If you want to know why Dion Dixon appears to be vastly improved this season, don't ask head coach Mick Cronin - talk to the janitors, team managers, and equipment room guys at UC.
They can tell you what
"I've got a key card for the
"I came here all of the time on my own to shoot and do ball handling stuff to try to get better for the upcoming season. It's paying off right now, so I'm going to keep it up."
"The only thing with Dion is that I've got to stay on him," Coach Cronin said. "He's a good kid, but he's almost too nice of a guy. He's got to stay hungry. He had his career high vs.
Although the season is only two weeks old,
"I spent a lot of time shooting this summer because I didn't shoot very well last year,"
Ah yes, "that turnover." I didn't have to bring up
"That was in my head all summer, so I tried to work on it so that if I'm in that position again, I'll know how to handle it,"
Mick Cronin met with all of his returning players after last season to discuss what they needed to do to improve. The rest was up to each individual.
"People don't realize how limited coaches are in what he can actually require guys to do," Mick told me. "During the season, we get 20 hours a week with our team and that includes on the court, the weight room, eating - that's not a lot of time. In the off-season, we're relegated to two hours a week on the court during school, and when school is out, you're not allowed in the gym with them period. Maturity is required of a young player to really develop and be committed to get into the gym and do the things that the coaches have worked with you on during the season. You're talking about three months out of the year where you're not allowed to work with your players. Dion showed tremendous commitment this summer and it's been evident since the first day of practice."
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It didn't get much attention, but NBA rookie Lance Stephenson and his parents were in attendance at Fifth Third Arena on the night before Thanksgiving when the Bearcats beat
"He is in tremendous shape," Coach Cronin said. "He does everything with the Indiana Pacers right now but get playing time. He's young - he just turned 20 years old - and his best basketball is ahead of him. He's got to stay positive and try to continue to improve. It's all about what he becomes as a player three or four years from now. It's a tough experience for him to not get to play in games. He seemed to be in a good frame of mind and I'm glad that his family is with him in
While the Bearcats obviously would have welcomed Stephenson back for his sophomore season, his one-and-done year in
"When I go into a gym now in
Not a bad place for a college coach to be popular right?
"It's a very good place to be popular," Mick said. "Obviously (recently signed recruit) Jermaine Sanders from Far Rockaway, Queens is coming to
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Several of you have e-mailed to ask what I think about the addition of TCU to the Big East.
It was a no-brainer.
It instantly quiets critics that say that the league doesn't deserve its BCS status (even though TCU will not be a member until 2012), makes scheduling easier by having 9 football playing members, adds a major television market, and makes the league less-susceptible to being poached by another conference looking to expand.
Now convince Notre Dame to be a football-playing member too.
Yea, I've heard all of the arguments for why it's never going to happen, but I'm convinced that it could be as good for the Fighting Irish as it is for the league in general.
As I've written before, the key is to do whatever is financially necessary to get Notre Dame to play football - even if it's a ridiculously one-sided deal.
Notre Dame wants to remain an independent in football, but has to have a conference for its other athletic teams. The Fighting Irish could join the Big 10, but there's no way they would get a sweetheart deal from
So do whatever it takes: Allow the Irish to keep a bigger chunk of the TV and bowl money (they already do anyway) . . . form the Notre Dame/Big East TV network . . . move the league offices to
Notre Dame's official colors are gold and blue.
But the school has been known to like green too.
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