There are very few things that Geno Auriemma has not done in basketball since becoming the women's coach at the University of Connecticut in 1985.
One thing will be taken off that list Friday night.
Auriemma will serve as a presenter for the first time when the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame holds its Class of 2017 enshrinement ceremony at Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony Hall. And he'll be doing it twice. He'll be the sole presenter for Rebecca Lobo, who played for him at UConn (1991-95), and join former Boston Celtics star John Havlicek and former UCLA standout Ann Meyers-Drysdale as presenters for former NCAA vice president Tom Jernstedt.
A presenter must be a member of the Naismith Hall. Auriemma was inducted in his first year of eligibility in 2006.
"Obviously it's pretty special to have one of your former players getting inducted in the Naismith Hall of Fame," Auriemma said. "It doesn't happen very often when you're able to appreciate it and enjoy it. A lot of times I've seen it when coaches are the last people that are thought of to be the presenters. For Rebecca to ask me and to want me to do it, I'm thrilled, I couldn't be happier. I'm looking forward to it as much as I was looking forward to it when it was my turn."
For Lobo, the choice was easy.
"The Hall said you can have multiple people as your presenter, and I said, 'There's only one person that I want. I just need to find out if he is available,' " Lobo said. "So I'm thrilled that he can be there."
Lobo was a two-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year (1994-95) and was the 1995 consensus national Player of the Year at UConn. That season she led the Huskies to a 35-0 record and the program's first national championship. She finished her UConn career with 2,133 points, 1,268 rebounds, and 396 blocked shots in 126 games.
After earning GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America first team and graduating from UConn, Lobo was named to the United States national team and won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She began her professional career with the New York Liberty when the WNBA formed in 1997 and was an All-Star in 1999. She retired in 2003 as a member of the Sun. Lobo is now an ESPN analyst for women's college basketball and the WNBA, and also serves on UConn's Board of Trustees.
While Auriemma -- who would refer to her as "the worst post player in the country" at practice early in her college career -- will be on stage with Lobo, he will not speak. Lobo said she didn't know what will be going through her mind as she looks over at him during her speech.
"I do know this, because I was at his golf tournament in June," Lobo said. "I spoke before he did, and that can always be a mistake because when he speaks afterward he gets you back for everything you said. He doesn't get to say a word this time. So the nice thing is that I will have the last word when it comes to him.
"He had the biggest influence on my life outside of my family. Not only my basketball career, but my life, the person I became, the things I'm able to do because of how he helps you re-calibrate what your limits are and what you think your limits are. I owe so much to him. I have said that a lot, but I don't know if I have ever said it right to him or with him standing right there."
Jernstedt is a basketball administrator credited with guiding the NCAA men's tournament to the elite sporting event it is now. In 38 years with the NCAA (1972-2010), he held numerous leadership roles including executive vice president, while being a liaison to committees focused on officiating and television negotiations, among others.
With USA Basketball, he served as president (2001-2004) and vice president (1997-2000). As one of the most influential figures in college basketball and college sports, he received the Basketball Hall of Fame's John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award (2001) and USA Basketball's Edward S. Steitz Award (2009). Jernstedt was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
"Tom was extremely influential in a lot of the great things that happened with the NCAA and starting the women's tournament and helping it become what it's become," Auriemma said. "He's been a great advocate for amateur basketball and the NCAA, AAU. His work with the NCAA men's tournament is legendary and I don't know that anyone's promoted the game, loved the game, and is more respected in the game than Tom."
Joining Lobo and Jernstedt in the Class of 2017 are Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, Kansas men's coach Bill Self, former NBA star Tracy McGrady, former NBA and ABA standout George McGinnis, late Bulls executive Jerry Krause, ex-European star Nikos Galis, two members of the Harlem Globetrotters -- Zack Clayton and Mannie Jackson, and Texas high school coach Robert Hughes.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa -- a 6-foot-4 forward/center from Winder, Georgia, and the No. 3-ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 by ESPN HoopGurlz -- has cut her college list to six: Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Stanford, South Carolina and UConn, she announced on her USA Today blog. Nelson-Ododa led the 2016 United States U-17 national team in scoring and was second in rebounding and blocked shots as the Americans won the bronze medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships. She did not compete this summer after suffering a knee injury on Jan. 31. She said in her blog that she has not scheduled her official visits. She can take as many as five...
UConn has officially announced its 2017-18 non-league schedule. The Huskies' 13-game slate will have them hosting California-Berkeley (Nov. 17), Maryland (Nov. 19), Notre Dame (Dec. 3) and Louisville (Feb. 12), visiting UCLA (Nov. 21), Nevada (Nov. 28), DePaul (Dec. 8), Texas (Jan. 15) and South Carolina (Feb. 1), and neutral site games with Stanford in Columbus, Ohio (Nov. 12), Michigan State in Eugene, Oregon (Nov. 25), Oklahoma at Mohegan Sun Arena (Dec. 19) and Duquesne in Toronto (Dec. 22)...
Former UConn guard Saniya Chong saw her rookie season in the WNBA end Wednesday when the Washington Mystics ousted the Dallas Wings 86-76 in a first-round playoff game in Washington. Chong had an assist and blocked shot while missing her only shot in five minutes. A third-round pick by the Wings in April's draft, the Ossining, New York, native played in 33 of 34 regular-season games and averaged 2.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 11.0 minutes. She will play in Israel during the WNBA offseason...