Cincinnati (Allegedly) Kicks Off Nightclub Season in Strong FashionPosted by rtmsf on May 14th, 2012
It’s one of the resolute truths in big-time college basketball. Coaches will tell you that if they can just keep their players on campus, preoccupied with attending classes and getting better each day in the gym, that’s more than half the battle. The most difficult part of keeping them out of trouble is when there is downtime — idle hands are the devil’s plaything and all that. You see it every offseason. The news blotter explodes with player run-ins with the law twice a year — the first period of bad conduct is in April and May, after practices have ended and the semester/quarter is winding down. The next is in August and September, when guys are back on campus but not yet fully committed to practice and school obligations.
Dating back to the Bob Huggins era, Cincinnati is a program whose players have managed to find trouble year-round. Art Long’s infamous fracas with a police horse occurred 17 years ago this month, but other UC players from Donald Little’s kidnapping to Cheikh Mbodj’s head stomp have continued to sully the reputation of Bearcats basketball regardless of time of year. If you believe the latest police report involving UC players submitted Sunday morning by a bouncer at a downtown nightclub, a group of unidentified players “punched and kicked” Brian McLucas after he asked them to leave. From the Fox19 report:
The PLAY bouncer said the players sat down at someone else’s VIP table. “I’m asking you guys to get up. You’re drinking her alcohol. And I said, you guys are making rude racial remarks towards her. And I said you guys need to get up.” The players apparently refused to move and became rather vocal at that point. “I said you guys need to calm down. And whenever I did that I looked to the right of me and right as I looked to the right of me I seen the dude take three quick steps and punch me in the eye.”
Fox19 has not yet released the names of the players allegedly involved, and UC is playing dumb at this point too. One thing is for certain, though. Mick Cronin was brought in six years ago to not only rebuild the basketball program, but also to clean up the thug life image that most of America associated with it. After a 2011-12 season that included one of the ugliest and most embarrassing incidents in the last decade of college basketball (of which UC players were viewed more negatively), Cronin has to be hoping that McLucas’ account of what went down at his club on Saturday night is a serious case of mistaken identity. Otherwise, the perception-is-reality mantra that Cincinnati continues to have zero interest in keeping control of its players on or off the basketball court will remain embedded in the national consciousness.
More to come on this, we’re sure.