“The Forgotten Bearcats: How Mick Cronin and a band of unsung players saved Cincinnati basketball’ is the story of Cronin‘s determination to put the program back on solid ground after it had reached one of the lowest points in its history in 2006, a year after Bob Huggins was fired.
It’s also the story of his players, mostly junior college transfers, who agreed to play on Cronin’s first Cincinnati team under trying circumstances, absorbed the unavoidable losses, and helped to create the culture of hard work, defense and rebounding that has defined the Bearcats under Cronin.
When Cronin took over, he inherited an angry fan base, a depleted roster, and a program that had been penalized by the NCAA for the poor academic performance of its players. It fell to Cronin and his staff to quickly assemble a roster, improve the academic situation and somehow try to be competitive in the Big East Conference, one of the the most competitive leagues in the country.
Twelve years later, thanks in large part to the foundation those players laid, the Bearcats have played in eight straight NCAA Tournaments and produced back-to-back 30-win seasons, re-establishing Cincinnati basketball as one of the top programs in the country.