Bearcats Breakfast 4.18.13

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So much happening around UC right now, it's been hard to keep around these parts. Yesterday alone yielded the signing of top recruit Jermaine Lawrence, an announced contract extension for Mick Cronin and Brian Cleary's baseball Bearcats topping Ohio State, 5-3, at Marge Schott Stadium. 

Time to jump right into it, let's eat ...

--- I wrote about the Jermaine Lawrence commitment yesterday pointing out everyone needs to hold perspective on the potential impact Lawrence can provide immediately. He can be a fabulous player and will certainly play a significant role in the 2013-14 Bearcats, but people need to understand the development of the majority of Top 25 recruits and not focus on the three or four that jump from dominant frosh to the NBA lottery (basically, everyone who doesn't go to Kentucky).

Most college hoops fans believe Anthony Davis is showing up at their school every fall. When he doesn't, that does not mean the prospect who did is a failure.  

To piggyback on the story and add perspective here's a look at the 2011 class of forwards rated between 10-30 coming out of HS (Lawrence was 19 on their list this season). There were five players who transferred among the 11 in that group, I left those out to keep the situations similar. 

The numbers are separated between freshman -- sophomore seasons. 

Player, School Minutes/G Points/G Rebounds/G
Adonis Thomas, Memphis 23.9 -- 29.3 8.8 -- 11.7 3.2 -- 4.5
Cody Zeller, Indiana 28.5 -- 29.5 15.6 -- 16.5 6.6 -- 8.1
Branden Dawson, Michigan St. 20.6 -- 26.9 8.4 -- 8.9 4.5 -- 5.9
Jarnell Stokes, Tenn. 25.6 -- 28.8 9.6 -- 12.4 7.4 -- 9.6
Chane Behanan, Lou 26.0 -- 26.1 9.5 -- 9.8 7.5 -- 6.5
Otto Porter, GT 29.7 -- 35.4 9.7 -- 16.2 6.8 -- 7.5

HTML Tables

--- Notice, only Cody Zeller, who entered a rebuilding situation at Indiana, even averaged double-digit points per game. Nearly all sat around that 9/10 point mark while pulling down about seven rebounds. At somewhere in the mid-20s in minutes per game seems to be the norm as well and while even Cronin himself doesn't know how much Lawrence will play that seems to be a nice jumping off point. It'd be hard to imagine it any differently. 

--- Moral of the story, understand the standard impact by any freshman and that one-and-done frosh explosions are rare as hitting a full-court heave.

--- UC popped the surprise extension announcement on us yesterday at the afternoon press conference. I knew something had to be up when the special podium showed up in the media room.

Here's the full video. 

Many things to touch on with this, I'll offer up three: 

1) No, these contracts don't amount to much on paper as far as security in keeping coaches. Steve Alford signing a long-term contract extension with New Mexico in the last month before bolting to UCLA 10 days later. 

Cronin said it best: "In this business, you are either getting extended or extinguished."

This contract does not mean Cronin couldn't bolt for another school tomorrow. It also doesn't mean he couldn't be bought out by UC tomorrow. What it does mean is Whit Babcock and the administration aren't taking for granted Mick's pronounced commitment to stay as Bearcats head coach his entire career. This is where he wants to be and has never hidden that fact. 

Expectations are to win games and make the NCAA Tournament. No contract extension will change that. 

"You've got to be a big boy when you take these jobs," Cronin said. "You have to realize that there are expectations and if you don't meet those expectations you won't be running the program very long."

2) By offering this financial commitment (terms yet unreleased) erased any thought Cronin has made poor business decisions by making known his desire to stay at UC instead of holding it back for leverage. Which he could have done. 

Coaches hold institutions up for more money all the time. Watch college football every December as all these coaches with bigtime jobs are caught flirting with other schools and suddenly have raises and contract extensions. It's a way to play the game of big-money college athletics. Cronin chose not to. 

"I want to reward that (loyalty)," Babcock said. 

In fact, Babcock adamantly pointed out Cronin never leveraged for anything or made demands.  

3) Hey, even the Reds' Todd Frazier is showing love to Mick after his deal yesterday.

--- Zach Wells of Local12 brought me in to talk about all the ongoings at UC in this Google Hangout last night. Love how relaxed Google went with this product name. Just two dudes hanging out, staring at each other's faces. Easy like Sunday morning. If you have time, pop over to their page to check out the rest of the Hangouts they have done, informative stuff. 

Regardless, was a good conversation about many of the topics you are reading about now. Plus, you can soak in the breathtaking home decor of my house. 

--- Dan Hoard with this story on George Winn who is being lauded everywhere Mel Kiper's hair can be seen on TV. He views him as the next Alfred Morris. Certainly can't deny the production GW showed this past season. Somebody will be lucky to have him next weekend. 

--- Not to promote this too early, but I recently spoke this week with the guy who George Winn replaced last season, Isaiah Pead. Great interview as always and it was incredibly interesting to hear his perspective on a rookie season that fell far shy of expectations. A humbling turn of events for the #BestPlayerOnTheField. Look for that next week. 

--- I never got the chance to discuss the transfer of Pat O'Donnell. Tough break for the Bearcats, on top of being a big fan of POD the person, he could really boot it. His kickoffs will be missed probably more than his punting. 

Pat ranked top 20 in average yards per kickoff (63.4) and percentage of touchbacks (48 percent). When the ball doesn't get into the end zone, bad things can happen. Remember Toledo?

He's moving closer to his family in Miami (Fla.) as he transfers to The U and will likely do well down there. The Bearcats have options at punter with CHCA grad John Lloyd next on the depth chart, but Tommy Tuberville will also be bringing some folks in for a tryout. 

--- Big win for the baseball Bearcats last night with a 5-3 victory over Ohio State at MSS. They've now beaten OSU four straight times dating back to 2010. 

This young team seems to be gaining slightly more confidence every game. That was going to be the plan at the beginning of the year to be hitting a stride with so many freshman by the end of the season and with wins like this they continue to be on their way. 

More than all that, how about the crowd of nearly two grand at MSS last night. Great night for baseball and great atmosphere. 

--- Randomness ...

--- Typically, I open my blog on this day every year celebrating one of my favorite holidays of all time, but with all this UC news, had to push it down here. 

Happy National High-5 Day everyone! 

Third Thursday in April every year and I plan on breaking out the high-5s all over the place. And I don't want this to disregard the low-5, it has it's place and we shouldn't discriminate on this day of all days. So, slip some skin, hit the 80s sitcom freeze frame, or wind around for the double-up, just remember to distribute those 5s! 

And if you want to do it for a good cause, the NH5D Project is providing donations to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. They also raise money for cancer research.

--- Regardless of political standing, hard not to find this op-ed in the NYT by Gabby Giffords inspiring. 

--- I always hate coming across a delicately decorated cake, like these inspired by famous artists. All I want to do is eat them and, consequently, ruin someone's hard work. The same goes for this LA Clippers cake. 

Sorry, cake artists, your renderings are, in fact, delicious. 

--- Because it's always my favorite NH5D video, here it is. Starting to get outdated, but I just don't care. Celebrate high third-quarter earnings! Have a great NH5D everyone. 

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