So, a coach recruits a really good point guard out of high school and assumes that starting a freshman in the Big East will have its rough moments but that the experience will go a long way toward the kid’s — and the program’s — development. Then the kid gets hurt in preseason practice and the whole season is ruined.
Is this the position that Mick Cronin has allowed the UC basketball team to be in? Is this team seriously going to go into next season with a recently injured freshman point guard with no backup? Did anyone ever think they would wake up one day and say, “Dang, I sure wish Jamual Warren was still a Bearcat.”
It’s amazing how screwed the UC offense is without a legitimate point guard. After Vaughn’s zero point, 10 assist game on Sunday, which the Bearcats lost by 30, it’s obvious that the PG backup plan (Vaughn) is not going to work. This team would be better off with Larry Davis and Dion Dixon trying their best at the position, even if it means averaging six turnovers each.
The problem I have with this situation is the lack of planning on Cronin’s part. Even if he was trying to squeeze through one season with freshman Cashmere Wright running the offense, there should be another point guard lined up to join the team next year. But UC’s only 2009 recruit is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard. Even if Wright’s knee heals and he gets into basketball shape and learns the offense in record time, someone needs to be out there running point during the 10 minutes he'll be on the bench each game. Will it be Vaughn again?
The Marquette game demonstrated just how screwed this team is — this year and possibly next. Without good guard play UC’s best offensive players — Vaughn and freshman Yancy Gates — are going to have trouble scoring. And with 10 players seeing consistent minutes it’s hard to see this offense becoming something more than the 3-point shoot-a-thon it’s been against decent teams.
I’m not saying that Cronin is a bad coach or a bad recruiter, but there has to have been another Jamual Warren available the last couple years. And considering how decently last year's team played with a much weaker front line, I'm inclined to think that any real point guard would make this year's team immensely better.