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Experimenting with Rotations for the 2019-20 Bearcats

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With the roster they have, the Bearcats could line up differently each time out depending on the matchup.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

A favorite pastime of the Cincinnati Bearcats Twitter community during the last few weeks has been attempting to guess the starting five for the team each time a new player was added to the roster. That has happened quite frequently, especially in the last week, with Jaevin Cumberland’s commitment on Monday the most recent addition. Now that we have a real idea of what the entire roster will look like, the question is how will John Brannen organize and divvy out playing time. Although we won’t know for sure until November, let’s take at look at some of the possible combinations Brannen could utilize.

The Experienced Lineup

G - Jarron Cumberland

G - Keith Williams

G - Jaevin Cumberland

F - Trevon Scott

F - Mamoudou Diarra

This seems like a pretty simple equation. Obviously Cumberland, Williams and Scott will get first dibs since they were starters last season. Figuring out the last two spots will be a bit more challenging. However, Diarra would help fill a role in the paint and already has actual playing experience with the Bearcats while Jaevin Cumberland could be the second scoring option to Jarron Cumberland thanks to his efficiency from three-point range.

The Small Ball Lineup

G - Chris McNeal

G - Jaevin Cumberland

G - Keith Williams

F - Jarron Cumberland

F - Trevon Scott

I can’t see a lineup where Jarron Cumberland isn’t featured, but he or Williams would be the de facto second forward in this lineup. McNeal and Jaevin Cumberland would both provide plenty of ball-handling options and the fact that Scott has developed a three-point shot would mean this lineup could spread the floor and really force teams to defend on the perimeter.

Protect the Paint Lineup

G - Jarron Cumberland

G - Keith Williams or LaQuill Hardnett

G - Trevon Scott

F - Mamoudou Diarra

C - Jaume Sorolla

If the Bearcats want to go with a lineup with a lot of size and efficiency on the boards and in rim protection, this could serve as a a solid option. The 7-foot Sorolla had the highest block rate (8.2 percent) last season among players on the current roster and the 6’9” Diarra isn’t far behind at 7.7 percent. Cumberland and Williams are both good rebounders for their positions and Williams actually ranked third on the team in block rate (4.5 percent).

The Three-Point Lineup

G - Jaevin Cumberland

G - Jarron Cumberland

G - Chris McNeal

G - Keith Williams

F - Trevon Scott

Even with both Cumberlands, the Bearcats don’t have an excess of three-point shooting, unless true freshmen like Mika Adams-Woods and Jeremiah Davenport take to long-range right away. McNeal and Williams have both been streaky shooters in their careers, but they are at least familiar with taking multiple shots per game from distance and perhaps with superior spacing, their efficiency could take a leap.

The All-Defensive Team

G - Jarron Cumberland

G - Keith Williams

G - Trevor Moore

F - Trevon Scott

F - Mamoudou Diarra

For this rotation, the Bearcats would want guys with a lot of defensive flexibility who are able to guard multiple positions. How fitting that five players from the Mick Cronin era best foot that bill, unless you want to throw Sorolla in there for his ability to block shots. All five players in this rotation had a defensive rating below 100 last season except for Moore, who hovered at 100.1 and is just a year removed from posting a mark of 89.5.


Those are just a few of the many options the Bearcats could go with next season. Which configuration, whether up there or of your own creation, would you like to see the most? Sound off in the comments.