Geno Auriemma Talks College Athletes Getting Paid, Olympics & Paige Bueckers | Crooked Media
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July 08, 2021
Takeline
Geno Auriemma Talks College Athletes Getting Paid, Olympics & Paige Bueckers

In This Episode

Happy 4th! This week on Takeline, Jason and Renee are joined by women’s basketball legend and UConn head coach Geno Auriemma. He discusses the recent NCAA ruling that college athletes can make money off their image and likeness, Paige Bueckers historic freshman season, and the Olympic committee’s decision not to select Nneka Ogwumike to the U.S. Women’s National Basketball team roster. Later in the show, Jason and Renee play a game of two truths and a lie, then it’s an independence day themed Take Survivor!

 

 

Transcript

 

Jason Conception: Hey, everyone. Today is another special episode of Takeline that we taped last week for the holiday break. We have an incredible episode of Take Survivor. Plus, Renee and I play a game that tests our knowledge of each other. And we are joined by legendary head coach of the UConn women’s basketball, Geno Auriemma. It’s a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Renee Montgomery: Let’s go!

 

Renee Montgomery: Joining us now, he’s the head coach of the 11-time national champion UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. He’s led the US women’s national basketball team to two gold medals at the Olympics. And that’s literally just two of the things on his long list of accomplishments. But the most important thing is that he is my coach forever, Coach Auriemma. You know, I love you.  The Godfather! Welcome to Takeline. And coach, now this year, we know we had another great season, got bumped out of the Final Four by Arizona, and current dream rookie that we drafted, Aari McDonald. But how does The Blue look for next season? What are you expecting from your star Paige? We know she had surgery, so you know how she coming along, and what are you expecting next year?

 

Geno Auriemma: Well. I’m expecting them to grow up a little bit and not be so immature. You know, we played Baylor last year right, in the Final 8 game. So that game took a lot out of us, it was a physical game, you know, it was a tough game. And after we won that game, some of the younger guys and maybe some of the older guys, too, you know, we just have it, you know, you have to have a mature team to win a national championship. I think they went into the Arizona game and we spent—people probably won’t believe this—we spend more time preparing for the Arizona game than we did for the Baylor game.

 

Renee Montgomery: Really? How so?

 

Geno Auriemma: Well, just more things to go over, more things, you know, we have, we knew Baylor’s personnel. We have played them. We didn’t know Arizona that well.

 

Renee Montgomery: Right.

 

Geno Auriemma: So we wanted to and—smart me, right?

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: I tried to like: OK, here’s the advantages that we have over Arizona. Let’s try to take advantage of those. Here’s the matchup, you know, situations that favor us. Let’s try to take advantage of it. The only problem is the matchups that favor us wasn’t exactly our strengths.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: So, you know, so they went in. So after we lose the game, you know, their media, well, you know, we didn’t know that was going to be this hard, you know. We didn’t think it was going to be—and I’m like: how the hell do you think that the final the semifinal game for national champion ain’t going to be hard?

 

Renee Montgomery: Right. What?!

 

Geno Auriemma: Who the hell you guys talking to?

 

Renee Montgomery: The see that thousand win jersey behind you, and they think that that’s going to be them.

 

Geno Auriemma: You know what some of these guys are today in college? They’re like this, they go: coach, we came to Connecticut, you won 11 national championships and, you know, we have this many, All Americans, you know, coach, I wanna make, you know, make me an All-American. And I’ll be like: yeah, you know, like, what am I like, Subway? Well, you go hey, make me a sandwich.

 

Renee Montgomery: Have it your way. Burger King, baby.

 

Geno Auriemma: Yeah. You go like: yo make me a sandwich. Sure, I can make you a sandwich. Make me an all-American. What are you shitting me? How ‘m going to do that?! How I”m going to do that? All I can do is give you the platform to become one.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: And push you and push you and push you. The rest is up to you do. So I said, I’ve never been asked that question before.

 

Geno Auriemma: That’s crazy,

 

Geno Auriemma: I said ever in my life by anybody who’s made All-Americans on our team. I’ve never been asked that.

 

Renee Montgomery: I definitely didn’t ask you that.

 

Geno Auriemma: No. Hell no. So that the thing is, you know, a maturity level that you have to reach that I think kids coming out today think maybe it’s a little bit easier than it’s going to be. You know, they don’t realize how hard it’s going to be. So what has to change this year? Well, obviously, we need more help for Paige. You know, she makes shots, she scores. And Kristen had a great NCAA tournament, Kristen Williams. So I think she’s  building on that right now based on what I see during these summer school workouts. Liv really struggled, and she’s, you know, working harder than she’s ever worked. We’ve brought in a couple new kids, both new freshmen, and we have a kid transferred in from Ohio State.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, yeah, I saw that.

 

Geno Auriemma: So, we definitely have way more pieces of the puzzle this year. We have a little more experience. We have everybody back that, you know, very few teams can say that. So I like, I like our chances.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK.

 

Geno Auriemma: This year and we’ll see, we’ll see what happens.

 

Jason Conception: You mentioned Paige. You’ve coached so many great players over the course of your career. How do you fit Paige into into that? You know, I was just thinking looking at, you know, whether it’s Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and now Paige, there’s a, there’s a you can kind of trace the evolution of the game. How do you how do you fit Paige into that kind of like lineage of player?

