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Returning Player Refresher: Cane Broome

Broome was an electric jolt off the bench as junior. He could fit there or the starting lineup this season. Either way, he will be one of Cincinnati’s best players.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Not everyone is cut out to be a sixth man, but it certainly seems like Cane Broome was.

When Broome transferred from Sacred Heart to Cincinnati, he might not have done so because he wanted to provide depth off the bench. However, after starting three of the first four games of last season, he found his role as sixth man extraordinaire. The Bearcats went 31-5 and won the American Athletic Conference title, so it sure seems like it worked out.

Now, despite not starting all that much, Broome, a point guard by trade, was still on the floor all the time. He played 698 total minutes, which was only six fewer than regular starter Justin Jenifer. Broome was often on the floor as part of the Bearcats’ crunch-time lineup as well, what with his lightning quick ball handling and explosive offensive ability.

While he never matched the audacious scoring totals he racked up at Sacred Heart, Broome was a constant presence at the top of the scorer’s list for the Bearcats. He tallied 15.4 points per 40 minutes and 23.2 per 100 possessions. His 113.8 offensive rating was above starter Kyle Washington and the fifth-best mark on the team. He scored in double figures 13 times, including a four-game stretch at the end of February.

Always a volume shooter and scorer at Sacred Heart, Broome adjusted his game to a degree with UC. He set a career-high in three-point accuracy (.390) and overall field goal percentage (.463) while also being more selective with his shots. Part of that was there were fewer shot opportunities and plays run for him on offense, but his own restraint was evident in the metrics, as he put together his best seasons in true (.568) and effective field goal percentage (.541).

You would think efficiency like that would belong in the starting lineup, but Broome was kept on the bench partially because of a difference in ball security compared to Jenifer. Broome’s aggressive style sometimes got him in trouble, as he had a 17.8 turnover percentage. He did counter that with improved distribution powers, obliterating his previous career high with a 26.2 assist percentage, averaging 8.2 per 100 possessions, which led the team.

The biggest question mark about Broome’s game was how he would take to UC’s defense-first philosophy. Those concerns were washed away in a flurry of defensive success. Broome is still not going to overpower guys at 6’0” and 165 pounds, but he makes up for that with exceptional speed and quick hands. He averaged 2.7 steals per 100 possessions, which was the third-best mark by a Bearcat, and finished with a more than acceptable defensive rating of 92.8.

Now that Broome has proven he can be a sixth man, he may need to transform himself once again. With the Bearcats replacing three starters and working in a few new guys, Broome may be asked to return to a starting role. There’s also the chance that Cronin will keep him as the offensive leader of the second unit. It’s likely that different lineups will be used early on as Cronin figures out what works best. That should be fine with Broome, who has proven that he can be just as effective as a sixth man as a starter.