Basketball is a team sport and a team is only as good as the sum of its players. However, that doesn’t mean all players perform in the exact same way or with the same success. Using that reasoning we can agree that some players were more critical to the Cincinnati Bearcats’ 2-0 start to the season and others were less so. Here’s a look at who falls into each camp, power rankings style.
13. John Koz
The 6’1” freshman walk-on played one minute in Monday’s win over Albany, his only game action of the first weekend.
12. Jackson Bart
A redshirt freshman who attended Oral Roberts before coming to UC, Bart will likely be part of the Bearcats’ bench mob. He played one minute against Albany and, like Koz, recorded a trillion. Shout out to Mark Titus.
11. Zack Tobler
The reigning trillionaire on the roster, Tobler saw action in both games and missed all three of his field goal attempts in three total minutes, although he did produce two rebounds and a steal while sinking 1-of-2 free-throw tries.
10. Nysier Brooks
The freshman big man will take some time to work into the rotation, if he does in a meaningful way this season. He played in 15 minutes total during the first two games and had twice as many fouls (four) as points or rebounds.
9. Kevin Johnson
What is a senior like KJ doing all the way down here? Well when you are a starter that plays 21.5 minutes per game and you are averaging only 2.0 points per contest while shooting 22.2 percent from the floor, you tend to be lower on the totem pole. Its been a rough start to be sure, but if I were to bet on one player to make a big leap in next week’s rankings, it would be Johnson.
8. Tre Scott
Scott has seen very limited time on the floor, playing 16 total minutes in two games. But he has packed a lot into that time, scoring 10 points and securing five rebounds to go with two blocks. Although it is obviously too small a sample size to actually take this at face value, he currently leads the team in PER (38.5).
7. Quadri Moore
Moore appears to have a handle on a defined role off the bench. He only played in nine minutes during the season opening win against Brown but he made his two shots in the game and finished with four points and a rebound. When his playing time got a lift against Albany (14 minutes) his production followed suit (six points, five rebounds).
6. Jarron Cumberland
Hope you are used to Cumberland’s stroke because you’re going to be seeing plenty of it. The much hyped recruit has been given plenty of chances to play already, ranking seventh on the team in minutes (16 pg). He is averaging 7.0 points per game through two games and is shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. He was particularly effective as a shooter against Albany, when he scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
5. Justin Jenifer
Cumberland has been the better scorer, but Jenifer has been doing what old timers like to call “the dirty work.” He is second on the team in assists (3.5 pg) and is coming off a three-steal effort against the Great Danes. He’s also made a solid percentage of the few shots that have come his way, averaging 6 points a contest on 44.4 percent from the floor. Quiet, steady production as Caupain’s backup is what Jenifer needs to contribute. So far, so good.
4. Gary Clark
One good game and one bad one was what UC got out of Clark during the opening weekend. He looked just like the Clark we all know against Brown, flirting with a double-double (14 points, nine rebounds) while showing off his defensive prowess with three steals and two blocks. However, he got into foul trouble against Albany and finished with only two points on 1-of-6 shooting to go with four rebounds. Even with fouls keeping him to 24 minutes, Clark couldn’t help but block two shots and snag one steal. Expect more Brown-type efforts going forward.
3. Troy Caupain
The team’s leader and the American Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year has not lived up to that billing, but he really hasn’t had to. A 13-point-per-game scorer a year ago, Caupain has netted 10 and eight points, respectively, in UC’s first two games. Instead of raining buckets, however, he has been filling the stat sheet elsewhere, handing out 5.5 assists per game to go with as many rebounds (5.5). Plus, his tenacity on defense has gone nowhere, as he already has six steals.
2. Kyle Washington
Its a little unfair, but in the first two games, Washington (along with our No. 1 rated player) have stolen the spotlight from mainstays Caupain and Clark. Washington was incredible against Brown, bullying his way to 16 points and 12 rebounds. He also showed some passing ability from the post (five assists) and blocked two shots. He was less effective on the glass against Albany (three rebounds) but was efficient offensively (13 points on 6-of-8 shooting) even if he did miss 1-of-5 free-throw attempts.
1. Jacob Evans
As if it could be anyone else. Evans has proven he is the best scorer on the roster and will be pushing for the scoring title in the AAC. He got things started with a 23-point outburst against Brown when he made 9-of-12 shots from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He struggled a bit more against Albany, starting off sloppy before closing strong on his way to a game-high 19 points. He also grabbed three steals in the win and was a critical cog in 21-4 run midway through the second half that put UC firmly in control.