 

Geno Auriemma: I think talent-wise, skill-wise, God-given talent, you know, I think I’ve had certainly a bunch of players that have come with that. You know, that somebody like Stewie comes to mind, you know, where you just need to, like, harden her, and she’s got things that you can’t, you can’t draw up, you can’t teach, you can’t coach. I mean, you know, you’re 6’4”,  you know, 7’1″ wingspan, and when you go shoot a jump shot, you jump, you know, this high off the off the floor. So there ain’t a guy in men’s basketball that would have an easy time blocking that shot and she needed hardening, OK, somebody like Diana come here, she don’t need hardening, she came in real hard. Yeah, you know, she needs to be, like, reined in a little bit, like, come on. All right. You know, do it, do it. You know, pick your spots. You know, somebody like Maya comes, you know, my head goes, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Every day, every day, every day, every day. You know, Maya needed to learn perspective, like, how do I play with four other great players on the floor at the same time? You know. You know, and Renee, you know, because she’s sitting right here, you know, was vocal, demonstrative, confident, cocky, walking around like, you know, I got this, you know, and projected an air of confidence that the rest of the team went: hell, yea, you know, that’s who we are, we’re her. And Paige? Paige is quiet. She doesn’t say much. She’s quiet in her game, like all of a sudden you look up at the end of the game, she had 27 and, you know, 12 assists and you go, wow, how does she do that? It just, you know, she’ll go a spurt where she’ll be like, unbelievable. And then the rest of the time she’s quiet. So her evolution has to be, she’s got to get harder every day in practice and realize that the game is going to be real physical against her. And I asked her really good question this past summer, three weeks ago, I said, if you were guarding you. I said, how would you guard yourself?

 

Renee Montgomery: What she say

 

Geno Auriemma: She said, well, I wouldn’t let me, wouldn’t let me shoot at three. I said, OK, so next time we’re working on getting open to shoot at three, don’t half-ass it, because that’s going to be the key. What else? She said: I would be really physical with me. I said, right, so now when we’re in the weight room and we’re doing stuff, you need to know I got to do this. You know. What else? I said, well, they’d force you left. I can go left! I said, I can go left too, but that don’t mean I’m gonna score very much, you know, so, you know, and I said, and, you know, these things come with maturity and come with growth. But there’s things that she sees and things that plays that she makes that are just, you know.

 

Renee Montgomery: Incredible.

 

Geno Auriemma: They’re God-given, they’re God-given.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah, I called the games, as you know, I called a few of the UConn NCAA games this year and the maturity level. And I look at it and you see all these new faces and I always wonder, like, what’s the difference in the recruiting process versus when I was there? Because players are so different now, just even as I’m watching players, you know, like when we were there, we didn’t have nails and eyelash—you know, we didn’t really. But this is a different type of player now that I see in the tournament. And it’s the evolution. So what’s like been the biggest difference for you, just recruiting this new age of players as opposed to before—and excluding the pandemic of course, because that was unique.

 

Geno Auriemma: Yeah, it is crazy. You know, like I’ll say something like, I’ll say something like: what’s with those nails! And they’ll be like: what? I go: who color’s their nails. I said where you going, to the prom. I said: what are doing here. You going out on a date? Where are you going? You said you come here to play basketball like, so what are you going to do with the game on the line, you know? It’s a jump ball, you go: Oh, don’t break my nail. You know, like, [unclear] like what are we doing here? I said there’s a time and place for everything. But today’s kids is like: yeah, like that’s my, that’s my jam man. like that’s my, that’s my, that’s what I do, you know. See that’s, you know and the eye lash thing you know. So I’m like, yo, you either real basketball players.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh my gosh.

 

Geno Auriemma: Or you’re like [unclear]. I said, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a statement by you that says, hey this, this is serious, I’m two different people. When I come play basketball, I come ready for work. And when I go out, I go out. Those are two different people. OK. So, trying to explain that is a little bit of a challenge. And then the idea that, you know, I came here because I want what you have, coach but can I do it the way I want to do it? I said, well, those two things don’t go together.

 

Renee Montgomery: Right.

 

Geno Auriemma: Like, if you already know how to do it, I would ask you how to do it, but you don’t. So you’re, you’re depending on me to show you how to do it. So when I go—it’s like, it’s like if I come to Atlanta and I say, hey, Renee, how do I get to the Georgia Dome? And you go, well, you go down here, you make a right, third left, you make it. And I go, you know what? I rather go a different way. Then why the hell you ask me?

 

Renee Montgomery: Right.

 

Geno Auriemma: Then go ahead, get lost, and bumble around and find your own way

 

Renee Montgomery: And then come back and ask me again.

 

Geno Auriemma: But because they got GPS, see, they think everything’s.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: You know that you don’t have to put a lot of yourself. You don’t have to invest a lot of yourself.  You know, you just kind of like go: I got it. Well, if it was that easy, everybody else would have 11 national championships.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK!

 

Jason Conception: Responding to recent court decisions, the NCAA board of directors has changed the rules, declare that athletes can and make money off their image and likeness. Have you begun to think about, like, how your program is going to grapple with these changes or what the effects might be?

 

Geno Auriemma: Yeah, I’m, I’m anxious to see what the effects are. I’m anxious to see what the effects are. So let’s say, you know, let’s say you’re Paige, who you know was, she was famous coming out of high school. You know, I called her Paige Kardashian

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, my gosh. [laughs]

 

Geno Auriemma: I said, you know, dang, man, and I said, you’re famous, you’re famous for being famous. I said, you haven’t done a darn thing and everybody’s talking about you like you’re the greatest thing ever. She goes, you know, to her credit, she goes: I don’t get it either. I said, I’m just you know, that’s just the world that we live in, that’s your world. So now she’s going to be able to capitalize on that. And AZ, a big name in recruiting. So she comes here. So now she’s going to be able to capitalize on that. How much? Who knows? So in the future, now, you know, you’ve got three or four or five, high school, potential college, All Americans, and how does that affect the team when some are getting great opportunities and some are not? Some getting opportunities, that’s some are like a little bit of interest, some a lot of interest—like I use this analogy, I say listen, if LeBron and Anthony Davis are getting X, everybody else on the Lakers knows I’m getting something other than X, like way, way other than X.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: OK. And they’re cool with that. They’re men and they understand it’s a job and it’s a business, you know. Guys that work for Apple or Google or whatever, they know there are certain guys at certain levels of that company that get X. You, wherever you are you get Y. Now does an 18-year old understand that, does a 19-year old understand that? I don’t know. I don’t know. So I think these kids may be under the impression that the minute this law was passed, here come the checks.

