The Gonzaga Bulldogs shot 52.6 percent from the floor last season. That was the top mark in the country. After them, there were only two others teams in the entire country who connected on at least 50 percent. Congratulations to Dayton and South Dakota State. That means everyone else missed more shots than they took. That’s usually the case. Similar to baseball, although not as drastically, basketball is a sport where you will often miss more than you’ll make overall. It’s the expectation for most teams. All those misses require clean up and the teams and players that do that the best are often able to counterbalance those misses to a degree, either by providing extra scoring opportunities or completing defensive stops.
For the 2019-20 Cincinnati Bearcats, a team with a lot of roster turnover, particularly in the frontcourt, finding a way to remain competitive on the boards has to be a focus. Luckily for them, Trevon Scott went into his skill tree this offseason and upgraded his rebounding abilities.
It’s not surprising that Scott has stepped up as a leader for this squad. He was one of just a few returning players for the Cincinnati Bearcats this season, which meant he was always going to be tasked with helping lead the way. After establishing himself as a key member of the starting lineup last year, he stepped right back into that role to start this season and he has already established himself as the most important frontcourt player on the roster, particularly when it comes to rebounds.
In a frustrating opening night loss to Ohio State, Scott secured 12 rebounds and he followed that up with 11 boards in only 19 minutes in Monday night’s win over Drake. While its a small sample, simple math will tell you that he is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game. I probably don’t need to tell you that that is the best mark on the team.
This is a whole new level of rebounding success for Scott, who has always been solid on the glass but never this dominant. He has averaged 4.5 rebounds per game and 15.2 per 100 possessions overall in his career and that includes these past two games. Last year, in his first season as a full-time starter, those marks settled in at 6.9 and 13.8, respectively, while he produced a total rebound rate of 13.4 percent, which was good for fourth on the team.
He is making those numbers look laughable in the early going of this season. In addition to his double-digit per game average, Scott is producing 26.4 rebounds per 100 possessions to go with a total rebound rate of 24.2 percent.
Of course, sustainability is the big question here. Scott may have brought down at least 10 rebounds in the first two games of the season, but he had done that only eight times in his first three seasons and only twice in back-to-back games. The evidence points to at least some regression. However, according to Sports-Reference, if he even managed to finish at 20 percent, that would be the highest single-season percentage by a Bearcat who played at least 10 total minutes since the 2009-10 season, which was the first year the site began tracking the metric.
If Scott maintains any portion of this leap in rebounding production, that will be exceptionally useful for the Bearcats. That’s particularly true because Scott hasn’t just been cleaning up misses on defense. He’s been fighting hard on the offensive glass, with 10 of his 23 total boards coming on that end of the floor. Scott may not be able to take all the credit for the team’s 25 combined second chance points through the first two games, but he has certainly been a driving force in helping the Bearcats take a few extra shots per game.
Even without focusing in on the offensive boards, Scott’s overall body of rebounding work is a crucial piece of the puzzle for a UC team that hasn’t exactly been strong from top to bottom when it comes to rebounds. The Bearcats rank 123rd in the country in total rebound percentage and 133rd in rebounds per game, according to Team Rankings. Scott still needs his offensive game to pick up next to his production on the boards and it will, but the Bearcats are already benefiting from his newfound rebounding superpowers and they’ll need them even more as the season progresses.