College Basketball Nation: Ge'Lawn Guyn

1. Creighton's Doug McDermott is nowhere near close to making a decision on whether to declare for the NBA or return to the Bluejays, his father and coach Greg McDermott said. Greg McDermott said Doug will take this call down to the NBA's April 28 deadline -- the only one that really matters. Doug McDermott isn't feeling any pressure about the April 16 NCAA deadline -- and that's good, because that one means nothing. The NCAA doesn't put out a list on that date and neither does the NBA. The only deadline that produces an early-entry list is the April 28 deadline. A player could say he's returning to school next week and then declare 12 days later without any issue. Doug McDermott has one of the toughest decisions of any player, because if he decides to leave his dad will face a difficult season in the Bluejays' first season in the new Big East. If Doug stays, Creighton has a chance to contend for the new league's title.

2. New Hofstra coach Joe Mihalich said Wednesday that the timing was right and he just had a feeling that he needed to move after 15 years at Niagara. Mihalich is trading one set of problems for another. Niagara, north of Buffalo, N.Y., isn't exactly in fertile recruiting territory, but Mihalich has made it work and competed for league titles in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Hofstra, on Long Island, is in a fertile recruiting area but is in rebuilding mode. The MAAC and the Colonial Athletic Association are typically one-bid leagues at this juncture. Mihalich has had other opportunities to leave but chose to stay. He said every time he considers one, the same two questions come to mind: Who is the president and who is the athletic director? Mihalich felt comfortable with current AD Jeff Hathaway, who previously held the same position at Connecticut, and president Stuart Rabinovitz. Hathaway wanted a sitting head coach and stayed true to his goal in the search.

3. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin praised the "mature decision" by junior Sean Kilpatrick to return for his senior season. Cronin is convinced Kilpatrick will work on his game enough to be a draft pick next year. Kilpatrick will have a new backcourt mate with Cashmere Wright gone; those in the running to replace Wright will include freshmen Kevin Johnson and Troy Caupain and junior Ge'Lawn Guyn.

Short-handed Cincinnati focused, victorious

December, 14, 2011

DAYTON, Ohio -- Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was on the court during Wednesday’s shootaround at Wright State's Nutter Center, directing his players to spots that they hadn’t been in prior to the season.

But late in the first half, anyone watching in the crowd or on ESPN2 would have never guessed the Bearcats were new to a four-guard, spread-out offense.

In its first game since Saturday's infamous brawl with rival Xavier, Cincinnati ran out to a 23-point lead on the youthful Raiders, making nine 3-pointers in the first half, moving the basketball, taking chances and locking down on WSU in the halfcourt to the tune of nine first-half turnovers.

“The best thing about a four-guard offense is that you’ll get a good shot every time,’’ said Cronin after the Bearcats’ 78-58 victory over Wright State. “I wanted to let these guys play. When you have those big guys, the floor shrinks and these guys have to have room to operate.’’

The big guys that weren’t on the floor for the Bearcats were starting center Yancy Gates and forward Cheikh Mbodj and reserve forward Octavius Ellis. All three were suspended for six games for their roles in the fight. Reserve guard Ge’Lawn Guyn was suspended for one game.

The only big guy of note playing for the Bearcats on Wednesday was Justin Jackson, who more than held his own with 11 points and eight rebounds, despite fouling out. Sean Kilpatrick moved to a more of a power guard position, and he lit up the Raiders with 20 points and had a season-high six 3s. Jaquon Parker got a start at guard and scored 14 points after having come in averaging just 4 a game.

“We fed off the energy of our teammates,’’ Kilpatrick said. “Cashmere [Wright] was in my ear to keep shooting and keep shooting. We had a lineup with everybody rebounding and looking for the extra pass.’’

The new-look Bearcats will be the norm for UC going forward.

Cincinnati’s offense had stagnated in the first eight games, last in the Big East in scoring. The preseason No. 22 team, the Bearcats had already lost a stunning game at home to Presbyterian and then in overtime to a legit C-USA contender in Marshall. Then by 23 to the Musketeers.

So Cincinnati couldn’t afford to fall flat against Wright State and certainly has to win upcoming home games against Radford, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Chicago State, as well as Oklahoma on Dec. 29 at U.S. Bank Arena in downtown Cincinnati before the Big East opener at Pittsburgh on Jan. 1.

[+] EnlargeMick Cronin.
AP Photo/Skip Peterson"This was good for us to play," coach Mick Cronin said of Cincinnati's first post-brawl game. "It was good to take a road trip."
If the three players suspended for six games adhere to Cronin’s four-step reinstatement process -- apologizing publicly (which was done Monday), anger-management counseling (which started Wednesday), community service and an apology to the UC student body -- then the full roster will be back for the Big East home opener against Notre Dame on Jan. 4.

Wright State coach Billy Donlon said he could tell the Bearcats were playing with a purpose the moment they stepped on the court.

That passion to just play the game and do it with class and sportsmanship was a must Wednesday — and has to continue, since the sport will be watching this team going forward.

“I think everyone was waiting for us to explode and have a mental breakdown,’’ Wright said. “But we just came ready to play.’’

Xavier, which will play Sunday against Oral Roberts without four players (Tu Holloway, suspended one game; Mark Lyons, two games; Dez Wells and Landen Amos, out for four), didn’t have the luxury of getting back on the court so soon after the fight to repair its image.

“This was good for us to play,’’ Cronin said. “It was good to take a road trip. Sometimes we’ve come up on game day like we did at Miami of Ohio. But I’m glad I made the decision to come up [Tuesday night], so we could spend time together and get these guys to laugh."

As for this Saturday's home game against Radford?

“I love our fans and I think it will be nice to be home,’’ Cronin said. “I think our fans will rally around us. I think we’ll see that Saturday.’’