 

Renee Montgomery: Like everybody.

 

Geno Auriemma: Like everybody is getting paid. And the truth of the matter is going to be very few of them are going to get paid. And they’re going to have to actually do something to get paid, whatever that is. You know, it’s not going to be just because you’re a nice kid and you know, UConn’s number 1 in the country.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah. So it’s interesting because like, you know, at UConn, we fly charter. You know, we, you know, my first time eating at Del Fresco’s was with you guys, and CD’s teaching us which forks and everything to use. And so I think that there’s this interesting dynamic coming, maybe not with men’s basketball or football, but in a lot of the women’s sports. Do you think that they will get to a point where college athletes could possibly make more than the pros?

 

Geno Auriemma: In women’s basketball? I can see that happening. I can see that happening.

 

Renee Montgomery: What do you think that would look like? How would that, that? You know what I’m saying? Would that not be, like, what will that look like now college athletes could possibly be making more and then when they graduate and go pro, they’re making less.

 

Geno Auriemma: Yeah, it depends. It may depend on where you go to school, let’s say. So let’s say you’re at UConn because that’s what we’re talking about, and now we have this huge UConn nation that follows UConn women’s basketball and it’s actually national. OK, around the country, we’ve become like Duke men’s basketball. Which side are you on? You either hate us or you love us.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah, [laughs] facts. Facts.

 

Geno Auriemma: OK, you hate us or you love us. Nobody that has no opinion. All right. You know, you can say to somebody, hey, what do you think of, you know, Kentucky women’s basketball? They might go, I don’t know. But you say, well, what do you think of UConn women’s basketball? Oh, man, I love them. I love their coach. Next person: I hate them whenever they’re on TV I root for anybody but them. OK, but everybody’s got an opinion. So if you play here, you are inundated with media attention. Social media attention. Now, you grow that over four years. See, that’s the key. It grows over four years, provided you’re really good. Now you leave and you go to the WNBA. Will that stay with you? Hopefully. Or will some of that, you know, well, where will you go, let’s say you go play for the Atlanta Dream—do they have a big enough platform that you can use to enhance everything you already have? I don’t know. All that remains to be seen. No question about it.

 

Renee Montgomery: That’s crazy. That’s just blowing my mind.

 

Geno Auriemma: It’s crazy, right?

 

Renee Montgomery: It’s blowing my mind because a player, a football player just signed a $20,000 deal, you know, so the first day out the gates. So it’s like, wow, if that continues: Wow.

 

Geno Auriemma: Yeah, yeah. I mean, and when they get when they get to, when they get to the NBA or the NFL or wherever they’re going, what’s going to be the determining factor? Well, I would like to think in sports, how good you are.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Jason Conception: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: Doing TikTok videos when you’re in the NBA, that ain’t going to get it right?

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, it might, though. That’s big money now, coach, I’m just saying

 

Geno Auriemma: It’s big money. If you’re a 13-year old, if you’re a 14-year old and you’re TikToking your butt off, you know, you can make some money. I don’t know if they want a bunch of 20-year olds TikToking. And you might be that, may be way, that’s too old, that’s way too old for that crowd.

 

[ad break]

 

Jason Conception: So, Coach, you’re on the Olympic Selection Committee, and, of course, you coached the women’s national team to two gold medals in 2012 and 2016. How is the process going? How is the prep going? Where are you in constructing your rosters right now for the games?

 

Geno Auriemma: Well, again, I’m going to show you the, the crazy thing about UConn basketball. In 2012, I coached the Olympic team, we had six UConn players on the team. I didn’t have anything to do with five of them. They were picked like before I even sat down, they go, all right, here’s what the committee thinks. What do you think? I go, I’m on board. I got it.

 

Jason Conception: So that’s a criticism that often happens, is that it’s UConn politics.

 

Geno Auriemma: Oh, yeah. UConn politics. So UConn politics means what? You’re going to keep Sue Bird off the Olympic team in 2012, or Dee or Tina Charles or Maya.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, no.

 

Geno Auriemma: OK, I don’t care if you hate UConn. If you’re the Olympic coach, you want those guys on your team. Right. Cause you want to win? You wanna win. So now the fifth UConn player, it comes down to somebody and Swin Cash. So I stepped out. I said, look, I’m not in this discussion. You guys decide and they picked Swin. All right, I said I’m in. She has previous Olympic experience, she’s won WNBA championships. I said, I like the pick. Now we got one pick left and it was set aside for Brittney Griner. Now Britney says, I ain’t playing.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK.

 

Geno Auriemma: So now we’ve got a spot open. So I said to the committee, I said, what is the biggest problem that this Olympic team is going to have? Tell me.

 

Renee Montgomery: Minutes.

 

Geno Auriemma: You know this big kid from Australia, this 6’7″, 6’8″ kid from Australia, she is going to be a major pain in the ass. So we’ve got to figure it out, that one out. And now over in Europe, Asiah Jones is Final Four MVP, anybody who knows Asiah, Asiah ain’t afraid of anybody, anywhere, any time, you know. So I asked around, I asked around a bunch of people that play and I said, all right, what do you guys think? And they said, coach man, you need to get Asiah Jones on this team because—

 

Renee Montgomery: OK!

