Cronin Brought UC Basketball Back, Can Whoever’s Up Next Take It Even Further?
By: Tyler Dugan
I’m back in the blogging game, and Mick is the man who brought me back.
I’m trying to process this information literally as I am typing this, so hang in there with me, I think I will eventually shit out meaningful thoughts.
This is stunning. I think anyone who says they expected this is insane. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect Mick Cronin to leave his Alma Mater. I never took the rumors seriously, I never believed them. There were 200 coaches’ names being thrown out, Mick Cronin was not the one that I anticipated them landing on.
I will try my best to group my thoughts.
· Obviously, the biggest question is who the hell is going to be the person to take over this job? UC is in a weird spot, they are in a mediocre conference, but they have been one of the biggest mainstays in college basketball this decade. Consistently in the NCAA Tournament, live in the top 25, have made appearances in the top 10/5. But they aren’t blue blood, I’m not sure they are even a premier job? For example: Arkansas is being tossed around as a big job. UC has been a far superior program than Arkansas the last years, but Arkansas plays in the SEC and all the College sports world cares about is conference alignment. So to answer the question? Who the hell knows. The names that are being thrown around are John Brannen (NKU), Nick Van Exel, Darren Savino, but at this point those are just guesses. I personally like the idea of John Brannen out of the gates, but would like to see the names they bring in.
· The bigger question may be who is going to be on this team. There was multiple polls that had this team as high as 6th in the country preseason, now what? Does Jarron stay? Does Samari Curtis stay committed? Does Logan Johnson follow Mick back to his home? (Mike Dyer reports that Curtis is staying) I could see all three of those guys gone, which would be a tough pill to swallow. If they stay, it would be interesting to see what this talent could do with a fresh mind.
· UC has been through something like this before. Although the circumstances are different, I don’t see things getting nearly as bad. This program is different now, and not playing in nearly the same conference.
· Maybe the hardest thing to understand is what to say about Mick. In a weird way, Bearcat fans will always be in debt to Mick Cronin. He saved this program. There is no other way to put it. This program was dead, and Mick Cronin brought it back to life.
· He left us always wanting more. Unfortunately, that is what a lot in this city will remember of him. March disappointments, lackluster offensive games, and annoying press conferences about lack of toughness.
· In the end I think its acceptable to say Mick did about everything he could here. It seemed his shot was the Nevada game and it slipped right through.
I don’t know what to feel. In a weird way I am excited and hopeful. This program is right on the cusp of being great, maybe it just needs this extra lift to do it. The other part has me worried. This program has been right on the cusp so many times, did we just hit the reset button? I think it is ok to say you aren’t sure what to think. Mick Cronin was safe, he was going to get us to the NCAA Tournament. We were going to be a top 25 team, and occasionally, we might get a real final four contender team. I like going to the NCAA tournament. I like 25+ wins. I also would like to win in March.
I wish Mick the best. I think he in LA is like peanut butter and sour cream sandwich but whatever. I hope he flips that program, and I really hope he breaks through in March. I don’t think he will ever be appreciated enough for what he did for this university. So for as much as he drove me nuts, thank you Mick. You saved this program, and I wish you nothing but the best. (I’m sure he read that).
Lastly, I trust Mike Bohn. He has dominated all his hires. From Luke Fickell to Michelle Heard to Scott Googins, all 3 have been great in their short time at UC. I believe Mike Bohn knows what he wants, and he will go get it. I am excited for the unknown. I am excited for what is next. It will be a breath of fresh air. I will keep my season tickets, and you can bet your ass I will be glued to TV for every game starting in November no matter who is on that sideline. I just hope this coach doesn’t leave me hangin as much as the last….