How did Geno find Nika? | The Boneyard

How did Geno find Nika?

Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Messages
3,777
Reaction Score
15,396
Would love to better understand how Geno originally identified Nika Muhl in Croatia. Attaching a great video (longest I have heard her speak) and post from a month before Nika committed and this was a whirl wind recruiting romance, Geno contacting her weeks before she committed. Appeared to be pretty far down the road with schools like Ohio State, Oregon and Louisville.
Per the attached list of UConn players from 3+ years ago, the timing was still when the UConn recruiting wins were few - why Nika and why then? I've always wondered where Geno gets his info regarding non-US players.
 

Blakeon18

Dormie
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
4,110
Reaction Score
13,191
My impression is that due to Geno's international presence....2 Olympics...lots of coaching
USA basketball age group teams....foreign players know his name over all others with 'UConn' references a'plenty.
If Geno comes calling, they pay attention...I've read they and their families get a tad excited with a home visit.
His foot is in the door simply due to name recognition.

I would think that Geno would hear about possible targets from relationships with international coaches....and just from viewing in person at age group events or from tape sent to him.

I think it has become a distinct advantage for UConn. The NBA and WNBA are now very aware of foreign players with an increasing number playing in those leagues [especially the NBA]. If a young international woman wants to prep and get a head start in America, what better place than Storrs?

Svetlana Abrosimova may not have been the first international player to come to UConn but I think she was the first star quality player. WNBA followed...Russian Olympic team followed...and I think she still is the head of the Russian
Women's Program. If a foreign teen does some googling on [UConn Auriemma international players] they might well be darn intrigued.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2017
Messages
3,041
Reaction Score
14,438
My impression is that due to Geno's international presence....2 Olympics...lots of coaching
USA basketball age group teams....foreign players know his name over all others with 'UConn' references a'plenty.
If Geno comes calling, they pay attention...I've read they and their families get a tad excited with a home visit.
His foot is in the door simply due to name recognition.

I would think that Geno would hear about possible targets from relationships with international coaches....and just from viewing in person at age group events or from tape sent to him.

I think it has become a distinct advantage for UConn. The NBA and WNBA are now very aware of foreign players with an increasing number playing in those leagues [especially the NBA]. If a young international woman wants to prep and get a head start in America, what better place than Storrs?

Svetlana Abrosimova may not have been the first international player to come to UConn but I think she was the first star quality player. WNBA followed...Russian Olympic team followed...and I think she still is the head of the Russian
Women's Program. If a foreign teen does some googling on [UConn Auriemma international players] they might well be darn intrigued.

I believe Geno coached in three Olympics (2000 Sydney, 2012 London, 2016 Rio). I'll also add to say for all ex-UConn players playing basketball around the world if they see/hear about a "Geno type" player(s), I would think a text/call to Geno would be forthcoming.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
1,325
Reaction Score
9,339
I read Auriemma got involved heavily with Muhl after Greg Popovich pointed her out to him after seeing Muhl at a gathering of young players, domestic and international, in Florida.
As the story went, all the other guards shied away from matching up against Bueckers except Muhl, who was ‘cutting in line” to be matched up against ”the best”. A certain amount of hyperbole perhaps but essentially that was what I read somewhere.
I have no way of knowing if the story is true, just sharing.
 

Brewski

To infinity and beyond!
Joined
Nov 13, 2021
Messages
256
Reaction Score
2,383
The attached article does not directly support my view, but I think Geno first learned about Nika from his good friend Jose Fernandez (South Florida) who was recruiting her as well. She was my favorite first year player, and I still like her quite a bit :)!

 
Joined
Apr 18, 2021
Messages
3,295
Reaction Score
14,813
How did Geno find Nika?
Answer: He probably first saw her in a " time out" in
the corner of her Mom's house in Croatia. Some
'gnats' never change! Go Nika!
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
2,058
Reaction Score
10,438
I can only speculate, but I suspect there were several factors. First it is only natural that when you hear some of the top programs are pursuing a foreign player you know little about, you say maybe we should check her out. Second Darko (dad) had plenty of well prepared videos of his daughter that were easily available on YouTube so anyone could get an impression from that. And in addition, people close to her knew she had always followed Uconn, so there was a good chance she would be interested in us.

Uconn got involved at the 11th hour, but it appears that once they did it was game over for the other schools. She was going through the usual comments about having a short list of schools to pick from and like most, suggesting she would take campus visits etc. Then Uconn showed an interest and she quickly added one name to her final list and shortly thereafter committed without an on campus visit, but Geno did go to see her in Croatia. We probably got involved just in time, then it was easy.
 

CL82

NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions - Again!
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
58,025
Reaction Score
214,447
Rumor has it that when Auriemma first saw her he shook his head and said “my God, that woman is a menace.”