 

Geno Auriemma: She said, you these guys like I don’t know if they can guard this other kid. So I said this to the committee and they gave me, like, a lot of pushback. And I said, OK, fine, I’m just telling you, I have to look down the bench, I have looked down the bench and I got to make this up. You guys never have, in the Olympics. So I’m telling you, that’s the kid I want. Now, I’m going to get off the phone, if that’s not who you want, then that’s fine. I got nothing to do about that. Took them 45 minutes, whatever, they put Asiah on the team. Now we’re playing Australia semifinals at the Olympics. Tina Charles, Sylvia Fous, Candace Parker are getting their asses kicked by Elizabeth Cambage. She is destroying them. She’s got 19 at the half.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, my gosh.

 

Geno Auriemma: So now we come in at halftime, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, we go out in the second half. I said, I’m giving this shit five minutes. So they come out and do their thing. Five minute mark, I go, Asiah, come on, man. You go out, here they come. They’re coming down on offense. Asiah’s standing at the free throw line,

 

Renee Montgomery: Meets her there.

 

Geno Auriemma: Elizabeth comes over and she’s running to the block, t o her favorite spot, and Asiah goes bam! And like, like right here and stands are straight up. That sucker didn’t score the rest of the game.

 

Renee Montgomery: Wow.

 

Geno Auriemma: Now, she was wrong—I mean, she was young, but Asia only helped us win one game. The one game we had to win.

 

Jason Conception: Right.

 

All right. So those were the six. Now we go to Rio. And you’re going to keep Sue off? Or Dee, or Maya, or Tina, or Stewie? Well, some people say, well, Stewie shouldn’t have been on because she’s a rookie. I don’t care if rookie or 35-year old. Who’s better, who’s a better player than her at that time. So, it was the biggest collection of talent ever, and they all they all dumped on me. This is you UConn politics.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: Geno Auriemma this, Geno Auriemma that, blah, blah, blah, blah. And Carol Callen kept saying it’s the committee man, committee picks the team. They don’t want to hear it. OK, fast forward. 2020, 21, 22, now we’re in this cycle.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: I ain’t even the coach!

 

Jason Conception: [laughs]

 

Geno Auriemma: And now they bitch that the committee did a shitty job, especially Geno Auriemma, this UConn bullshits got to stop. Wait a minute! When I was the coach, it was my fault. Now I’m on the committee, it’s my fault. [laughs]

 

Renee Montgomery: So what is it, though? Like, OK, so now 2012, of course, you don’t leave those names off. I think the sentiment is in 2021, are those names still the same power of 2012, in a sense of the best players. That’s, that’s kind of what I think, you know, like there’s a lot of discussion, a Nneka Ogwumike’s name got thrown out there a lot for, not getting on there. So there’s the question of like yeah, you’re not even the coach anymore and people still have a problem with the UConn politics. So what is it?

 

Geno Auriemma: You know what I said? One of the things that I said, I said to somebody, I said, explain to me, if you were the Olympic coach, would you take any other guard other than Diana? Even at her age right now. If the answer is yes, tell me who that would be, that you would feel comfortable going to the Olympics. And most people would say nah, I’ll take Dee. Last year in the finals and during the whole playoffs, was there a better guard than Sue? So tell me who’s better that you would take? Brittney Griner, is there a better big guy, better center, better than Brittney Griner? If you find somebody say it. Sylvia Fowles?

 

Renee Montgomery: No, she’s top.

 

Geno Auriemma: You want Sylvia, you don’t want Sylvia? Well, I think we’ll take Sylvia. How about Asiah Wilson? What you want Asiah Wilson or you don’t want Asiah Wilson? Oh, yeah. We’ll take Asiah Wilson.  What about Tina Charles?

 

Renee Montgomery: Tina Charles. TeeTee.

 

Geno Auriemma: She’s only probably favorite for MVP. OK? So you want Tina or you don’t want Tina. So now those guys, like nobody on the committee, would say, no, they don’t belong there, we got to go with some new blood. Who? And then you go OK, now who’s next? Well, what about Stewie? We’re going to keep, you think you want Stewie on the team if you’re coaching that team? Or you, you say no, she ain’t good enough to play for us. So that’s another easy one. So now you start getting into, well, what does this team need now? Given that you took all those big guys, what does this team need now? Well, we’re kind of short on guards. So Jewell Loyd gets the nod. Why? She played great at the world championships. You could say there’s people better than Jewell. OK, tell me who they are, that fit in with that group. Right? Now, we need another guard, somebody long, somebody good. You know? Who? It would be Angel McCoughtry, but she’s hurt.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: All right, so now you don’t have Angel. You don’t have Simone anymore. [unclear] ain’t available.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, true, yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: Right? Yeah, so all of a sudden, Maya Moore would have been in that spot, right? She ain’t available.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: So all of a sudden you got all these guys that ain’t available and the younger guys have not gotten to that level just yet. That they can, that they, well just because you’re one of the best players doesn’t mean you fit perfectly with that team.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: As you know. So then the decision came, you know, for the committee, Nneka, who’s hurt. Who plays the same position as Asiah Wilson. Tina Charles. Stewie. The other choice that was brought up, Napheesa Collier. Who’s, maybe more versatile, maybe can play more different positions, who knows, and she’s younger and it’s a, it’s a nod to the future. So whatever decision you make is not a bad decision. But whatever decision you make, people are going to have an issue with it.

 

Renee Montgomery: For sure, I mean, their talent is so deep. Every year there’s going to be somebody left off. That that’s just a given we could take. We always say this, we could take 3 teams to the Olympics if we really, if it was allowed because of how much talent we have. But, Coach, before we let you go, our producer is going to show us a video. I have not seen it, so I’m a little bit, I’m going to be, they told me to say that they have a video to show us. This was after one of our games at the tournament during our national championship run. So let’s check out this video because I’m nervous. What is it, Carlton?

 

[clip of interviewer] What did you say to Renee when she came over to the bench and you gave her a hug?

