Mick Cronin Postgame Comments Following Xavier Loss


Men's Basketball |

Dec. 10, 2011

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Cincinnati at Xavier
Cintas Center
Dec. 10, 2011
Postgame Quotes

UC head coach Mick Cronin

“We got beat by a better team today. That’s pretty clear. We got a ways to go to get where we’re trying to be for a lot of reason as a basketball team right now. We’re struggling to get the ball in the basket. We don’t have enough answers on offense. We had zero low post game tonight. Xavier’s defense on the perimeter is really good. They’ve got some quick, aggressive guys. They’re an impressive team in that regard, so we thought we were going to have to to get some inside presence in order to beat them and we weren’t able to establish that.

“Our defense was as bad as it’s been probably since I’ve been a coach. You have to give credit to them on that front. But at the same time, there was a lot of stuff that was unbelievable from a defensive stand point for our team. That can be corrected.”

“I give Mark Lyons a lot of credit, when we did bottle them up a little bit off the pick and roll, all of a sudden he hit a big shot. He hit three threes that really hurt us.

“We hang our hat on defense and rebounding. We didn’t get the job done by any stretch of the imagination tonight. Seventy-six is way too many points. We don’t have enough offensive fire power right now, especially if we’re not getting any low post scoring to combat that.

“Clearly they outplayed us in many facets of the game.”

On if missing jump shots bogged down UC’s inside game:
“I don’t think we posted up with any authority. Cheikh Mbodj had his first game in the series. I thought he really struggled. A couple times I thought the defense on him, he was getting pushed. We play in the BIG EAST, so that’s no excuse. You have to be strong. Kenny Frease caught it down low and gave them some low post scoring. You have to be strong enough to catch it where you want it, get your feet underneath you, turn and get the ball in the basket or get fouled. We got to definitely improve in that area.

“If you can’t put any pressure on the rim against a team like Xavier with their perimeter quickness they are going to be all over you on the perimeter with their defense. They are going to be able to do that to everybody because of their quickness. So you have to be able to go inside. There were times when they were playing Travis Taylor at center. With all due respect to him, I’m going to say he weights what 210 something around that, 215? We’ve got to be able to throw it inside and get a basket. When you are struggling, the answer isn’t shoot a three-point shot, the answer is get to the foul line or get the ball inside and get a basket.”

On his attempt to call timeout before the end-of-game fight:
“I was trying to call timeout so their players would go to their bench because the game was over. I saw them talking to our bench. I saw it. Of course, they were talking to assistant coaches. I don’t know who they were talking to, some of their players. I saw it and tried to call timeout, but I repeatedly asked the officials to stop it.

“That being said, there is no excuse for any of it. On our side, on their side, guys need to grow up. I’m not blaming anybody from our standpoint. We except full responsibility and it will be handled. There is zero excuse for that in basketball. You’ve got to learn how to win on one side and you’ve got to learn how to lose on the other side.

“All of these kids all need to realize they are here to get an education. And playing in Europe isn’t really sexy. (Former Bearcat) Eric Hicks just left to go to Israel. You think he wants to do that if he could get a good job over here? These guys, very few of them are ever going to make a dollar playing basketball. They’re here to get an education at two great universities and they need to appreciate that. The world doesn’t revolve around them or around basketball. They need to learn how to act. They need to respect the fact that they are on a scholarship and people come to see them play. That’s just the facts of college athletics.

“I understand there is media and people asking for autographs. It’s a prime example of you guys thinking they are too important. I’m talking about everybody involved. There’s too much glorification of all of sports in our society. The fact is guys are here the get an education. They represent institutions of higher learning. Xavier has been a great school for years. We’re trying to cure cancer at Cincinnati. I go to school at a place where they discovered the vaccine for polio and created Benadryl. I think that’s more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have appreciation for the fact that they are there on a full scholarship and they better represent institutions with class and integrity. That’s that.

“Now, what happened? I got to watch the tape. I’m like you guys, I saw it coming and tried to call a timeout. I saw it coming and I asked the officials to stop it. So, if you’re going to ask me where I’m upset? That’s where I’m upset. With all due respect to the three guys, that’s where I’m upset the most.”

On if he told his players the same thing he’s saying in the press conference:
“Absolutely. If my players don’t act the right way, they will never play another game at Cincinnati. Right now I just told my guys, I will meet with my AD and my President and I’m going to decide who’s on my team going forward. That’s what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period. I told them the way I feel, I’ve never been this embarrassed. I’m hoping President Williams doesn’t ask me to resign after that.

