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The Bearcats Get a Boost in the Paint from Jaume Sorolla

Rebuilding the backcourt has been the priority with recent commitments, but the Valparaiso graduate transfer will help on the interior.

NCAA Basketball: Valparaiso at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A week of roster additions for the Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball program continued over the weekend as Jaume Sorolla announced his commitment.

While earlier commitments this week from Mika Adams-Woods and Chris McNeal addressed the backcourt, Sorolla will help the Bearcats in the froncourt and right away. As a graduate transfer, the 7-foot Sorolla can play starting next season following his three years of work at Valparaiso. Speaking of that work, let’s take a look at what he has done in the past and what that could mean for his role with the Bearcats.

Firstly, he has a solid amount of experience. He averaged 17.7 minutes per game with the Crusaders, appearing in 89 total contests and starting 32 times. What he did best in that playing time was protect the rim, which is something the Bearcats will need now that Nysier Brooks and Eliel Nsoseme have decided to move on. Sorolla blocked at least 1.1 shots per game in each of the last two years and had block rate of 8.2 percent last season. That mark would have ranked second on UC’s roster and fallen just a breath short of Brooks’ team-leading rate of 8.4 percent. Buoyed by his shot-blocking prowess, Sorolla was a reliably effective defender, posting defensive ratings below 100 in each of his three years at Valparaiso, including a personal-best of 96.9 last season.

For a player of his height, Sorolla is an average rebounder and certainly far from a standout contributor in that area. With a total rebound rate of just 12.1 percent over the last three seasons, he could stand to improve and he will need to if he plans on getting more minutes as a Bearcat than he did as a Crusdaer.

When it comes to his offensive game, Sorolla took a step back last year, with an offensive rating of 96.2. His scoring average has gone down every season, falling to 4.1 points per game during the most recent campaign. His efficiency dropped right along with that, ending up at a 12.3 PER while tallying a true shooting percentage of 53.7 last season. However, he also played a career-low number of minutes in 2018-19 so its possible that with more playing time he can find a rhythm and more sustained success.

With Sorolla in the mix, the Bearcats’ frontcourt now has some more depth. Mamoudou Diarra was the lone traditional big man on the team, with Trevon Scott (Editor’s note: The original article forgot to include Scott. We apologize for the error), LaQuill Hardnett and Prince Gillam Toyambi and even guard/forwards like Trevor Moore, Jarron Cumberland and Keith Williams, who are all more suited to play the three or four in smaller lineups.