Cronin Discusses Bahamas Trip with Media|
July 31, 2014
University of Cincinnati men's basketball head coach Mick Cronin and select players met with members of the media on Thursday as the Bearcats continue practice for their trip to the Bahamas, Aug. 12-17. The Bearcats started 10 days of practice on Wednesday leading up to their departure.
Below are a sampling of comments.
Head Coach Mick Cronin
On what can be expected from the additional post players on the team:
On how different this team looks compared to last years' team after one practice:
"That's one thing about being big - there are disadvantages to it as well. People try to bring your big guys out on the floor so we've got to figure out how we're going to be able to play our pick and roll defense because it will be a big adjustment for us. So we need time to work on that because it makes it a different coverage for our guard and not just for the big guy but for the guard that last year he was switching now he is not in the pick and roll situation. So just a lot of different things much different team and offensively we have to figure out where we are going to get our bread buttered. It would be nice to be able to have five guys in double figures and average 80 points a game and that's our goal. I'm not sure about how we are going to get there. We are trying to figure that out right now as well and figure out who is good at what.
"Again, with seven new guys out there it's a totally different dynamic. But our leadership has been good. Shaq Thomas is being aggressive. That's something I am really happy about. He has to be aggressive for us this year."
On if he has spoken with any of the players about needing to step up because three seniors are gone from last year's team:
"Yeah I have had that conversation with all five of the returning guys that played last year. Those five guys have to make a huge difference for us this year. They've got to be aggressive at all times. They have to show leadership at every practice. Their intensity level has to step up on a regular basis. Those guys have to become Sean Kilpatrick, Justin (Jackson) and Titus (Rubles). They've got to make sure they are bringing the intensity every day. The results will follow. Those guys have enough talent. They just have to play at the level of intensity that our seniors did last year.
"It's just a process and that's what makes college coaching fun. I think a lot of college basketball fans like that because you get to see kids evolve and develop. Guys aren't the same player year to year and you have to make sure your guys continue to improve. We really have hung our hats on that. We've got to have guys improve because that's how we have been able to get the job done around here."
On what he hopes to take away from the trip to the Bahamas:
On the Bahamas trip being the only time for some of the players to learn and see another culture:
"But at the same time we want to make sure we are having some fun and we are getting ready for the season. This is all a process and team bonding and having fun getting a chance to go to the Bahamas as a group together. Being able to provide that experience for the guys is a great thing. The kids worked really hard and they deserve it they earned it. I know Sean (Kilpatrick) and Justin (Jackson) are a little upset they didn't get to go to the Bahamas. We went to Ottawa, Canada."
On how hard it is to implement the new stuff to the young guys as well as letting the returning players get their share in the short time he has had:
"What I have done the last two times I did this was pick a few things we want to work on and whatever those few things are let's work on that. So if you have a returning team it's different. You have everybody back you can fine tune your offense.
"With this group, we've got to learn how to play defense. We have seven guys that have no idea on how to play defense. When you're playing high school and junior college you just stand behind people and don't foul. For us, we have to learn how to defend. We have to learn how to compete at the level that Cincinnati is used to competing at. You got to compete at a certain level to win a championship. That's a big process that is part of it for us.
"So defense and competiveness and the third part is work on the individual offense with one on one skills - our shooting - and really try to put a lot of individual development time in. When I watch the guys play one on one, the more I can see who is good at what. It allows me to assess what we need to do when get back and get ready in the fall."
On how much Octavius (Ellis) has changed as a player and a person since transferring back:
"Well, he is much older. When I recruited Octavius I thought to redshirt him. He'll be a backup for two years and for two years he would be a really good player when he got to 220 pounds. Now he is 6-foot-10, 225 pounds. He came in at 6-foot-9, 185 pounds. So he is a different guy, physically. But he has matured a lot.
"I think the biggest thing the junior college players come in with is that they have no sense of entitlement. They have been riding on buses and eating McDonald's for pregame. So there is a reason why he is so happy to be here. It's good to have him back. I love him. But a lot of it is the way we do things here. He is happy to be back and living in University Park Apartments. The meal plan is a little bit different at this level than it is at junior college. But that's all good. Guys need to see that. He can tell some of the young guys, `trust you don't want t to mess this up. This is as good as it gets.' He had to fight hard to get back here. So I'm proud of him. He did a great job in junior college. Led his team to the national tournament and was a first team All American. He earned his way back."
On if thinks Sean Kilpatrick still deserves a shot to play in the NBA:
On what the biggest challenge is replacing a guy like Sean Kilpatrick:
"It's just a whole different team. So I'm not looking for anybody to go out an average 22 points a game. I'm all for someone doing that, but I'm not putting that on one guy and say hey you got to replace Sean. Whoever starts early in the season at two-guard I'm not looking for them to do what Sean did. It's unrealistic. We have to find our identity as a team this year. That's what this is about. Last year doesn't matter. You don't get to carry those wins over."
On if there is anyone that is coming back he sees will take more of the leadership role:
No. 3, Shaquille Thomas, F
On how excited he is to go to the Bahamas with his teammates:
On if the trip does a lot for the comradery of the team:
"I think it will do a lot because we have seven new guys and there aren't a lot of returning guys as usual. So I think it's a good team bonding trip - getting to know everybody and their personality on and off the court."
On if he feels an urgency to step up since the departure of Sean, Justin, and Titus:
On if he is prepared to take on that leadership rule:
On how Octavius has changed from his first stint:
On what he and his teammates look to take from the trip to the Bahamas:
On if he worked on any new dunks for the year: