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Lakers targeting Dan Hurley: Geno Auriemma believes UConn coach could ‘win a lot of championships’ in NBA

UConn women’s basketball coaching legend Geno Auriemma happened to be with UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley on Wednesday night at the university’s “Road Show” event that brought the school’s coaches together to interact with fans. Unprovoked, Auriemma made a remark to his colleague that is fitting in hindsight given the bombshell report on Thursday that the Los Angeles Lakers are in hot pursuit of Hurley for their vacant head coaching position. 

“I leaned over and said, ‘Hey, I think you could win a lot of championships with the Lakers, more so than a guy that’s never coached,'” Auriemma told the Dan Patrick Show. “He just looked at me and nodded, we had a good laugh.”

Auriemma made it clear that he had “no idea what’s going on” between Hurley and the Lakers when he made the comment.

“This morning, I wake up and, voila,” Auriemma told Patrick. “So, I don’t know what’s going on. It’d be a bad day for UConn if this happens. It would be a great, great day for Dan Hurley, and I’m sure a bittersweet day for Dan Hurley.”

Auriemma offers a model of sorts for what Hurley’s career could look like if he stays at UConn. The 70-year old is preparing for his 40th season on the job with 11 national championships under his belt and unquestioned status as an immortal legend at one of the nation’s proudest basketball schools.

Hurley’s legacy is already secure at UConn after winning back-to-back national titles in just six seasons on the job. He could stay another 20 years and become a UConn lifer like Auriemma. Or, he could chase a championship at the highest level of basketball for one of the most iconic franchises in sports.

“The state of college basketball is a mess,” Auriemma said. “If anybody could manage it, though, it could be Danny. He coaches this program like it’s a high school program, like he coached at St. Benedict’s. Their player development program is second to none.”

Auriemma said college players are now “professional athletes” anyway but “just not called that.”

“So, you might as well go coach professional athletes where it’s real,” he said, noting that coaching the Lakers franchise carries a special prestige when compared to most other NBA Jobs.

“If Danny were to leave and somebody said to me, ‘He just took this NBA job,’ I won’t name any particular city, I would say, ‘You’re set up for failure.’ But it’s the Lakers,” Auriemma said.

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