Cincinnati is a blue-collar program coached by blue-collar guys. Outside of his affinity for premium cigars, there’s nothing in Mick Cronin’s background that reeks of entitlement. He is the guy who’s going to roll up his sleeves and put in the work on the recruiting front.
Permeating throughout his program is a collective sense of something to prove. From a recruiting standpoint, that’s just fine by Cronin. In fact, his most successful signings entered the program with a big chip on their shoulders. JaQuon Parker was a Virginia kid passed over the by the two ACC schools in his state, Dion Dixon didn't have an offer from Illinois despite a Chicago address and Cashmere Wright had Clemson on his tail but he wasn’t an SEC or ACC priority even with a Georgia zip code. Those guys turned out pretty well over the years.
Enter Troy Caupain (Richmond, Va./Cosby) and Kevin Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Summit Country Day). Both of these guards committed to the Bearcats in the last three days and both are what you would refer to as under the radar.
We had Caupain squarely in our sights last month at the Under Armour event in Dallas and then injury struck. The plan was to watch him the first night and come away with a solid evaluation two days later. Well, that didn’t happen because he wasn’t 100 percent. He can score and has a chance to be a great guard over his four-year career.
Now, Johnson, we’re onto this kid. We’ve seen him in different settings and I caught his act last month at Spiece. This kid is going to be able to handle it and get to the rim. He’s fast and it’s too early to rule him out as an ESPN 100 candidate.
Overall, Cincy fans need to trust the coach on these commits. Cronin knows exactly what he's looking for and dispenses his staff to recruit to his type. Once the Bearcats lock in on a guy, they don’t waver until he signs. The day after he signs, you better believe Cronin’s first in line to play the underrated card. Only now, the coach has enough success stories on the roster that his players stoke the fire in the new guys for him. It’s part of UC’s culture and why they’re good at what they do.