2016-2017 Season Review
For just the second time in school history, the other being in 2001-2002 when Bob Huggins was the coach, Cincinnati won 30 games. The Bearcats went 30-6 (16-2) en route to a second place finish in the American and a seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The regular season saw the Bearcats go on the road and beat Iowa State, beat crosstown rival Xavier and beat conference champ SMU at home. They fell in the American conference tournament championship game to SMU and received a #6 seed in the Big Dance. For the 5th year in a row, though, Mick Cronin’s crew failed to make it out of the first weekend. They defeated Kansas State by 14 to open up the tournament, but then lost to #3 UCLA by 12 in the round of 32.
The Bearcats didn’t lose much, but the two guys did lose were key players for them. Easily the biggest loss for Cincy was the graduation of their point guard, Troy Caupain. Caupain had an illustrious career as a Bearcat. He finished with the most assists in school history and third in total minutes played. This past season Caupain was a second team All-AAC selection. He averaged 10.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 4.4 APG. Also gone from the shuffle is Kyle Johnson, who also graduated. The guard started all 36 games for the Bearcats and averaged 7.9 PPG and 1.3 steals per game.
Cincinnati returns 8 of their top 10 scorers from a team that already won 30 games last season. 6’6 junior Jacob Evans led the team in scoring with 13.6 PPG, in steals with 1.3 per game and in threes with 69 at a 41.8% rate. He also grabbed 4.1 RPG and dished out 2.7 APG. Kyle Washington was a second team All-AAC selection. The 6’9 senior scored 12.9 PPG, grabbed 6.6 RPG and blocked 1.1 shots per game. 6’8 senior Gary Clark scored 10.8 PPG and led the team in rebounding with 7.8 boards a game. He also blocked 1.1 shots per game. Jarron Cumberland is back after averaging 8.3 PPG and 2.4 RPG. The 6’5 sophomore was named to the AAC All Rookie team during his freshman campaign last season. 6’7 sophomore forward Tre Scott returns after scoring 3.1 PPG and grabbing 2.6 RPG in 10.5 MPG. Justin Jenifer, a 5’10 junior, played 12.7 MPG last season in which he averaged 2.8 PPG and 1.9 APG. 6’8 senior forward Quadri Moore played 7.7 MPG last year, while 6’11 sophomore Nysier Brooks played 8.5 MPG and averaged 1.6 RPG and 0.7 BPG.
The biggest addition for the Bearcats is Cane Broome, who is eligible to play this season after sitting out last season following a transfer from Sacred Heart. The 6’0 junior was an AP Honorable Mention All-American during his sophomore season at Sacred Heart in 2015-2016. Broome averaged 23.1 PPG (eighth in the nation), 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG and had 1.7 steals per game. He has lightning quick speed that allows him to blow right by defenders. As for the 2017 recruiting class, Keith Williams is the most likely to make an immediate impacts for the Bearcats. A 6’5 four star SG, Williams is an athletic wing that can create his own shot, knock down threes and defend. Mamaoudou Diarra is a 6’9 three star recruit. Diarra is a raw prospect that needs to add some size. He likely won’t see much time this season, but could develop into a nice player down the road. Trevor Moore is a 6’5 three star SF that is a lights out shooter, but is raw the other aspects of his game. Rounding out the class is 6’8 three star recruit Eliel Nsoseme. Like Diarra, Nsoseme needs to bulk up before he sees much of a role for this Bearcat team.
Mick Cronin’s teams can always out-defend and out-tough their opponent, but what makes this team so scary is their ability to score in addition to that. This may be the most dangerous offensive team Cronin has had during his tenure at Cincy. The back court of Jacob Evans and Cane Broome could be electric and the front court of Kyle Washington and Gary Clark will be a load for opposing teams. This is a top 15, maybe even top 10 preseason team that will push Wichita State for the American title. The Bearcats are a second weekend type team that could make a run to San Antonio if they get hot at the right time.