Since the 2019-20 Cincinnati men’s basketball season ended, the story has been about what ifs and what’s not, as opposed to building excitement towards 2020-21.
The Bearcats have been listed in the mix for nearly a dozen transfer players, but haven’t been able to secure a commitment. Part of it is players choosing differently, and another part of it is Cincinnati choosing differently.
But after a couple weeks of what ifs, the Bearcats landed a new addition for their 2020 roster.
Colgate grad transfer Rapolas Ivanauskas announced his commitment to Cincinnati. 6-foot-10, has perimeter range, averaged 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds. Top-20 grad transfer.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 14, 2020
Bearcats fans may remember Ivanauskas from when Colgate came to Fifth Third Arena in December and helped beat Cincinnati. He played 34 minutes that night, leading Colgate with 21 points and 9 rebounds.
The 6’10 Lithuanian could be used as a power forward, to replace Trevon Scott, or could be used at center to help spell Chris Vogt. Either way, adding an experienced big man to join Vogt and Mamoudou Diarra was a necessity entering next season. Beyond those two seniors, and incoming freshman Tari Eason, Cincinnati lacks front court depth and size.
Ivanauskas began his career at Northwestern in 2017 but almost immediately transferred to Colgate. As a sophomore in 2018-19, he averaged 15.9 ppg and 7.8 rpg and he shot 77% on free throws (notable given Cincinnati’s struggles). His numbers were slightly down in 2019-20. This past season he shot 43% from the field and 26% from three and only 61% from free throws.
In 2019, he was the Patriot League Player of the Year and made First-team All-Patriot Team and was named to the Second-team in 2020.
Colgate won the Patriot League in 2019 and lost to Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Ivanauskas played just 16 minutes and shot 0-4 from the field, grabbed 3 rebounds, turned the ball over twice and committed one foul. He was a complete non-factor.
Moving forward, Cincinnati definitely has one scholarship for 2020. David DeJulius, a former 4-star prospect and Michigan guard has Cincinnati in his final four and he is expected to make a decision this week. He would (likely) be forced to sit out next season, but would then have two years of eligibility remaining.
Pending the future of Prince Toyambi, the Bearcats could free up another scholarship. Toyambi sat out last season with a heart condition and his status is unknown. Keith Williams’ status is also unknown, for now, as he goes through the NBA Draft process. If he remains in the draft, it opens up another potential scholarship towards 2020.