It’s been a big news day for Bearcats basketball. Perhaps the biggest in a while. Gargantuan even. Well maybe not that far. Enormous. Gargantuan might be pushing it. Sorry to build it up like that.
Anyways, Cincy on the Prowl has kept you up to speed thus far on the happenings of the last 24 hours but I thought I’d compile them into one post for easy reading. First up…
Perhaps the most shocking news of the day was power forward Octavius Ellis has been accepted back into the program. He was kicked off the team after a pair of incidents forced Mick Cronin’s hand. First was his involvement in the infamous Cincinnati-Xavier brawl during the 2011 Crosstown Shootout. The second occurred just after the season ended, when he punched a PLAY nightclub bouncer. After that, Cronin had no choice but to part ways with the troubled youth. But the UC head coach always had a soft spot for Ellis. So after a year of improving his game at the JUCO level and staying out of trouble, Cronin opted to allow the power forward back on the Cincinnati roster. Hopefully it works out well for both parties.
Additionally the Bearcats got a commitment from JUCO point guard Farad Cobb. He was originally at Chattanooga but was kicked off the team. Much like Octavius Ellis, Cobb went the route of the junior college circuit where he shined at the point guard position. He shot over 51% from the field and 46% from three for Northwestern Florida State. Most importantly he kept his nose clean and Cronin opted to take a chance on the kid. Hopefully his advanced offensive skills will pay dividends for the Bearcats this fall.
The disappointing news of the day, at least to me, is the fact that true freshman Jermaine Lawrence has begun the process of transferring out of the Cincinnati program. The power forward struggled with injuries and being forced to play out of position last season. As such, he put up numbers that most would find disappointing given their, sometimes, outrageous expectations. While they were a bit underwhelming, the two factors outside his control I listed above certainly contributed to that. With the proper tutelage, the kind he would get at UC, Lawrence could have developed into a solid 4 for the Bearcats effectively backfilling Titus Rubles‘ role this past season. Unfortunately it sounds like we might not find out exactly what will become of him at Cincinnati.