Cronin and Players Meet with the Media

Oct. 10, 2013

Cincinnati Men's Basketball Quotes
Media Opportunity (Oct. 10, 2013)

UC men's basketball coach Mick Cronin and Bearcats seniors Justin Jackson and Sean Kilpatrick met with the media on Thursday to discuss the coming 2013-14 season. Here is a sampling of their comments:

Head Coach Mick Cronin
On being able to practice sooner this year compared to years past:
"The old way, we would be starting on Friday which I think some people are doing because they have decided to wait. But you have to remind yourself what the date is as the coach. What I like is having the guys recuperate and by that I mean you don't have to go six days out of seven. We have been able to give them a weekend off, a couple of back-to-back days off just to let their bodies recover. It's hard to go from not practicing to going to three hours a day and six days a week on their body, and for my mental state which is another issue. It's tough especially with the freshmen, so I think it has helped them ease into it to where they can get some recover time and, hopefully, they will be good in general for college basketball.



"I think just for all the kids and all the players not to have to go with repeated days. Preseason practice is a grind. It's our version of basic training. Every year you here about different programs doing things with boot camp. I just told somebody that asked me how practice was going and I said you got to get what you have to get done and you've got to try to do it without anybody getting hurt. We are all telling our team we are going to be the hardest playing team in the country and everybody is saying the same thing. You have guys diving all over the place. At the same time, the older I get the more I realize I am going to be a better coach if nobody gets hurt. So sometimes you have to stop practice and tell Sean (Kilpatrick) to sub out and you have tell Justin (Jackson) to sub out and that's a fight because he never wants to do it but your hoping those guys are going to be playing for you in late March. When you sit there and look that it's early October, you're a long way from home."

On if the early start for practice this season was geared toward physical training:
"Yeah, I think to me it makes sense because you have earlier games and also so the kids can ease into it a little bit instead of making us wait until the last minute and you have to cram everything in. That's how you get guys hurt and it's just too much too soon. That's how we are approaching it, making sure the guys stay fresh physically mostly. You have to remember with us with we have a lot of freshman and they're taking college classes for the first time, so that's a whole other factor. I just try to keep them fresh mentally. We give them Sundays off and again we have to give make sure to give them some recover time. As a coach, you don't feel quite as rushed, and you're not over practicing because you still feel like you have some time."

On how far is he into to the rotation of what the starters will be:
"I will say this right now without Jamaree (Strickland), we are at 12 scholarship guys and I'm pretty sure all 12 guys are going to be in the rotation. Who is going to start? I am not sure other than the obvious suspects. I am pretty confident everybody on this team is going to play some. That's the way we have been practicing. When we open up on the Oct. 26th against Carleton, you will see the rotation of 12 deep where everyone is going to get in the first half. I think it will allow us to be much more aggressive defensively."

On if his freshmen have been performing well so far:
"It's early but the freshmen have been doing great. It's the hardest on Troy (Caupain) because he is playing point guard and I have to remind the staff when we meet after practice that he is playing on a sprain ankle and he is the guy with the ball. So Ge'Lawn (Guyn) has the ball on one team and Troy has it on the other team. It is a lot easier on the guy that just catches and shoots it compared to the guy that has the ball in his hand and knowing where he is suppose to go and do every play. It's a whole lot harder on him than the other guys but they are all doing really well."

On if the usually suspect starters are Sean (Kilpatrick) and Justin (Jackson):
"To me Shaq (Thomas) and Jermaine (Sanders) are on the wing. Who starts? I am not sure yet, but they are both going to play. Obviously, Justin (Jackson) and Titus (Rubles) are going to play a lot. Especially earlier in the year, the veteran guys are going to be the ones we hang our hats on When you're talking about winning early, with the freshmen it's going to take them a little time to adjust. So your key guys are the ones that are returning and we are fortunate that we have two of the hardest playing guys in the country in the front line in Titus and Justin. Obviously, Sean is a veteran performer and Ge'Lawn is going to be really important for us more so than he has been and especially early in the season."

#5 Justin Jackson, F

On what he did to improve his game from last year to this year:
"Coach and I both sat down in the summer and discussed what we could do so I could become a better player for the long run. It was to gain weight and do whatever he wanted me to do and that is what I have been doing."

On being compared to Eric Hicks and if he went to him for advice:
"Eric and I are close and we talked a couple times about how I have to attack the game. We are a smaller team now so I had to gain weight to play the five. Also he was giving me advice to perform at the five and he has just been a big brother to me."

On if it's tougher mentally to change positions:
"Not really because in high school I was bigger than everybody, so I played the five and there isn't anything I can't do. It's just a different level to it and you have to adapt to it."

On how much he is looking forward toward his senior year and how much work he has put into it:
"I've put a lot of work into it, coach and I sat down and put some work into it as well and on and off the court. It's my last year so I'm very excited and it's my last go round and there isn't any turning back."

On Coach Cronin saying that he rededicated himself to the game:
"Whatever coach says is accurate, because like I stated earlier, we sat down multiple times over the summer and talked about what we needed to do so I can be a better player and person. I see Coach Mick as a father figure when my dad isn't here. Anything I need, I go to him even if it's changing habitats off the court. One would be to gain weight and I told him I am eating a lot but I can't gain any weight. So he told me go to sleep. So I started sleeping earlier and more often and I gained 20 pounds. So whatever he says works and I am always buying into everything he says."

#23 Sean Kilpatrick, G

On having a lot of expectations last year and if it was a fair assessment and what are the expectations this year:
"Well dealing with Coach Cronin, he preps us all year for things like that and we know there are a lot of expectations from the fans and the media because this is a basketball school and this is something everyone around here expects from us. When we step on the court, we all have certain expectations for each other and that's something that is really important to us."

On what the change of the make up with this team is so far:
"Titus, Justin and I are back but were missing the two key components and that's Cashmere (Wright) and JaQuan (Parker), so it's a huge difference do to the fact that they are gone but we know that we have guys, especially the younger ones that are able to step up and fill that void that we are missing. It's something we ask from them, just to come in and play hard and everything else will take its course."

On Justin looking like a different guy due to the weight gain:
"Justin is Justin, but the fact that he put on 20 pounds has really helped us a lot due to the fact we need someone like him to be a huge key in the inside, especially with his ability to block shots and score when we need a bucket from him. So it's amazing that he has worked as hard as he did over the offseason."

On who has stood out from the newcomers that could be an immediate help:
"I will say Kevin (Johnson) and you don't really here much from him but you can tell that he is a key factor and he can hit shots and someone that can help us on the defensive side as well. We know the younger guys are young but we know how hard they worked and they come in here day in and day out and just give everything they've got."