Decoding Mick Cronin and Yancy Gates

Yesterday, news came out that Yancy Gates was back with the Bearcats. He was back practicing, and made the trip for the game tonight against DePaul. Mick Cronin and Yancy Gates talked to the media yesterday afternoon. I thought the best way to piece the puzzle of the suspension and reconcilation together would be to go through their quotes, and determine the real meanings to what was said. The Cronin quotes are from GoBearcats, and the Gates from the Enquirer. The picture is also from the Enquirer. Thanks to those sites for letting me use their quotes and picture. 

Let’s start with what Mick said. His quotes will be in, well quotes, and I’ll add my thoughts in the bullets. 

About DePaul he said “When I think he deserves to (play). How much I think he deserves to. When I think he deserves to.” 

  • Ok, that’s generic coach speak. I think it also means that Gates won’t start, but will come off the bench. As Louisville proved though, you don’t need your top scorer, rebounder, or shot blocker to beat DePaul, and UC will be without 2 of those in Gates. Yancy had 15 and 2 blocks against DePaul. That could be replicated by someone else. Next. 

About the suspension “I love Yancy. He’s a good kid. Just play hard, be coachable, be committed to your team. It doesn’t matter who you are. That is stuff that I believe in. He’s not the only one. Far from the only one. Obviously, it cost him a game.”

  • I don’t really get what Mick means. The first part is obviously Yancy Gates is being a biatch, given away by the “I love Yancy, he’s a good kid” bit. That’s speak for he’s an asshole, but he’s my asshole and I heart him. Obviously, Gates was suspended for not playing hard, not listening to coaches and not being a team player. The part I don’t get is the “he’s not the only one” part. Does he mean on the Bearcats? Does he mean in America? I’m guessing it’s Amercia, and this is a case of me being stupid. 

 About Gates “He’s not the only one. Look around athletics today. He’s a good kid, for him in particular, his athletic career has been a process of dealing with people telling him how great he is. When I say that, I don’t mean his immediate family, because they don’t. I’m talking about others. He’s a microcosm of today’s athlete. He is a wonderful, warm-hearted kid.

“He’s far from the only guy on our team or other teams that deal with the issue of looking in the mirror and being accountable for themselves and their own effort and taking responsibility for their own actions. It just so happens in this case it cost him a game so it’s a big deal. He’s not the only guy that’s ever been chastised or out of practice on our team. That is this year and some of his teammates. Unfortunately it’s a part of athletics today.”

  • This is where we get into some great deflection by Mick. Not only does he bring up “he’s a good kid,” but he also makes this a national issue. That’s coach speak 101, and Mick Cronin has that class mastered. Reading bewtween the lines in this, we find out that not only is Gates being an asshole, but he’s incredibly stubborn and has a giant ego. I’m not saying Yancy Gates is an asshole, because I’ve never met him. I’m saying that the actions, like being an over inflated ego, stubborn, whiny jerk, are how you been an asshole. And besides, Yancy Gates is a good kid. I guess Mick is referencing the fact that Rashad Bishop acted like an asshole at the end of last season, and that saw him suspended for the rest of the season. In fact, it sounds like they were suspended for exactly the same reasons. 
I’m taking this directly from Go Bearcats, I hope you aren’t mad Paulie D. 

On if he’s surprised because he wasn’t having to coach attitude all year:

“I think his effort has dipped since Big East play. He and I have talked extensively about this. He is going to talk to you guys about it. He’s got 13 offensive rebounds in nine Big East games. That put him tied for third on our team going into Pitt game. Dion Dixon having more than him. No, I’m not happy with his effort. I wasn’t happy with his effort. He was told that Monday and all week.

“Those are areas that have always been a challenge for him. He in particular takes a bad rap. The worst thing you can say for something that is untrue to a player is you don’t play hard. No, that’s not the case. You don’t play hard all the time is the case. You play hard at certain times of the game not at other times of the game- when a shot goes up, for instance. Your job as a coach is to get your players better. All means necessary.”

  •  Read the header, and then read the answer. From what it seems to me, the answer is yes. His effort was not worth his attitude. Pretty sure that no one said that Gates didn’t play hard in the question. At least Mick knows that Gates turns it on and off. Well, no shit. If I know, and you know, and your mom who’s watched 2 games knows, that’s not saying much. 
Lastly, the question was asked if Gates was testing Cronin. Mick said “No, he’s not testing. He knows the answer to that test.” Then he rambles on about how Kenny Satterfield was a jerk.

Let’s see what big 34 had to say about this. 

