After 13 years as Cincinnati’s head basketball coach, Mick Cronin left to accept the job at UCLA. As a result, the program underwent a bit of a shake up and the stability and off-season calmness fans had gotten used to, no longer existed. A level of uncertainty and being uncomfortable is always part of a coaching transition.
With two guys graduating (Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome), Bearcats fans saw 5 additional players leave the program, via transfer.
A look back at the careers of some of these former Bearcats and where they ended up.
Nysier Brooks (to Miami)
Brooks came on strong last season and this is the transfer that, personally, hurts me the most. Brooks started all 35 games (something only Jarron Cumberland and Trevon Scott did too). He averaged 8.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg, a significant increase from averaging 2 ppg and 2 rpg in each of his first two seasons. He finished third in the AAC with 1.5 blocks per game, which earned him the honors of being named Cincinnati’s defensive player of the year and was also named one of the most improved players, due to his jump from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
Brooks wasn’t great, but he was a quality big man, who would have been entering his senior season and could have provided some solid minutes down low and veteran leadership.
Brooks will be ineligible to play in 2019-20 due to NCAA transfer rules and will have one year remaining for the 2020-21 season for Miami.
Goodbye will always be a Bearcat at heart. pic.twitter.com/Sm7mlmAGjM— ICE❄️ (@westphilly_ny) May 6, 2019
Notable games: Brooks played a huge role in a home win against Memphis, when he scored 13 points and 12 rebounds. He also played a big role against Wichita State in the AAC Tournament, scoring 13 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. At a home game against Wichita State, he blocked 5 shots.
Rashawn Fredericks (to UAB)
Fredericks was a highly touted junior college transfer, who only spent one year at Cincinnati. Reports say he was going to leave regardless of a coaching change or not as he apparently wasn’t happy at Cincinnati. He only played 10 minutes per game, and averaged 2.3 ppg.
Fredericks is ineligible for the 2019-20 season and will sit out before playing for UAB in 2020-21.
Notable games: Fredericks was known as a scorer in high school and JUCO, before coming to Cincinnati. He scored double digits just twice - 10 points against Arkansas Pine-Bluff and a career-high 11 points vs George Mason. He was scoreless in 17 of 35 games, including zero points in 10 of the final 15 games.
Logan Johnson (to Saint Mary’s)
This one hurt at the time (and still does a bit) because there were no other point guards on the roster and the expectation was that Johnson would take over the role for the graduating Justin Jenifer. Instead of sticking around and potentially starting, he opted to transfer closer to home (he’s from Mountain View, California).
Johnson’s biggest weakness is his shooting. He only averaged 2 ppg and played just 7 minutes per game, but in his limited time he showed intensity on defense and could have developed into a quality piece. Coming out of high school in 2018, he was ranked 143rd in the country and #28 among players from California.
Johnson recently had his waiver approved by the NCAA and will be immediately eligible to play for Saint Mary’s in 2019-20 without sitting out.
Notable games: Johnson’s best game was early in the season against Arkansas Pine-Bluff. He scored a career-high 8 points (which he did twice), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals. He finished the season with 11 steals total, so 37% of those came in one game.
At the 4:18 mark of the below video, you can see Johnson’s biggest play of the season, a steal against Memphis to clinch the win.
Eliel Nsoseme (to Georgia State)
Nsoseme played in 33 games last year and 29 games as a freshman in 2017-18. He never had a major impact on any one game. He averaged 1.3 ppg and 3.2 rpg, in 10 mpg.
He will sit out 2019-20 season and have two years remaining.
Notable game: His best game was against Northern Kentucky last season. He had career highs in minutes (22), points (6) and rebounds (8).
Laquill Hardnett (to Buffalo)
Hardnett, we hardly knew ya. Actually, we didn’t know you at all. He never played a minute for the Bearcats. He redshirted last season and was expected to play a bigger role off the bench in 2019. He was ranked just outside the top 300 recruits in 2018 (#302). NCAA granted him a waiver to play immediately at Buffalo, which is exciting news for him.
His departure allowed Cincinnati to free up a scholarship and add a top 50 player for 2019 in Zach Harvey.
Notable games: N/A - never played.
The Down the Drive staff wishes all five men nothing but the best in their future careers and we will continue to follow them and share updates on their new teams.
Which player will you miss the most?