Trevon Scott is among the most important players on the roster for the Cincinnati Bearcats. That’s not a particularly controversial take. The 6’8” forward has played the second-most minutes of any Bearcat this season, trailing only American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland. Anybody who is on the floor that often is going to be a critical contributor by opportunity alone. At times, Scott has used all that playing time to fill in the gaps and at others, he has stepped to the forefront. The latter has happened far less frequently than the former, but part of that is the team around him.
A perfect example was this Sunday’s AAC tournament title game against the Houston Cougars. Cumberland was lauded, understandably, as he posted a career-high 33 points and won the tourney’s MVP award. While that was happening, Scott had a standout game of his own, racking up 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting and collecting eight rebounds. For his efforts, he was named to the all-tournament team.
As the Bearcats get set for the NCAA Tournament, there is no question that Cumberland will be relied on to continue scorching nets and doing everything else he is capable of accomplishing. However, if they are going to really contend, Scott might just be the player with the key to unlocking the Bearcats’ ultimate potential, especially if he plays like he did this past weekend.
Scott didn’t just get all-tournament honors because of one game. As the Bearcats fought their way past SMU and Wichita State in the earlier rounds, Scott was there to provide scoring, rebounding and the type of defense any Bearcat could take pride in. He had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Mustangs and followed that up with 11 points and eight boards against the Shockers. In each of those games, he took at least 11 shots from the field, which is something he did only four times all season.
There are reasons to be wary of such an assertive approach. Scott averages 7.8 field goal attempts in UC losses and 7.5 in UC wins. However, if he shoots like he did this weekend, then the Bearcats should get him more attempts. It’s a small sample to be sure, but Scott connected on 45.5 percent from the field in the AAC tourney, including some of the best three-point shooting he has ever exhibited. He made 3-of-7 overall, which again, is just a very small collection, but speaks to a bigger point. Scott is capable of being an offensive difference maker when given the chance. He should get such a chance this week.
Aside from the scoring, Scott’s importance to the team extends to guiding the team’s efforts on the glass and defending any and all challengers. Scott tied for the team-lead in defensive win shares (2.0) and only Nysier Brooks had a better defensive rating among players with at least 400 minutes played. Scott has a bit of an edge on Brooks, however, as he can defend multiple positions even when that means leaving the painted area.
On the rebounding front, Scott can be inconsistent at times, as his 13.6 rebound rate indicates, but when everything is clicking, he can be impossible to stop from ripping down missed shots. He averaged 9.3 rebounds per game in the AAC tourney and has had seven games with at least 10 boards, which is more than anyone else on the roster.
When the Bearcats begin their journey in the NCAA tournament this Friday, they will need everyone to play at peak performance. For Scott, that just means playing like its the AAC Tournament all over again.