Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: Immanuel McElroy

This week's Memorable Bearcat is the only one that I saw when I was walking around campus one day at UC. I was standing near some steps after I think writing class, and here comes Immanuel McElroy and a couple of his friends. We made eye contact and I said "Hey." He nodded. It was a magical moment for everyone involved. Immanuel McElroy was one of my favorite Bearcats. He wore 23, he threw down alley oops, he played tough defense, and he played on one of my favorite UC teams ever. Is it a coincidence UC hasn't done much in the NCAA tournament since he left? Probably, but he was on the sweet 16 club of 2000-01. Let's look in more detail at the career of Immanuel McElroy.

Immanuel McElroy was a junior college transfer. His first season at UC, he proved invaluable. He played in every game, and started 23, while playing 22 minutes per. He averaged 7 points on 55% shooting. Nearly all of them were from inside the arch, as he made 3 of 10 treys and 55% of his free throws. McElroy pulled down 3 boards and averaged 1.7 assists. He didn't score a ton his first month as a Bearcat, but then in a game against Clemson, he scored 12 points in 14 minutes on 6-7 shooting. It took him another month to have good statistical games. He had 8 and 8 against Louisville, and a big 14-8-6 assists in a close win over UAB. Here is a picture of him dunking against them.

McElroy came into his own in February. He had 14-7-4 in an overtime loss to Marquette, 14 in a win over St Louis, 12 in a win over Houston, 13-5 in a win over USF, and back to back 13 point games against UAB and Memphis victories in the Conference USA Tournament. He tailed off the rest of the season, scoring just 18 points. I think they were all dunks though. Kenny Satterfield loved throwing alley oops, and Immanuel McElroy loved slamming them home. Like this against Kent State, his only bucket of that win to send UC to the Sweet 16.

The biggest dunk of the season for McElroy would come in the next game against Stanford. Mac got a steal, and finished a 2 on 1 fast break with Satterfield with an alley oop on some dude's face. That gave UC the lead and caused me to wake up my parents with my yells. Remember, that game was late on a Thursday. It was a great moment.

McElroy was one of the leaders for the 2001-2002 season. He started every game, playing 31 minutes. He averaged 9.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He shot 47% from the field. That number would have been higher if he didn't try and shoot threes. McElroy was 5 of 28 from deep that season. He would have fit in great on this year's squad. He got dramatically better at the free throw stripe, raising his percentage made to 71. He also averaged nearly a steal a game, and always guarded the best player on the other team. He was a ball hawk, who did things like this.

You really think dude on Boston has a chance of making that shot? He actually did and was fouled by McElroy, but let's pretend he didn't. I made that up. McElroy started the season off with a then career high 10 rebound performance against Oklahoma State. He scored 10 in the home opener against Wright St, but really got it going in December. Against Coppin St, he put up 10-6-6-3 steals. Toledo, 14-7. In the Crosstown Shootout, he scored 14 with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He had another 3 game string of double digit scoring games, getting 12 against Mississippi State, 10-9 against Purdue and 15-6-4 in a win over Akron. McElroy didn't score a ton for a while, but had a 9 rebound game against Charlotte and a 6 assist game against Houston. He stayed consistent, but blew up for a career high 19, on 7-10 shooting,  in the 103-94 shootout at Wake Forest. After that, he got back to back 10 point games against Southern Miss in the Steve Logan game, and DePaul. He followed with a 9 rebound game against Marquette. He had 11 in the loss at Louisville, but followed with 16 and 8 in the regular season finale against Memphis. McElroy had a solid C-USA tournament, going for 8 against USF, 8-6-7 assists, a career high-2 steals against Charlotte, capped with 12 in the win over Marquette. McElroy made the Tournament team, but probably for his defense. He guarded USF 10 year player Altron Jackson, Charlotte's miserable Jobey Thomas, and some dude on Marquette named Dwyane Wade. McElroy had his best game in a Bearcat uniform in the opening round game in the NCAA tournament against Boston. Immanuel went off for 14 points on 7-11 shooting, a career high 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. In his final UC game, he had 13 points and 8 rebounds. That game still bums me out all these years later.

Immanuel McElroy currently plays in Europe. He's doing quite well over there, and is probably slamming down alley oops all over dude's heads. McElroy was in many ways a quintessential Huggins era Bearcat. He played tough defense. He rebounded like hell. Most importantly, he couldn't shoot, a Bob Huggins guard staple. Immanuel McElroy was the man overshadowed by Steve Logan while at UC, but to us, he's a Memorable Bearcat.


  1. Great summary on Mac. I was lucky enough to have coached him in Junior College at Tyler and know that he is an exceptional young man. His passion for the game was unmatched. A great family man, he has continued to stay grounded as he dominates the Euro Leagues.

    I appreciate your time on this.

  2. For me, he still stands as one of my favorites. I will never forget them playing Charlotte in the CUSA Tourney. Charlotte had a breakout and was wide open when they decided to pull up for a 3..... out of nowhere IMAC comes flying into the picture and sends the ball into the stands. He was an effort player... everything he got, he worked for!