Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Oscar Problem

The Oscar Problem is something that I'm sure many Cincinnati fans and people who don't attend games aren't aware. Oscar Robertson is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The Big O played collegiately and professionally in Cincinnati. He is a Cincinnati legend. His jersey is in the rafters, his statue is outside 5/3 Arena, and he is parked courtside nearly every game. That all sounds nice, but the problem is this.

From Josh Katzowitz: "Mick gets in Stephenson's face after a mistake, and Oscar yells at him to sit down."

And again from JK: "Mick is yelling at/instructing his players, and Oscar yells, "Shut up!"

This isn't a one time thing, it's happened all season. There aren't any stories of the Big O yelling at Bob Huggins to shut up and sit down. Or Oscar yelling at Andy Kennedy.  I love Oscar as much as the next man who loves Oscar, but this can't happen. I doubt this will ever be a national story, but it's a local one, it is another distraction for the UC program. It doesn't matter if Oscar is right or wrong in his Mick Cronin criticism, you can't be yelling this at a game. I don't agree with everything that Mick Cronin does, but I wouldn't go to a UC game and yell at him to shut up when coaching. You expect some class from the home crowd, and Oscar is not showing much. I'm not going to put Oscar on blast out of respect for all he's accomplished, and what he means, but it would be nice if he saved all his yelling at Mick for the car after the game, or when he's watching the road games on tv. Mick has said that the Oscar yelling is no big deal, but it's gotta hurt. I don't care what your profession is, if a legend sat across from you and undermined you, you would have some hurt feelings. Just like if you were going to buy a wet suit to scuba dive and the attendant suggested you tried a ladies size. You'd have hurt feelings, you'd have hurt feelings. The problem in my eyes is 2 fold.

  1. Oscar Roberston is a great resource for the basketball program, and as long as he's unhappy with Mick, he's not going to be. The players of today might not be seeped in tradition, but Oscar is everywhere in UC, and at UC. I'm not saying that he's a recruiting tool, but he could be in a mentor type role if he wanted to. Right now, he's ignored for the most part because he's not on the same side as the coaches. It would be great if they could team together, but I'm not sure Oscar is that type of person. Especially with this relationship with Mick.
  2. Oscar popping off is going to get caught on camera, and it's going to become a national distraction. There are cameras everywhere, and they always show Oscar when he's at the games. They are bound to catch him saying something disparaging towards Mick, and eventually I think they will show it on tv. This could end up with Oscar not going to games anymore, which would be a shame because it's cool seeing Oscar at games. 
The situation can be resolved rather easily. Oscar can either, a) stop yelling at Mick, or b) stop going to games if he can't keep his mouth shut. Knowing what I've heard about Oscar, he'll definitely keep going to games and yelling at Mick. There is a reason that Oscar is known as the bitter old man around UC circles. Oscar has gone through a shit load of things that would make any man bitter, but that's no excuse for being a jackass when you are the ambassador for the program. That's no excuse when you are a Cincinnati icon pulling the same act as drunk fans on road trips.

It's naive to think that UC basketball should be one happy family. I don't think that's it too much to say for the Cincinnati family to keep their problems hidden under the rug and kept in private. Mick has enough on his plate than to answer questions about this. Yes, it's a slow Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. It's an important question. At St. John's some question the influence of the old coach Lou Carnesecca in hiring matters. He doesn't heckle, but his influence is felt; and one wonders if the school would be more aggressive about improving the basketball program if not for his input/ perceptions...