Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: Jackson Julson

This week's Memorable Bearcat is Jackson Julson. How is Jackson Julson a Memorable Bearcat? You must be asking yourself that, as you ponder if Bearcats Blog is on crack. The reason that Jackson Julson is a Memorable Bearcat is because...... I hated him. Dun dun dunnnnn. Cue dramatic gopher.

Now let me say this, I didn't, and don't actually hate Jackson Julson, I just didn't like his style of play. Or his incredibly annoying, WASPy name. Jackson Julson sounds like someone who rows crew. He sounds like one of those people that wears a sweater around his shoulders and plaid shorts. He sounds like one of those people when you are at a group gathering, you will order a Bud Light, and he will look at you in disdain as he orders a white zinfandel. Who orders white zinfandel at a bar? C'mon son. He sounds like one of those guys you see at a party or gathering where you know like 3 people and you say "Who's that douchenozzle in the corner?" "Oh, that's Jackson Julson." Automatically, he puts you on the wrong foot. It's not even his fault, it's his parents fault. Now that he's kinda famous, he can't change his name. He's stuck as Jackson Julson forever. He sounds like he should have played for Xavier, Rhode Island, George Washington, St Louis, some preppy school. He also looked like a doofus.
Example A
Oh look at me dive at the ball I have no chance of getting with my breathe rite on! I'm Superman!
Look at his face as he holds the ball. Ugh. Not even Damon Flint can 'stand' him. Get it? Because he's falling down?
 In this one, he is like "Oh look at me, I can play defense too guys." How about standing in front of the guy with the ball dude? Works better. All pictures are from the Enquirer by the way, please don't sue me.

Jackson Julson is probably a cool guy, and I would like him if I met him, but I haven't met him so there. I mean no offense, just having fun. Don't paste this on his Facebook though. Let's take a real look at his UC career, at least the 96-97 season thanks to our friends at Stat Sheet.

There are seriously no good pictures of Jackson Julson, so that one with him with another weird look on his face is going to have to do. Julson, despite my jokes, was a huge recruit. He was a part of one of the most heralded classes in UC history. He came in with Dontonio Wingfield, Damon Flint, Darnell Burton, Marko Wright and Brian Wolf. Wingfield was a special talent, Flint was solid, and so was Burton. Wright and Wolf enrolled at UC, then were eaten by grizzly bears in a camping expedition before the season started. Tragic. Julson rotated between starting and coming off the bench. In the highlighted year, he started 28 of 32 games. He averaged but 10 minutes an outing though. He scored 2.3 points a game on 45% shooting. He loved to shoot the triple for some reason only known to himself. He took 60 shots, 23 from three. Oh yeah, he was 6'9 as well. Julson made just 7. He took more threes than free throws, 19. If I remember correctly, he took 3s at the worst times. Well, nearly every time is the worst time when you don't make them. Julson averaged just under 2 boards a game, 0.6 offensive, 1 defensive.

Julson scored maybe a career high 10 points in a blowout win over DePaul. He had 8-2 steals in a demolition of Arkansas. He pulled in 6 rebounds in a win over Howard. The year before, 1996, Julson made the game icing free throws in a Conference USA tournament win over St Louis. He made those after a tough offensive rebound on a Flint missed free throw.

Julson's early career, and late career, were beset by injuries. He had elbow problems his early years. He had a knee injury after the 97 season ended, and that was that for his UC career. He said his heart wasn't in basketball anymore. He went to Georgetown, Kentucky Georgetown, to finish up his schooling. I read something on some forum that popped up on a google search that said that Julson wanted more minutes his senior season, but UC had Bobby Brannen, Kenyon, and Ryan Fletcher coming into their own, so Jackson split town.

Jackson Julson is now a financial services professional in San Antonio, Texas. We here at Bearcats Blog had some fun with Jackson, but we wish him the best. We hope he takes this in the spirit it was given. In closing, one last picture of Jackson Julson face.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Arizona 79 Cincinnati 76

This Memorable Bearcat game is quite painful. I remember this big Cincinnati v. Arizona clash being on a Sunday afternoon. My best friend and I were working on a huge project for school that was probably due the next day. For the life of me I can't remember what it was about. I do remember that it took all fucking day and it was boring as shit. Arizona came into the game rocking a 17-4 record, and Cincinnati an 18-1 mark. The Bearcats had been dominating since their 1 point loss to UAB, winning every game by at least 10 points. Arizona  was starting to get the ship right after some early Pac 10 struggles. Both teams had big time NBA talent. Cincinnati had Danny Fortson, Arizona Jason Terry (who didn't play) and Michael Dickerson. Both teams made runs deep into the tournament. Arizona went to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Kansas, and Cincinnati went to the Elite 8, where they lost to Mississippi State. 

The first half was a barn burner. The Wildcats played without standout center Ben Davis, who was in foul trouble, but that didn't stop them from putting 41 on the mighty Bearcat defense. The Bearcats hung in there, scoring 38. Cincinnati pounded Arizona on the glass, 26-16 in the half. The Bearcats won the rebounding 46-32, but Arizona must have gotten some rebounds in the second half that were huge, because Lute said "We got got killed on the boards, but as soon as Ben came back in the game the second half, he gave us strong rebounding." Davis had 6 rebounds, so that's kinda a weird thing to say. I'm going to go ahead and guess that Damon Flint had a huge first half, because he had 16 points. The highlight of the first half would have to have been when guard Reggie Geary got a steal and bent the rim on a breakaway dunk.

The second half saw Cincinnati dominate. Darnell Burton scored 9 of his 12 points in a big Cincinnati run that put the Bearcats up 68-59 with under 6 minutes left. Arizona would make a run. Obviously you knew they would make a run because hello, the score is in the title. Spoiler alert much. Michael Dickerson scored on a put back to cut the lead. Next trip, Geary drilled a wide open lead to cut the lead to 2 with 4 minutes left. Cincinnati was able to push the lead back out to 4. I'm guessing they got the ball to Fortson. I have no idea because no one says how Cincinnati scored, and all the youtube videos are of Arizona points. The score was 73-69 with 2:20 left in favor of the Bearcats. Dickerson got the ball after a pass inside to Davis, and knocked down a trey. On UC's next possession, Keith Gregor tried to get the ball inside to Fortson. The only problem was that Gregor was being trapped, and Danny was surrounded by 7 Wildcats. The bad pass turned into a breakaway lay up attempt by Simon that was blocked by I think Monroe, but Davis got the put back for the lead. Cincinnati took the lead on a 3 pointer. Or a 3 point play. Let's say it was Flint, since he made the most 3s in the the game. The Bearcats forced Arizona into a wild, tough shot by Dickerson. Dickerson fell on the floor. It appears UC tried to slap the rebound out of bounds, but the ball went right to Dickerson, who threw it back out top. Simon drove, found Davis on the wing, and he splashed one home in Fortson's face for the tie. UC raced the ball up the court. Keith LeGree drove to the rim and had his shot blocked by Davis out of bounds with 3 seconds left. It could have been a charge, but there was no call. LeGree for some reason tried to bounce pass the inbound to Fortson. The ball was tipped. Fortson couldn't bring it in. Simon wrangled the ball, took a dribble and threw one in from 65 feet for the win. It was terrible. There was a smashed chalkboard in the UC locker room, and a smashed face for my friend who said the shot was awesome.

