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Thursday, May 17, 2007

So, yeah, there isn't much from the recruiting sites on Cronin but I did turn up some local newspaper items of note. First... guess which player in this photo is the Michigan recruit:

No, it's not #3, Reed Baker fans.

This appears to be the most effusive praise available for our new center:

Start with the Mayor's Cup - or at least that was the official title of the tournament. More accurately, it was the Ben Cronin Show, also starring some other Henninger players quite happy to gain city supremacy.

Cronin has been bent on domination ever since Proctor made him disappear on Dec. 19. A solid game against CNS three days later was followed by this Mayor's Cup display at LeMoyne College, where he pulled off back-to-back triple doubles against Fowler and Corcoran.

The final, in particular, had its own share of pathos. As you all know, Henninger and Corcoran were supposed to meet in the Section III football playoffs on Oct. 15 - before the forfeits, before Auburn showed up, and you know the rest.

From the early moments, when Cronin swatted an Elton Frazier shot, the 7-foor junior ruled the night. He had 18 points, 16 rebounds and 12 blocks, and four of his teammates reached double figures in scoring, too, most notably Mike Johnson, whose six free throws late sealed the 61-55 win.

Henninger is 8-1, and you can argue that Cronin is the central figure in the Class AA playoff race. With his size and growing strength, if he does this kind of paint job every night, the Black Knights can take the banner.

Evidently, the banner is a state championship thing. Henninger did not acquire said banner this year, falling to Proctor in the final. A month later, Cronin's team lost and drew some criticism from the same source:
Apparently, one headline-grabbing upset over a state top 10 team was not enough. F-M wanted more, and got it by imposing its collective will on Henninger - especially on the defensive side, where Ben Cronin vanished. ... Granted, Cronin's two early fouls hurt, but a great player should overcome those things. Henninger could not establish itself in the paint, and the Hornets took full advantage.
There was also a monster game against Fairport -- which sounds like it has a killer sailing team -- with 21 points and 19 rebounds.

All this means little given the context provided by the above photo. Cronin tall, others short, do good. Yay. But there were a couple encouraging comments yesterday from the proprietor of the aforementioned OrangeFan Syracuse blog:
Cronin is a good get for you guys. He's actually a very good athlete, but only picked up basketball relatively late - he was a hockey player until he grew so tall. That hockey athleticism and experience should suit him well once he grows into his body. Syracuse already has 4 centers on the roster, and Boeheim still wanted this kid. Congrats.
(Waggish commenters immediately asked if he had been a goalie.) I think I've already expressed my opinion on this kid, but to re-iterate: these are the guys Beilein has won with elsewhere and given his late entry into the world of recruiting Michigan (at least for the '08 class), he's probably not going to upgrade his recruiting in terms of stars until '09. So I'm much happier with this particular commit than Amaker snagging Coleman or Jerrett Smith, because Beilein's already proven he can work with this type of player and he isn't in his third year on the job.

The instate crop for '08 is very bad anyway, especially with Anthony Crater already committed to OSU. The only other guy who appears to be on the radar of Michigan or MSU is SF/PF Draymond Green, the one-time Kentucky commit who opened it back up when Tubby went away. There have been some breathless headlines re: Green of late on GBW, so maybe he's making headway there.

Update: Whoops! Forgot the local newspaper article on the commit:
"I feel it's the perfect fit for me," Cronin said. "It's a great academic school and I love coach Beilein. I'm sure he'll develop me as a player to get to the best of my potential. He develops his players and gets them to shoot it. I think he's going to make me a much better offensive player than I am right now." ...

[Henninger coach Erik] Saroney said he could see Cronin excelling in Beilein's system.

"I think he fits perfectly in that system," Saroney said, "and I say that despite the fact that we didn't use him like that last year, but college basketball and high school basketball are two different beasts."