Unlike in college football, college basketball has two national signing periods. The early NSD for the 2014 recruiting cycle occurred on November 13th. Cincinnati took advantage by signing three for the upcoming class, Quadri Moore, Gary Clark, and Coreontae DeBerry. These additions will go a long way to bolstering UC’s front court over the next several years and after witnessing the Bearcats’ struggles there this past season, I think we can all agree that they couldn’t get here soon enough.
But with two scholarships in his pocket, there is nothing to indicate that Mick Cronin is done recruiting for the 2014 class. That’s the beauty of having that kind of flexibility at this point in the year. Mick could save them for next year’s cycle and I’d be OK with that. Still, there are plenty of players out there if the UC head coach wanted to put a bow on this class beginning tomorrow in the regular national signing period.
One of which is JUCO shooting guard Torian Graham. If there’s one thing that Cincinnati could use in the coming seasons is a slasher who can also hit long range jumpers. Sean Kilpatrick fulfilled that role for UC over the last few years. There’s a strong possibility Shaq Thomas could fulfill that need in the next couple of seasons but due to his inconsistency he can’t be considered a reliable option at this point. So the logical choice would be Chipola CC guard Torian Graham.
The 6’4″ sophomore averaged 12.9 points per game for the Indians last season while shooting 48.2% from the field and 41% from three. So he has the touch to hit the outside shot. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, Graham hit over 77% of his free throws. Put this all together and you have yourself a player who can provide an offensive pop for the Bearcats by way of the three ball and freebies at the stripe.
Here’s the kicker, though. Graham only played in 15 games last season for Chipola. Why? Well the sophomore was arrested and suspended in mid-January due to possession of marijuana. The charges have since been dropped but fair or not it certainly put a red flag on Graham’s resume. Is that enough to keep Mick Cronin interested? If he can keep Graham on the straight and narrow, I don’t see why not.
To be clear, Cincinnati’s 2014 class is mighty impressive as it stands right now but Torian Graham would be the icing on the cake. The Bearcats shored up their front court in the most recent cycle but still need a replacement in the back court for Sean Kilpatrick. Graham could be that guy for UC. His arrest earlier this year is definitely concerning and I wouldn’t want Cincinnati to add him to the roster if Mick didn’t know with absolute certainty that it was an isolated incident. If so, the Bearcats could be targeting a game changing guard who could elevate UC basketball in the coming years.