As mentioned yesterday, the Cincinnati Bearcats finished this past season last in the AAC in offensive field goal percentage (42.5%). Ouch. Coreontae DeBerry comes off of a Sophomore JUCO season in Hutchinson, Kansas where he shot 69.7% (147 of 211) from the field. Granted, he only averaged 5.7 minutes per game, but in those sub-6-minutes he put up an astounding 11.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.6 rebounds. Unfortunately, Coreontae isn't in Kansas anymore.
Apparently that kind of production isn't Kansas specific for DeBerry though. During his Freshman campaign at Mott, he averaged 9.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in just 12.7 points per game. I have to say, his points per minute production is a little too close to the entire Cincinnati Bearcats' points-per-minute production of the past couple of years. But, as I alluded to earlier, his competition will be bigger, smarter, and faster now.
Name: Coreontae DeBerry
Weight: 275 lbs
Class: Junior (JUCO Transfer)
Hometown: Holland, MI
Jersey Number: 22
When DeBerry first committed to Cincinnati, this is what he had to say to 247.com:
"On my visit we got the chance to eat breakfast and the whole coaching staff was there to meet me that morning," DeBerry said of his initial impression. "Not just one coach, but all of the assistants were there and its very rare that you get the head coach and all of the assistants to come see you."
This is the kind of red carpet treatment that has allowed Mick to lock up some of his big time recruits in his career. Let us hope it pays off in DeBerry's case...
So what can we expect this year?
This is Cincinnati, so the first question is one of defense, which DeBerry has the physical characteristics to master. His hands area laughably large. At practice last week, they were measured from thumb to pinky at a ridiculous 11 3/4 inches. When Coreaontae is flat footed, he can reach 9 feet and 2 inches in the air. His physical stature alone will make opposing offenses make adjustments. Though not as extreme, DeBerry takes the Roy Hibbert approach on defense and simply stands with his hands up. That way he is ready to turn and rebound without having to wait to return to the ground after the shot goes up. Interesting approach.
His offensive game looks pretty basic and simple. He gets position on his defender, gets the ball, and then turns for a small layup or baby hook shot. Here is a look at his senior highlights to see what I mean:
DeBerry is likely going to be given a chance to make an impact this year. The coaching staff is working on his agility and ability to get up and down the floor. The size of this team will make the easy games much easier than in the past. Dominating a team physically is easier and more consistent than having to rely on shooting around them. Hopefully no more barely beating teams like Houston, Rutgers, and USF.
The difference for DeBerry is going to come when the Bearcats face tougher opposition. In the past, DeBerry was simply bigger and stronger than his opponents (imagine being guarded by someone who is 5'1"). Now, his defenders will be able to compete with him physically and may even be taller, bigger, and stronger than him. He will have to add skilled nuances to his game; such as head fakes and up-and-unders (see Hakeem Olajuwon).
I have no idea what to expect from DeBerry this year, so I am not going to commit to numbers. If he can make the necessary adjustments, he could be a force. On a team of good players, with no real All-American contenders, the opportunities are great both individually and collectively for this group.
It could be a really fun year.
-Daniele "Da" Bologna