The last week has been one filled with people shuffling in and out of the Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball program. The first was Mick Cronin, who has already been replaced by former Northern Kentucky head coach John Brannen. However, just a couple days after Cronin accepted a new job at UCLA and a few days before Brannen was hired, Rashawn Fredericks, who just completed his junior season with the team, decided to look for playing time elsewhere.
Although its not entirely clear if Fredericks’ decision is a direct result of Cronin’s departure, it does mean there will be a change in the Bearcats’ rotation next season. Fredericks, who only played one season in Cincinnati after transferring from junior college, logged a total of 358 minutes last season, which averaged out to 10.2 per game. That had him ranked ninth on the team and in that time he yielded an average of 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. His departure might not send the shock waves that the graduation of Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome will, but those minutes and production need to go somewhere.
The most logical choice would be to give those minutes to fellow reserve Trevor Moore. Although we won’t know exactly how the Bearcats’ rotation will be constructed under Brannen, Moore has the experience and positional similarity to absorb Fredericks’ minutes. The soon-to-be junior from Houston delivered 11.9 minutes per game last season, which was approximately equal to what he did as a freshman. The reason no minutes promotion arrived this past season was because Keith Williams ended up sprinting past him to a starting role. Moore still appeared in 34 games but his production in those games was not always the best, as he shot just 31.8 percent from the field and had a defensive rating of 100.1, which ranked 10th on the team. That may have been a reason that he lost out on additional opportunities, since the year before he had been a much more effective defender (89.5 rating). However, now that Fredericks is leaving, Moore might just be asked to do more by default.
Moore isn’t the only player that could benefit from a new opening on the roster. Last season, LaQuill Hardnett and Prince Gillam Toyambi both sat out, but the soon-to-be redshirt freshmen are both prospects with potential. Hardnett is a 6’8” forward from Philadelphia who got used to posting double-doubles in high school. Toyambi is a 6’7” forward from the Congo and he also has the potential to score and rebound at an accelerated pace. It would stand to reason that both will get their chances to make contributions next season, especially as the Bearcats look to create effective rotations outside of the starting lineup.
Aside from direct replacements in terms of position, the Bearcats could also allocate more minutes to starters like Keith Williams and Nysier Brooks and additionally, could decide to go with more frontcourt reliant looks and boost the playing time of Eliel Nsoseme and Mamoudou Diarra, who ave both already played in high leverage situations and will be competing for more critical roles next year.
Dealing with Fredericks’ departure will be one of the first lineup construction issues for Brannen to tackle. Luckilly for him, there is enough depth on the roster for the Bearcats to adjust without too much trouble.