women as coaches in the women’s game.

– So what should we look for next season? Well unfortunately for many who follow the game, a further extension of the UConn aggemony.

Sure they lose Montgomery, but they return Moore, and ever improving Tina Charles and Kalana Greene. That has the look of another undefeated team.

Tennessee will be vastly improved as their freshmen will become sophomores and they have a great recruiting class coming in.

Rutgers, as previously mentioned will return some of the best guards in the country led by Epiphanny Prince but will be weak at the post. Texas is another team to look at on the national scene.