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Mick Cronin on Yancy Gates transcript

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Mick Cronin held a very open, intresting discussion of Yancy Gates, motivation and all the factors regarding the junior's suspension against Pittsburgh. I have a story posted on the site about it now, but thought the entire dialouge deserved its own post.

The basic news of the presser was Gates spoke with Cronin this morning after seeking him out all weekend. He returned to practice today and Cronin hasn't made up his mind on whether or not he will play against DePaul. Stating, "we'll see."

 

Here's the transcript:

 

On what he will base the decision of whether or not to play Gates against DePaul:

 

"When I think he deserves to. How much I think he deserves to. When I think he deserves to."

 

On the reason for the suspension:

 

"I love Yancy. He's a good kid. Just play hard be coachable, be committed to your team. It doesn't matter who you are. That is stuff that I believe in. He's not the only one. Far from the only one. Obviously, it cost him a game."

 

On if it took courage to make the call to suspend Gates against Pitt:

 

"I think the fact you have to ask that question is a sad indictment on our society and what winning has become in amateur sports and the price tag of winning in amateur sports. Although college coaches are well paid I like to think I am still part of amateur athletics and life lessons are a big part of it. This isn't that complicated whether you are Mick Cronin or Carl Kremer or Dan Fleming. Guys should be committed to the team, be coachable, have a good attitude or they shouldn't be on your team, shouldn't get to play."

 

On if it was a simple decision:

 

"I think we complicate it. I think coaching gets complicated when you start to complicate it yourself as a coach. I am still in the process of trying to get our program to a certain place. For me, it's always been a long-term process. I have always been realistic about the process. Our reality is you got to win against Top 10 teams on the road. Your talent level is only going to get you so far. For me your program has to stand for certain things. And they are not complicated things - basic things. The minute you begin to sacrifice that you compromise your credibility as a coach. You'll pay the price in the long run as a coach."

 

On the issue with Gates:

 

"He's not the only one. Look around athletics today. He's a good kid, for him in particular, his athletic career has been a process of dealing with people telling him how great he is. When I say that, I don't mean his immediate family, because they don't. I'm talking about others. He's a microcosm of today's athlete. He is a wonderful, warm-hearted kid.

 

"He's far from the only guy on our team or other teams that deal with the issue of looking in the mirror and being accountable for themselves and their own effort and taking responsibility for their own actions. It just so happens in this case it cost him a game so it's a big deal. He's not the only guy that's ever been chastised or out of practice on our team. That is this year and some of his teammates. Unfortunately it's a part of athletics today."

 

On if he exhausted all motivational options with Gates:

 

"There's still things to go. Like not being on the team.

 

"Hubie Brown said it best. You have certain rules. You are going to take good shots, going to play defense and rotate, you are going to be committed to the team or you are not going to be on our team and I don't care who you are. For a team to win everybody has to have the same rules. Everybody has to abide by the same principles. I am a son of a high school coach and it has always been about principles and things like that."

 

On if he's surprised because he wasn't having to coach attitude all year:

 

"I think his effort has dipped since Big East play. He and I have talked extensively about this. He is going to talk to you guys about it. He's got 13 offensive rebounds in nine Big East games. That put him tied for third on our team going into Pitt game. Dion Dixon having more than him. No, I'm not happy with his effort. I wasn't happy with his effort. He was told that Monday and all week.

 

"Those are areas that have always been a challenge for him. He in particular takes a bad rap. The worst thing you can say for something that is untrue to a player is you don't play hard. No, that's not the case. You don't play hard all the time is the case. You play hard at certain times of the game not at other times of the game- when a shot goes up, for instance. Your job as a coach is to get your players better. All means necessary."

 

On if Cronin thinks Gates is testing him:

 

"He's not testing. He knows the answer to that test. He's a good kid. One thing I told him. Somebody else I deeply care for is Kenny Satterfield. Some young people really struggle with people that try to make them better and hold them accountable, for whatever reason. In my time as a coach and they won't let anybody help them. They won't let anybody set standards for them and they become bull-headed, for whatever reason. It can be their demise. Kenny and I are extremely close to this day. I would love for him to one day be my assistant coach. He made poor decisions, he will tell you all this. He should have never left school when he did. He made some poor decisions when he was with the Denver Nuggets. He made a poor decision when he left the team in France. He's never been able to have a father figure, whether it was his father or coach Huggins or myself or Mo Hicks his high school coach, help him get out of his own way. The problem with that is you only get one shot at this. Your window as an athlete is going to close in your early 30s and you got to let people help you. It's part of it. You got to let people stop your from self-inflicting wounds. Some athletes and some kids in general with their parents really, really struggle with that. They end up doing things and creating habits that end up costing them a lot of opportunities in life.

 

"Skip Prosser used to quote a guy, he was obviously a history teacher much more educated than me: your chief want in life should be somebody that makes you the best you can be. That should be your chief want in life somebody to force you to give your best every day and be the best you can be. A lot of young people struggle with that. Yancy is definitely one of them. He knows everything I am telling you. He knows."  

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