College basketball is the captain now. Now that the college football season is officially in the books (praise to the rightful national champion), hoops is where it is at. If you haven’t been paying attention, the Cincinnati Bearcats are really good at this sport. They are 14-2 overall, undefeated in conference play and have won seven-straight, including the last six since we last checked in on the player power rankings. Let’s take another look now that two months have passed.
15. John Koz (Previous ranking: 15)
No movement at the very bottom for Koz, who is what you might call a closer, since he only plays in the final minute or so of blowouts.
14. Jackson Bart (13)
Bart is ahead of Koz because he played in three of the last six games. Koz only played in two.
13. Sam Martin (14)
Despite playing in only two games during the last six, Martin at least recorded a field goal attempt.
12. Mamoudou Diarra (12)
Over the last month, the freshman frontcourt contributor played in two games and averaged two points per game.
11. Eliel Nsoseme (11)
Nsoseme also played sparingly as the schedule heated up, getting into six games but playing a mere five minutes per contest. He did have a nice outing against Memphis (five points, four rebounds), but then again, who didn’t?
10. Keith Williams (7)
Williams and Trevor Moore are falling into the same pattern Tre Scott and Nysier Brooks followed last year. Scott got more playing time in the first half of the season only to have fellow rookie Brooks overtake him down the stretch. Williams can still be a key part of the bench, but he has averaged 10.3 minutes per game over the last month and is shooting just 25 percent from three in that time.
9. Nysier Brooks (10)
Brooks shot 61.1 percent from the floor in the last six games and his playing time is increasing, as he played at least 10 minutes in four of the last five. He was held scoreless in five minutes against SMU, but he did have eight points against Cleveland State and seven boards against Temple.
8. Trevor Moore (8)
As mentioned, Moore is becoming more involved. Crushed that word play. Although he only got in for six minutes against SMU, he has played more minutes per game than fellow freshman swingman Williams recently. He had a career-high 12 points against Memphis when he sank 3-of-6 three-pointers. More games like that, please.
7. Tre Scott (9)
This dunk made me move Scott up from No. 9 to No. 7
TREVON SCOTT. POSTER BOY. pic.twitter.com/shD6M9YSny— Award-Nominated OhVarsity! (@OhVarsity) January 7, 2018
Still, not much movement for Scott, who is playing just a bit more than Williams (10.5 MPG) and has really been impressive for his work outside of scoring. He had six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and actually averaged as many points as rebounds per game in the last six. Scott is also sixth on the team in PER and fourth in total rebounding percentage.
6. Justin Jenifer (4)
Even though he is the starting point guard, Jenifer hasn’t shot well or distributed enough to be a top five player on this team. His workload increased some because Cane Broome, who has been perhaps more comfortable off the bench, has been injured. While playing 24 minutes per game as a starter the last six games, Jenifer has shot .333/.313/.722 while handing out 3.3 assists per game. He doesn’t need to be the best scorer on a frontline unit that features Jacob Evans, Gary Clark, Kyle Washington and Jarron Cumberland, but a bit more efficiency would go a long way.
5. Jarron Cumberland (6)
If it wasn’t for all the playing time he gets and the performance he had against Memphis (15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, 6-of-9 shooting), Cumberland would have been demoted. However, we’re still talking about the fourth-best scorer on the roster. However, the sophomore really needs to find the exit to the haunted house of shooting he’s been trapped in. He shot just 38.9 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from three in the last six games and is currently 10th on the team in PER (14.2).
4. Cane Broome (3)
Even though he missed a few games with an ankle issue, Broome has still been an excellent addition. He’s shot 45.5 percent from long range in the Bearcats’ last six games and knocked down more than 90 percent of his free throws in that time. He finally came back against SMU and although he only scored three points, it’s only a matter of time before he’s back to normal, like when he dropped 17 on Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
3. Kyle Washington (5)
At this point we know to expect some streakiness from Washington. He’s had highs all season, including the last six games, but no matter how you slice it, the man has been one of the best players on the team. What has been most encouraging to see recently is his willingness to take and skill at making three-pointers. He hit a critical one against Temple and is shooting 43.8 percent from such distances overall this season. It’s another arrow in his quiver and helps make the Bearcats more dynamic offensively.
2. Jacob Evans (1)
Nobody is playing more minutes (33.5) or scoring more points (13.2) than Evans. Right now he is probably the Bearcats’ best chance to win American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, even if he might not even be the best player on his team. That’s up for debate, of course, and its one that I had with myself while putting together these rankings. Evans had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists against SMU and of course, won a game for the Bearcats just last week.
1. Gary Clark (1)
We could be here forever arguing about whether or not Clark or Evans deserves the top spot, but I’ve got to go home and play Wolfenstein II at some point. Clark just continues to be one of the most consistently excellent players in Bearcats history. He is averaging 12.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, all while shooting .519/.375/.806. He’s a player that doesn’t get enough of the spotlight, especially for what he does outside of basketball. Gary Clark may be a problem, but he’s also a great person.