#52 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #52
Conference Rank: #5 American

Cincinnati Team Page#52 Cincinnati Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Cincinnati Basketball Tickets

Cincinnati played very well in AAC action last year, going 15-3 and tying the now departed Louisville Cardinals atop the standings. The Bearcats stumbled in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament and lost a close game to Harvard, but a 27-7 campaign is a very good year. However, Coach Mick Cronin has a lot of talent to replace and that could very well end their NCAA Tournament streak at four. It all depends on how quickly this young, yet talented, team can come together.

2013-14 Record: 27-7, 15-3
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mick Cronin
Coach Record: 162-107 at Cincinnati, 231-131 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing Sean Kilpatrick is huge. He averaged 20.6 points per game during his senior season and took all of the big shots for Cincinnati. He knocked down clutch three’s with consistency and even led the team with 2.5 assists per game. Justin Jackson was the only other player to average double figures in the scoring column and now he is gone too. Jackson averaged 11.1 points per game, but the 6-8 forward was much more than just a scorer. He was a solid rebounder and a great shot blocker and was even a pretty good passer from the post as well. The next leading scorer, Titus Rubles, will also need to be replaced. He was never consistent in the scoring department, but did averaged 7.3 points per game and added 6.8 rebounds. Promising big man Jermaine Lawrence has opted to transfer and David Nyarsuk, a 7-1 center, barely played during his senior season.

Who’s In:
Coach Cronin hit the junior college ranks to bring in some experience to a young team. Farad Cobb is expected to take over the point guard duties. Perhaps more important than his ability to run the show is Cobb’s ability to consistently hit jumpers. He should be the best three-point shooting on this team from day one and this is a squad that desperately needs somebody to be a serious shooting threat now that Kilpatrick is gone. Center Coreontae DeBerry and forward Octavius Ellis will be asked to play a big role in the new look frontcourt. DeBerry spent last season at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and was productive when on the floor. At this level he may not be a great scorer, but he is tough and big and will be a force defensively. Ellis played a few games with the Bearcats back in 2011-2012 before ending up at Trinity Valley College in Texas where he earned NJCAA All-America honors. At 6-10 and 230 pounds, he adds another presence in the paint. The Bearcats hope to get some production out of redshirt freshman Jamaree Strickland as well and anything they can get out of incoming freshmen Gary Clark and Quadri Moore would be a bonus. Clark is certainly one to watch, but how many minutes he can earn right away remains to be seen. The last of the newcomers is versatile redshirt freshman guard Deshaun Morman who can play anywhere on the perimeter.

Who to Watch:
With the top three scorers gone, Cincinnati basically returns a few role players who will be asked to step up their production. Shaquille Thomas, a 6-7 junior, and Ge’Lawn Guyn, a senior guard, both started all 34 games last season, so those two will have to take on a bigger leadership role. Thomas, the team’s leading returning scorer with 6.8 per game, is a good slasher who can have some good showings offensively. Guyn is not much of a scorer, yet is a good glue guy. Wing Jermaine Sanders is the best returning shooter on the team and does decent work on the glass too. The senior has struggled with consistency though. Troy Caupain could see a much larger role during his sophomore season if his shot starts falling. He still averaged nearly 20 minutes per game as a freshman. Kevin Johnson showed promise as a freshman as well and is another option for Coach Cronin on the perimeter.

Final Projection:
There are options and talent in Cincinnati. This team could play big with all of the new talent in the frontcourt or play small with Thomas moving up to the four spot instead of the three. Whether or not Coach Cronin really has that luxury depends on which newcomers live up to their potential. It may take a while, but by AAC play, the Bearcats should have the rotation settled and be able to compete with the best the conference has to offer.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Farad Cobb, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Ge’Lawn Guyn, Senior, Guard, 4.5 points per game
Jermaine Sanders, Senior, Forward, 5.7 points per game
Shaquille Thomas, Junior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
Octavius Ellis, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.4 (243rd in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.4 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (260, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.5 (19, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (214, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (198, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (145, 2)
Rebound Margin: 4.3 (41, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (183, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.1 (60, 3)

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#118 Gary Clark


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