UConn women’s Coach Geno Auriemma has high praise for Caitlin Clark and he did not recruit her, but now he says, “I think she’s the best player of all time”

UConn coach showers praise on Caitlin Clark, whom he declined to recruit
from William Schwartz, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

Although he didn’t recruit her to Connecticut, Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma had high praise Tuesday for Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark.

The decorated Auriemma chose his words carefully, and with a wry smile, after Clark went supernova against LSU in the Elite Eight, avenging a loss in last year’s national title game.

“I love her. I think she’s the best player — forget that I ever said [Connecticut’s] Paige [Bueckers] was the best player in the country,” the longtime UConn coach told the media. “I think she’s the best player of all time.”

Clark’s top-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes (33-4) will play Auriemma’s third-seeded Huskies (33-5) in the women’s Final Four on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Per ESPN rankings, Clark was the No. 4 recruit in a loaded 2020 class, led by UConn’s own superstar, guard Paige Bueckers. Scores of college coaches contacted Clark and attended her high school games and workouts in Des Moines, Iowa.

But Auriemma — an 11-time national champion at UConn — was not among them.

It’s clear now Auriemma realizes the mistake he’s made, but he said there’s no bad blood between the two.

Clark, whose 28.47-point scoring average is best in Division I women’s basketball history, has squared off with Auriemma’s team twice, in the 2021 NCAA Tournament and again in November 2022. Iowa lost both games.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Clark said she “loved UConn” and considered it to be “the coolest place on Earth” in terms of what it means in the world of women’s hoops. Although UConn reached out to her AAU coach, Clark and her family didn’t get contacted by Connecticut.

Clark always plays and acts as if she has a chip on her shoulder, so it’s not outlandish to think the perceived disrespect from UConn will serve as motivation for her Friday.

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