Sophomore guard Justin Jenifer would be unidentifiable to most college sports fans outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, and that's not due to lack of potential. The guard from Gwynn Oak, Maryland was a highly sought after name at the high school level, ranking in the top 50 point guards in the country during his days at Millford Hill Academy. As the story goes for most freshman newcomers, the four-star recruit went from one of the best players in his home state, to the bottom of the college depth chart. Limited playing time due to a Bearcats basketball team loaded with guards delayed Jenifer's ability to show the fans what he is all about.
Averaging eight and a half minutes of playing time per game in his freshman year, Jenifer didn't have much of a chance to put up any eye-grabbing numbers, but he did show us that he has a lot of talent and potential. In his first year as a Bearcat, he averaged 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Hardly overwhelming numbers, but keep in mind that Jenifer was playing for less than 10 minutes most nights. In limited time, the sophomore guard has shown the ability to score somewhat effectively, shooting 36% from the field and 33% from beyond the 3-point arc. Jenifer also has proven that he can keep the ball moving on offense, which is key in Mick Cronin's gameplan. He has flashed potential to become a dangerous offensive threat in the future, which is exactly what the Bearcats need.
Jenifer’s sophomore season will be a proving ground for him to earn more minutes on a deep UC roster. Guards Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson and Jacob Evans will all have prominent roles, plus the addition touted freshman Jarron Cumberland means Jenifer will have to make a large impact to squeeze his way into a fair time share with the large cast of backcourt performers on the Bearcats roster.
For his sophomore season, expect Jenifer to have a increased role. He has shown promise with both his shooting and playmaking ability. Although the young guard will have hard competition to battle with for playing time, it stands to reason that Jenifer will earn his fair share of time on the court. If his playing time gets a push in the right direction, its not hard to imagine that such a talented guard could make a positive impact for the 2016-17 season.