UC basketball seeks redemption

The Cinderella Bearcats?


With the college basketball season in full pre-season mode, the Cincinnati Bearcats have landed some key recruits that could benefit them well this year. The Bearcat’s returned from their Canadian tour a couple weeks ago going 3-1, facing some of the best Canadian college teams. Having lost in the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament, the ‘Cats look to make a statement this year as they open up at the brand new Fifth Third Arena versus Ohio State.

Recruiting has been a hot topic around campus for the Bearcats as just recently they landed ex-Xavier commit, Samari Curtis. Curtis announced his de-commitment via twitter on August 1st. Out of Xenia Ohio, Curtis was rated the top shooting guard in the state and number 100 overall in the class of 2019.

Just days later, Curtis announced his commitment to Cincinnati to play basketball. Although Curtis will not be on the court this upcoming season, Bearcat fans look forward to seeing him put some points up on the board in 2019.

Excitement has also come from the recent offer of Kenyon Martin Jr., son of Kenyon Martin. Kenyon Martin was part of the 1999-2000 team where the Bearcats were ranked #1 in the nation. According to 247sports Kenyon Martin Jr. has several offers including: Cincinnati, West Virginia, Georgetown, Florida State, Oklahoma and several others. This would be a huge addition to the squad next year as Martin is part of the class of 2019.

Image taken from the Xenia Daily Gezette
Samari Curtis (Xenia Daily Gezette)

Some standout players this year will include: senior Cane Broome, junior Jarron Cumberland, senior Justin Jenifer, JUCO transfer Rashawn Fredericks, and freshman Logan Johnson. As the bearcat’s look to redeem themselves after last year’s disappointing lost to Nevada in the round of thirty-two, Cronin will have look to his seniors for leadership.

Another big time performer that will help the ‘Cats out this year is freshmen Logan Johnson. Johnson is a three-star rated point guard out of St. Francis High School in Mountain View, CA. The 6′-2″ point guard has a very explosive game as he likes to push the ball up the court and facilitate. Logan Johnson’s brother, Tyler Johnson currently plays in the NBA for the Miami Heat. Tyler played in 72 games this year averaging 11.7 points per game.

Rashawn Fredericks is another guy who made a name for himself while playing significant minutes during the Bearcats’ Canadian tour. Fredericks averaged 8.7 points per game in Canada and seemed to work well with the others guys around him. I’m not sure where Fredericks will stand as far as starting or coming off the bench, but at 6′-6″ he provides a perfect wing or small forward the Bearcats need scoring wise. According to 247sports, Fredericks visited both Arkansas and Cincinnati after playing two years at Motlow State Community College while averaging 17.7 points per game.

Jarron Cumberland (Image taken from Zimbio)

Junior Jarron Cumberland will be the go to guy this year, as he has seen the court quite a bit his past two seasons. Cumberland was the sixth-man his freshmen year and really made a name for himself when he scored fifteen points to help to ‘Cats secure an 86-78 victory versus Xavier in 2016/2017 Crosstown Shootout. Cumberland is an NBA prospect similar to first round draft pick Jacob Evans III of last year’s team. Cumberland is one of the best defensive players in the American Athletic Conference and brings a level of scoring that is almost unstoppable with his strong built frame.

Don’t count the Bearcats completely out of the race this year… there could be a “Cinderella story” brewing.