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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 5th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Cincinnati Bearcats

Overall Rank: #98

Conference Rank: #13 Big East

 

2005-06: 21-13, 8-8, 8th

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Despite returning just four guys who played last year, and just one who played in over ten minutes per game, Cincinnati has a surprising amount of depth.  Well, at least potentially.  Most of them clutter the “Who’s In” list and have yet to prove themselves at this level.  Coach Mick Cronin has brought in some talent and the Bearcats hope to at least turn that into an NIT season and a building block to bigger and better things.

 

Who’s Out: Remember Andy Kennedy coaching Cincy last year and his group of players that made a nice run in the NIT?  Forget about them.  Those guys are gone.  Starters James White, Eric Hicks, Jihad Muhammad and Armein Kirkland, as well as roleplayer Chadd Moore have run out of eligibility.  Backcourt mates Devan Downey and Domonic Tilford have opted to transfer elsewhere.  

 

Who’s In: An entire book could be written about this large group of newcomers.  We shall begin with the battle for the starting point guard spot between Tim Crowell and Deonta Vaughn.  Crowell averaged 11.0 points and 7.5 assists at the junior college level last year.  He’s a pass first player and his experience and leadership skills may give him the early lead for the starting gig.  Vaughn is the point guard of the future and, even if Crowell gets the starting nod early, don’t be surprised if Vaughn takes over sooner than later.  The 6-1 Vaughn will look to score and use his quickness to get to the basket.  The other backcourt battle is between Jamual Warren and Marvin Gentry.  After multiple stints at the juco level, Warren will bring his toughness to Cincinnati.  The 6-2 shooting guard can score from inside and outside and is expected to contribute right away.  Gentry, who spent two seasons at McLennan Community College in Texas, is a vibrant scorer and athlete.  Yet, it is his play on the defensive end that puts him in the drivers seat for the starting job.   A couple more jucos in Marcus Sikes and John Williamson can play both forward spots.  Sikes averaged 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds at Georgia as a true freshman before heading west to Mt. San Jacinto College in California.  At 6-8 and 235 pounds, Sikes can battle on the inside and the junior has enough versatility to step out on the perimeter.  Williamson averaged 27.4 points and 11.7 rebounds at Cincinnati State and Technical College last season.  The competition wasn’t great, but Williamson still got the job done and will help out the Bearcat frontline.  Centers Hernol Hall and Abdul Herrera round out the group of newcomers.  Hall is the center that Cincy has been looking for.  The 6-10, 245 pound Limon, Costa Rica product averaged 14.3 points and 10.0 rebounds as a sophomore last year at Lon Morris College and should step right into a starting role.  Abdul Herrera missed last season while working on NCAA eligibility requirements.  Herrera can score with his back to the basket and, if he can get back into the swing of things, will become a solid scorer for Coach Cronin. 

 

Who to Watch: Cedric McGowan is the only returning starter and the 6-6 power forward did well in his first season with the Bearcats averaging 8.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.  The former junior college transfer is extremely athletic and will need to become a leader on the floor with so many new faces around.

 

Final Projection: It is not everyday a team fields five former junior college transfers in the starting lineup.  With four of those players just heading to Cincy, there are a lot of questions regarding the impact those newcomers can make.  The potential is there for a postseason trip, most likely the NIT, but it won’t be easy for the Bearcats to even make the Big East Tournament; a relatively easy slate in the conference is helpful though.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: none

 

Projected Starting Five:

Tim Crowell, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

Marvin Gentry, Junior, Guard, DNP last season

John Williamson, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Cedric McGowan, Senior, Forward, 8.5 points per game

Hernol Hall, Junior, Center, DNP last season

99 Nebraska » Complete List » 97 Dayton

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