He was classy with me, down to earth, looked me in the eye, responded relevantly to my comments, and shockingly did not give me the brush-off.
I told him beating sc wasnít a matter of life and death, itís much more important than that. He said he understood, and told me about Cinciís rivalry with Xavier.
I told him we donít hang Final Four banners, but first and foremost we must own the City Title. I told him I donít like when other coaches said it was just another game. And yeah, maybe Arizona has become more of a basketball rival but our rivalry with sc runs deeper and transcends sports.
I told him that I didnít want Calipari or Pitino and I much prefer him because I donít want guys with sleazy pasts. I donít want UCLA to get their hands dirty. He said thatís just it: this is UCLA. We donít have to get our hands dirty.
I added that I would have gotten rid of the shoplifters. I canít tell you exactly what he said, but I GOT THE FEELING that maybe there were varying levels of guilt in that situation and maybe the guys we retained were not as involved in the crime as I had previously thought. That made me happy too. I think that Cronin will have a pretty low tolerance for idiots and rule breakers. ďUCLA doesnít need any of thatĒ was his attitude.
Anyway, I came away impressed, at his approachability, patience, and respect for UCLA as an institution and as a program. He now has my full support... until we lose to sc. :-)
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