Gates on suspension “It was a bad situation and I handled it wrong. It was just a big misunderstanding gone bad, a situation made worse than what it was supposed to be, so you just deal with the consequences and try to move on.” 

  • The incident that Koch refers to is that Gates got into it with an assistant coach. That’s not one of the reasons that Cronin directly mentioned as being part of the suspsenion. I guess it goes with the not being coachable part. 

I’m going to print the next two back to back, just so you can see the ridiculousness of this.

Gates on suspension again “I was caught up in the moment, frustrated with a lot of things, but those are the type of things that you have to overcome being a basketball player. You can’t let them control your emotions. You just try to get through it.” 

Gates on coming back “I was just basically trying to get it out, trying to get over it and move on. Things like that, if you let them linger, they just don’t hurt you as an individual player, it hurts the whole group of guys. I don’t want to be the one known as a guy that hurt the team or anything.

“I just wanted to be back around. I didn’t want to make a situation that was already petty even worse. I dealt with my consequences. I missed the Pittsburgh trip. I didn’t complain about it. I made a mistake. When you make a mistake you have to deal with the consequences, so I just dealt with it and he let me come back to practice this morning.”

  •  Ok, let’s get this straight. Yancy Gates says that he had a lot of frustrations that led to the moment when he snapped at practice and did the things that he did to get suspended. Then after he finds out that Mick isn’t fucking around, he doesn’t want to let the situation fester. Classic covering your ass manuever. The good news is that Yancy Gates doesn’t want leave the program. The bad news is that Yancy Gates still seems like a selfish jerk who is only apologizing because he was wrong. If this is a part of history that you can easily get over, and move on from, why not get over and move on from whatever was frustrating you before? Oh, because the latter is a sign of maturity, and the first is a sign of you wanting to play so you can get in the pros one day. 
I’m going to be quite honest. I don’t think it’s time for Yancy Gates to come off suspension. I didn’t really care for what I read in those quotes. It seems like Gates fucked up, thought he was more important than the rest of the players on the team, would get away with it, and come back like nothing happened. It’s an extremely childish scenario. It’s like a 9 year old getting pissy because you told him to clean his room, so he kicks over the lamp and storms off. When mom gets pissed at him for breaking the lamp, and grounds him, the kid apologizes and tries to get ungrounded so he can go play ball at Billy’s house the next day. And the mom says, ok as long as you learned your lesson, and the kid says, yeah mom, never again. That’s the vibe I’m getting from this. I don’t really know if it’s the best thing for the program. Does it really send a message? What’s the message if so? Act like a baby and if you aren’t contributing you’ll get benched? We saw that last year with Rashad Bishop. Bishop also bitched at coaches, and had bad practices. He’s back on the team this season. Yancy Gates was a part of that team last year, and pulled the same act. 

I think the main reason Gates is back is because Mick Cronin’s job depends on it. I don’t know how the UC administration views Mick Cronin, but as a fan who talks to other fans, I know the fan sentiment is draining. I was, and kind of am, a big Mick supporter. I think that he’s a good coach. I don’t think that he’s the coach who could build the turnaround, and then take the program to the next level. I think if he came in with this as his first season, that he could take UC back to the promised land. I think his act is wearing thin. We’re seeing the same things happen with his best team ever, that happened with his bad teams. It’s year 5 and UC is still running no offense. They are still getting their asses handed to them by the top 6 of the league. They are still not winning consistently in the Big East. 15-0 has turned into 18-5. I think making the NCAA tournament is a job saver. I think going to the NIT again means that Mick is not coming back. He needs Yancy Gates. Yancy Gates is the homegrown recruit that everyone pinned their hopes on to help lead the Bearcats back to the NCAAs. Yancy Gates has not delivered in 3 seasons. He’s been 10 and 6, 10 and 6, and now 11-7. That’s not cutting it. The Gates era and the Cronin era are intertwined. There has been minmal growth from Gates, just like there has been minimal growth by Cronin’s team the past couple seasons. This season is at a turning point. After the win later tonight, it’s St John’s, Louisville, @ Providence, @ Georgetown, UConn, @Marquette and Georgetown again. It’s man the fuck up time for Yancy Gates. There are at least 9 Big East games, tournament included, remaining. If this suspension didn’t turn on the lights for Gates, then I don’t think anything will. I think that in March, UC will be playing in front of a half filled 5/3 Arena in the NIT again. I’ve beat the stay positive drum all season long. I think that there is a chance Gates will turn the corner. I hope he does. Mick Cronin hopes he does. I just hope Yancy Gates does too. 


About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.