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6 CINCINNATI BEARCATS

Author:

PERFECT BALANCE

Toughness is a hallmark of MICK CRONIN's teams, and no player better exemplifies this than senior forward GARY CLARK. Last March he had half a front tooth knocked out in an AAC tournament semifinal win over UConn. Clark tossed it to a trainer and went back into the game soon after. This fall Clark, who has started 101 of the 103 games he's played for the Bearcats, will anchor a team that has three starters back after winning 30 games for only the second time in school history. (The 2001--02 team went 31--4.) Last season the 6'8" Clark averaged 10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 52.9% from the field, and though he needs to improve his outside game (he shot 28.6% from three-point range), he has no problem mixing it up inside against bigger players.

Clark isn't flashy, and he's often overshadowed by his higher-scoring teammates: forward KYLE WASHINGTON and JACOB EVANS, a smooth wing with a reliable three-point shot (41.8% last season) and the potential to win league player-of-the-year honors. In the backcourt, 6'5" sophomore JARRON CUMBERLAND will build on an impressive first season in which he shot 49.3% from the field. Together they make the Bearcats the most balanced team of Cronin's tenure. Cincinnati's roster is so stacked—and so well-rounded—that an eighth straight NCAA tournament bid and a place in the Elite Eight seem all but inevitable.

PROJECTED TEAM STATS

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY

19TH

(116.7)

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY

3RD

(92.2)

AAC RECORD

T-1ST

(15--3)

STAT SHEET

With 2017--18 projections for the top six scorers

COACH MICK CRONIN (12TH SEASON)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG

RPG

APG

OFF. RATING

USAGE

G-F

Jacob Evans [Starter] 6'6" Jr.

13.6

4.9

2.7

126.2

19.5%

PF

Kyle Washington [Starter] 6'9" Sr.

13.2

6.6

0.9

112.2

26.2%

G

Cane Broome [Starter] 6'0" Jr.

12.9

3.4

2.6

108.9

22.5%

SG

Jarron Cumberland [Starter] 6'5" Soph.

12.5

4.0

2.2

120.5

20.6%

PF

Gary Clark [Starter] 6'8" Sr.

11.0

8.2

2.3

127.8

19.3%

PG

Justin Jenifer 5'10" Jr.

5.7

1.7

3.5

119.7

15.3%

*Starter

X-FACTOR

CANE BROOME was the Northeast Conference player of the year in 2015--16 (23.1 ppg) before transferring from Sacred Heart, and though he won't reach those numbers in the AAC, he should easily replace Troy Caupain's production (10.5 points, 4.6 rebounds in '16--17).