2BA888A4-9EF9-4883-9ECC-37DB5A72D7BE.jpeg
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
906
Reaction Score
8,579
The attached article does not directly support my view, but I think Geno first learned about Nika from his good friend Jose Fernandez (South Florida) who was recruiting her as well. She was my favorite first year player, and I still like her quite a bit :)!

This is my impression as well, Jose first brought Nika to Geno's attention. He was recruiting her as well and I believe he was none to happy that Geno took an interest and knew it was game over once Geno made the visit to her home in Croatia. Also heard that Pop had talked her up to him. Geno probably also saw her at 'Basketball Without Borders' in 2019 when he was there watching Paige as well (?). It seems that for both Geno and Nika his visit to Croatia cemented her coming.
 

MrT

Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction Score
115
I don't know where they found Nika , but she is a gem . Tough as nails and a little nasty around the edges. She is rubbing off on some of the other girls, but they have to get a bit more nasty.
The refs are letting these teams that are playing this "No Blood No Foul" crap has caused this. They are inept at calling these games correctly and deserve to be replaced. SOOOO oops hit a girl in the face with the ball or buckle there knees when they try to come down with the ball. This will teach them a little humility till the refs start getting it right. Shame on the NCAA ,strive for a better class of basketball not the MMA. I know many will not like this point of view, but it is the truth. Its like watching "Roller Derby" and it get worse each and every game. Call it like it is not like it ain't , the "three blind mice" routine has got to go.
 

oldude

bamboo lover
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
17,014
Reaction Score
151,227
Nika will never be an AA, member of the HOH or unofficially considered for UConn’s Mt Rushmore. But I’m not going too far out on the limb when I predict that, as a result of her toughness and fierce competitive drive, Nika will become one of the most beloved individuals ever to play at UConn.
 

ochoopsfan

OC Hoops Fan
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
4,677
Reaction Score
18,709
How else does someone look for someone when they need a job done!
 

Attachments

  • Indeed logo.png
    Indeed logo.png
    23.6 KB · Views: 115
  • Like
Reactions: MrT
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
580
Reaction Score
3,201
The e-mail from UConn to Nika asking whether she would like to play for UConn came from CD but that still doesn't say how they found her. UConn was a late comer as amply reported but Geno was the first coach to visit her in Croatia. Mr. Fernandez also visited. Some more articles:


This one is a good article:


I continue to wonder if there was indeed a Gregg Popovich connection, given that photo in the ESPN article about her and UConn.....ah, they met in Florida during that program.
 

Sifaka

O sol nascerá amanhã.
Joined
Dec 21, 2017
Messages
1,006
Reaction Score
8,710
How did Geno find Nika?



  1. She was in the bottom of his Cracker Jack box, snarling at anyone who tried to touch the toy.


2. They met in the Amtrak waiting room when Geno was headed to D.C. for an appearance before the Congressional Committee investigating why Connecticut was 'bad for women's basketball' and Nika asked Geno which gate had departures for the Zagreb-Storrs Express.



3. Geno was perusing a twitter account (name withheld to protect the guilty) when he saw a tweet asking what inoculations were recommended for visitors to Knoxville, dengue fever, smallpox, crotchrotitis, measles, or all of the above. He replied that Storrs was a more amenable destination, and the rest—as they say—is history.



C7DDCAF3-41FB-489F-AC88-F06536E9E28A.jpeg
 
Last edited:

MrT

Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction Score
115
How did Geno find Nika?



  1. She was in the bottom of his Cracker Jack box, snarling at anyone who tried to touch the toy.


2. They met in the Amtrak waiting room when Geno was headed to D.C. for an appearance before the Congressional Committee investigating why Connecticut was 'bad for women's basketball' and Nika asked Geno which gate had departures for the Zagreb-Storrs Express.



3. Geno was perusing a twitter account (name withheld to protect the guilty) when he saw a tweet asking what inoculations were recommended for visitors to Knoxville, dengue fever, smallpox, crotchrotitis, measles, or all of the above. He replied that Storrs was a more amenable destination, and the rest—as they say—is history.



View attachment 73086
LOL Either way I'm glad we got her. She's a great team mate as well as a great player. Any school would welcome her with open arms. GO GET THEM MISS NASTY !!!
 

Bigboote

That's big-boo-TAY
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
6,913
Reaction Score
34,996
View attachment 73073
Maybe Geno ran into Nika when she was a kid and she said 'I'm good to go' and he liked her no quit attitude (found this on her mom's facebook a couple years back)
That smirk just has "You should see the other kid" written all over it.
 

Online statistics

Members online
274
Guests online
2,327
Total visitors
2,601

Forum statistics

Threads
157,967
Messages
4,129,342
Members
10,016
Latest member
RipBenEmek


Top Bottom