2016-2017 Overall Rank: #30
Conference Rank: #2 American
Cincinnati will look to build upon a successful 2015-2016 campaign. The team won 22 games, but did not have much postseason success. After losing to Connecticut in a four overtime thriller in their AAC tournament opener, the Bearcats fell in another close game to Saint Joseph’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The return of Troy Caupain will certainly help Cincinnati get back to the tournament. The senior guard led the team with 13.0 points and 4.8 assists and is a superb leader on the floor. Caupain is a dynamic scorer who is a big time threat to shoot from long range, but also is very effective attacking the basket and finishing or finding a teammate.
2015-16 Record: 22-11, 12-6
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mick Cronin
Coach Record: 203-125 at Cincinnati, 272-149 overall
Four key contributors from last year’s rotation are gone though. Farad Cobb was the team’s most dangerous and consistent outside shooter, connecting on 39.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. A trio of losses in the frontcourt will hurt. Octavius Ellis averaged 9.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during his senior season. Shaq Thomas was a fellow starter in the frontcourt during his senior season. The 6-7 forward averaged 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds and did a lot of the unnoticed dirty work in the paint. Coreontae DeBerry was the bruiser in the paint. He averaged just 14.7 minutes per game, but was very productive during that time.
There are only two incoming freshmen, but Coach Mick Cronin has three other forwards with a little bit of experience coming into the program. Jackson Bart and Tre Scott are both redshirt freshmen. Scott is a versatile 6-8 forward who should be able to crack the regular rotation. The more experienced option is North Carolina State transfer Kyle Washington. The 6-9 junior averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds with the Wolfpack two years ago and has had some very good games against very tough competition. With a need for frontcourt players, Washington is ready for a big season. Incoming freshman Nysier Brooks is another big 6-10, 235 pound center who has the potential to at least be a defensive presence in the paint as a freshman. The lone newcomer on the perimeter is Jarron Cumberland. He is a major scoring threat from everywhere on the floor and will get the opportunity to start at the shooting guard spot.
Who to Watch:
Cincinnati’s failures in the postseason were largely due to an injury suffered by Gary Clark before the conference tournament that he was not able to really recover from before the NCAA Tournament. On the year, the 6-8 junior averaged 10.4 points and a team high 8.8 rebounds. He was named the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year, but is poised for a bigger offensive season as well. Quadri Moore will provide much of the depth in the frontcourt along with the newcomers. Moore may not see too many minutes again this year, but he has the experience and toughness to provide great depth up front.
Jacob Evans, a versatile 6-6 wing, will help replace the shooting lost with Cobb. Last season he averaged 8.4 points per game, but will need to be more consistent with his outside shooting if he is going to be a steady double digit scorer. But Evans can do other things too. He can handle the ball and will use his size to help out on the glass too. Justin Jenifer came to Cincinnati last season with pretty high expectations. He was supposed to fill in for Caupain at the point and perhaps take over the point on occasion so Caupain could play off of the ball. But it did not work out that way in year one. Jenifer averaged just 8.6 minutes per game and will need to grow more this season or Caupain will have to again spend a lot of time on the floor.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Troy Caupain, Senior, Guard, 13.0 points per game
Jarron Cumberland, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Jacob Evans, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 points per game
Gary Clark, Junior, Forward, 10.4 points per game
Kyle Washington, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.3 (168th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (12, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.0 (220, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.3 (13, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.6 (108, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (160, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.5 (144, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.7 (47, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (51, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.0 (35, 5)
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#47 Jarron Cumberland