"We've never had anything like this before," LaSalle coach Dan Fleming said of the early pledge. "He averaged 6 points and 5 rebounds in the best league in the state and maybe in the country. It opened his eyes as to how hard he has to work and improve. His numbers weren't great but at the same time he did a good job as a freshman."
McElroy isn't just any sophomore from the area. He happens to be regarded as one of the top young players in the state and there's more: McElroy attends the same high school Cronin once played at and graduated from. However, Fleming said the commitment ran deeper than merely school ties.
"These scholarships are too valuable to play that type of game. I think Mick saw his attitude, his hands, his heart … UC's always had tough kids and he'll fit right in there with that type of philosophy."
Plus, like we said, two other local schools were all over him. Cronin decided "we must protect this house."
"Dayton and Xavier really wanted him bad," Fleming said. "They were after him and offered and he wanted to stay local. Those are the main ones around us. He had a good summer in Vegas and Los Angeles and people found out about him and liked him. But the main three were Xavier, Dayton and UC."
Like a lot of high school kids with size, McElroy for the time being, is going to have to earn his stripes in the paint before eventually making the position transition to the wing.
"For us he's an inside-to-outside player but once he gets to college it should be the opposite. We need a guy this year to do his thing inside and be a force and make his high school team really good this year."