Feb 2, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin talks to forward Jermaine Sanders (15) and guard Troy Caupain (10) in the second half against the South Florida Bulls at FifthThird Arena. Cincinnati defeated South Florida 50-45. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Mick Cronin Interview Provides Foresight Into Next Season's Bearcats Basketball Team

Earlier this week, Chad Brendel at Bearcat Journal released part two of his interview with Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin. You can read part one of their conversation here.

The second segment focuses more on the perimeter. While Cincinnati is experiencing comparatively less turnover from a numbers standpoint, the value of the players (err.. player) the Bearcats are replacing makes these positions an area of concern and opportunity at UC. It’s never easy for a coach to replicate the 33.8 minutes and 20.6 points a guy like Sean Kilpatrick provides a team the season after he leaves. But Coach Cronin has been in this position before (Yancy Gates). Additionally Cincinnati’s fearless leader has compiled his best crop of guards to wear red and black in years. On paper at least. It just remains to be seen how those pieces come together over the course of this offseason.

So as those burning questions eat at us over these months as we wait in anticipation of what the 2014-15 Bearcats basketball team will look like, this Mick Cronin interview provides us some tidbits of information that we can cling to which will hopefully alleviate that anxiety. If only by a little.

GeLawn Guyn is moving to shooting guard

Cronin was careful with how he phrased it but in his interview he suggests that he’s going to move Guyn to the 2, effectively creating a rotation at point guard between Troy Caupain and transfer Farad Cobb.

I think that Gelawn is the one guy that can benefit some from getting off the ball a little bit maybe, because he’s a guy that can make some shots.

It’s smart move and one that wasn’t unexpected when Cobb signed with Cincinnati. Guyn is an excellent defensive player but doesn’t have the prowess to run an offense by himself at the top of the key. He can make key shots but can’t generate points by himself or coordinate a scheme with the players around him, both aspects are crucial for a point guard.

Moving him off the ball to shooting guard will allow the Bearcats to benefit from his shutdown defensive skills while moving more offensively proficient players to the point. It should be a win-win for everybody in the end.

Deshaun Morman should get some decent playing time next season

Mick Cronin describes Morman as Cincinnati’s “most explosive guy, quickest guy, change of pace guy” but the aspect that stuck out to me was his comment about him being an “elite defender”.

The back court will be awfully crowded in 2014-15 with young, talented players. Competition makes everyone better but that means most of of the all valuable playing time will go to a best few at the top. Defense rules at UC, so how those minutes are allotted will be determined first and foremost on the players’ ability to learn the system. This gives an serious edge to Deshaun Morman. Plus if he’s as proficient defensively as we all expect him to be with the ball in his hands, he could become a very, very special player.

The biggest position battle is between Jermaine Sanders and Shaq Thomas

This is very much a make or break season for these Bearcats. Not in the sense that this is the last year for them in red and black or anything. But in the sense that if one emerges this season it would certainly overshadow the other.

Sanders and Thomas play very similar positions, with the exception of the former being able to hit the outside shot fairly consistently. However for the most part they split time with each other and the one garnering the majority of minutes could be determined this offseason. Thomas has all the athleticism in the world but needs to mature and focus as he approaches his junior year. Sanders plays great defense but needs to play more aggressively on offense. In all likelihood both will improve this offseason but the extent to which will determine who gets most of the playing time this season.

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