The 2010s decade was a highly successful one for Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball. They made the NCAA Tournament 9 straight years and played in 4 conference championship games (winning 2).
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane at the 5 guys that made the greatest and most significant impacts during the last decade.
Troy Caupain (2013-2017)
Caupain was always the heart of the Bearcats. He was a guy who, statistically, rarely dominated games or seasons, but his leadership and intangibles are what made him so special. He played in all 137 games, starting 102 (started every game as a junior and season). Caupain was First Team All-AAC in 2016 and Second Team in 2017.
Like I said, the numbers don’t tell the whole story - for his career, he averaged 9.6 ppg, 3.8 apg, 3.6 rpg. He played over 30 minutes per game after his freshman year.
One of Troy’s most memorable moments came in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Cincinnati trailed by 7 late against Purdue, but closed the gap and down by 2, the ball was in Caupain’s hands in the final seconds...
Sean Kilpatrick (2010-2014)
Kilpatrick should be remembered as one of the best pure scorers in Cincinnati basketball history. On February 22, 2014, he became the second Bearcat ever to score 2,000 career points (Oscar Robertson being the first). After redshirting his first year on campus, he played all 140 games, starting 104.
His scoring increased every year - 9.7 ppg, 14.3 ppg, 17 ppg, 20.6 ppg (15.3 career average). He was a 50% shooter for his career, shooting 35% from three. He averaged 34 minutes per game in each of his last three seasons.
In 2014, he was a consensus Second Team All-American and First Team All-AAC. In 2012 and 2013 he was named Second Team All-Big East.
Who could forget Kilpatrick’s clutch three to give Cincinnati a win at UConn in 2012 (:35 mark).
Gary Clark (2014-2018)
Clark was a problem. Not for Cincinnati, but for all of his opponents. Clark played 139 games, starting all but 2 of them. As a four year starter, he averaged 10.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.2 spg. He also averaged 28.8 minutes per game across all four years.
Like with Caupain, the stats don’t tell the whole story. Clark was named AAC Player of the Year in 2018. He was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and 2018 and was First Team All-AAC and AAC Tournament MVP in 2018. He also goes down as one of the winningest 4-year players in Cincinnati history.
Those awards still don’t tell the story. Clark was the heart of the program. He was a true leader and the way he developed from his freshman year to senior year shows what a hard worker he was.
Jacob Evans (2015-2018)
Evans has the distinction of being Cincinnati’s only first round pick from the decade (and Mick Cronin era as a whole). He was one of two draft picks overall (Lance Stephenson was a 2010 second round pick). He is also the only guy on this list to not play 4 seasons. Evans left school early, after his junior year in 2018 to declare for the NBA Draft.
He was named First Team All-AAC in 2018.
In his three years, Evans started 80 of 105 games, averaging 11.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.5 apg.
He Called Game!— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) January 5, 2018
Jacob Evans nails the clutch jumper to give #19 Cincinnati a 55-53 win over Temple.
Kyle Washington: 18 PTS, 6 REB pic.twitter.com/Qm6wifsyqp
Jarron Cumberland (2016-2020)
Cumberland’s senior season has not gone according to plan thus far. But his first three years at UC, and the potential he has in his final few months as a Bearcat, are why he gets the nod on this list.
Cumberland played all 106 games his first three seasons, starting every game as a sophomore and junior. As a junior in 2018-19, he averaged 18.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 3.8 apg and earned AAC Player of the Year honors as well as First Team All-AAC. In 2017, he was co-Freshman of the Year.
In the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Cincinnati lost to UCLA, but Cumberland, a freshman at the time, playing off the bench, led the team with 15 points.
Inside the Film Room:— Justin Berg (@BergieNights) August 25, 2017
Jarron Cumberland creating offense vs UCLA pic.twitter.com/AH1I7u4171
Jackson was known for his toughness and defense, especially his blocking ability and became famous for his “mean faces”. He was also a great example of a four year player that worked really hard and progressed tremendously from his freshman to senior years.
In 2014, Jackson was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year and he was selected to the Second Team All-AAC.
Dixon averaged 12.3 ppg this decade. He was a key four year player, and he started all but 6 games during his junior and senior seasons from 2010-2012.
He played a huge role in giving Cincinnati a late lead against Florida State in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Wright averaged 9.5 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg over his career, which mostly was from 2010-2013 as a sophomore through senior. Wright is Cincinnati’s all-time leader in steals (198). He spent his whole career dealing with knee issues, despite not missing any time at the end of his career. He was a true warriors and a sad case of “what could’ve been”.
Technically, Gates only played two seasons this decade. His career ranged from 2008-2012, but as a junior and senior from 2010-2012 he averaged 11 ppg, 7 rpg, 1.2 bpg. He was a key part of the Bearcats’ first NCAA Tournament team in 2010 and again in 2011 on Cronin’s only Sweet 16 team. Many casual fans may only remember Gates for his involvement in the Xavier brawl, but Bearcats fans will remember him as a guy who brought toughness to the floor and was able to get to the basket and score.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below what your all-decade Bearcats team would look like?