Heard it From Hoard: Column 12
"I've just seen a high school shortstop who will be a 10-year major league all-star," said his father Hep, a long-time scout for the Atlanta Braves.
So maybe Hep didn't need to be Branch Rickey to realize that Chipper Jones was the real deal. Still, being the scout who recommended Chipper AND the one who signed David Justice suggests a great eye for talent.
It runs in the family.
As an assistant coach at UC and Louisville, Mick played a key role in signing Steve Logan, DerMarr Johnson, Pete Mickeal, Kenny Satterfield, Jason Maxiell and Francisco Garcia. Not too shabby.
He and his assistants are working hard to add to that impressive track record in the near future.
When Mick interviewed for the UC head coaching job less than 24 hours after a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, he came armed with a lengthy list of every unsigned high school senior and junior college player whom he considered talented enough to play in the Big East. It wasn't a list he had prepared specifically for the Cincinnati interview, it's the type of thing he's been doing from the day he got into coaching.
Since he inherited a Bearcat roster that only included two scholarship players who saw action last year, anyone that expected a Big East contender right away wasn't being realistic. But let's look ahead just two years down the road.
Deonta Vaughn, who scored 33 points in his fourth college game, will be a junior with roughly 60 starts under his belt.
McDonald's All-American Mike Williams will be a 5th year senior looking to show that he has the skills to go with his NBA physique.
This year's early signees, Larry Davis, Rashad Bishop and Kenny Belton, will be sophomores with a year of exposure to the Big East.
And I'm willing to bet the 2008 freshman class will be among the highest-rated recruiting hauls in the country.
The Cronin eye for talent earned his dad a 1995 World Series ring, plus four National League championship rings.
Let's hope the "eye" helps Mick earn a Big East championship ring in the not-too-distant future.
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