This afternoon, UCLA Bruins head coach Mick Cronin met with the media and, at times, it seemed like he was answering some of the criticism that DC Bruins offered both after this past weekend’s loss to Cal State Fullerton and even before that.
He spoke about how playing with the type of players he currently has is painful because they are primarily young and inexperienced. He compared this year’s UCLA team to his first team at Cincinnati.
My favorite quote from Cronin came when he was asked about how the team is handling things after losing to Cal State Fullerton. He said:
Kids are resilient. They’re different than we are. Adults...we see a big picture. We see buildings crumbling and civilizations ending. Kids...young people don’t think that way. It’s not that they don’t care. They’re just resilent.
Cronin concluded the session with a question from Ben Bolch about the rotation. Cronin replied, “Right now, it’s not searching for a rotation. It’s searching for five guys who can get a stop.”
Thanks to UCLA Athletics for the video of Coach Cronin’s press conference and the video of the players’ media session.
The players’ video begins with Jules Bernard. It continues with Tyger Campbell and it concludes with Jalen Hill.
We’re at a natural break point in the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball schedule in between the end of non-conference play and the start of Pac-12 play.
At this point in the season, the team has been inconsistent so far this season in the first season under Mick Cronin. To say that Cronin has rubbed some people the wrong way with the job he’s done so far this year might be a bit of an understatement but, at the same time, I still like what I’m hearing from Cronin.
I think he’s eventually going to have the team moving in the right direction, even if this year continues to be a bumpy ride.
Back when Cronin was hired, I attempted to do the same thing I generally do whenever UCLA makes a high profile hire. I tried to obtain a copy of Cronin’s contract through a public records request.
Well, I asked for it too soon because my initial request was denied due to the fact that the final version had not been signed yet. So, when I recently decided to request Cronin’s contract again.
Without performance bonuses, the value of Cronin’s contract is $24.5 million, including a $2 million signing bonus which becomes payable on March 31, 2020.
Meanwhile, Cronin’s buyout starts out super-high. It’s $19 million if he were to be fired before March 31, 2020. It stays pretty high in Year 2. It’s $15.4 million until after March 31, 2021.
Then, in 2022, it falls almost in half to “just” $8.775 million. That’s the point where it becomes less expensive for UCLA to fire him than keep him for the remainder of the contract as there will still be $11.7 million remaining on the deal.
In 2023, the buyout falls to $5.925 million and, in 2024, it falls to just $3 million.
Let’s look at Cronin’s contract:
Of course, that assumes that everybody’s favorite Athletic Director Dan Guerrero doesn’t give Bruin fans a retirement gift of extending the contracts of Cronin, Chip Kelly or some of the football assistant coaches.
All joking aside, I still think Cronin is going to get the men’s basketball program turned around. We need to be a bit patient. If the team is still inconsistent at this time next year, then it may be time to get concerned.