It's not like he wasn't allowed to ever touch a basketball, but not playing in a single game last year had to be difficult for redshirt freshman Deshaun Morman - whether he acts like it or not.
Head coach Mick Cronin didn't hint towards any difficulty last year in his press conference this week, though. "In my experience, the guys that redshirt - in their senior year, everybody's saying 'Thank God, he's still here.' But I think he definitely learned from it."
Name: Deshaun Morman
Weight: 190 lbs
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Jersey Number: 1
It's hard to imagine Morman's senior year when he hasn't taken the floor as a freshman yet, but if his offseason progress is any indication of what's to come, we'll all be thanking someone - deity or not - for his contributions to the Bearcats. Just check out this tweet/photo from Michael Rehfeldt, the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the men's basketball team:
Congrats to Deshaun Morman @MormanDeshaun joining the 12 foot and above club ( 45" Max Vert a 6.5" improvement) pic.twitter.com/8mumZ2g7MU— Michael Rehfeldt (@RehfeldtU) September 30, 2014
Get it, son.
So what can we expect this year?
A lot of defense and a ton of hustle. As if Cronin's typical, hard-nosed defense wasn't good enough, this kid's going to give opposing coaches nightmares after film study. My favorite quote on Morman comes from Cronin as he describes one of the first times he saw Deshaun play:
"He guarded the other team's best player for 94 feet and the whole game. People don't do that in AAU. He was dogging that guy..."
Ah - the key to Cronin's heart - and UC basketball.
So because Morman's strengths are defense and his never-ending motor, he'll see the floor this year. He's a strong finisher at the rim, and might be the best bet to break several fast break dunks for the Bearcats. As much as Mick has talked about it in the past, the Bearcats haven't really been an up-and-down transition-type team - but Morman could help break that mold.
It's hard to deny playing time to someone that locks down the opposing team's best perimeter player. And if he turns steals into layups? He won't even remember sitting out last year.