with Mick Cronin,
University of Cincinnati Head Coach;
2014 AAC Coach of the Year, 2014 AAC Regular Season Champions
Mick Cronin gives a rare peek into the practices that have slowly built his Bearcats into a national powerhouse. Coach Cronins practices are all about developing physical and mental toughness. Filmed over a threeday period, youll see how Coach Cronin implements important details like powerful squareups, strong finishes in the paint, and attacking fullcourt pressure. Youll also get a unique lesson in how to be a teacher and mentor to young players. One reason that the Bearcats are tough at both ends of the floor is that each practice includes a significant focus on disadvantage drills. Teams get accustomed to defending with one less player, as well as attacking a press that outnumbers the offense.
Coach Cronin introduces breakdown drills for his potent pickandroll offensive attack. Every offensive action is broken down into a 3on0 drill, and later carried out in a 3on3 setting. He also runs the team through several offensive sets in a 5on0 setting. This is where he shares details special actions known as TwoDown, Bump, Fade and Smash.
On the defensive side of the ball, the coaching staff puts players through the inline series of drills that focus on positioning, closeouts and boxing out, as well as proper footwork and stance to deal with fakes from the offensive player. Coach Cronin finishes practice with drills that emphasize defensive scramble situations where the defense has to deal with being outnumbered in transition. This is an important skill for defenses that like to trap.
Coach Cronin and his staff continue building their screenandroll offense through 3on0 and 5on0 breakdown drills. They use a 14 high formation to enter the offense from transition, using the smash and flop calls when the wing entry is denied. They also implement a highpost entry called smash and pop, which provides scoring opportunities for a good shooter off of the secondary break action.
Transition offense and spacing are taught in the 4x4 press drill, where the offense must beat four defenders in the back court in order to face four new defenders in the front court. Coach Cronin emphasizes transition offense and defense as a major part of team philosophy. He builds this mentality in his players with drills that create situations where the defense or offense is shorthanded, as well as drills that deal with offensive conversion into the press.
Coach Cronin and his staff emphasize offensive fundamentals in position groups. Post players must complete a series of drills emphasizing footwork in the low post as well as attacking from the perimeter. Guards do drills that emphasize relocating on the perimeter when the ball enters the post area.
Defensive fundamentals are also taught through position drill work. Defensive footwork is emphasized with 1on1 drills in the post for forwards as well as on the perimeter for guards. Rebounding is a major emphasis; boxing out is an aspect that is incorporated into nearly every drill and becomes a part of the competitive nature of practice.
Coach Cronin continues his focus on transition defense and conversion with a 3on3 fullcourt transition defense drill that has two teams squaring off against one another. To teach his players how to beat the press defense, he uses drills that teach the offense how to beat defensive traps even when they are shorthanded.
Practice concludes with a 5on5 controlled scrimmage that incorporates the offensive and defensive strategies that have been taught. Coach Cronin and his staff continuously step in on deadballs to offer their insights and to correct mistakes that players make during the scrimmage. A conditioning drill that incorporates free throw shooting is util