Great Expectations: Troy Caupain

Troy getting an education - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Caupain had an up and down first season with the Bearcats. At times he looked like the future of the program. Other times he looked out of place not the court. I continue my player-by-player breakdown of 2014-15 expectations with the Bearcats Virginian point guard.

Admittedly, I am big on Troy Caupain. He clocked in his 2013-14 campaign at 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game all in an average of just over 19 minutes. Watching Troy play last year you could see the learning and development on his face (See cover photo for example). You watched him fail over and over again, only to learn and make adjustments, which is exactly what you want in a Freshman.

However, adjustments are not always made in the right direction. Troy started the year with great promise. Many were calling for Ge'Lawn to move to becoming Troy's backup and I was one of them. Our panel thought it and so did you (see the voting for a reminder of your opinions back then). Troy put up double digit points five times after just 18 games into the season. After that he never saw double digit scoring again. Said differently, his season high after January 11, 2014 was 8.

To further my point - In the first 11 games of the season, Troy shot an average of 4.27 shots per game. Not bad for a Freshman playing just under 20 minutes per game. With increasing confidence in the next 11 games he went up to 5.36 shots per game, before dropping way down to 2.92 shots per game in the final 12 games of the season. Troy's FG percentage even decreased over time...

What happened at the end of the season?! Did he loose confidence? Did Mick tell him to dial back the shooting?

I believe none of the above are true. Late in the season Cincinnati moved to a very steady dose of pick and roll between Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson mixed in with some JJ post up sets and the occasional "oh crap the shot clock says 2". Sean slashing and Justin in the post primarily left room for spot up threes from the rest of the team, including Troy. Fortunately, Troy drilled a respectable 32.8% of his 58 shots from behind the arc. Unfortunately; however, Troy worked better early in the season as a play maker. He needed the liberty to have the ball in his hands. To distribute. To cut and slash in the open court and make things happen. Here's a taste of what I mean...

Caupain aka Simba, University of Cincinnati Bearcats (via Logan Hiudt)

After watching that video just you try and not yell "Caupainia!!" next year whenever Troy scores a big bucket... just you try.

I am really unsure as to what to expect from Troy. With Troy you get potential. You get promise that time put in now will pay dividends in years to come. You also get worry and uncertainty. Troy at times appeared rattled by the "bigness" of basketball at this level. You could see it on his face and he even admitted it himself...

Caupain Post UL (via Chad Brendel)

However, even in the video you can see the confidence growing. By the end of the interview he was more and more composed. All this coming after a game he had a whopping zero points on 0-5 shooting, one assist, two turnovers, and three rebounds (Hardly a monumental performance). He needs his confidence to continue to build at a steady pace. Hoping for a Final Four appearance is a little much at this point, but I like where his heads at.

When asked what was his favorite moment of last season he replied with the win over Louisville - even with his personal less than stellar performance (see above for details). That is the kind of guy I want playing for my TEAM.

Troy had a solid first year. I can't see Mick being comfortable with the height deficiency of having Guyn (6-2) and Caupain (6-3) in at the same time. So, I look for Mick to continue to go with the two-headed monster at the point with Ge"Lawn Guyn and Troy taking turns.

I could see Troy taking a big step this year. He is very young (born November 25, 1995!!). That is a time of a lot of growth. I want the ball in Troy's hands next year. Things tend to happen when he has the ball, and those "things" will get better and better with time. He could use a little improvement on the defensive side of the court, but I love the free throw shooting (78.4%). I know free throws are not the most exciting part of the game, but having a point guard who can knock down free throws late is critical.

Though the three ball is not spectacular from Troy, it is reliable. The concern is when he moves in closer to shoot. His jump shot comes in at 18% and around the rim he shoots 50% (click here for chart). Both of these numbers need to improve... drastically. I think, or perhaps hope, these numbers are due to Troys nerves and adaptation period this year as he transitioned to the college level. Also, playing 19 minutes per game doesn't allow you time to settle into the game. Unfortunately, I don't see Troy getting much more than 20 minutes per game next season either. Hopefully, he will be able to adapt.

In the off chance that we decide to run and gun next season, Troy will be the key. In the likely scenario that we resort to half scripted half-court sets, Troy will loose value in his current form. Regardless, I look for Troy to become more of a scoring threat and distributer. Seven points a game with three assists seems about right. However, next year I expect Troy's bigger games to also be Cincinnati's bigger games, and not against teams like Rutgers, USC Upstate, Appalachian State, and Chicago State. Hopefully, those bigger number will come against teams like Xavier, Memphis, UCONN, San Diego State, SMU, and tournament time.

-Daniele "Da" Bologna

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