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Eliel Nsoseme Season in Review

The 6’9” freshman played in 29 games, but he still didn’t get a real shot.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Cincinnati Bearcats vs Nevada Wolf Pack Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 0.9 points per game
  • 1.7 rebounds
  • 0.4 blocks
  • .524/NA/.200

It was an odd first season for Eli Nsoseme with the Cincinnati Bearcats. Whereas fellow freshman big man Mamoudou Diarra only played in seven games, Nososeme was used in 29 contests for the American Athletic Conference champions. But despite getting into so many games, he was primarily used for one thing and one thing only: rebounding. That one skillset is why he worked himself in as the fifth frontcourt option behind Gary Clark, Kyle Washington, Nysier Brooks and Tre Scott. He ranked second on the team in total rebound percentage (16.7) and first in offensive rebound percentage (14.0).

However, you could just wave your hand at that production since it came in an extremely small sample size. Nsoseme logged a total of 166 minutes across those 29 games, good for only 5.7 per game. He played fewer minutes than Keith Williams and more than half as many as Brooks. So aside from rebounding, Nsoseme just provided head coach Mick Cronin with someone he could get in there for short bursts to give the first two tiers of the rotation a second to rest. That is evident in the fact that Nsoseme averaged only 0.7 field goal attempts per game and scored less than one point a contest. He was still roughly average offensively (98.3 offensive rating) and illustrated his defensive potential, with a defensive rating of 89.2 and the second-highest block percentage on the team (7.8).

The Best of the Best

Nov. 10, 2017 vs. Savannah State

Just about everybody got a chance to shine in this contest. Nsoseme had a rough shooting night (1-for-3 from the field, 1-for-5 from the free-throw line), but he ripped down a career-high eight rebounds and also blocked a shot.

Dec. 2, 2017 at Xavier

If you play well against Xavier, you’re doing it extremely accurately. Nsoseme did not score but he blocked four shots and pulled down three boards in eight minutes.

Dec. 31, 2017 vs. Memphis

Nsoseme scored more points in this contest (five) than he had in the previous nine combined. Those five points are still a career-high and he added four rebounds to the cause.

For Next Year

Nsoseme is already a good rebounder and rim protector. Maintaining that level of success across more minutes will be what determines his fate, which right now seems like a role as a big man off the bench once again. If he can improve his offensive efficiency, especially at the line, he’ll be even better that that.