Friday, March 18, 2011

Cronin-gate Put to Rest?

Jim Calhoun was asked about the Mick Cronin situation at today's press conference. Calhoun had hinted a couple of weeks ago that Cronin hadn't voted for Kemba Walker as first-team all-Big East. Cronin said last night that he had spoken with Calhoun about the situation. Here's the transcript:

Q. Mick said last night that you called him earlier this week, I guess, to talk about what Kemba Walker -- whether you voted for him or --
COACH JIM CALHOUN: I called him. I didn't ask him that question. I just said that there was a misunderstanding, he and I needed to talk as opposed to publicly discuss it, and we had a good conversation.

Q. So it's all cleared up?
COACH JIM CALHOUN: It's all cleared up. We had a good conversation. I never knew there was a -- I was just talking about my kid, who I was trying to push every way, and I said someone's away for a month and we went to two different places and they wrote about how they recruited him. I said maybe they didn't vote for him or something, and I shouldn't have said that and I did. So I called Mick just to let him know that. I'm the one who said something initially and just wanted to have him get squared away.
So I'll root for him. I think he's done terrific -- as I just said, he's done a terrific job. And I initiated the phone call and we had a good conversation.

Earlier, Walker was asked about his recruitment by Cronin and the Bearcats:

Q. When you guys were in Cincinnati, Mick Cronin talked about how close you came to going to Cincinnati. How close did you actually come and what kind of relationship do you have with him?
KEMBA WALKER: It was close. But I really wanted to come to UConn my entire life. So I was just waiting for the opportunity and it came. But as far as me and Coach Cronin, we had a great relationship. He did a great job recruiting me. He had a good relationship with my parents, also. So if UConn didn't come in, it would have most likely been Cincinnati.
So, yeah, it was pretty close.

Calhoun was asked about that, too:

Q. Kemba was in here talking about his recruitment a little bit and how he considered Cincinnati but UConn was his first choice. Can you talk a little bit about his recruitment and did you ever think he might go somewhere else besides UConn?
COACH JIM CALHOUN: We know that he had said to Mo Hicks at that time, his coach at Rice, who is now at St. John's, that his dream school was UConn. At the same time, in around that period, September, October, Brandon Jennings was visiting us. And Brandon, like did he with the other three schools, committed on the visit. He had done at the previous two schools, so I didn't no if it was that firm of a commitment.
And he's a great, great kid, by the way. Brandon was a great, great kid.
When the visiting got conclusion and we made a phone call to Brandon and Brandon said, well, I still want to visit a couple more schools but I'm definitely coming to UConn, I turned to Andre LaFleur and said, let's see if you can go all out to try to get Kemba Walker. He'll be a program player, a terrific player for us, a lead guard. We've got Taliek Brown, we'd got Ben Gordon. Let's go after him full blown. He'll be here long term in the program. And the rest I guess is history in some ways.
I always thought he'd be a good to very good to excellent guard. I didn't know -- I didn't automatically see some of the greatness that I now see.

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