New UCLA basketball head coach Mick Cronin immediately went to work for the Bruins as he is already recruiting, reaching out to former players and selling the next era of Bruin hoops to the fanbase.
On Wednesday, Mick Cronin, the newest head coach of the UCLA basketball team was presented to the world in his introductory press conference.
In that press conference, Cronin was excited yet collected; he was eager yet patient, he said all the right things a new coach should say in his first press conference at his latest gig (and all without the awkward questions about issues that arose at one of his last coaching gigs).
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It was a pleasant surprise to most UCLA basketball fans who were shocked at how inclusive he was. Mentioning the importance of the “four letters” and leading “John Wooden’s program” goes far with this fanbase. But as all press conferences are, it was all about words. What UCLA fans want to see is action.
With that in mind, UCLA fans should be pleasantly surprised by what happened after the press conference.
Did Cronin sit back in his new office and bathe in all this further attention? No. In fact, he did not stop talking as he jumped headfirst into his new gig.
Though it was expected that Cronin would make the rounds with the local and national media, when he was not talking about how he wants to bring the Bruins back to national prominence, he was doing what it takes to make that happen.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Cronin extended his first scholarship offer. This one went to 2021 5-star small forward Trey Patterson (Rutgers Prep/Somerset, NJ). Patterson was already on Cronin’s radar as the high school sophomore was being recruited by the new Bruin coach when he was at Cincinnati.
But the work did not stop there. In the last few months, the Bruin fan base has been torn (to a certain extent) as fans, boosters, alumni and especially former players have been opining about who they would like to see coach the Bruins. Knowing this, Cronin started reaching out to former players to try and re-strengthen the bond of UCLA.
But he is not just focusing on former players. Cronin has started to get work done with his current players. Though it will be a process to turn the current roster into his, Cronin has to start somewhere as he is already forming those bonds. According to Ben Bolch of the L.A. Times, Cronin spent 35 minutes in the phone with incoming freshman Jake Kyman. Jake’s father said, “Jake was really excited. Jake really enjoyed the call and the conversation.”
Additionally, Cronin is trying to strengthen the bond with the fan base. On Thursday, a call went out to fans from the UCLA athletic department. Though it intended to sell season tickets for the 2019-20 season, the pre-recorded message from Cronin came off as refreshing and sincere which raised the excitement level another notch among fans.
This is precisely the shot in the arm the UCLA basketball fanbase needs.
In the press release announcing Cronin’s hiring, it seemed odd that the UCLA athletic department focused on finding a coach “that really wanted to be here”, especially after missing out on three coaches before Cronin, but his actions in the last two days amplify that sentiment and prove how important it is to have someone that is genuinely enraptured with the UCLA.
Though we are months from finding out what Cronin can do with this squad, what he is doing now is laying that foundation which is the most important part.