 

[clip of of Geno] And I said, you know, this is what you wanted, right? She said, yeah. I said, but we’re not done yet. She said, no, this is different than last year. So . . . Look at her. ]

 

[clip of interviewer] Thanks, coach. Renee, coach said that when you came over, you told him that this is different from last year. How is it going to be different from last year?

 

[clip of of Renee] You know last year we were just, like, so happy to make it to the final four. And I think, you know, our whole goal starting the preseason was we’re going to get it to the Final Four. We’re going to get our seniors there. And I think this year, you know, our mindset is we’re definitely happy as you hear that we’re in the Final Four. But I mean, we just, we have to look further than that because last year we lost there.

 

[clip of interviewer] What do you have to do in St. Louis for this team that can be considered one of the best ever?

 

[clip of of Renee] Um, I don’t know. I guess just keep playing. I’ll don’t try to think about that. I just want to win a championship.

 

[clip of interviewer] Alright. Congratulations, Renee. Thank you.

 

Renee Montgomery: Look at that young guy! Cee Dee. Look at the squad. Wow, you’ll went in the archives. You remember that, coach? It’s so weird how he remembers everything. Like you just heard him say in the semifinals against Australia she had 22 points at half, 19 at half. It’s like: what?!

 

Geno Auriemma: But you know, the year before, the year before, if I’m not mistake we got to the Final Four and we lost. We lost to Stanford, I think.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yes, we did.

 

Geno Auriemma: In Orlando—I mean, in Tampa.

 

Renee Montgomery: Tampa.

 

Geno Auriemma: And they said to me, what does this loss mean? I said, this loss don’t mean anything to me. I said, because we’re going to be back here next year and it’s going to be different. I promise you that. As I said to the media, so now we have the kind of team that we have, we run through, everybody’s dancing, because why? It’s a big deal to go to Final Four, man.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: It’s a huge deal to go to Final Four. And after that, though, when we got to the Final Four, it was no contest. [laughs]

 

Renee Montgomery: We were, we were turnt up.

 

Geno Auriemma: I actually, for one of the few times, I actually felt bad for the other three teams that were there.

 

Renee Montgomery: [laughs] Now, I remember that distinctly, obviously, but it’s crazy because, again, you have 11 national championships. You done a little bit of everything. So, coach, we just wanted to thank you for joining us here on Talkline.

 

Jason Conception: Thank you so much.

 

Geno Auriemma: Appreciate it. And you know, the interesting thing about coaching is you don’t, you don’t shoot any baskets, you don’t get any rebounds, you don’t get any steals. As a coach, you just hope that you have the right people and that you put them in the right position. I think our success is based so much on our players ability to do what they do best. And if I was coaching men’s basketball, I wouldn’t have won national championships because a lot of the guys that stayed here and went to a bunch of Final Fours and kept winning championships would have been long gone after their first or second one.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah, for fure.

 

Geno Auriemma: You know, so women’s basketball is great in that respect in that teams kind of come together, they can fail, they can learn, they can grow, and then they can experience something amazing. Whereas in men’s basketball, maybe they get it one shot, they go to the Final Four, they don’t win at all, and then team breaks up because everybody’s leaving for the NBA or whatever they’re doing. So people like, you know, Renee, and I mean, how many Final Fours you go to, Renee?

 

Renee Montgomery: Three or two?

 

Geno Auriemma: I want to say two.

 

Renee Montgomery: How do you know this?! That’s why it’s so weird.

 

Geno Auriemma: Because you lost in . . .

 

Renee Montgomery: The elite Eight on to Du—and uh, yeah, we lost to—

 

Renee Montgomery: Lost to Tampa and then won in St. Louis.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah.

 

Geno Auriemma: And we should have won another game that would have got us there Final Four but we came up short for a lot of different reasons.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yes.

 

Geno Auriemma: So, you know, the success that we have as coaches is directly related to, you know, getting the kind of players that can perform under those circumstances. And personality has a lot to do with it. Your temperament, who you are. And I can honestly say, you know, for four years that Renee was at UConn, her temperament, her personality, her je ne sais quoi, you know, she was, that was who we were, man. And we’ve had very few players like that, you know. Dee was another one. They just kind of like, they are, and everybody just gravitates to them and I, I had so much fun that I, people say, man, it must be a lot of pressure to be undefeated and go in it. I say: actually no, man, it was kind of easy.

 

Renee Montgomery: We had a blast. We had a blast.

 

Geno Auriemma: We had a blast.

 

Renee Montgomery: Thank you, Coach. Thank you, coach. And go ahead and win another 12th win, they can stay mad. You know, I’ll be talking.

 

Geno Auriemma: That’s the plan. That’s the plan!

 

Renee Montgomery: Thank you for joining us, coach.

 

Geno Auriemma: I’d like ot get back on the show.

 

Jason Conception: Thank you so much.

 

Geno Auriemma: All right, guys.

 

Renee Montgomery: Thank you.

 

Geno Auriemma: Appreciate it. Good luck.

 

Jason Conception: And now for a new game called Know Your Co-host, on this special July 4th week episode, we’re just going to play a little game here to see how well Renee and I know things about each other. You know it as Two Truths and a Lie, but we’ve adapted it here. Let us start off with our first category: favorite movie.

 

Renee Montgomery: All right. So we’re going to start out with my favorite movie, Jason. Two of these are my favorite movies. One of these are not. So your options are Avatar, Love Actually, and Moulin Rouge.

 

Jason Conception: Oh, wow.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah, we’re all over the board here.

