Once every four years, head coach Mick Cronin takes his University of Cincinnati men's basketball program abroad for a series of extra practices and scrimmages - something this year's team, no doubt, will benefit greatly from.
I've heard there will be some BearcatsTV postings throughout the week - hopefully offering a recap of the Bahamas action, but I don't know how many reporters were sent on assignment (read: vacation) with the team. Case in point: Tommy G of GoBearcats.com will be scoping out football camp all week at Higher Ground, so not even he will be in attendance with Cronin and crew.
We've harped on the number of newcomers featured on the 2014-2015 iteration of the Bearcats, so here's what I'm looking for coming out of the next week:
- How the guards are mixed and matched together. Ge'Lawn Guyn and Troy Caupain spent last year practicing and playing on the same squad, so while I'm curious how Mick will use them both at the point this year, I have a feeling he's going to focus more on the other guards on this year's roster: Kevin Johnson, Deshaun Morman, and Farad Cobb. Who gets matched with whom while on the court together may signal what to expect this fall.
- Overall lineups. Sure, everyone cares about how many points each player gets, but I'm here to tell you the boxscores mean nothing in these exhibition games. The number of minutes each players logs and how good/bad their opponents' defense is will cater to the scores. I'm curious whether Jermaine Sanders fills time at the 2-guard or how well 6-10 Octavious Ellis plays next to 6-10 Coreontae DeBerry.
- Back in action. How well will Morman and Jamaree Stickland respond after sitting out the last year? Heck, Strickland hasn't really played competitive basketball for 3 of the last 4 years. They'll obviously knock some rust off, but pay attention to whether Mick mentions them in any interviews.
The Bearcats first official exhibition game is this Friday, August 15 against the PJ Stingers. We'll post updates as we have them.