“We represent an institution of higher learning. It’s way more important than basketball games. I made everybody take their jersey off and they will put it on again until they have a full understanding of where they go to school and what the university stands for and how luck they are to even be there let alone have a scholarship. Because there’s a whole lot of kids that can’t pay for college and don’t get to go to school. My mom didn’t get to go to UC. She grew up on campus. They couldn’t afford it.

“Absolutely, they are all sitting in there (the locker room) with no jersey on. Some of them I physically took them off.”

On when he talked to the officials about players talking to the UC bench:
“Guys are talking to our bench that while second half. I was told I need to calm down. I got guys cursing at coaches and an official standing right there listening to it. It’s crazy. There is no cause for that, for anybody. That needs to be handled early. This isn’t professional sports guys. This is not professional sports.”

On when there was talking by opposing players to the UC bench:
“It was going on the whole game. When I say that, I don’t know what my guys were saying. So, understand that. I was told at halftime, because I asked at halftime. He said, ‘well make sure your bench doesn’t say anything or we’ll give them a T.’ I said, well give them a T and then tell me who did it, because he’s going to be thrown off my bench during the second half. Now, my team can’t score right now and we’ve got a way to go to be a better team, but as long as the President lets me be the coach, that’s not going to happen.”

On what happened before halftime:
“I don't know, I couldn't tell. It was a lot of talk for no reason. There should have been multiple technical fouls way before the incident, way before the incident. And the reason I am upset, I've got an official there watching it and doing nothing about it. That's where somebody, whoever assigned the guys should make sure they understand what they are walking into. But you know what, we play Wright State and I don't know who Xavier plays, but there is no place for that in collegiate athletics. And I am not pointing fingers. I am talking on both sides. If somebody on my team was provoked, they were coached for the last five days to not retaliate. Ibrahima Thomas got punched last year in the game. Somebody should have been thrown out. They didn't throw him out. Thomas walked away. I don't know what happened. I am just saying there's just no place for any of it period.

On if continuing the series should be questioned:
“Every game we go out to play, if guys run their mouth they should be -- in the BIG EAST that stuff doesn't happen. I am just going to tell you it doesn't happen. BIG EAST, two guys start talking, the guy tells them to shut up. I was at St. John's they threw both guys out. They were saying, well, we knew each other. They said I told you to shut up, you are out.

“At the end of the day, if that has to happen, that's a shame. If you have to not play a game because of something like that. All I can control is my team. I don't care how hard it is when you are provoked or somebody hits you in the face, there is no excuse for it from my standpoint. Period.

On him looking at the film to investigate the fight:

On if the BIG EAST will suspend some UC players:
“I have no idea. One thing that I hope that the people that I work for (understand) is that as long as I am the coach they don't have to worry about me doing the right thing and the program standing, for certain things. And that might maybe be as sexy as some people want it, but that is how it's going to be when I'm the coach. Period. They are not going to have to worry about that.”

On his agitation about today’s game:
“You got to understand something. I represent the University of Cincinnati. That whole scene, it's embarrassing, to be a part of that? Are you kidding me? It's a complete embarrassment. No matter who started what. Just the whole thing, it's a complete embarrassment. We talk all the time, toughness is doing the right thing in life. That is what we talk about. If that is the case, you are being provoked, this or that, true toughness, you walk away from it. You take your ass whipping and you go home and you get better. Certain people want to act a certain way, that's on them. If that's who they want to be that's on them. That is not what we are going to be. Period. That's not what we are going to be. Am I agitated? Yes. Do I think my guys are somewhat responsible in some way, I don't know who started it but I can tell you that is not what we are going to be about.”

On Xavier’s Tu Holloway saying UC’s Sean Kilpatrick started the incident by disrespecting him earlier in the week on a local radio station:
“That's ridiculous. Grow up. Grow up, OK. Our sports information department made a mistake by putting him on with somebody that was going to provoke him. Read the statement. The kid said he was a great player to start off then people want to make something of it. I mean, who cares, at the end of the day. What's that got to do anything? Go play the game. Guys, there's thousands of people in our country - watch 60 minutes - half of Orlando is homeless. You are not that important, none of us. Have some class. Represent your university and I am talking about everybody involved. Everybody involved. Let's be honest, guys, come on. It's a basketball game. That has nothing to do with it. He should never have been put in that situation, in an interview with somebody that going to just try to do that. But that's got nothing to do with nothing and again if he wants to act like, my players need to handle themselves the way I expect the University of Cincinnati basketball team to handle themselves, regardless of the situation they are in. Period. Represent our university. That is what I was hired to do six years ago. That's what will happen as long as I'm the coach. Whether we have five guys on the team on Monday or 10 or 13. There are enough guys out there that would appreciate the scholarship. I don't care how good you are. That whole scene is just an embarrassment. Guys think they are way too important in the scope of what is going on in the world. It's not professional sports.”







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