Since basketball season is right around the corner, it’s time to remind people why Mick Cronin is the perfect coach for the Cincinnati Bearcats.
This is his Dream Job
With all the craziness surrounding the football team’s past head coaches leaving for their “dream jobs”, it’s nice to have somebody who wants to be at Cincinnati for the long haul and makes an effort to build the brand while striving to achieve greater heights. Cronin is homegrown and he loves the city and the school. What more can you really ask for?
He has evolved as a coach
Remember when the Xavier brawl happened and UC had all those guys suspended? Remember how well the team played offensively after the suspensions because Cronin had to adopt an up-tempo pace? Cronin noticed how well they did but he never gave the credit to the up-tempo offensive threat. So, when Yancy Gates and Co. returned from suspension, the team returned to the slog of a half court offense that they used previously.
In my opinion, one of the low points in Cronin’s career was when we lost to Xavier during the 2013-14 season by a score of 64-47. The team was just coming off of a 63-54 loss at New Mexico and both offensive performances were abysmal. When asked about the offensive ineptitude of the team, Cronin shockingly responded that the defense was a problem and you cannot win if you don’t play good defense. I was more upset about that response than the actual game.Dec 17, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin reacts from the bench during the first half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Fifth Third Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
However, after the fallout of those comments, that team completely turned it around and became one of Cronin’s best offensive teams. That doesn’t mean they were high-octane but they were productive enough on offense that when coupled with their defense, they were a solid all-around team. Also, this team had the best free throw percentage of any Bearcats team under Cronin and they had a low post presence for the first time since Yancy graduated (sorry Cheikh Mbodj).
This season, it seems that Cronin has taken a newfound interest in developing the offensive game. After sitting out most of last season Cronin has stated that he noticed things that could be tweaked and improved. Based on the last two recruiting classes, it is evident that Cronin is targeting offensively talented players and focusing on developing their defense in the man-to-man rotations.
And For All Those Huggins Fans
Look, I like what Huggins did as far as Bearcats basketball goes. He coached some fantastic teams and was a passionate and intense coach who won a lot of important games. But the sport is about STUDENT-athletes and unfortunately the ‘student’ part wasn’t a primary focus under Huggins. Once all the dust settles, UC is still a school and the athletes take classes toward acquiring a degree.
Additionally, Huggins never coached Cincinnati when they were in the Big East. If he stayed, the teams would have obviously been better than Cronin’s early teams but they were not going to go 29-5 or 31-4 in that conference.