 

Jason Conception: OK, so let’s see. Avatar, I think, is still the, or has rather regained the title of highest-grossing movie of all time, and it regained it from Endgames somehow. Whatever the case it is quite possible that that is your favorite movie. It’s your favorite movie of billions of people around the globe. And it’s a historically popular movie. Love Actually, one of the great rom coms of all time. What can be said about it? Beloved by millions, one of the great movies of that form. I could see that being the case. I think that Avatar is the lie.

 

Renee Montgomery: Wow, wow. OK, that’s right. That’s, that’s correct. That is correct. Love Actually, I watch it like maybe three times a year. Moulin Rouge. I used to watch it once a month. Crazy. So yeah. Wow Jason, you know me. You know.

 

Jason Conception: Woo! OK, so these are three of my favorite movies. I’m going to go with Lord of the Rings, the two towers. Thor, The Dark World.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, my gosh.

 

Jason Conception: And The Searchers, the 1950s classic starring John Wayne, who, yes, he is racist, but he plays a racist.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so these movies, I’m going to put The Searcher’s in there for one of your faves because who does that? Who thinks of a movie from that far ago, names who started it if you aren’t a fan of it? So that’s just the context clues I’m going to use for that. Never seen the movie. Thor. OK, so Thor and Lord of the Rings, this is where we are with it. Lord of the Rings. I don’t know much about this fantasy world you live in, and I like that you live there because you teach me all about it. Everything is telling me that it’s Thor and The Searchers are your two favorites, and that Lord of the Rings is not. I don’t watch this stuff, but like my Spidey senses are just tingling with that. So I’m just going to lock it in. Look, I don’t even know the movie. It’s going to be even crazier that I have not seen all three of your favorite movies. So I need to watch those. On my list. Final answer. The lie is Lord of the Rings.

 

Renee Montgomery: [buzz] That’s wrong the lie is Thor: The Dark World.

 

Renee Montgomery: [yells]

 

Jason Conception: Widely held by many to be the worst of the MCU movie. It’s, its bottom, it’s bottom three for sure. Lord of the Rings, Two Towers, uh—

 

Renee Montgomery: Do you like hat movie though? It’s just not your favorite?

 

Jason Conception: It’s not my favorite for sure of all of these three movies. I don’t like it. Yeah, like it’s not, if I was going to re-watch an MCU movie today, it would probably be, it would not at all be that. It would be Infinity War: End game, Captain America, Winter Soldier or something like that.

 

Renee Montgomery: Something like that. OK, what’s next?

 

Jason Conception: Guilty pleasures. Guilty pleasures. I’ll go first.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK. Start us off.

 

Jason Conception: Guilty pleasures. This I take this to mean something that I enjoy but that is like not like really, it doesn’t make me smarter. It’s not particularly tasteful. It’s not a thing that really people like would brag about. First, I’m going to go Vanderpump Rules, the famous, the famous reality show from the Bravo Network that’s following a collection of of problematic waiters and bartenders in West Hollywood. Next, I will say Below Deck, both med and regular.

 

Renee Montgomery: Wow.

 

Jason Conception: Just say the Below Deck series, which is, it follows the lives of a crew of a yacht as they entertain numerous guests and their interpersonal dramas. And the next, I will say is I’m going to go with The Challenge. MTV’s The Challenge.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, good choices, this is tough.

 

Jason Conception: Reality show, that is, the show is long-running, it is often problematic and I honestly think that the show is trying to kill its contestants. Those are my, those are my three. One of those is a lie.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so I’ve heard you talk about Below Deck, I believe. I’m pretty sure. Or was that Caroline? Somebody was talking about that when we picked what’s the best or worse. And Jason doesn’t play the game, so it couldn’t have been him. But we picked what’s the best show on E? It was, somebody picked Below Deck and I had never seen that. So it couldn’t have been Jason, actually, because he’s the host. So maybe not for that.

 

Jason Conception: Below Deck available to stream for anyone who subscribes to Peacock. Peacock, the app, the network, the streaming platform.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so I’m going to just Below Deck. I’m going to shelf that. And then Vanderpump Rules, that’s got to be in because that’s everyone’s guilty pleasure. Jax got married. Who would have thunk it? Who would have thunk that Jax would get married? OK.

 

Jason Conception: I mean, that’s, that’s a, that’s a colossal mistake.

 

Renee Montgomery: Jax and Brittney are having a baby.

 

Jason Conception: Colossal mistake on the part of Britney. Girl, run, don’t walk. I mean, it’s too late now. You guys are married and have a kid. But still . . .

 

Renee Montgomery: Listen, Lisa, Lisa Vanderpump? I mean, that’s in like I just if that’s not a part of the top one. Shame. Shame, Jason. And then the last one was The Challenge. Now I grew up on that. I think we’re closer to the same age. I remember when it started to develop and it was like Real World Road Rules Challenge. And then they just took those things away and it just became The Challenge. And so I remember like those things. And for those reasons, you didn’t play that game. I’m going to go with Below Deck, med and whatever else you said, is not your favorite.

 

Jason Conception: [ding ding] Correct.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yes!

 

Jason Conception: That is right. That is correct. Renee, your turn.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so my guilty pleasures are, first things staying in the house. I like being secluded at home. The second guilty pleasure would have to be Shark Tank. My third guilty pleasure beyond a shadow of a doubt is that sickening feeling you feel after you had a hard workout?

 

Jason Conception: Interesting. I think she doth protest too much. My answer out of the gate, even though I’m going to deliberate now, is the post-workout feeling. You put a little bit extra on it with the beyond a shadow of a doubt, which leads me to believe that you want me to think that the staying home I forget, I feel like you have mentioned that, that you don’t go out much, you don’t do anything, don’t drink, just like to stay home. So I feel like that’s it. I know that about you. Shark Tank. Listen, you’re an entrepreneurial person. I feel like Shark Tank. I may choose Mark Cuban. Shark Tank is a, is a fantastically addicting show where you actually do kind of learn a lot about business.