Unbelievably, it's hard to find information about a random February basketball game from 1996. You would think that it would be incredibly easy. But no, it's not. The AP didn't bother to say how UC scored to take the lead at the end of the game for crying out loud. Sadly, there is video of the shot that sucked. It's video of Arizona's run the last few minutes, making it even worse. View it if you want to punch something.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just a Heads Up

Quick heads up post for your Tuesday. First of all, UC made the Big East Tournament in baseball. The mighty Bearcats earned the 7 seed, and play the 2 seed Connecticut Huskies tomorrow at 1 pm. You can watch the game on You can listen on Sirius. I don't know what channel, because we can't know everything peeps. That's your Bearcats Blog tip of the day. Other match ups include 6) Rutgers v. 3) Pittsburgh at 10 am, 8) West Virginia v. 1) Louisville at 5, and 5) South Florida v. 4) St Johns at 8.

The other note is that the Big East roundtable I participated in over at East Coast Bias is up. It was a fun time, and you should all ch-ch-check it out. Orange 44, the UConn Blog, the Nova Blog, Pitt Blather, we all talked about the Big East. And so did some other people. Tomorrow, Memorable Bearcats Games continues with a memorable Bearcats game. If you have any suggestion for that, or Memorable Bearcats, drop a line or comment.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Ibrahima Thomas

Bearcats Breakdown today focuses on one of the more unsung players on the Cincinnati roster this season, Ibrahima Thomas. Thomas was in his first season as a Bearcat, his junior year overall. He played 2 seasons at Oklahoma State if you don't remember. Thomas wasn't eligible until December, and didn't get consistent minutes until January. But, he came on late in the season, and is one of the players I'm interested in seeing next season.


Ibrahima Thomas averaged 5.75 points a game his first year at UC. In his full year at OSU, he averaged 6. Thomas shot a horrible 38%. His effective field goal percentage was 41, and his true shooting percentage was 44. All of those are pretty bad. Thomas played 18 minutes a game, and used 19.6 of UC possessions when he was on the floor. That resulted in his offensive rating being a poor 94.7. Thomas was 54-141 on the season overall. He was determined to shoot the 3 ball, putting up 31 attempts. He made 8. He made 2 of 2 in the WVU regular season game, meaning he was just 6-29 the rest of the year. Take away a 3-7 string he had in 3 games, and he was 3-22 outside those 4 games. Thomas was also horrible from the free throw line, going 45-83, 54.2%. But, the good thing in that was that he got to the line a lot. He shot more free throws this season than he did in his Oklahoma State career. The biggest thing that kept Thomas' scoring, and percentage down was his inability to make put backs. I swear he missed at least 3 a game. At least. If he can learn to score from inside 5 feet, he's going to be very good.

Thomas had his biggest scoring day in one of the Bearcats biggest games, scoring 13 against Syracuse. Thomas made 4-8 from the field, 4-6 at the line, and hit a 3. Thomas had 11 against Cal State Bakersfield. Seriously, who didn't have a good game against Cal State Bakersfield? If UC didn't play them, everyone's stats would suck. Thomas matched the 11 in a winning effort against Winthrop. Thomas scored 10 against Lipscomb, his first big UC performance. Winthrop and Lipscomb came back to back, and I think some of the fanbase might have had raised expectations for Thomas then. Ibby scored 10 on a season high 12 shots in the win at UConn. He scored 10 one last time against Seton Hall in only 14 minutes. Here is a freaky occurrence. Ibrahima Thomas had all of his double digit scoring games back to back. The previously mentioned Lipscomb and Winthrop, Bakersfield and Seton Hall, and Syracuse and UConn. Odd isn't it? The 3 point games I mentioned in the first paragraph were West Virginia for the 2-2, and Notre Dame, Syracuse and UConn for the 3-7.


Ibby averaged 5.28 rebounds per game, a career best. Thomas had 148 total. Ibrahima pulled in 1.821 offensive boards a game, 11% of UC's o boards, and 3.6 defensive rebounds, 22%. Thomas had a career best rebounding game in the Big East Tournament win over Rutgers, pulling home 13. That bested his previous career high, 11 in the road win at UConn. That was his only double double of the season, and his best game statistically. Thomas pulled home 10 rebounds in 19 minutes in the win over DePaul. Thomas had 9 rebounds twice, in the home win over UConn, and the NIT loss to Dayton.

Thomas had some disappointing rebounding games. He had only 2 against Marquette, not taking advantage of his size. He had but 4 in the destructions at Notre Dame and Georgetown. But other than that, he hit his averages in the minutes that he got. It's hard to come down harshly on games he didn't score or rebound well in, because Mick came down harshly and didn't play him. Thomas had some solid games down the stretch, 8-9 against Dayton, 8-8 against Louisville, 9-5 against Weber St.

Other things

Thomas had 7 assists this season, which is pretty horrible. He was basically a black hole inside, or outside, when he touched the ball. Or, people bricked shots after he passed them the ball. Thomas had 4 steals against Georgetown before that game turned into a rout. Thomas also blocked 3 shots in that game, a season high. Thomas got himself into too much foul trouble this season. He fouled out of 3 games, Dayton, Villanova, West Virginia. The Villanova game has to be his most disappointing game, as he played but 12 minutes. You can't talk about Ibrahima Thomas and not mention the pull apart he was involved in against Xavier. It was his first game and he nearly got into a fight. That's dedication.


I would dare say that overall, Ibrahima Thomas had a good first season. He played hard once he got his sea legs, and was a part of the best line ups that UC had. He may have committed silly fouls, and shot poorly, but you couldn't question his effort. Especially when it was clear that he has less talent than Yancy Gates, but played with a much higher motor. Thomas needs to work on his shot this summer, that's a no duh. If he's going to be a big help to the team, he needs to develop some more muscle and a shot around the basket. I think he's going to have a very solid senior season.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Random Stuff

Double shot of Friday Random things. The great Trey Kerby of Ball Don't Lie, and the Blowtorch, and other NBA related things, posted a link to this youtube video from Tremendous News. I love Lost, and am looking forward to the finale very much on Sunday night, and this video is a great recap of the series. It's very funny and you should all check it out. And it's got cats.

Flight of the Conchords Friday

Today's Friday Random Thing is another Flight of the Conchords video. It's probably my favorite songs by them, Carol Brown. Hope you have a great weekend everybody. We'll get back to the normal routine next week. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Questions and Answers

Bearcats Blog apologizes for the lack of Memorable Bearcats and Games posts this week. We'll get back to that next week. Today, we'll do questions and answers, starring myself.

What Big East coach picked St John's to win the Big East?

Rick Pitino did. He said he would have picked UC to win, but didn't want to put that pressure on Mick. I don't know what's happened to Rick Pitino the past year. Well, we all know what's happened to Rick Pitino in the past year, but I meant more basketball wise. Louisville never seemed to get the right mix going last season, after the disappointing loss to Michigan State in the Elite 8. The Cards have a couple of big recruiting classes coming in the next few seasons, so we'll see if Pitino still has the magic.

What Bearcats Blog first team Big East player was booted from his team?

That would be Jamine Peterson of Providence. It hasn't been said what made Keno Davis boot him off the team, but the leading scorer and rebounder won't be back. I don't know if it's going to be such a terrible thing for the Friars. Peterson earned the nickname of Greedy from the Friar faithful. Maybe that's just a cool nickname, but it also means he was a black hole once he touched the ball. Peterson didn't care as much about defense as Friar fans would have liked, but who really played defense on Providence last season? I think the answer was no one. I like watching Providence play because their brand of basketball is exciting. I would rip my hair out if I were a Providence fan though. Especially after the disaster against South Florida. Looking back on it, both the South Florida games were disasters for Providence. The first meeting saw the Friars blow a 12 point lead with 2 minutes left and a 5 point lead with 11 seconds left. They would lose in OT. In the second meeting, they gave up a 7 point lead with 5 minutes left, took a late lead, but gave up a lay up to Dominque Jones, who was fouled by Curry, who got hit with a technical. Providence probably doesn't want to see them on the schedule twice next season.

I heard from Brian Bennett that Phil Steele's list of All America teams came out. Were any Big East players on it?

