The final Mick Cronin Radio show took place last night at The Montgomery Inn on 700WLW. Dan Hoard and Mick took stock in the season and spent some time looking forward. It was, as you would expect, a fantastic listen.
You can do so right here.
For today's Breakfast, I wanted to touch on a few of the comments Mick made while chatting with Dan. Again, you'll want to listen to this, especially the first segment where Mick gives a state of the program address.
--- I mentioned last week in my story on SK and Cash chasing one final run, that we may never know the true extent of Cashmere Wright's injuries this season but without another scouting report to worry about Cronin offered deeper insight into the injury that altered the season.
He pointed out that the injury to his good knee specifically took away his ability to not just drive, but more importantly, jump stop in the lane. This was a major point of emphasis in Cash's offseason in an effort to be more consistent finishing around the rim. So often early in his career he would miss layups by flying toward the basket off one foot instead of going in under more control off two.
Well, when he sprained his knee, the dramatically improved aspect of his game went out the window.
"He really worked hard at it and what was making him much more of an effective offensive player," Cronin said. "Now it was 'I have to get through the year, I can't explode, I can't land with force on that knee.' That hurt him, that hurt us."
Obviously, that allowed defenses who noticed his lack of explosion to swarm Sean Kilpatrick among other consequences. Going back and bemoaning the injury does no good now, but that's all part of why it's so difficult to win year in and year out in college basketball. One twist of the knee can dramatically alter the shape of a season. That turned out to be the case here.
Here is the comparison of his 2-point and 3-point shot percentages before and after the injury:
Time frame: 2-point shots /// 3-point shots
Pre-injury (19 games): 46-91 (51%) /// 46-104 (44%)
Post-injury (15 games): 21-62 (34%) /// 27-97 (28%)
No groundbreaking stats here, but it continues to put into perspective how the season changed. Even when Cash began making 3-pointers late in the year he looked much more like the old Cash, but the lack of penetration in the lane was the major difference.
Before the injury, he took an average of 4.8 shots inside the arc and 5.5 shots outside it per game. After the injury, he took an average of 4.1 shots inside the arc and 6.5 shots outside it. That's one less shot driving and one more shot settling from 3 per game. It all adds up.
--- The question of SK and a decision about his senior year came up. Mick seemed to feel that won't be much of an option for Kilpatrick. What will happen is the league submits a list of prospective early entries to the NBA people and they shoot back the reality for being drafted.
Obviously, Cronin knows a long list of connected folks and talks with them often about his players.
"I'm friends with a lot of NBA people and it really hasn't been presented," Cronin said. "All I would do is submit paperwork for any good underclassmen you have. I love SK and I would advise him on what I think is best. Any player would be his decision and I would support his decision."
He went on to mention supporting Lance Stephenson's decision, whether he agreed with it or not. He's all about backing his players and trying to help them make the most informed decision as possible.
"It's his life," Cronin said. "At the end of the day all you can do is advise people and go from there. I don't want to say he would have no chance at doing it but I think it will be a stretch for him."
For what it is worth, here is a sample of some who have ranked draft prospects for this season. None have him within shouting distance of the top 60.
Jeff Goodman at CBSSports ranks him as the 97th overall prospect
Chad Ford at ESPN doesn't list Kilpatrick in his top 100
Aran Smith at NBADraft.net places him at 80 on the big board with an NBA comparison to Jodie Meeks
--- Mick talked about moving forward the need for Justin Jackson to gain weight and strength. His future won't be as an athletic wing player. He has too many ball-handling limitations for that. He'll need him to bulk up and be able to bang inside in addition to his athleticism blocking shots.
"His energy is great and we all know we need it," Cronin said. "He's got to average more points and more rebounds and he's got to get stronger. He's got to put weight on ... To play after college he'll have to be more of a physical presence, not just energizing presence. Hard to do that when guy matching up against has 20 pounds on you."
The biggest area where Jackson showed improvement this year was in his defensive rebounding.
Here's his defensive rebounding percentage over his first three years. This season he ranked in the top 200 in the country in pulling down the other team's misses:
On the flip side, his offensive rebounding percentage has stayed essentially the same:
Cronin is looking for more offensively from his sparkplug. That will most likely come on the offensive glass and be more efficient finishing. Size and power will help that. He took a dramatic drop in his field goal percentage despite being targeted more on offense this past year. His freshman and sophomore seasons he hit 52 percent of his shots. This year it dropped to 41 percent. That's a significant dip.
He'll certainly be needed for more than his 3.8 points per game given this year.
I think he was the most affected by the loss of Yancy Gates, not seeing as many open looks the big man helped create through his passing and attention paid.
--- For those clamoring for interior scoring, help is on the way. While we can't comment here on committed, but unsigned recruits, we can talk about Jamaree Strickland (6-9, 240 pounds). Mick did so last night and said this:
"He has great hands," he said. "He's a guy that can score. Defensively he'll be more of a position guy. He's like, 'Coach I got to get there right away I got to block shots like rest of guys.' I told him, don't worry about that, you are coming here to score."
--- While we are at it, this isn't breaking but Summit's Kevin Johnson, who will join UC next season, was named AP Division III Player of the Year in Ohio.
--- Troy Caupain finished one assist shy of a triple-double (15 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) in a 804 All-Star game in Richmond, Va.
--- Plenty more to come over this offseason on the formation of the 2013-14 Bearcats going forward. Keep it locked here as we delve deeper into all the topics.
--- In the meantime, here's a highlight compilation from the early portion of the season put together a few months ago.