 

Renee Montgomery: True. Yeah, definitely.

 

Jason Conception: Like or at least that like the basic fundamentals about investing and about—

 

Renee Montgomery: Knowing your books!

 

Jason Conception: Knowing your books and about what it means to pitch something. Like I think that’s more important than anything as you learn in the pitching process. So I’m going to go again. I’m going to go the lie is the post-workout feeling correct?

 

Renee Montgomery: [ding ding] Yes. I like to be so in shape that after my workouts, I’m like: yo I killed it. So I usually was in the business of never getting out of shape right now. I would probably feel that feeling and I would not like it.

 

Jason Conception: It’s tough for everybody. Listen, post, post-pandemic, I think, you know, a lot of people were sitting around the house. It’s you can work out as much as you want in your home, it’s not the same.

 

Renee Montgomery: Not, not at all.

 

Jason Conception: It’s not the same as go to a place with equipment. And I don’t even care how much equipment you have. And it really is just not the same.

 

Renee Montgomery: Not at all.

 

Jason Conception: As being there and being in the environment. Great answer. Next!

 

Renee Montgomery: I like this, I like this.

 

Jason Conception: Favorite musical artist. Wow.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK.

 

Jason Conception: Wow, This is a, this is a really fun one. You go first, if you’ve been thinking about it, you go first.

 

Renee Montgomery: Like OK, so my favorite artists are Justin Bieber.

 

Jason Conception: Oh, the Beeb’s!

 

Renee Montgomery: Justin Timberlake. Drake.

 

Jason Conception: Wow.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yeah, nibble on that.

 

Jason Conception: OK, so Justin Bieber, you know, discovered off of YouTube. Canadian comedian preteen, at that time shoots to superstardom.

 

[both sing] Baby, baby, baby, oh baby.

 

Jason Conception: Listen, Ludas middle bars on that are, they’re classic. That’s a classic track. Purpose is incredible. I’m going to say that, that’s not a lie. Drake. I mean, the guy has so many hits, it’s actually insane. You can’,. And speaking of gems, you can’t go to the gym and not hear like five Drake songs played over the loudspeakers. That’s going to happen. That’s just what it is. I’m going to say Justin Timberlake, just because all of these artists have had long careers yet, I’m not going to say Justin’s fallen off, but I’m going to say in terms of like longevity and continuing to have hits throughout their career, Justin is kind of he’s slack a bit.

 

Renee Montgomery: You haven’t heard his new stuff, I’m assuming.

 

Jason Conception: I haven’t heard it. I listen to I listen to, like Spotify, like top 40 playlist when I’m that, you know, and that’s it. So I’m going to say it’s Timberlake. But I’m feeling like that was the wrong answer.

 

Renee Montgomery: [ding, ding] I’m feeling like that’s the right answer. I just meant trolls. I love Justin Timberlake but that is the right answer. You got it. Of course I have Bieber fever, and Drake is Drake. Shouts out. I want to be team [unclear]. Of course. Of course.

 

Jason Conception: I love it. OK, I’m going to go one, Miles Davis when I’m writing. I can’t, I can’t listen to words when I’m writing because it messes me up. Then I start writing like the words that I’m hearing and then I can’t think of words and I’m trying to think of like verbs and adjectives and different. And so I just like to listen to instrumental music. And Miles Davis is great because over the course of his career, he did everything from bebop swing it to funk. Next, I’m going to say. Robyn. Here’s a here’s a fun fact about me, I like, I like electronic music and I really love, like pop music with a female vocal and I think nobody for my money, nobody does it better than Robyn, who has so many hits in that area and so many songs that are like, it’s two a.m., you’re leaving the club, let’s put on a Robyn song and almost cry.

 

Renee Montgomery: And it’s just Robyn? Like first name only.

 

Jason Conception: Yes.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, ok, ok. Teach me something

 

Jason Conception: And then I’m gonna say as my third Miley Cyrus, Party in the USA, I think it’s time, her time is come, when Miley will do a cover. People are like, oh my God, is Miley Cyrus? Yes, she’s good. She’s been performing since she was like eleven. When she gets into her country bag and people are like shocked like oh my gosh.

 

Renee Montgomery: Like they don’t know her dad. You all know who her dad is?!

 

Jason Conception: She’s like crushing it. She, yeah. Because she’s like in her bag when she does that. I’m going to I say Miley Cyrus is my third.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so we have Miles Davis, we have Robyn and we have to twerk Miley, Miley twerk. I feel like my first instinct is that Robyn is not your favorite. Miles Davis, I agree. When I’m doing my thug thizzle, I like to have a certain type of music esthetics in the background. Miles Davis could be that type of music. So I really felt that if that is a lie, you sold it well, because that’s, that’s me. So I feel like he’s in. You’re a writer. You write a lot of stuff. Funny guy. You need that music. Miley Cyrus, you know, she’s, she’s all over the place. So she’s doing twerk music. She’s doing country and she’s doing covers. You know, it’s the climb, motivational, you know what I mean. She has a little bit of everything, so I feel like she can be somebody that everybody likes. And then that leaves us with Robyn, the one named Robyn. And I was thinking you were talking about Robin Thicke at first, but you’re talking about Robyn. So I’m going to say I don’t know a lot about Robyn. I know a lot about the other two. I know you know about Robyn because you pulled her out of your mind. But Robyn is not your favorite artist. Final answer.

 

Jason Conception: [buzz] Oh, it’s now true. It’s Miley. It’s going to be Miley. I like Robyn more than Miley. Listen, I like, I do love when Miley gets back in her bag and plays and covers, like, that’s my favorite thing that she does when she returned to her roots. But like, if I’m going to listen to any of those things, I listen the other two first.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, I like it. I like it.

