It's a new year and a new Cattitude on the court at the Shoe and Mick Cronin deserves a lot of credit for yes, how he handled the Crosstown Shootout, but more important how his team has played since then. They have gone 8-1 with impressive road wins at Pitt and Georgetown, and narrowly missed clawing back to beat St. John's at home.
I know so many thought without Yancy Gates and because of the Big East schedule this was going to be a dreadful period of basketball. But thanks to Mick's ability to rally the troops, opening himself up to additional offenses, and giving players the green light, this team has found itself with a versatile style that can fit any opponent. The net result is a more confident team and fan base.
One of the other moves Mick made was the letter to those fans and alumni asking for their support and it seems to be paying off as attendance has been significantly better. UC basketball I think is very close to regaining its market share with fans and high caliber recruits. Winning in the Big East on the road opens eyes and helps players see themselves as the missing piece to a program capable of going further into March where success resides in the form of Sweet 16's and Final Fours.
Whether or not this happens with this years recruiting tally remains to be seen. One thing that remains a constant in all of this is that Mick is willing to put in the work, do the non-traditional and traditional all in the name of long term success. While it may not be happening fast enough for some I think the consensus to those that matters is it is working and that's critical. Getting a vote of confidence is the number one key to recruiting high profile athletes who want to believe you're going to be there by the time they arrive next year.
So I have no crystal ball and can't tell you how things will work out but I can say without hesitation that what Mick has done and had to do because of the obvious challenges is working. I honestly believe it will only get better.
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat...