For Cheryl Reeve, this is the perfect time. For Maya Moore, it’s a unique opportunity.
Reeve, coach of a Lynx team looking to repeat as WNBA champion, was named an assistant coach on the 2014 FIBA women’s world championship team Monday by USA Basketball.
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma will be the head coach. Reeve, DePaul coach Doug Bruno and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley will complete the staff.
“It will obviously be a very exciting time,” said Reeve, who will be working with USA Basketball for the first time, but likely will be around familiar faces. Lynx players Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen were all members of the gold medal USA team in 2012.
“Timing-wise it’s great,” Reeve said. “To be able to be there, hopefully, with Lindsay, Seimone and Maya? That would be really special.”
Special as well for Moore, who played in college for Auriemma at Connecticut. Asked about it Monday, she smiled and rolled her eyes.
“Two Philly coaches,” she said of Auriemma and Reeve, who both grew up in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area. “That’s a lot of Philliness, and that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Reeve completes a staff heavy on international experience. Auriemma, in addition to nine national championships at Connecticut, was the head coach for the 2010 FIBA World championship team and the 2012 Olympic championship team. Bruno was an assistant on both those international teams. Staley won three Olympic gold medals and two FIBA championships as a player and one FIBA title as an assistant coach.
Reeve, meanwhile, brings a résumé that includes two WNBA titles in the past three seasons.
“She is maybe the most accomplished coach in the WNBA,” Auriemma said. “In the last eight, nine years, she’s won two titles, been in three straight finals. She’s a tremendous teacher, and her style of play with her team is similar to what I believe in.
“It’s an easy transition as far as I’m concerned. I’ve known about her since she was a player in college. I’ve been able to follow her career. Her ability to take a fairly young team like Minnesota and do what they’ve done — her credentials speak for themselves.”
The USA National team’s training camp is set for Sept. 7-10 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., with the rest of the training schedule yet to be announced. There is a chance that Reeve and any Lynx players on the team — Monica Wright is also in the national team player pool — will not be there for the start of camp. Should the Lynx make the WNBA Finals, that series could go as late as Sept. 17.
The World Championships will run fron Sept. 27 to Oct. 5 in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Timing is everything,” Reeve said of the assignment. “This is the epitome of that. [The other coaches] will have to show me the ropes,” Reeve said, “but I’m really excited, no question. With such a talented team, to be a part of it with Auriemma and Staley and Bruno? It will be a great experience.”
Reeve and Auriemma have known each other for years; Reeve has attended USA practices in the past.
Now, finally, they get to work together.
“There are a lot of really successful coaches in the WNBA,” Auriemma said. “And very few of them have won two WNBA championships. So she is certainly among the elite.”