New Cincinnati Bearcats basketball coach John Brannen was forced to rebuild the roster on the fly due to a mass exodus of players. Coach did an excellent job of adding players that will fit his up-tempo system and help the Bearcats get to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive season.
Among the new players on Cincinnati’s roster, 4 of them are incoming transfers who are all eligible to play in 2019-20.
Jaevin is the cousin of Jarron and transferred to UC from Oakland. Cumberland averaged 7.1 ppg the last three years, but saw his scoring output skyrocketed from basically nothing (1.1 ppg in 2017-18) to 17.2 ppg last season, as he was finally given an opportunity. Cumberland reportedly chose Cincinnati over Michigan, in large part due to his cousin’s presence, but also because of the coaching change at Michigan.
In 2018-19, Cumberland started all 33 games for the Grizzlies, who finished 16-17. Cumberland’s official numbers were 37 minutes per game, 3.5 assists per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, 1.1 steals per game, 1.8 turnovers per game, and 2.1 fouls per game.
In 33 games, Cumberland scored less than 10 points just 4 times. He scored 20 or more points 9 times total, including in both Horizon League Tournament games in March, where he averaged 25 ppg in two games (also averaged 5 rpg).
- Cumberland has experience playing against Xavier. Oakland lost 73-63 at the Cintas Center on 12/1. He shot just 3/11 from the floor, totaling 8 points.
- Cumberland shot 4-9 and scored 13 points against 10th ranked Michigan State.
- He averaged 15.5 ppg in two games against Brannen’s Northern Kentucky team.
Cumberland is expected to play a major role. Whether he starts or comes off the bench (which may change each game), there is a big need for a scorer in this lineup, especially given how Cincinnati has struggled to score the last few seasons.
One of the key newcomers is Chris McNeil, who is now on his fourth team in four years.
2015-16 - Western Kentucky
Justin Johnson, who averaged 14.9 ppg for WKU that season (lead the team) was teammates with McNeil. I reached out to Johnson and asked him what it was like playing with McNeil and what Cincy fans should be excited about.
Chris was a great teammate. His upside was tremendous. Reminded me a lot of CP3 with his style of play. He was a basketball junkie and wanted to get better daily, always asking for help to get better. He’s a guy you want on your team! The ability to take care of the ball and pass it! I look forward to following him this year. I stay in touch with him and he knows if he needs something I’m here!
Notable games at WKU:
- Played 29 minutes at Xavier, scoring just 3 points and turning the ball over 5 times. He did grab 6 rebounds and get 5 assists.
- Against Drake, a team Cincinnati plays in 2019, he scored 10 points to go with 5 assists, 4 rebounds
- Season-high assists in C-USA Tournament with 9 assists and 9 points against North Texas
2017-18 New Mexico
On the 19-15 Lobos, McNeil was 7th in scoring (9.5 ppg) and 2nd in assists (2.7 apg). He played 24 minutes per game, playing all 34 games, while starting 18 of them.
Notable games at New Mexico:
- Scored a career-high 29 points vs Tennessee Tech (ironic)
- Had one double-double (which coincides with his only 10 assist game). In the opener against Northern Mexico, McNeil scored 24 points and dished out 10 assists.
He never suited up for Tennessee Tech. He was forced to sit out the 2018-19 season due to transfer rules, but is eligible immediately in 2019 as a graduate transfer.
Like Cumberland, McNeil may start or come off the bench depending on matchups. Jarron Cumberland may play some point guard, but McNeil and freshman Mika Adams-Woods are the only two true PGs on the roster and with Adams-Woods entering his first year and McNeil having plenty of experience, he will likely have a big impact in his role as a leader on and off the court.
Vogt, a 7’1 center from Mayfield, Kentucky, transferred to UC from Northern Kentucky, where he spent the last two years playing for Brannen. In 2018-19, he averaged 4.5 ppg and 3.7 rpg.
- Vogt played 8 minutes against UCF and was an absolute disaster. He scored his only field goal, but he committed 5 quick fouls while guarding Tacko Fall. As Cincinnati fans have seen first hand, Fall is not easy to handle. Luckily, he is no longer at UCF so Vogt won’t have to worry about that when Cincinnati faces them.
- Against Cincinnati, Vogt played 22 minutes and didn’t make much of an impact. He scored 5 points, shot just 1-6 from the free throw line.
- He played just 4 minutes in the NCAA Tournament first round game vs Texas Tech.
- His career best game came in January against Green Bay, when he scored 20 points on 9-13 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds (7 offensive) and also blocked 3 shots.
Given his experience in Brannen’s system and a lack of height on the roster, Vogt should be a useful role player for the Bearcats in a reserve role.
Sorolla played the last three seasons at Vaparaiso. The 7’0 center from Spain started 32 games (out of 89 played) averaging 4.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg.
- Best game of the 2018-19 season was against Purdue Northwest Pride, where he scored 11 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. That was one of his two double-digit scoring games of the season.
- The other double digital scoring game was when he had a season high in points (13) and blocks (5) in a win against Drake, who by the way, Cincinnati will face in their home opener on Monday 11/11.
- In 2017-18, he scored a career-high 17 points against Southern Illinois.
With the departure of Nysier Brooks, Cincinnati lacks height and depth at center so there should be a role for Sorolla to have an impact down low and defensively. I would assume Vogt is ahead of him on the depth chart and with the Bearcats looking to play fast and a history of small-ball lineups for Brannen, it’s likely Trevon Scott plays a lot of center over both of them.
Listen to our latest Down the Drive Podcast, where we preview the 2019-20 Bearcats basketball season.