Class of 2014
The Bearcats appear to be casting a very wide net with these last two scholarships. Obviously high school and JUCO kids are the main priority because of their immediate eligibility, assuming they can pass the NCAA clearing house. Torian Graham was the hot name last time out, but that will not be happening. The JUCO guard will be headed to Houston where he is Kelvin Sampson's first commit.
So, the question is who is available for the Bearcats to go after? Mick and the boys took an early run at Devonte Graham after his release from Appalachian State was granted but didn't make his cut. There were vague rumors that they took a look at Elijah Stewart after he was granted his release Loyola Marymount. Its safe to assume that will come to nothing, but who is next.
A safe place to look is among those who have recently been granted releases from previously committed prospects because of coaching changes. The Cunzo Martin departure at Tennessee has lead to the Vols releasing former commits Larry Austin and Jordan Cornish. Austin is the intriguing one for my money. I have no idea if the Bearcats are going to make a run, but he is a scoring point guard who plays excellent defense, which makes his skill set a good fit for Cronin.
Another name that has cropped up is Mitchell Wilbekin who was just released from his LOI by Tulsa and is back on the market. The only thing that links Wilbekin the younger to Cincinnati is this tweet.
I expect UVa, USF, Boston College, Wake Forest & Cincinnati to quickly reach out to Mitchell Wilbekin who Tulsa just released from his NLI— Russ Wood (@RussHoops) April 22, 2014
On the surface of it Wilbekin could fill a role as an off the bench point guard and floor stretcher, but it seems an overwhelming likelihood that he follows Danny Manning to Wake.
One thing is clear with this late signing period, Mick and Co are casting a very wide net.
The most interesting name among the fifth year transfers is Byron Wesley who is looking to leave USC at the conclusion of their semester. He already has an initial list, and the Bearcats are on it.
Dozens of high-profile coaches from across the nation have called to express interest in Wesley during the past week alone. He is still in the process of setting up in-house visits for later this week but he has tentatively whittled his list to eight prestigious programs: Cincinnati, Baylor, Indiana, Providence, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State.
According to his father the top three are Gonzaga, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. Adding Wesley would be an immediate injection of quality at the wing. I really like Kevin Johnson for the long term, but there will be huge growing pains in the process of him going from being a 10 minute a night player to a 25 or 30 minute a night player. If Mick can land him Wesley would make that transition easier.
Another name that has cropped up is Jarvis Haywood who is transferring from Jacksonville in search of more high profile opportunities. The Bearcats are going to get him on campus in the coming weeks.
Cincinnati will host JU transfer Jarvis Haywood (@ThatBoySmoove4) on May 2, he told ESPN. Soph. G also considering NC St, Temple, Richmond.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 18, 2014
The drawback to Haywood is that he is not a graduate transfer and thus can not give the Bearcats help this year. But the good news that he already has proven himself to be an extremely capable shooter at the college level. He shot nearly 51 percent from the field and over 41 percent from three as a sophomore. That's huge for a team that has struggled to space the floor for years because of a lack of shooting, even if they have to wait a year to use it.