July 21st Jump Off

Bearcat News

Bearcats Breakdown: Wilks, Thomas, Davis, Jackson and McClain | July
Scott over at Bearcats Blog takes a look at most of the graduating seniors on UC's basketball team. There is a lot that can be said about leadership on a team, especially one as small as basketball (12-15 guys) and even more so when just about half of the team are seniors. Coming in 4-5 years ago as one of Mick's first classes took a lot of guts as most of them probably knew coming in that, while they were going to play early, the rebuilding process would be arduous. This showing of character and leadership will be missed next season despite a very impressive recruiting class coming in.

UC Where You Are: Jack Laub: WWII Vet, Basketball Star, and Lifelong Bearcat
Jack Laub definitely pre-dates me but he was definitely an important representative of the university both on and off the court. Before coming to UC, he was Merchant Marine in WWII and ultimately rose to the rank of Lieutenant Senior grade. He was also very impressive on the court playing a total of six varsity years at City College and UC, leading the Bearcats to four conference champioinships. He was also one of the first UC players to be drafted into the NBA and won two championships while with the Scranton Miners. After his pro career, he coached as an assistant at UC and worked for the prescription drug company Pfizer.

Cronin gives Cincinnati a seat at the table - College Basketball - Rivals.com
Big basketball day as more praise from Mick Cronin and the rebirth of Bearcats basketball. While the consistent 'glory days' of the Huggins era has yet to be achieved (and may not), Mick is doing a great job establishing his own legacy at Cincinnati, and one that he presumably wants to continue until he retires as a head basketball coach. In some ways this new era of Bearcats basketball is refreshing even when compared to the 90's. Huggs' teams consistenty underperformed in the NCAA tournament and the program was mired in NCAA sanctions. Mick is bringing in great recruiting classes, making sure the players go to class and respect the rules, wins in the deepest conference in America, and is doing it all on a tight budget. I for one hope Mick stays for good.

Recruiting

Recruiting rewind: Cincinnati «
Recruiting at UC hasn't been easy for Mick or his staff, especially considering the beatdown the program took when Huggs was fired. This is definitely a good analysis of the recruiting classes under Mick. Just looking at the classes of 2005 and 2006 vs 2009 and 2010 you can see how much better they became. When he first took the job, Mick was relying mainly on two-year JUCO players to set a foundation and stop the freefall the program was in. As the years went on, he started acquiring four-year players to build depth and while some were not the most recruited players in the world, contributed immensely overtime. Now in his fifth year, we're starting to see depth being built with better and better recruits and a solid core of veterans to teach them up. Overall, he has done a phenominal job rebuilding the program through recruiting.

Around the BEast

Sports at Work – We're Not Just a Sports Blog, We're a Sports Media Adventure – Continued Expansion Still Key for Big East Survival
This guy's plan for adding Nova, Houston, and UCF actually makes sense and is another Big East expansion scenario to get you through the summer. The biggest hurdle in this scenario is, obviously, Villanova which seems to want to join BCS football on the cheap. Also, while the three schools incorporate major television markets in Philly, Houston, and Orlando, the appeal of East Carolina is extremely appealing to me and I would give up one of those markets to add them. The Pirates play in a 50k seat stadium (with propositions to expand to 58k), have a rabid fanbase that travels well (so they can help fill up stadiums on away games), and actually provide more North Carolina markets than just Greenville. So yea, I'm pro ECU.

Around the Nation

Rivals.com College Football - On-campus stadiums key for FAU, UNT
My favorite stories from college sports are about facilities upgrades and improvements. Call me crazy, but I love reading about a school erecting a new stadium, adding new locker rooms, or renovating the training facilities. Needless to say this story is right up my alley. On campus stadiums just create a certain atmosphere around a university and serves as a monument that everyone involved with the university can be proud of. Just look at Nippert stadium, for example. It's unlike any other venue in college sports and, while small, is one of the loudest, most intimidating places to play when the house is rocking. NFL stadiums just don't offer a similar atmosphere and schools like Pitt, USF, and Temple are missing out.

Busy day today so I apologize for the shortened Jump Off. Expect a better one tomorrow!

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