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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Taques, Apr 6, 2021.
What a slow burn that was
If Curbelo leaves, I go on anti depressants
That’s because John is a bad coach
Wonder if there will be any wiretaps coming out of Illinois in the near future
Would be nice to see him transfer to UK
It'd be nice if you shut the hell up
I still remember when Tim miles passed on hiring chin at Nebraska.
Whew, playing the big boys.
I think Hartford may drop out of DI soon
Whalers and now this? Been a tough 25 years in that town.
Can’t fill the schedule just with shit teams like Kentucky
We are playing Gonzaga in Vegas and should be on the road in the ACC/Big 10 fwiw
Deleted, but top 5 pick....
That's one way of looking at it... doesn't really factor-in risk of injury without being paid over the table
Remember seeing that on svp
Doesn't seem very tight to me
Endorsement deals. Bet Cade and Suggs will make more just due to everyone knowing who they are
That guy sounds like a horrible person. Probably a place for him with the Iowa football program
Holy shit. That’s reckless beyond belief.
back in my day when we collapsed on the basketball court we thanked our coach for building character
Gonna be funny with Illinois coaches and him at UK... he was a bitch boy at Iowa
I can understand the leg lift like an old lady, but he should have more power than they do
Joc with one hell of a bat flip and dugout stare for a pop fly
Great gif opportunity for his disgusted face
Lol you gotta be shitting me
Golf is a cruel sport
I’m legit mad
must be a day ending in -y
That’s awesome yet extremely fishy lol
gonna be a fun team to keep track of
Burn your boat lol
Would someone who has a sub to the athletic mind posting this article for me?
CINCINNATI — It has been a period of reckoning for the Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball program. Since the season ended on March 14, John Brannen has been fired, Wes Miller has been hired and the entire program has undergone some serious reflection and re-evaluation. Jarron Cumberland included.
Cumberland capped a sterling four-year career at Cincinnati during the 2019-20 season, finishing seventh all-time in career points (1,782), assists (415) and minutes played (3,724) and fifth in career victories with 105. He earned American Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors as a junior and back-to-back first-team all-conference nods. Still, his senior season, which coincided with Brannen’s first at the helm, was scuffed up by nagging injuries, bad body language and what was clearly a strained relationship between star player and new coach.
At least initially, Cumberland shouldered the brunt of the blame for that disconnect from the fanbase and media. That perspective was then reinforced when he followed it with some public disapproval of Brannen on social media early this past season, further drawing the ire of Bearcats fans. But in the wake of Brannen’s dismissal and the reported circumstances surrounding it, many of Cumberland’s actions have been framed in a new light.
The often quiet and mercurial UC great is just a few months removed from participating in the shortened G League season, which was played in a bubble in Orlando amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After being drafted 12th overall by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and then traded to the Raptors 905 for the final stretch of the bubble, Cumberland is back in Cincinnati, playing pickup games with current Bearcats players and even working out on campus.
“Just staying in shape, trying to work on my body. Going to the gym every day. There’s always something to get better at,” he said. “The more I’ve matured, it’s made me realize I wish I would have matured quicker while I was younger. Coach (Mick) Cronin used to always say that Father Time catches up quick. I’m seeing that now.”
Cumberland agreed to speak with The Athletic about his experience playing for Brannen and the difficulties of his senior season, as well as his early thoughts on Miller and the future of Bearcats basketball.
What have you been up to recently?
I finally got back home after the G League season and got back into the arena to work out. I even met Coach Miller, and he seems like a great coach. I like him.
How did you get connected with Miller?
I reached out to one of the strength coaches. Well, I reached out to Mike Rehfeldt, actually. This was before I knew anything about him coming back to UC. But Mike put me in touch with one of the strength coaches who was still here. So I was there working out with him and walked upstairs one day and saw Coach Miller. He didn’t even know who I was at first — I think he was surprised to see me. We started talking, and he told me he wants more guys like me back here, all of the alumni. He wants us to feel like it’s our home. He’s excited to coach and wants to get it going. He’s excited to bring Bearcat basketball back. That’s what excited me, hearing that.
I heard you’ve been playing in some of those pickup games at Purcell Marian since you got back in town.
Yeah, the Smith League. It’s like the Deveroes League. Mostly guys who come out of Cincinnati, people who play at UC and Xavier. All the top guys come out and play, and we just get good runs in.
I know Jeremiah Davenport has been playing there, and obviously, you played with him when he was a freshman, but Mason Madsen and Tari Eason played there as well this offseason. Just curious about your thoughts on their game?
Mason can shoot. He’s a really good shooter. When his confidence is up, he can really shoot the ball. Tari has an all-around game — what he can achieve in life as far as basketball, it’s out of this world. He’s gifted.
Is it weird playing against Xavier guys?
(laughs) Uhh, it’s weird playing against all of them now. I feel like I’m old. I feel like I’m old.
Was it strange being around some of those UC players these past couple of months, when all of this turmoil was going on in the background with Brannen and the eventual coaching change?
To be honest, last year, some of those guys were upset with the way I was acting and what I was saying. But the more I was explaining why and they saw what was going on, the more they started realizing who Brannen really was. Then they started telling me I was right. They even started asking why I came back for my senior year in the first place if I could read him that good. But the truth is, I didn’t read him that good, and that’s on me. A lot of people did tell me not to come back. I didn’t listen.
OK, so let’s go back to the beginning of all of this with Coach Brannen at Cincinnati. When did things start to go bad, at least between the two of you, from your perspective?
Well, I had injuries (during his senior season). And I wasn’t getting the benefit of the doubt. But I guess it went beyond that. It’s a team game, and this offense he brought to the AAC, it didn’t work for two years in a row. He promised the fans and everybody we were going to be scoring, he was doing stats on points per possession and all that. But it never really made sense. And then practice was not fun. Practice, we were basically in hell. You ain’t never met hell until you’ve been in Brannen’s practice. Look, practice shouldn’t be “fun,” but fun can be letting kids play three-on-three, five-on-five. But we just played straight defense for three hours. You walk into practice, and your whole mood changes. You don’t want to be there. Coaches should know when it’s time to be locked in and when it’s too much.
This has been an issue and even a debate throughout this entire saga, how tough the practices were. You played for Cronin. He was an intense guy, so most people assume his practices were really grueling, and people assume the same about Bob Huggins before him. You played for both Cronin and Brannen — what was that like? How was it different?
Cronin was an intense coach, and he would make you understand and learn and would discipline you. Brannen, he would try to control you. He would tell you to do this, and you had to do it that way. I mean, we all watched the games. It felt like he was doing all of it for his own good.
It was only the third game of your senior season when you were benched against Alabama A&M for what Brannen described as a “coach’s decision.” There had been some signs and rumblings of strife between the two of you prior to that, but at that point, the narrative really took off. What happened there?
I got benched for telling him I didn’t like our offense. And he eventually changed it in the middle of the season. Our offense became me at point guard playing pick-and-pop with Tre (Scott).
So you believe you got benched because you told him you didn’t like the original offense?
I told him I didn’t like the offense, and really, I wasn’t running through it in practice.
Yeah, it seemed like Brannen’s perspective at the time is that you weren’t working hard enough in practice. I’m gathering from your perspective, that’s because you didn’t agree with the culture or style of play?
I didn’t agree with our offense at all. He just had me cutting. It did change. But listen Justin, he had a meeting with me and said, “Let’s get rid of this first half of the season and start over.” He had a stat sheet — I promise you, I cannot make this up — he had my stats from the first half of the season. He burnt it in the office.
Lit it on fire?
Yeah. He burned my stats off in the office and said, “Let’s start over.” And this is the craziest thing. He had an urn, like for when people get cremated. He said, “Help me pick up some of these ashes and put them in here. Now take this. I just want you to remember this. From now on, it’s going to be the best time.”
He gave it to you?
Yeah. I don’t know if I still have it. I’m sure I threw it away.
Was stuff like that common?
We had so many meetings. Me, Tre, Keith (Williams), him asking us what it was going to be like today. I don’t know why I kept getting called into the meetings. I know what I had to do every day. Why was it always us? Why wasn’t it any of his players, when they weren’t producing, weren’t making it through practice? Honestly, that’s why some of the guys left. They left because they didn’t feel appreciated. It was a bunch of bullshit.
You mentioned you didn’t get a good read on him at first, and we saw a lot of that even with players he recruited leaving or entering the transfer portal this past season. I have to imagine he was different in the recruiting process, or when he was trying to get you trying to get you to come back for your senior year.
Way different. Way different. Even with the fans. The fans couldn’t even see it. If he told the fans this, he was doing another thing. One thing people never appreciated about Cronin is that Cronin cared about the fans and made sure we went out every game and played for the fans, made sure we fought. Brannen, it was all about himself.
OK, so that’s the cultural, philosophical side of things. What about all of this that has come out about how crazy and dangerous some of the practices were, with guys passing out — was it like that during your senior year too? I know Prince Toyambi’s wife tweeted about the incident that led to him getting heart surgery, claiming it was due to extreme conditioning. I’ve heard that was a scary moment.
At the time, Keith had already gone down because he caught a cramp or something. Me and Jaevin (Cumberland), we barely ever made it through those things. But Prince, he was just passed out and laid out on the ground. He went to the hospital, and this was early in the morning. We were up at like 6 a.m.
I was throwing up nonstop, every workout. One time, we were running on the track, and one player had to make a certain time. And as he’s trying to make it through the finish line, he’s throwing up. Not stopping, nothing. Coach wasn’t worried about his health. He liked that. Cheering him on because he’s running while he’s throwing up.
College basketball, if you want a job out of it, you have to take it seriously, but these players are still young. These are 18- to 20-year-olds. And you’re just a soldier getting all of your commands — wake up, run, do this, do that.
(Brannen’s attorney Tom Mars declined to comment Tuesday night)
Were things bad the whole time? For instance, after you had that meeting where he burned your stats, or once you started playing well or the team was winning late in the season, did things change at all?
No. We would have a meeting, and then guess what? We would go back to the same bullshit. It had to be his way, or we weren’t done until it went his way.
During your Senior Day press conference, someone asked about one memory from that season you will never forget. This was just days after Brannen’s father had passed away, and you said your memory was walking off the floor after a win and shaking his dad’s hand. Was that statement from you genuine?
Yes. I said it. That’s when he lost his dad. Knowing his dad was there supporting us — he was a huge fan. He wasn’t very healthy then, but he was a huge fan, and he really loved us, loved the game.
I think that’s one reason why it was difficult for fans — and I’ll admit, the media too — to understand how bad things were. I include myself in that. Because whether it was with you last year or when players started leaving this offseason, there’s this assumption that if things were really that bad, you guys would have said something. But from talking to a bunch of people about all of this the past couple of months, and talking to you right now, I realize that would have been really tough for you guys to do, considering the position you were in and the culture in place.
I mean, come on — if I were the one who said something? It would have been all about Jarron’s character, me being selfish. You saw what people thought about me last year when all of this was happening. It was his word versus mine. And I had been there for three years by that point. That’s what hurt me. I felt like he was talking bad about me and fans were believing that. It was wild. Why didn’t Cronin ever have any problems like that with me? Cronin never had to kick me out of practice. Never had a problem with my character. Nothing. Yeah, I may have gotten into a fight before or got in trouble for stupid college stuff, but nothing with basketball, with the coaches.
In retrospect, it seems now as if all of that had a pretty significant impact on you.
It was the worst. And I didn’t handle it well. Take Mike, I’m not sure if he would agree with this or not, but he probably would. I was so disrespectful to Mike my senior year because I felt like Brannen made all of them change. Mike, the Monster Factory, that’s what he does. Let him be a strength coach. Coaches coach. Let the strength coach do his thing. Mike is the best in the game. I tell everybody that. Coach Miller knows.
To be honest with you, after talking to Coach Miller, I see some Cronin in him, the discipline, but it’s all good. I’ve met some of the staffers, they’re good guys. There’s nothing but respect for UC. That’s the school I played for, that’s the school I love. But watching it get torn up because people weren’t seeing what was really going on, it was crazy
So I’m guessing you weren’t surprised by how any of this played out?
Not at all. Now that the other players finally saw it, they realized I had been fighting for what I believed, what I thought was the truth and fighting for Bearcats basketball. That’s what I was fighting for. I’ve been a winner. I won at Cincinnati. And that last year Brannen shows up, and suddenly my character changes, I’m a bad guy, I lose games, I don’t play some games? It really wasn’t a fun year. I was fighting against it, while other players were trying to buy in and believe in what Brannen was trying to do. But I knew it was bullshit. Then they all saw it happen again this year, plus COVID. They go to practice for three hours, they go home, they can’t see their families, friends, nothing.
Do you feel vindicated by how this played out?
Yeah. I wasn’t going for that, but yeah, at the end of the day, I guess I was proven right. Not to sound cocky or selfish, I just want people to understand and appreciate what we went through. Going through my senior year, I felt like I was just alone by myself.
You’ve met Coach Miller and are back on campus working out, but is it tough to feel the same connection to the program once you’ve left and there is a different coach, someone you didn’t play for? Or do you still feel that same school pride for UC?
I feel the pride. When I left, it felt like a lot of people were leaving UC, and it was sad. It felt like it was going down. I feel like Wes is bringing back Cincinnati basketball. And when I feel that, it’s nothing but joy.
What was the G League experience like for you in the bubble?
It was a big learning experience. That whole month being in the bubble, I was blessed to be there. It’s definitely a process. It might not be your time right now, but you gotta keep working to show that it will be your time.
It seems like they are still trying to figure out what the next season of the G League will look like. Have you thought at all about playing overseas?
The G League, that’s the best opportunity to get to the NBA. So I feel like I have to prove myself there, play my game. But if there come opportunities to play overseas at some point, I’m open to that.
I realize it’s tough to do while you’re still playing, especially if you go to another country, but do you hope to remain a part of Bearcats basketball?
I’m always going to be involved, always going to be around. I’m an OG now, right? I’m an OG now, just one of the old heads that set their legacy at UC. So I’m wanting to see nothing but good things there.
Very nice get for Arkansas
This shouldn’t be a surprise I mean have you seen duke and Georgetown’s programs lately
Can’t fault a kid for wanting to play for his old man.
Good chance that might be UWM's highest ever recruit
I think we know what to get devine
$100 isn’t bad