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A First Look at UC Basketball

Basketball is back! After an impressive showing at last year’s NCAA tournament, the Cats are back in action and ready to climb even higher this year. This year’s roster includes four new players. The freshmen include Jacob Evans, Justin Jenifer, and Tre Scott. The last new player is junior transfer student, Kyle Washington who played at NC State before this year. Sophomores include Quadri Moore and standout player Gary Clark. As a freshman, Clark started all 34 games averaging 7.8 points, an impressive 7.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocks. The freshman was also named to the American Conference All-Rookie Team for the ‘14-’15 season.

This year’s juniors include the transfer Kyle Washington, Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson, and Zack Tobler. Caupain started in 33 games last season where he averaged 9.6 points per game. He emerged as a leader on the court and was named an American Athletic Conference Honorable Mention All-Conference. Johnson started 24 games last season and averaged 6.5 points. Tobler played in 8 games as a reserve walk-on, but proved to be a favorite among the student section.

Lastly, rounding out the roster this year are the four senior players. Seniors include Octavius Ellis, Farad Cobb, Coreontae DeBerry, and Shaq Thomas.

Ellis started all 34 games and proved to be a well rounded, reliable player. Last season, he averaged a team-high of 9.9 points and 7.2 rebounds. He was named to the second team All-Conference team in the American Athletic Conference and was the only player in the American to be listed among the top four leaders in field goal percentage, blocks, and rebounding. Cobb played in all 34 games and averaged 8.5 points. He finished with a team-high 53 three-pointers and was ranked 13th in the American Conference for 3 pointers made.

DeBerry and Thomas also played in 34 games, averaging 4.2 and 6.4 points per game, respectively. Deberry ranked second on the team for scoring during the NCAA tournament and ranked 14th in the American Conference in blocks. Thomas scored in double digits in 10 games and shot an impressive 73.7 percent from the field in December 2014.

The Bearcats had their first exhibition game Tuesday, December 3rd and pulled out an impressive 93-63 win. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that “The tempo indeed was quicker and the 3-point shooting highly productive Tuesday night, as UC opened its preseason with a 93-63 exhibition rout of Division II team Grand Valley State (Michigan). Attendance was 4,404 at Fifth Third Arena.” In an interview, Cronin stressed the importance of playing a faster game this season while still focusing on a solid defense. Last season, the Cats ranked 6th in the nation in a scoring defense.

Her Campus got the opportunity to sit down with junior player, Zack Tobler, to find out a little more about the roster. As a walk on, Tobler was famous in the student section. It is not uncommon to watch the clock wind down and for someone to start the chant “Tobler time! Tobler Time!”. Last season, ESPN broadcasters noted that the student section was never louder than when Zack Tobler entered the game.

HC:  How are the freshmen fitting into the team?

Tobler: They’re fitting in well. Scott is a big defensive guy, Jenifer is a point guard and really good with the ball. Evans does it all. Socially they fit in seamlessly. It’s really been great.  

HC: Are there any team leaders on and off the court?

T: The older guys, definitely. Shaq has been here the longest and it’s really just how he approaches practices. Ellis and Troy are the main vocal leaders during practices.

HC: What is one strength you think the team has?

T: We really get along as a team. We are really good friends which translates on the court. We’re very selfless with the ball, always passing. Yeah, everyone likes each other.

HC: What is something you are looking forward to this season? Any opponent in particular?

T:  The next game!

HC: Last year, your defense was 6th in the nation, any comments on that?

T: Hopefully we can get higher on that list. Cronin really preaches defense at practice, every day. He always says, “we play defense and rebounding. Push the defense, the offense will come”.

HC: How is it having Cronin back?

T. It’s been different. After what seemed like the whole year without him, it’s been good having him back. He’s really a very good coach. The messages have stayed the same through the transition back to Cronin from Davis.

You can find the schedule for the season on the UC athletics page and tickets can be purchased either online or at the ticket office in the Lindner Center.

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Julia Saxton


Julia is a senior at the University of Cincinnati and studies communication, psychology, and sociology. She has a passion for writing and is very excited to be a part of the Her Campus Cincinnati chapter! Other than Her Campus, Julia is also inolved with the UC Career Development Center and works at a YMCA as a swim coach. 
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