Cane Broome isn’t exactly unfamiliar to the Cincinnati Bearcats. He was with the team last season, as he waited out the one year after he transferred from Sacred Heart. But that’s a technicality. For all intents and purposes, Broome is new to Bearcats basketball, at least in a live, regular season setting.
Despite being a fresh face, Broome will be on the court a lot in his first season as a Bearcat. Much in the same way Kyle Washington fit into the starting lineup right away last season, Broome figures to be positioned as the starting point guard from November to March. He will bring something new to the role, which he is inheriting from Troy Caupain. Whereas Caupain built his way up over four years, Broome is expected to hit the ground running. The play style of each player is also at odds, with Caupain more of a tough-nosed contributor who ground out games on both ends of the floor while Broome is an electric playmaker, especially from a scoring standpoint.
It is that scoring that made Broome such an important addition for Mick Cronin on the transfer market. We’ve seen the Bearcats shift their recruiting toward more offensively gifted players recently. Jacob Evans and Jarron Cumberland, not to mention Keith Williams and Trevor Moore, are all wings with more natural offensive skill than defensive. Broome, who was the Northeast Conference Player of the Year in his last season with Sacred Heart, certainly fits with this shifting culture. He averaged an incredible 23.1 points per game during the 2015-16 season and he did so by scoring from everywhere. He can shoot the deep ball (2.2 threes per game), although he needs to improve his efficiency from that range, and he also slashes to the basket and isn’t afraid to attack in the paint and get to the line. He averaged 6.8 free throws per game as a sophomore with the Pioneers.
On a more granular level, Broome graded out well. His 20.7 PER and .554 true shooting percentage in 2015-16 were both strong marks, plus its worth noting that he was run into the ground, with a usage percentage of 31.2, which would have led the 2016-17 Bearcats by four points.
Broome now needs to show that he can be an effective player with more talent around him. Since he constantly had the ball and the green light to let it fly, he didn’t really facilitate an offense in the way a more traditional point guard would. He averaged only 2.7 assists per game in his career with Sacred Heart. With scorers like Evans, Cumberland and Washington flanking him, Broome will have to be a willing passer as well as a shooter.
For as much as Broome represents a changing of the guard (puns!) offensively, Cronin is not going to accept a huge letdown on defense. Broome won’t be able to defend the larger guards in the American Athletic Conference, as he’s only 6’0 and 160 pounds. Plus, he posted a defensive rating of 107.9 as a sophomore. But he has quick hands and reads passing lanes well. His ability to create turnovers should help make up, at least partially, for his lacking on-ball defense. In addition, expect Cronin to adjust his scheme to hide Broome a bit on that end of the floor.
Few programs can lose a player like Caupain and not skip a beat. The Bearcats aren’t going to be unaffected. Broome may need some time to gel with the Bearcats, but perhaps not as much as you’d think considering he has been with the team for a year already. Broome’s brand of basketball is different than what we’ve seen at the point from UC the last four years, but that isn’t a bad thing, especially if he’s pouring in buckets like he did at Sacred Heart.