Targeting low post help as a major priority for the 2014 class, Mick Cronin and his staff set out to find a wide body...and apparently they were serious about that. Coreontae DeBerry at 6-foot-10 and (listed) 270 pounds certainly fits that description of wide body.
Admittedly, he's a bit of a project. The reports of his offensive game aren't glowing. His Junior College coach acknowledges DeBerry's need to play harder and not take plays off. He also admits his low post game needs some work as well. But, UC has taken all sorts of approaches with big men. They've taken bean poles and tried to add weight in addition to basketball skill (Kelvin Gaines). They've taken 7-footers who needed to add strength and quickness (Biggie McClain). They've taken mammoth players (David Nyarsuk) who had some skill but needed to add strength AND weight. They've tried them all and with limited success. No offense to Yancy Gates, but when he's your benchmark, you haven't had much success down low.
DeBerry at least looks like he'll be able to come in and battle down low and hold his own. He's certainly not going to get pushed around. He probably will lose some of that weight, but will add a ton of strength thanks to UC's amazing strength and conditioning staff.
After initially signing with Detroit out of high school, DeBerry didn't make grades and was forced to go the JC route. He played last year for Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan where he averaged 9.2 points in just 12 minutes per game. That might wave a bit of a red flag as to his inability to stay out of foul trouble, but that's to be determined. His percentages were pretty good though. 61.7% from the field and 69.8% from the foul line. I think we'd all take that and run right now.
It's nice to get that first commit out of the way and get the ball rolling. We saw a bit of that last summer when Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson committed around the same time. UC has three open scholarships for next year's class. Let's hope for at least one more big man.