Mick Cronin Jan 14, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona (3) listens to head coach Mick Cronin during the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches at any level are usually willing to do almost anything in order to motivate or encourage their team to succeed. And UCLA Bruins head coach Mick Cronin is no different, using quite a weird prop to inspire his team: a dog bone.

This season, Mick Cronin has brought a two-foot-long dog bone into to the program as a source of motivation for his team.

“When they throw the food out at night from a restaurant, the law of the alley says that the hungry dog’s going to get the bone,’’ Cronin explained to USA Today. “A hungry dog’s going to go fight and get the bone and take all of this clawing and scratching because he’s starving. That’s how you have to be as a team.’’

The “deflection bone,” as Cronin calls it, is to help encourage and reward players who make hustle plays like deflected passes, blocked shots, the recovery of blocked shots, charges taken and steals

At the end of each game, the player with the most deflections gets to sign the bone. At the end of the season, the player with the most deflections gets to keep the bone.

It’s a weird tactic, but you can’t argue with the results: UCLA is currently ranked No. 2 in terms of defensive efficiency.

Maybe more teams need a dog bone.

[USA Today]