In picking your favorite player, the criteria is often tough to nail down. Do they have to have been an award winner? Play for a winning team? Play for more than one year? The questions go on. I think the third round of the Bob Huggins region of the All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament gave some insight.
After the Ed Jucker and Gale Catlett regions each ended up with their No. 1 and No. 2 seeds facing off, the Huggins region will offer up a more surprising final two, with No. 1 Kenyon Martin taking on No. 6 seed Yancy Gates rather than No. 2 seed DerMarr Johnson. Johnson was a freshman All-American but only played one year for the Bearcats. Gates made the 2009 All-Big East rookie team, but never got another regular season award. However, he played for four seasons and was part of the 2012 Final Four squad. In this instance it appears longevity and postseason success won out.
With that written, let’s take a quick look at the results of the third round before venturing on to the fourth.
No. 1 Kenyon Martin defeats No. 5 Jack Twyman
Martin steamrolled his way to this part of the tournament, winning all but one vote in the first two rounds before facing Twyman. K-Mart got a bit more competition from Twyman, who, like Martin, has his number retired, but still not much. With an 85.4 percent to 14.6 percent edge, the best player of the Huggins era will have a chance at winning the region named for his head coach.
No. 6 Yancy Gates defeats No. 2 DerMarr Johnson
Well I already spoiled this result up top, but for specifics, Gates won with 65 percent of the vote. And no, my own favoritism for Gates did not sway the vote.
A No. 1 versus a No. 6 is an oddity to be seen. So behold it in bracket form.
No. 1 Kenyon Martin vs. No. 6 Yancy Gates
Gates will no longer have the edge in career length that he had over Johnson, which could prove to be a major problem against a player so decorated as Martin. Gates is a beloved figure of the Mick Cronin era and easily a favorite Bearcat of mine. However, Martin is a Cincinnati legend with the hardware to prove it. Sometimes the best are also the favorite.
But who am I to say how this will shake out? Gates has already taken out two higher seeds, so maybe Martin will just be the next one. Or not. Either way, it will be up to you.