Despite global pandemic, Curt Miller and Connecticut Sun push forward

How the Sun are faring despite the unknown

Head coach and general manager of the Connecticut Sun could not say enough positive things about how the league’s leadership is handling the current COVID-19 crisis.

“[I] really appreciate the leadership at the WNBA headquarters and I know that they’re working tremendously hard behind the scenes to consistently looking at modifications to the season, consistently looking at scenarios for us this year, but it will never take place of first and foremost the health and safety and well being of everybody involved,” said Miller.

He is trying to find the balance between communicating with his players and letting them have their time with their family and friends.

Miller himself has often struggled with work-life balance. In his nearly thirty years of coaching, he has missed many holidays and special events.

“I’m just a driven coach. It’s part of why I’ve had the success that I’ve had,” he noted.

He admitted that 2019 was not a good year for him health-wise saying, “I stopped working out the stress of the season the stress of wanting it so bad for our players to take the step with Connecticut, really wore on me and while we had a successful season and got to Game 5 in the championship series, personally, it was an unhealthy year.”

The current state of the world has allowed Miller to hit the reset button. He is making the most of staying home, making the conscious effort to work out and spend some time each day away from his phone and social media.

He did add that it’s still difficult to try to avoid working 12 hour days if you aren’t careful, between communicating with staff and players and balancing the contingencies of the possible training camp and season scenarios.

The Sun players are going a little stir crazy and are concerned for the health of their family and friends according to Curt. While some have greater access to workout opportunities he did say that they are all managing in their own way.

“There’s a reason why they’re so successful in the athletic world, they’re just great people,” Miller said.

He added, “And they’re really talented people and, and really, amazingly well rounded. And so they have for young people, they have a great perspective on this. They’re competitive. They’re professional athletes, this is how they make their living. So they want to get back playing, but at the same time, they know that there’s still a long road ahead of us.”

Miller is excited about both the players the team has acquired in free agency (DeWanna Bonner, Briann January and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis) and the ones he has signed to training camp (Jazmon Gwathmey, Valériane A. Vukosavljevic, Jacki Gemelos and Megan Huff) contracts.

Prior to COVID-19 impacting the start of the season, most of the Sun’s roster was set to be late to training camp which led to the team being active early in signing players to training camp contracts.

“Jackie Gemelos playing the best basketball of her career gets another shot. Jazmon Gwathmey, who just led Puerto Rico to qualifying for the Olympics. You know, has in and out of the league. Our French national player [Valériane A. Vukosavljevic], we call her Valou, just she was in the league for one year and Megan Huff had a great training camp in New York last year. So not only the 10 players have great versatility, but we even have great versatility in our training camp contracts,” Miller said.

Miller’s personal hope for the season, and he is optimistic there will be a season, is that there is a lot of momentum coming out of the new CBA and the new league leadership.

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