Yes. On the second team were Pitt Panther stars Dion Lewis, Jonathan Baldwin and Greg Romeus, and Mountaineer Robert Sands. The fourth team featured WVU back Noel Devine and UConn LB Lawrence Wilson.

What about Steele's Big East team?

What about it? Get off Phil Steele already. No one cares.

Is there talk of the Big East getting rid of the double bye in the Big East Tournament?

Yes there is. I'm a big fan of getting rid of the double bye. It was stupid from the get go. For one, it punished every team who had to play on Tuesday. It also punished the teams who received the double bye, not counting Louisville, who won the whole thing. The first year, Pitt and UConn lost. Last season, everyone lost but West Virginia, and they almost lost their first game. They are speculating about a pure 16 team bracket, with 4 games on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, and the quarter finals starting on Thursday. That seems about fair. I think the top 4 play on Tuesday. That seems to be the most fair way to do things. I mean, if you play well enough to earn a top 4 seed in the ridiculous Big East, than I think you deserve a day off in the tournament. And if you lose, you deserve the shame an extra day.

Let's get back to Brian Bennett. Would he like to see Cincinnati in a non-conference rivalry game every year?

Glad you asked. The answer is yes. He, like every Bearcat fan and none of the spineless Buckeye fans, would love to see Cincinnati and Ohio State play every season. Ohio State would much rather play Akron and Toledo and other MAC schools before playing the other major conference team from Ohio. That's because Ohio State is scared of losing Ohio. The teams play again in 2014. I'm predicting a Cincinnati victory on this date.

Is there a New Jersey blog Big East ranking for next season? I have a need to see one. It's my crack.

Great question, and yes there is. It's right here. Thank you New Jersey Hoops Haven for putting out such a list today. I'll run down the top 5 for you if you are too lazy to click. Villanova, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virgnia, Georgetown. That's rather vanilla. They pick Cincinnati 12. Shockingly, they have DePaul in last place.

Speaking of Big East talk, is it true that you are participating in something for the East Coast Bias in the next couple of weeks? 

Yes. I'll tell you when things get posted over there and you can check them out. It's a roundtable deal, with things from Orange 44, Voodoo 5, Eye of a Panther, The Nova Blog, Pitt Blather, and lots of other email address I don't recognize. Pretty much every blog listed is involved. It should be awesome.

NBE Basketball says in their latest Big East roundup that UC might be better with this roster. Thoughts?

I agree. The person who wrote that said that it was clear that the players hated each other last season, and it would be addition by subtraction. Believe me, there are a ton of people who think that UC was better off losing one player in particular this season. I think it should help UC. I've written about it this issue myself. What, with rumors that Bishop and Lance hated each other, Bishop hating Mick (getting kicked off the team didn't help that not be true), and Vaughn and Lance playing horribly along side each other all season. I think UC has a nucleus of players that genuinely like each other. At least they follow each other on twitter.

After that seemingly awkward answer, how does Brian Bennett rank the Big East running backs?

I should link Brian at least once, so there that is. He, like everyone else with eyes, ranks Pittsburgh first, and West Virginia second. He has UC 4th, behind UConn. That seems about fair. He looks for big things from Isaiah Pead, and so do I. I'm really pumped about my boy Darrin Williams getting touches this year. I think he's going to be a home run threat on kick returns, and getting handoffs and screens.

Can we get one last reminder about UC baseball?

This weekend, UC plays host to Georgetown. The Bearcats need to win to guarantee they make the Big East tournament. Georgetown kinda sucks, 5 Big East wins, but spoilers are everywhere. Show up and root the Bearcats onward and upward.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh Say Did UC?

My nephew had to have pretty serious back surgery yesterday. I say that because not only would I like for you to send good thoughts, but because it's why today there is no Memorable Bearcat Game. That could come tomorrow, but I'm pressed for time today. That means we go for the always entertaining oh say did UC link round up. Did I just google Cincinnati Bearcats and none of these things are in any kind of order? Yes

  • The Bearcats baseball club played host to #22 Pittsburgh over the weekend. The Panthers took 2 of 3, with UC winning Sunday. The Bearcats are 26-27, 10-14 in the Big East. They host Georgetown to end the regular season this weekend.
  • In a crazy, scary story, former Bearcat and current St Louis Ram Mardy Gilyard was robbed at gunpoint last night. It happened near UC. Gilyard was with his friend, and they had about $1,000 in chains, and $300 taken. Thank god nothing more happened and Mardy and friend left the situation relatively alright. I never trusted that BP on Corry. 
  • In better news surrounding UC football, the kick off time for the Indiana State thrashing has been set. The game will be at noon. Better to get the 70-3 thrashings out of the way early so we have a whole day to enjoy ourselves. The game will be on FSN.
  • Speaking of September UC football, someone on Bleacher Report ran down the tough start to the season UC faces. Bearcats Blog will break that down closer to the start of the season.
  • Brad Jones, who started every game last season, was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. He participated in their rookie mini camp, and earned a contract. Congrats Brad.
  • Bill Koch knows how hard it is to write about UC when nothing is happening, so he wrote about Nippert Stadium. Not in a boring way, but in how it's too small and how UC can make it bigger and stuff. Just read it.
  • Vidal Hazelton has earned some attention coming into his first season at UC. The USC transfer impressed during the spring game, and has caught the attention of a couple of people. First, someone else on Bleacher Report ran down 10 transfers who will have an impact. I don't think that list is in any order, because Robert Marve is number 1. 
  • Hazelton got more ink, or whatever that is for the internet, from the National Football Post. In their list of WRs who would be household names, they listed Vidal. I have to admit, I was pumped for Hazelton coming into the season, and now that we are getting closer, I can't wait. He, Binns, DJ and Thompkins are going to be a nightmare for secondaries. UC will be a ton of fun to throw with 50 times a game in NCAA 2011. 
  • DJ Gallo at Page 2 wrote about livable and unlivable sports cities. He put Cincinnati on the list as livable, with the Bearcats being a strong part. 
  • Finally, we wrap things up with some recruiting talk. The Bearcats added a new player for this season, DT Ty Phillips. Our pal(s) at Down the Drive wrote about him. They also write about other UC things. It's good. I read it. The Bearcats also locked down LB Robert Martin
  • UC has 2 recruits locked down for next season. First, is OL Justin Murray. He goes to Sycamore. Second, but actually first to sign, is Patrick Coyne. Patrick is already my favorite UC recruit of all time, sorry Munchie Legaux, because he goes to my high school, Badin. Hail to the colors bright green and white. Badin's uniforms now are much cooler than they were when I went there. It was like Penn State, but green. Now they have all green uniforms with a big ass B on the side of their helmets. Just watching the video on whatever scouting site that is, takes me back to the days where I would trudge out to Hamilton High to watch my beloved Rams play. The time we beat Hamilton was awesome. It happened my sophomore year, and was still talked about at graduation. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Yancy Gates

Today's Bearcats Breakdown is about Yancy Gates. Yancy is going to be a gigantic part of this upcoming season, as he's going to have to be the man. UC needs him to be what all the hype said he was, and more. Yancy is going to finally have some company up front, with Ibby Thomas, and the new guys, and we are finally going to see if he is everything we hoped he would be when he decided to stay home and play for Mick Cronin.


Yancy Gates averaged 10.3 points per game. That was slightly down from his freshman effort of 10.5. Gates averaged 2 more minutes a game, making his output look a little worse. Keep in mind that UC played 3 more games this past season. Gates had his possessions cut down, getting 21% of UC shots. His offensive rating was 107.3, up 4 points from his freshman year, and 54th in the Big East. Gates effective fg % was 52, and his true shooting % was 53, both up 4% from his freshman season. Gates was 155/297 for 52% shooting. He took a handful less shots this season. He was 53/90 at the foul line for a horrible 59%. That was consistent with his free throw rate from his first season. It's safe to say that next season, Yancy Gates has to step up his offensive production. He also needs to stop shooting 15 footers from the wing, because he can't shoot and it drives me insane.

Yancy Gates posted his career high this season in the 74-69 win over DePaul. Gates scored 23 points on 11-15 shooting. Gates scored 18 in the Crosstown Shootout. He dominated Maryland with 17 points in 29 minutes on 7-11 shooting. Gates scored 16 points four times, and UC was 3-1 in those games. He did it against Vandy in Maui on 7-13 in 25 minutes, against Winthrop on 6-10 in 25 minutes, Louisville in the Big East Tournament, and the loss to Pitt where he had his best game of the season. Gates was having a big game against Marquette, 14 on 6-9, but for some reason didn't crack the bench down the stretch and in overtime as UC lost. Gates had a couple of plays called for him to win games. UC went for a lob to Gates against Gonzaga, where Gates was clearly fouled but there was no call. More successfully, UC called another lob inside to Gates against Notre Dame. The picture up top is of Gates putting the ball in the basket for that UC victory.

Gates also had games where he vanished. Lipscomb and Cal St Bakersfield shouldn't really count against him, but they do. He played 14 minutes in those games and had 2 points. Gates had no cause to be invisible against Dayton (2), at South Florida where no one showed up (5), UAB, where no one showed up either (7), and Georgetown (7). Gates sucked hard against UConn, where he had 14 points in the two meetings.


Rebounding is where I had the biggest issue with Mr Gates. Gates averaged 5.9 rebounds a game, which is absolutely terrible for your big man. Gates pulled in 2.5 offensive rebounds, 11% of UC's total o boards. That was down from 13.5%. Gates pulled in 3.4 defensive rebounds, 15.2%, which was down from 16%. Rebounds are about wanting the ball, and all too often, it appeared that Yancy Gates did not want the ball. The motor for Yancy Gates can fire, but it also can go stagnant, which it seemed to all too often.

Gates had his best rebounding game against Pitt, where he pulled down 14 to go with his 16 points. Gates had 4 other double digit rebounding games. He had 13 big ones, 6 offensive, in the win over the Irish to go with 11 points. He had 13 to go with his 17 points against Maryland. He had 10, 5 offensive, with his 16 points against Vandy. The other 10 rebound game was against Prairie View in the season opener. Clearly Yancy Gates had the desire to rebound in November. Once the calender turned, his fire burnt out.

Gates had his worst rebounding day against West Virginia, where in 20 minutes he had as many rebounds as you or I, 0. Gates had 2 in the South Florida win, and 3 in the South Florida loss, as he was dominated by Jarrid Famous. Gates had 3 boards in the Toledo, and first UConn victories, as well as the Marquette loss. He had 4 against Miami and Dayton. Gates shockingly had 5 games where he didn't gather a defensive rebound. UC won just 1 of those games, the South Florida game, where Gates played 10 minutes. The others were against WVU, Syracuse, Marquette, and again against South Florida. He had 0 defensive rebounds against the Bulls. Unreal.


No one is going to get Gates confused with Kenyon Martin or Eric Hicks, but Gates picked up a few blocks. Most of them early in the season. He blocked 4 against Miami, and 4 more against Pitt. Gates blocked 30 shots this season. But he only blocked 13 in 2010. To get deeper into the numbers, he blocked 6 after January, 2 against Marquette and 2 against Weber State being the highs.


Gates doubled his number of assists. He had 30, compared to 14. He dropped 4 against Toledo. Gates had 20 steals, with 3 of them coming against Weber State. Gates turned the ball over 48 times, which accounted for 15% of UC turnovers.


Yancy Gates' sophomore season has to be chalked up as a disappointment. He was supposed to be part of the big 3 for UC along with Vaughn and Stephenson, but he didn't perform up to that level. Anthony Bufford and Lance McAlister went on record wondering if you could win with Gates on your team. That has to be motivation for 34 this season to make the leap. Getting back to this past season, Gates would probably have been the biggest UC disappointment if Deonta Vaughn didn't fall off a cliff production wise. Gates was outshined down the stretch by Ibrahima Thomas, and with a couple of new bigs coming in, Yancy needs to do something big. Another season of 10-6 is going to be a gigantic let down. We know he can be a monster, we've seen it, but it takes hard work to maintain, and last year Yancy Gates didn't put in the effort to maintain his November pace. He's going to be a huge part of this team, it's time to nut up or shut up for Yancy Gates.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Random Stuff

Today's random thing is about Cleveland. After the Cavs laid their third straight suck bomb, this time quitting with a minute left, it's time to revel in how much Cleveland sucks. Who agrees with me? The Rock and Joakim Noah.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: Pete Mickeal

After the post about the 2000 Bearcats win over DePaul, it made me think about that team. One of my favorite players was Pete Mickeal. I could end up doing a Memorable Bearcats post about everyone on that team, and maybe I will, but Mickeal was a star on that team. In fact, he was an Honorable Mention All American. Pete was a big part of those Cincinnati teams in 1998-1999 and 1999-2000. Let's see how big a part.

Pete Mickeal was a junior college transfer from Indian Hills Community College. He was the Ju-co player of the year for his 2 seasons there, and led the team to back to back championships. Pete came right into the starting line up, starting all 33 games his junior year, and 31 his senior year. He missed the DePaul game due to suspension and I don't believe started the game after that, but he was always there for UC. And he was really always there, seeing 33.8 minutes of action and 31.3 minutes of action his two seasons. He played 84% , and 76% of the minutes for UC his career. If it weren't for blowouts, he would have played every minute of every game. Kenyon Martin was the star of those UC teams, but Mickeal was the glue that held everything together.

Mickeal was a great offensive weapon at UC, even though he was known mostly for his tenacious defense. He would guard the best player on the opposing team every time out. And most of the time, he shut them down. He averaged 1.5 and 1.4 steals a season. Mickeal's offensive rating his junior year at UC was a superb 120, which was 41st nationally and 2nd in the conference. His numbers dipped a little the next year, but he still had 111.9 rating, which was 7th in C-USA. Pete averaged 14.9 points his junior season, and 13.5 his senior year. That seems like a big dip, and it is, but remember that UC had Martin, Johnson, Logan, Satterfield, Tate and even Ryan Fletcher. UC was deep. Mickeal was still second in scoring on that club, and he would have lead UC in scoring this season. His 14.5 points did lead the team. Pete also rebounded very well. He averaged 7.2 and 6.3 at UC. The hit is a board a game, but UC had 4 players average 4 boards, and 5 who averaged 3. Pete averaged nearly 2 assists a game at UC. He also was a pretty good foul shooter, shooting 70% and 72%.

Pete's best scoring games came his junior season. He put up a career high 28 twice. The first time was against Louisville in a 13 point win, where Pete had 28 on 10-15, 7-9 free throws and had 9 rebounds. His best game as a Bearcat was his other 28 point outing, in the C-USA conference tournament against South Florida. Pete was 13-15, 2-2 at the stripe, 9 rebounds, 5 offensive, 5 assists and 3 steals. Mickeal had another monster game against Charlotte, with 23 points on 8-12 shooting, 7-9 at the line, with a career high 15 rebounds. Against UNLV he had 23 on 8-12, going 7-10 at the line. He had 22 on another 8-12, 6-7 fts win against Memphis where he played 39 minutes. It was a 25 point blowout, don't know if that was smart. Pete put up 22-12 against Tulane, and 20-9-5 steals against Houston. Mickeal also had double doubles in wins against Rhode Island (15-10), Oklahoma (17-10), and Louisville (18-10). UC won every game when Pete Mickeal scored 15 points, which he did 15 times. The problem is that he would disappear in losses. He scored 6 in 35 minutes in a loss to St Louis, 8 on 4 shots in the second round loss to Temple, 9 on 3-8 in a loss to DePaul, 9 in foul trouble in the Crosstown Shootout loss to Xavier, and 9 on 2-8 shooting against Charlotte.

The senior campaign for Pete Mickeal was also incredibly solid. He started off well, but had a few no shows sprinkled in as well, 8 points against Gonzaga, 4 against Oklahoma, but things held steady until mid February. He hit a little slump from the field, bottoming out with a 2-11 5 point outing against Louisville, which saw him pulled from the game. He went 2-7, 4-10, 0-9, 3-4, and 4-9 leading up to it. Whatever was the problem didn't matter, as Pete bounced back. Pete had 5 20 point games that year, and 15 games where he scored 15 points. Unfortunately, UC lost 2 of them. But going 28-2 when you score 15 points is pretty good. Pete's best game was the Humanitarian Bowl make up game at Boise State. He had 23 on 9-12, with 14 rebounds and 3 steals. The 14 was a season high, and the 23 tied his season high. That game came against Marquette, where he had 8 rebounds and shot 7-10, 7-9 at the line. Pete had 21 on 6-9, 9-10, and 5 steals against St Louis, 21-5-4 assists against North Carolina and 20 against Charlotte. Pete had 18-10-3 blocks in a win over Southern Miss. He had 16-11 in the loss to Tulsa in the NCAA Tournament. He also had double doubles in wins over South Florida (16-10) and St Louis (13-10). He had 12 rebounds in a game against Mississippi Valley State, and a very solid 16-8-5 assists-3 blocks-2 steals game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Pete is still playing today. He was drafted by Dallas, but never played, signed by New York, but never played, and went on to the ABA. He won the MVP in 2002, with 35 points a game. He moved over to Europe ever since. He most recently played with Barcelona, where he had 12-5 in Euro League play, and 10.2-3.8-1.2 assists in the Spanish League. His team recently won the championship. You can read it in his blog here. He plays with NBA draft pick and Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio.

Pete Mickeal was a very solid player in junior college, a very solid player at UC, and is still a very solid player in Spain. Pete Mickeal was one of the best players in probably the best time to be a Bearcat basketball fan, besides never making it out of the second round, but that doesn't count because we are talking about the regular season because that's the only thing that matters, see look at our C-USA banners!!! Anyway, Pete Mickeal was a hell of a player and one of my favorites and that's why he's a Memorable Bearcat.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 64 DePaul 62

Today's Memorable Bearcat Game comes from the year 2000. As you can suspect, that makes it a good one already. The subject of today's game is the Kenyon Martin lead comeback against DePaul.

Cincinnati came into the game at 26-2, 14-0 in C-USA. DePaul was 18-9, fighting for an NCAA tournament bid. The teams played a couple weeks earlier in Cincinnati, with the Bearcats thrashing the Blue Demons by 23. The Bearcats were without Pete Mickeal, who was suspended by Huggins. Mickeal was benched during the previous game against Louisville, didn't see action in this one, but he came back to play out the string relatively well. This may sound a bit crazy now, but the Bearcats walked into a hornets nest in Chicago this night. The Blue Demons needed this game for their NCAA lives, something that seems strange when you look at how bad of shape that program has been the past few seasons.

The Bearcats missed Mickeal early. Pete guarded, nay, hounded Quentin Richardson into a 3-13 night in the first meeting, but with him out, DePaul rained threes early. The Blue Demons hit 5 in the first 8 minutes, charging out into the lead. Richardson was loving the change, drilling 3 triples and having 11 points at the half. DePaul shot 56% going into intermission, and held a 36-29 lead. There were 18,253 fans filling the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, a then record. Needless to say, they were all pretty excited at the way things turned out in the first half. You might be saying to yourself, Bearcats Blog, want to get a little more specific with the first half? That's a great, great question and I appreciate the fact that you asked it. The answer is no. Let's move on to the second half.

DePaul jumped right back on the Bearcats to start the second frame. The Bearcats helped by playing pretty terribly and fouling a whole lot. The Bearcats had 6 fouls the first 7 minutes, including 3 on one possession. They put DePaul in the bonus with 12 minutes to go. The Blue Demons demanded it though, as they hit 5 of their first 6 shots out of the break. Rashon Burno, DePaul's point guard, was supposed to be guarded by Kenny Satterfield, but Kenny left him to double on Richardson. Burno thanked him for the open shot by draining a 3, pushing the margin to 46-31. Burno had 7 in the game. The Demons got the lead to 16 when Lance Williams scored inside. UC got a basket that neither the Enquirer, CNNSI, nor ESPN cared to mention, when Richardson drilled his last 3 of the game to push the lead to 51-34. Cincinnati faced it's largest deficit of the season. Kenny Satterfield would have none of it. He scored 5 points, and I'm just going to assume that he assisted Steve Logan for a 3 to cut the lead to 51-44. Cincinnati also remembered to play defense, getting 7 stops. Cincinnati had 10 steals in the game, 4 blocks, forced 17 DePaul turnovers, but the Demons shot a piss poor 6-15 at the free throw line. NBA players Richardson and Bobby Simmons were both 1-5, and 70%, and 75% foul shooters respectively.

Down 7 with 10 minutes left, it looked as if the Bearcats had used everything to get back into the game. The lead ballooned up to 10, 60-50, with 3:46 to go. That's when Bob Huggins told his team one thing, "Get the ball to Kenyon." I'm sure there were other words in there, and Bob didn't just say that, drop his clipboard, get a soda and adjust his tie. Sure enough, Satterfield took the ball upcourt, passed to Martin who was guarded by Williams, and watching as Martin hit a turnaround off glass. Burno, who was a midget, couldn't deal with the UC pressure and threw the ball away to DerMarr Johnson. After some quick passes, Johnson missed from the top of the key, but Satterfield pulled home the rebound. UC pulled back out, getting the ball to Satterfield on the left wing. Martin called for the ball on the block, got it, and hit another turnaround on Williams. DePaul looked rattled. They couldn't get into their offense. A deflection by Johnson gave the Demons the ball out of bounds with 3 seconds on the shot clock, but they couldn't do anything off the inbound, and committed another turnover on a shot clock violation. The crowd remembered they were allowed to make noise as UC brought the ball up court. Satterfield waved away a Jermaine Tate screen attempt, looking to get the ball to Martin. He did. Martin this time took Williams left, dropping a little pump fake jumper from the bottom of the circle in his face. That made the score 60-56 with 2 minutes left. Cincinnati threw on a very sloppy press that was broken. Burno hit Richardson high off the left wing, and Q saw an open Paul McPherson under the basket. By the time McPherson went up with his left hand, Martin crashed the rim from the top of the key blocking the shot. Maybe the pass was short armed a little, but it was a pure hustle play by Martin on an amazing block. That started a UC break, as Satterfield raced up court and dropped off for Johnson driving from the right baseline. Johnson was fouled on his dunk attempt, and drilled both, making it 60-58. DePaul called timeout, but looked discombobulated on offense, getting 3 guys in the paint. The man taking the shot was Bobby Simmons. This happened.

UC took about 15 seconds off the clock running their offense, but there was no doubt where the ball was going. This time, it was Logan who fed Martin on the right block. Martin took a dribble, then dropped another turnaround jumper in Williams' face to tie with 1:11 left. UC went back to the trapping defense. Martin and Johnson ended up with a trap on McPherson, but they left room in the middle. McPherson stepped through, finding Williams all alone under the basket for a dunk. Cincinnati took a timeout, but the Bearcats were stunned when DePaul went zone. With no easy entry to Martin, they worked the ball around the perimeter. Martin worked his way over to the left wing. He got the ball with 5 on the shot clock. Kenyon went baseline on Williams, blowing right by him. Simmons came to help at the basket, but was too late, as Martin banked home the tying shot.

DePaul had 22 seconds, 20 after a timeout. DePaul tried some kind of weird play where Burno brought the ball up, Simmons and Williams stood side by side at the free throw line, probably going to screen for each other I dunno, they just stood there, while Richardson screened for McPherson behind that in the paint, and came up top while McPherson went to the wing. Whatever the weird play was, it allowed Tate to jump into the passing lane, where Burno threw an ill, ill, ill advised pass Richardson's direction. Tate handed to Martin, who took the ball up the court, and dropped off for Johnson. In a play a little similar to the Northern Iowa play the beat Kansas, Johnson looked like he was going to pass, the defense went away from him, and he drilled an open 17 footer with 2.6 left. DePaul got the ball into Richardson, who flew up court. He lost a behind the back dribble for just a half of a second, but that was too long, as the buzzer sounded before he drilled a 35 footer.

It was a great, great win for Cincinnati. It was the game that got Kenyon the player of the year award. It made UC one of the favorites for March. It gave the fan base a sense of destiny for this team. Martin had 33-9-2 blocks, but he had one in the highlight package ESPN showed and 2 during the game. Whatever. Johnson was the only other Bearcat in double digits with 10. Satterfield had 7-9 rebounds-4 assists, playing nearly the whole game. After those 3, BJ Grove was UC's next leading scorer with 6. DePaul had Richardson with 17-11, Williams with 14, and McPherson and Simmons (8 rebounds) with 8.

Just remembering this game makes me remember this season and the love I had for this team. This, and the 01-02 teams will always be my favorite UC squads. Things didn't turn out for either one of them, but they were incredibly fun to watch. The 00 team had it's season derailed, but it had a UC legend give amazing performances like this. The Kenyon Martin game, the comeback, whatever you want to call it, this was a Memorable Bearcat Game.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Dion Dixon

I sense your surprise. Why isn't the next logical person from Bearcats Breakdown Yancy Gates? I'll tell you why. It's because Saturday, I found out that my best friend Dion Dixon was on twitter. He's @DDixon3. He can't have any idea that this Cincinnati Bearcats blog shows him so much love, so I think all of you out there with twitter should tweet him and let him know. You should also follow the blog on twitter. That plug was shameful. What's not shameful was the performance of Dion Dixon this season. Let's take a look at how #3 performed in his sophomore year.


Dion Dixon averaged 4.8 points a game this season. That's 2.5 points lower than his freshman year average of 7.2. That can be racked up to the fact he played 6 less minutes per game this season. He was banged up a little, but also fell out of favor in the rotation. Last season, he didn't have a game where he didn't play 10 minutes, this year, he had 9, not including 2 that he missed. He was on the court 54% of UC possessions, to 36%. Dixon's use of possessions grew slightly. Dion's effectiveness didn't translate, as his offensive rating plummeted from 104.3 to 97.1. His effective FG% fell from 45 to 39, and his true shooting % from 48 to 45. A huge part of that was his horrible 3 point shooting. After being bad, 36-118, 30%, his freshman year, he was 14-65, 21% this season. Dixon was 54-154, 35% overall, and missing that many shots really killed the percentage. He was 76-204, 36% his freshman year. One thing that got much better was his foul shooting. Dixon shot 39-52, 75%, up from 66.7%. His free throw rate, the rate at which he got to the line, stayed the same. Dixon got nearly 50% of his points from inside the arch, an amazing number for a shooting guard.

Dixon had a few good offensive performances this season. He put up 15 on 6-11 shooting in 22 minutes against Lipscomb. He was the only offensive player to show up at UAB when he scored a team high 13. He had 13 two more times, in wins over Cal St Bakersfield and Texas Southern. Dixon came up big with 12 in the Vanderbilt win in Maui, and 12 in the loss to Marquette. Most of the time when Dion Dixon scored, UC won. The Texas Southern win featured his best shooting game, 5-7. He got to the line 6 times against Winthrop, making 5, his best of the season. His best 3 point shooting game would be the 3 of 4 against Marquette, but he was also 3 of 5 against CS Bakersfield. Dixon is probably remembered more for the shots he missed though. In double overtime of the Xavier game, Dixon bricked an open 3 that would have given UC the lead. In the first Louisville game, he squashed a UC rally by taking a horribly ill advised triple. Believe it or not, those were the only 2 threes he took in those games. The last one to come to mind, is the brick display he put on against Gonzaga, when he was 1-6 and seemed to be forcing shots all night.


Dion Dixon was not a great rebounder this season, averaging 2 a game. He averaged 0.8 offensive boards, 5.9% of UC's offensive rebounds, and 1.18 defensive boards, 8.4%. All of those are down a percentage from last year. Some of that has to do with minutes yes, but some of it has to do with Dixon not being tenacious going to the glass. Did you know in his freshman season, there were 6 games total where he had 0 offensive rebounds. This year, he had offensive rebounds in only 16 games. Most of those came in a 2 week span. He had 8 games last season with 0 defensive rebounds, and 11 this year. He had 8 games with 0 rebounds this season, and he had 0 games with 0 rebounds his freshman year. I'm sure some of this had to be because he played out on the wing more, but rebounds are about wanting the ball, and I don't think Dixon wanted it as much.

Dixon's best rebounding games game in Maui. He pulled down 10 rebounds against Vanderbilt, 7 defensive. That ties a career high, and is a career high. It seemed every one of his offensive rebounds were huge in that game. Dixon had 5 boards against Maryland, 4 offensive, a season high. Dion pulled down 5 in the victory over Notre Dame. He had 4 twice, against Weber State, and against Miami. Interesting to note all of those were UC victories. When Dion Dixon rebounded, UC won.


Dion Dixon had 36 assists this season, down from 44. He had 1.01 a game. But, the percent of Cincinnati assists he had was up to 13%. Mainly because Cincinnati was a horrible passing team. He had 4 assists against UConn and CS Baker, showing when Dion Dixon passed the ball, UC won.


Dixon had 16 steals this season, matching his output from his freshman year. He had 2 steals in games against UConn, Prairie View, Winthrop and Marquette. Dixon blocked 2 shots, against Vandy and UAB. Dixon turned the ball over 30 times, accounting for 17% of the UC turnovers. His assist to turnover ratio was 1.2. Dixon had a couple of games where it seemed all he did was turn the ball over, Providence, and Seton Hall.
Don't know how this slipped my mind, but Dion Dixon  had the most memorable UC turnover of the season. With the score tied, Dixon pulled a Charles Williams on a late inbound against West Virginia, setting the stage for Da'Sean Butler's ice cold three. Dixon shouldn't have been in the game in my book (book coming soon), and it really killed me that he committed the big gaff.

Dion Dixon didn't have the greatest of sophomore seasons. It could be seen as a slight regression, or it could be seen as him not improving. Either way, that's not great. Dixon fell victim to the log jam at guard. He couldn't get minutes over Cash, Vaughn or Lance, and once Ibrahima Thomas stepped in, Rashad Bishop played at the 3 giving UC a big line up. Jaquan Parker taking a big step at the end of the year also hurt Dixon. Like Larry Davis, Dixon's shooting stroke really hurt his production. Unlike Davis, Dixon wasn't a great shooter and he got worse. I believe that he will turn things around. I think his junior year is going to be the breakout one for Dion Dixon. I have to believe that though, because he's my best friend.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Random Stuff

Today's Friday Random Thing is a highlight of one of Bearcats Blog's favorite shows, Community. If you didn't see the epicness that was last night's show, you are missing out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Say Did UC?

The time for Cincinnati Bearcats links has come. This might not be your favorite bit, but it should be because it's very informative and fun for everyone.

Brian Bennett at ESPN has written a spring recap of every Big East team, or is going to, and yesterday he hit on Cincinnati. His biggest questions circle around the defense, especially the secondary.

Bennett also wrote a piece about the Big East's star being ready to shine, shine, shine. I know he said burn bright, but you can't write burn bright three times.

The Bleacher report did a slide show about the upcoming Big East football season. They put a familiar face as one of the 3 Big East Heisman candidates.

The great Ivan Maisel wrote a huge spring football recap, and at the very bottom, he mentioned Cincinnati. He said UC looked to have what it takes for a three peat. I like those words.

Mark Schlabach put up a post spring top 25. Top 5, Alabama, Boise St, Ohio St, Texas and Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh was the highest rated Big East team at 13. Cincinnati was 18. Spoiler alert. did a nice write up about Mike Windt, the Cincinnati long snapper who signed to the Bengals as a free agent.

Mardy Gilyard had a piece written about him Friday by St Louis Globe Democrat about how he was wearing the great Torry Holt's #81.

There is also a more recent piece by some St Louis paper after the weekend OTAs saying that Gilyard and Sam Bradford had a nice rapport.

Switching to football recruiting news, the Bearcats have offered junior Jamire Westbrook. It's his first offer. He's actually going into his junior year, and is 16. The whole thing is kinda creepy. Recruiting is seriously getting out of hand.

The Bearcats have also made an offer to Zach Mettenberger. Zach was released by Georgia after getting charged for sexual battery.  He was expected to fight for the Georgia starting job this season. He was the 14th ranked QB by Scout a couple years ago, he redshirted last season, and is said to be a stud. I'm iffy on going after guys dismissed from teams for big things like sexual battery. Maybe Zach has turned his life around after that dark incident. He also has an offer from Louisville, and other schools are said to be interested.

Switching gears completely, let's hit up some baseball. The Bearcats are tied for 7th in the Big East, with an 8-10 record as of yesterday when the News Record wrote this. 8 teams make the BET. The teams behind the Irish and Bearcats are 5-13. The Bearcats get a tough challenge this week, as the Big East leading Connecticut Huskies prance into town. Good luck to the Bearcats. Try to make a game if you can peeps. They are free or cheap if they aren't free. I've been to one in my life. I don't remember who UC played, or who won, but it was fun.

Speaking of fun, this interview with UC 1B/Pitcher Kevin Johnson is. He may not have dunked over Hakeem Olajuwon, but he was drafted by the Florida Marlins and chose to come back to UC.

Former UC pitched Dan Osterbrock threw a 7 inning no hitter his last outing. That's great news in of itself, but he was named the Twins Minor League Player of the Week, Midwest League Pitcher of the Week, and was promoted to High A. Congrats a ton to Dan.

Moving to hoops, Bill Koch wrote a pretty alright piece about Sean Kilpatrick. Sean has a lot of pressure to take the place of not only Lance Stephenson, but Deonta Vaughn. With his admitted flat three point shot, he'll fit right in with the rest of the returning bricklayers. I kid.

I don't know much about the Cincinnati Commandos, besides the fact they have former UC players, but they are undefeated. This is a nice refresher. They are QB'd by Ben Mauk.

Also on the team is Dominick Goodman, and this is an interview with him.

We'll end with a couple of Big East links. Our good friends at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician check to see if Doug Marrone losing 29 players since taking over at Syracuse has their program going in the right direction. And our best friends at Card Chronicle react about the news Samardo Samuels hiring an agent and turning pro.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Xavier 83 Cincinnati 79

Yesterday's post about Lance Stephenson got me to thinking about this past season. While this wasn't the greatest year for Cincinnati basketball, there sure as hell were some entertaining contests. One in particular was exceptionally great. That game was the Crosstown Shootout. Now I know what some of you are thinking.Why that game happened in December, how you can you wax nostalgic about that? I thought this series was about football games? I thought this was about wins? No to all of those. It's about memorable games, and sometimes the most memorable are the losses. The old poker saying is that you can't remember the hands you win, but you remember with absolute clarity the hands you lost. This is kinda like that too. Plus, like 4 people read what I wrote in December, so this is new to you.

The Crosstown Shootout didn't have as much luster as normally, partially due to a Sunday night start time on a weird station, ESPNU. That didn't stop the teams from putting on an instant classic. I know it was an instant classic, because when it replayed on ESPNU, it said instant classic. Xavier got off to a solid start, jumping out to a 12-5 lead. The Muskies blocked 4 of the first 8 UC shots, 1 by Jamel McLean and Kenny Frease and 2 by Jason Love. As Charles and Kenny say on Inside the NBA, it was a block party and the Bearcats were invited. Xavier scored point 12 at the 14:35 mark, and that's when Cincinnati's defense shut down the Muskies. The Muskies didn't score until the 7 minute mark, 2 free throws by Dante Jackson, and didn't get a field goal until the 6:52 mark. Cincinnati went on a 14 point run during that span, getting buckets by Larry Davis, Deonta Vaughn, a pair of threes by Darnell Wilks, an assist by Wilks to Yancy Gates, and a Lance Stephenson lay up. Xavier closed the half on a 20-7 run of their own, and lead 31-26. Terrell Holloway scored 11 points in that span for the Muskies, getting to the line and drilling threes. The fireworks came in the middle of the half. At the 7 minute mark, Jordan Crawford and Rashad Bishop got into a war of words, both receiving technical fouls. The chippyness helped the Musketeers, as you can see from when they started scoring again. Things got even more high strung with 3:30 to go in the half. Lance Stephenson was driving in for a lay up, when Jason Love gave him a hard foul. It was called intentional. The benches cleared going into the media timeout. Terrell Holloway pushed Ibrahima Thomas away, leading to this
Cooler heads would prevail after, but the tension was underlying the rest of the game.

The second half started where the first half ended, with Xavier in charge. The teams traded buckets, but Xavier held on to their lead, with Cincinnati chipping the lead to 4 a couple of times. The Muskies got a Jason Love lay up, a Frease free throw and a Crawford triple to push the lead to 10. The Bearcats slowly chipped away at the disadvantage, at the under 12, the score was 45-39. A pair for Mark Lyon freebies pushed the lead to 7, 51-44, before Lance Stephenson took over. Stephenson scored a lay up, a three pointer from Vaughn, and pulled down a rebound, drove down court and calmly sank a jumper to tie. Cashmere Wright gave UC the lead on a lay up, followed by a Vaughn lay up for a 4 point lead with 5:44 to go. Cincinnati would go on a cold streak the next 3 minutes, allowing Xavier to go on a 6 point run to take the lead by 2. Rashad Bishop tied the score seconds before Holloway would drive for the Xavier lead. Yancy Gates hit 2 free throws with a minute left to tie. Holloway gave X the lead with 26 seconds left on a jumper. Stephenson hit a jumper for UC with 15 seconds left to tie. Holloway drained the clock, but missed a last second runner. Dante Jackson pulled down the rebound, threw up a shot that fell, and celebrated. But, it was after the buzzer and we went to overtime.

Cincinnati took the early overtime lead by 4. Gates hit a shot, and Lance Stephenson crossed Holloway over badly and hit a step back j. Here's proof.

Nasty wasn't it? Lyons got Xavier back into the game with a jumper and a pair of free throws. Gates and Frease exchanged scores before UC took a 3 point lead on a free throw by Bishop and another silly move by Stephenson. Lance shook the defender, spun, and hit an up and under lay up. Watch.

The video kinda sucks, but the move is still sweet. Deonta Vaughn pulled down a rebound and drove for a lay up, giving UC a 5 point lead with 55 seconds left. Holloway took over. He drew a foul on Vaughn and made both shots. Rashad Bishop had the ball stolen by Love, leading to Holloway getting fouled by Gates going to the rim. Holloway hit both again. Xavier had to foul, and they fouled my best friend Dion Dixon. Dixon calmly nailed both to push the lead back to 3. For some reason unknown to anyone, and completely illogical, Mick Cronin tapped Jaquan Parker off the bench. Parker didn't play any of the second half, or any of the overtime. He had Holloway blow by him earlier in the game and was benched. 19 seconds to go, Holloway has the ball. Of course he drives to the rim. Of course he makes a lay up. Of course he's fouled by Parker. Of course he ties the score. Of course he does. UC had a chance to win. Stephenson missed a step back three, and Dixon missed on a put back. That sent us to double overtime.

Cincinnati jumped out to another lead to start overtime. Cash hit a free throw, followed by a Vaughn lay up. Holloway scored for Xavier, but Gates scored on a lay up to push the lead back to 3. Xavier would tie the score thanks to sloppy play by UC. Crawford hit a free throw, followed by a Gates travel. On the Xavier possession, Love made a lay up for the tie. Stephenson would get called for a charge, but X couldn't take the lead. UC held the ball the next minute, but were unable to score. Vaughn missed a lay up, foreshadow, and Steve Toyloy bricked a couple of huge free throws. Holloway drove down the lane and dropped off a pass that Love converted for the Xavier lead. Lance Stephenson played really hard and smart in this game, but he made a silly move with about 25 seconds left. Instead of circling back out and making a strong move with the ball, he passed to Dixon. Dixon threw up a horribly ill advised three that was a brick leaving his hand. He fouled Dante Jackson, who made 1 of 2. Vaughn took the inbound pass and decided to go for the lay up to cut the Muskie lead to 1. Great plan, but terrible execution, as he blew a wide open lay up. Love got the rebound, his 19th of the game, and iced things with a free throw. Desperate threes by UC missed, and that lead to this vomit inducing photo.
Ok, I couldn't find the real picture, but Mick looking like he's taking a dump will do. This was a wild game. Stephenson and Yancy Gates dominated for UC. Stephenson had 22 on 9-19 shooting, with 6 rebounds. Gates had 18 and 6. Vaughn was the other Bearcat in double digits with 13, but he was 6-19. He did have 9 rebounds. Holloway had a career high 26 for Xavier, while Crawford put up 16 on 5-16 shooting.

This wasn't the prettiest Crosstown Shootout, despite the pretty moves by Stephenson. X shot 41%, and UC 37%, but this was the game that brought the intensity back out. This was a blood and guts Crosstown Shootout. We had pull aparts, hard fouls, trash talking, big shots, clutch moments, and breakout performances. Unfortunately, it was a UC loss. But, it was one hell of a game, and that's why it's a Memorable Bearcat game.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Lance Stephenson

The Bearcats breakdown is back after a week off and we get right back into the breakdown with the third player who has left the UC program for good this season. That player is the Big East Rookie of the Year, Lance Stephenson. Stephenson made many of us go like this

when he decided to say he was staying at UC during the Big East Tournament, and then after the NIT he went pro and hired an agent. Still, we can't hold that against Lance. We all knew he was one and done. He was the best player UC had this season, and if he weren't on the court, who knows how UC would have done. The thing that sucks the most is when he finally put it all together in March, we kinda believed he would stay and he left. That made me feel a little dumb for believing him, and I'm guessing the same was true for you.  Let's look at his production this season.


Lance Stephenson was the leading scorer this season for the Bearcats, putting home 12.3 points per game. Stephenson shot 44% overall, but a horrendous 21% from 3. He made 16 of 73 from distance. He was an average foul shooter at 66%. Stephenson used 26% of Cincinnati possessions, which was 11th in the Big East. His offensive rating was 99.2, which is disappointing from a player that controlled the ball so much. It was 75th in the conference. Lance's effective fg% was 46.1, and his true shooting % 49.3. Both were in the middle of the Big East. Stephenson got nearly 70% of his scoring from 2 point shots, which is quite a lot from someone who wasn't a big man. His shooting was a huge disappointment this season. I didn't expect him to be JJ Redick, but I didn't expect him to be my little sister out there either.

Stephenson's best scoring game was in the horrible humiliation against Georgetown. Stephenson had 23, which was half the UC offense, on 11-17 shooting. His second best was in the Crosstown Shootout against Xavier with 22. He crossed 20 one more time, adding points 20 and 21 in the last second in the victory over UConn. The free throws made him 7-7, which was his career best. Lance had 19 twice, the BET game against West Virginia and the win over Lipscomb. Stephenson had 18 against DePaul in the game he did this.
His best shooting game was the 5-7 performance against Louisville. That's remembered more for him going 5-5 to start with all 12 of his points coming in the first 4 minutes or so. Georgetown, Lipscomb and DePaul were his best shooting days of volume.

Stephenson's worst game was against Marquette. He scored 2 points in only 11 minutes. That game still pisses me off. The season could have been completely different if Mick didn't screw up with his stupid non subs. Lance was one of many Bearcats who didn't show up to play at South Florida, where he had 4 in 20 minutes. His return to New York was forgettable, when  he scored 7 in 36 minutes on 3-9 shooting.


Lance Stephenson was the second leading rebounder on Cincinnati, averaging 5.3 a game. Lance gobbled up 1.8 offensive rebounds, 7.2% of the UC o boards for the season, and 3.5 defensive boards, 14% of the UC total. His best rebounding game was against Texas Southern, where he had 11. He had 10 against DePaul for his only career double double. Lance grabbed 9 three times, two in wins over Rutgers in the BET, and Providence, and the loss to WVU. He had 8 twice, in the win over Miami, and the loss to Syracuse.


Stephenson was second on UC in assists, with 2.5 a game. That was good for 19% of UC's assists, placing him in the top 30 of the Big East. His career high was 7, in the game was Texas Southern. He had 5 three times, in the wins over Winthrop, Lipscomb, and the BET win over Rutgers. He had 4 four times, 2 wins, Maryland DePaul, 2 losses, Dayton and Pittsburgh. Clearly, Cincinnati played better when Lance Stephenson was distributing the ball. This is probably something that Mick Cronin didn't realize, or didn't care about, because Lance should have had the ball in his hands more. He turned the ball over a lot, which was probably why he didn't. His assist to turnover ratio was 1. That's pretty bad. Stephenson had 17.6% of UC's turnovers. Maybe Mick was right about him not having the ball.

Everything Else

Lance Stephenson was probably the best on ball defender UC had this season. In the biggest game of the year against WVU, he was on Da'Sean Butler. He was second on the team in steals, with 31. He had 6 blocks. Lance's memorable moments were the Crosstown Shootout, where he still shouldn't have passed the ball to Dion Dixon, and the Big East Tournament, where he carried UC to the third round. He passed well against Rutgers, he guarded well and made big shots against Louisville, and he was everything the second half against West Virginia.


I think it's clear to say that Lance Stephenson was the best Bearcat of the season. The offense was there all year, and the defense stepped up at the end of the year. He had his bad times, like the hissy fit and subsequent team quitting at UAB, but he also had good times, like beating UConn. Lance Stephenson is going to be remembered in a weird light at UC I believe. Some people will remember him like this

beating UConn, and some will remember him for this

the loss against WVU. It won't be for carrying UC though the season, but for coming up a little short when it mattered the most, and always leaving us wanting more. Lance Stephenson had high, high expectations, and they weren't really met for a lot of people. He didn't score 20 a game, hell, he didn't score 15 a game. He wasn't John Wall, he wasn't Avery Bradley, he wasn't the savior. He was just a very good basketball player, who through his ups and downs, symbolized the UC season. Thanks for choosing UC Lance.