 

Jason Conception: OK, so pet peeves. My first pet peeve will be wet socks. Who likes them? Who likes them? You know, you ever cross a stream or somebody spill something on your shoe, it’s the absolute worst. And then you get to walk around. Who carry socks, who has extra socks? I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I think my next one is going to be, since we’ve talked so much about the gym and we’re thinking about the gym, somebody who like just takes too long on the machine, like on whatever machine it is, it’s like, OK, like everybody should have their time and their amount of time to do whatever it is they got to do but if you’re like scrolling through your iPod for like ten minutes between sets, it’s like, can we pick it up? Like, let’s you know what I mean?

 

Renee Montgomery: No, I feel you.

 

Jason Conception: Yeah, you know what I mean. Like you got to pick the perfect song for this? Like let’s hurry up. And then the next one is going to be similarly, people who play too slow on the golf course, like we all got up at five a.m. Let’s respect everybody’s time. You know, don’t make me play through the whole thing. Like, let’s go. Those are my—

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, so we have wet socks. We have taking too long on the golf course and we also have taking too long on the machines. I’m going to, there’s two taking too long and I feel like that just happened by accident on your part because one is a lie. That’s just how I feel. I feel like two of them became very similar on the fly because you guys, this is an improv game, by the way. We didn’t really think about these things beforehand.

 

Jason Conception: So I feel like this is this is your parent, like skills coming into play.

 

Renee Montgomery: Yes. OK, so wet socks have to be everyone’s pet peeve. If it’s not, what are you doing? Like, what do I like?

 

Jason Conception: Yeah, why do you like wet socks?

 

Renee Montgomery: OK, and then we have—do you work out Jason? Are we allowed to ask a question? I didn’t know you worked out like that. So when I heard you say the thing about the machines, I was like, wow, he’s at the gym enough to get annoyed by that kind of thing. I don’t know. I feel like that might be a no. I’m not saying that your’ not bff, I think you have a great physique, so maybe you do. And then last but not least, the golf course. Does Jason know how to golf? You look like it. It’s a networking game. Oh, wait. Jason just imitated swinging a golf club. And in his imitation, it was very Charles Barkley’esque. I don’t know if anyone knows.

 

Jason Conception: There’s three parts of it. There was three parts of the swing.

 

Renee Montgomery: There was a hitch and there was a turn and there was a twitch.

 

Jason Conception: It was 85% hitch.

 

Renee Montgomery: It was 85% hitch. And if you’ve seen Charles Barkley’s old swing, apparently he has a new swing, it resembled that very much so, and I don’t know if that was to trick me or not, but it has now swayed my vote. So after seeing Jason Conception’s swing, I have to think, oh man, I feel like even as I’m saying it, I’m like, no, he might play golf. He looks studious. Oh, this is a tough one. Is either gym or golf . . . golf, final answer!

 

Jason Conception: [ding, ding, ding,] That’s correct. That’s correct. It’s funny, like, I was having a conversation, I was hanging out with some people last night, and one of my friends is like, I’m getting out, my tee time is at seven. I’m like, you’re freaking crazy, talking about talking about, like, all the yeah, I was hanging out with this person, playing this person, playing golf. I’m like, man, should I learn to play golf? Like I guess I, do I have to do that? And then I was with my friend Michael Peters of the Ringer, great guy, Michael Peters, and we made we both made a pact to never learn to play golf. We shook on it.

 

Renee Montgomery: What?! I don’t like that decision. OK, my three pet peeves are number one, organizing things, just either people that organize things a lot or when things are too organized, just the whole organizational aspect of it. Secondly, being late, I don’t like being late. I don’t like when people are late. My third is smacking on your food. I think that, that’s just grow up. You know, we’re supposed to teach it when we’re young, to kids. So that’d be number three.

 

Jason Conception: I’m going to say, wow, so organized based on your usual Zoom background with all the stuff, it’s organized. It’s not messy but it’s not overly organized. So I think there’s something, I think there’s something there. Being late. Nobody likes people who are late. Nobody likes being late, nobody.

 

Renee Montgomery: Oh, I don’t know about that, but. Welcome to Atlanta!

 

Jason Conception: Uh, oh. That’s well, I mean, that’s a traffic issue. It’s, you know, and then and then smacking food like that. Gosh, I’m going to say, well, I’m going to say too organized, because it was so specific. It wasn’t just organized, it was too organized.

 

Renee Montgomery: So you think that being too organized is what?

 

Jason Conception: Is is the lie? I’m going to say that’s the lie.

 

Renee Montgomery: [ding, ding, ding] That is the lie. How did you guess? I tried to say it first and everything! I love being organized. It’s actually I can’t help. I don’t like, I don’t like unorganized.

 

Jason Conception: I don’t like unorganized either. But there is something about like too, too, too organized. Like you got to let it breathe a little bit, like let’s have some organization. But like I don’t like to be told what to do.

 

Renee Montgomery: OK. All right. Well even though we’ve been doing this show for just a few months, it’s good to know that we know each other pretty well. I mean. But luckily there’s still more to learn and we got more in the show. So don’t go anywhere.

 

[ad break]

 

 [Take Survivor Game]

 

Jason Conception: Goodbye. That is it for us. Follow and subscribe to us on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. And don’t forget to subscribe to Takeline show on YouTube for exclusive video clips from this episode, plus my digital series, All Caps NBA, which airs every Friday. Check it out folks! See you next week.

 

Renee Montgomery: Takeline is a Crooked Media production. The Show is produced by Carleton Gillespie and Zuri Irvan. Our executive producers are myself and Sandy Girard. Our contributing producers are Caroline Reston, Elijah Cohn and Jason Gallagher. Engineering, editing and sound design by Sarah Gibble-Laska and the folks at Chapter Four. And our theme music is produced by Brian Vazquez.