Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 3:53 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Mick Cronin's actions needed to be as forceful as his words.
Star big man Yancy Gates, after delivering a right-hand that knocked Xavier's fellow heavyweight to the floor, received a six-game suspension. Cincinnati also suspended Octavius Ellis and Cheikh Mbodj, who stomped on Frease while he was down on the court, for six games -- and Ge'Lawn Guyn for one game.
Gates should have received -- at minimum -- a 10-game penalty, maybe even being tossed from the team for good. Cronin talked a big game after Saturday's brawl, one that was embarrassing for all parties.
"We accept full responsibility and it will be handled," Cronin said. "There is zero excuse for that in basketball. ... The fact is the guys ... represent an institution 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 ... created Benadryl; I think that's more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have an appreciation that they're there on a full scholarship and they better represent the institution with class and integrity. ... I just told my guys I will meet with my AD and my president and I'm going to decide who is on the team going forward. That's what the University of Cincinnati is about. Period. I've never been this embarrassed."
Cronin talked about how these kids need to appreciate the value of education, how they need to act accordingly -- or they won't ever be allowed to put on a Bearcats uniform.
He had an opportunity to follow through with his strong message in the post-game news conference -- one that was applauded by nearly everyone. (Doyel: Cronin talked the talk)
Then he opted not to follow through on his strong statements, and hit Gates, who did his best Mike Tyson impression when he sent Frease to the canvas, with just six games.
I understand that it was a mistake, one Gates would love to take back. But it's not as though Gates has been the model citizen, either. He's been suspended by Cronin previously -- and the penalty should have been more severe for this transgression.
But winning is more important to Cronin. At least that's what his actions said.
He needs Gates, especially when Big East play rolls around.
Gates will miss games against Wright State, Radford, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Chicago State, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh.
That's a grand total of one conference game.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE