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May 21, 2007 - Image 15

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-05-21

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Monday, May 21, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

15

7-footer verbally commits to Blue

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Erik Saroney, men's basketball
coach at Henninger High School
in Syracuse, N.Y, got a call in the
summer of 2004 from Ben Cronin's
father. Cronin was home-schooled
and had just finished his eighth-
grade year. He had grown pretty
tall and his father was entertaining
the thought of enrolling him in the
public high school, allowing him
to play on the basketball team, and
wanted his son to meet the coach.
Saroney asked how tall the
youngster was and the father said
about 6-foot-8.SoSaroneyassumed
that really meant 6-foot-5.
But when Cronin came in, to
Saroney's delight, he was 6-foot-10.
Now 7-feet tall with his shoes
off according to Saroney, Cronin
also thrilled Michigan men's bas-
ketball coach John Beilein enough
to become Beilein's first recruit for
2008, picking Michigan over Syra-
cuse, among other schools.
"I really started considering
(Michigan) because of Beilein,"
Cronin said. "It's a great combo
- coach Beilein and Ann Arbor. I
love the school and 1 love coach
Beilein."

Cronin can't sign a letter of
intent until November, and because
he has just verbally committed,
Beilein can't comment on him.
Saroney usually took Hen-
ninger to Beilein's team camps
in the summer when Beilein was
coaching West Virginia. After the
2004 camp, one of Beilein's assis-
tants told Saroney that Cronin had
caught Beilein's eye.
"(The assistant said) 'We'll be in
touch because these big guys, they
tend to come around late. You'll be
surprised how good this kid might
get,' " Cronin said.
Henninger didn't go to the camp
the next summer because it coin-
cided with the school's graduation
ceremony. But when the team went
back last summer, Beilein really
began to strongly pursue Cronin.
Cronin, who describes himself
as a pure, low-post center with a
good touch, averaged 12 points, 12
rebounds and eight blocks last year.
Saroney said Cronin is an excel-
lent passer with good court vision.
Although he wasn't called on to do
it much this past season, Saroney
also said Cronin is becoming a good
perimeter shooter for his size.
Both Cronin and Saroney
agreed Cronin's biggest need is

to get stronger. To that end, Cro-
nin is working with a professional
strength coach.
"He's going to be a great fit for
coach Beilein's system," Saroney
said. "By the time it's said and done,
I think he's going to be a great play-
er in Coach's program."
Cronin didn't start playing bas-
ketball untilhigh school, opting for
hockey as a youngster. On the ice,
he was a defenseman and he said
he brought a hockey mentality to
the court on the defensive end. But
since he focused on just defense
while playing hockey, he had to
grow accustomed to playing on
both ends of the hardwood.
Asked what the main thing Cro-
nin had to work on his first year of
playing basketball, Saroney replied
"everything." Since he was so raw,
Cronin played junior varsity his
freshman year.
It didn't take Cronin long to fit
in at Henninger, which is a diverse
inner-city public high school,

accordingto Saroney.
"Ben being home-schooled and
all that, he came right in and had
absolutely zero problems with sit-
ting in with anybody - teachers,
kids, hall monitors, cafeteria work-
ers," Saroney said. "There's really
nobody that doesn't like the kid,."
Saroney pointed to not just the
number, but the variety of peo-
ple who showed up to Cronin's
press conference last Wednesday
announcing his decision tocome to
Michigan. Administrators, teach-
ers, janitors, teammates and other
students all came to support him.
"He's a very witty kid," Saroney
said. "When you would interview
him or people will first meet him,
they'll think he's kind of a shy, laid
back kind of kid. But he's not. (He's)
very witty, very outgoing, excellent
with people, just a great kid to be
around."
- Mark Giannotto
contributed to this report

Preakness
more than
just horses
... But the mayhem was not limit-
ed to just the drunk people. Even the
sober Baltimore County policemen,
when asked by good looking college
girls, took and were a part of howev-
er many pictures in whichever poses
the girls wanted.
Then those same girls got tricked
by the guys they were with to sit on
top of their shoulders
"to get a better view
of the track." When
that happened, the
males in the infield
united in a chant of
"show your tits."...
MARK GIANNOTTO
MORE ONLINE
ON THE PREAKNESS
Rl Check out the rest
of the story online
(michigandaily com)

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