Feb 15, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Houston Cougars guard Tione Womack (14) shoots in the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats forward Jermaine Lawrence (11) at FifthThird Arena. Cincinnati defeated Houston 73-62. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

UC Bearcats Basketball: Power Forward Jermaine Lawrence Leaves Cincinnati

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It’s official now. The University of Cincinnati sent out a press release announcing that power forward Jermaine Lawrence is leaving the basketball program. The true freshman’s intentions were made known to the world on Friday and it appears his request has been approved by the school. As of May 13th, 2014, Jermaine Lawrence is no long a Bearcat.

As I mentioned when it was revealed that he wanted to transfer from UC, I was disappointed to learn of this news. Lawrence’s freshman year was hampered severely by a foot injury that kept anchored to the bench for a full quarter of the season. Additionally he struggled adjusting to the back to the basket role after playing a more outside-in game during high school. These along with the other natural struggles freshman endure transitioning to basketball at the collegiate level.

Still, the true freshman couldn’t escape his growing horde of critics throughout the season. I guess they just expected Lawrence to be the second coming of Kenyon Martin. To me, his performance last year was perfectly acceptable for a player making the step up to college basketball. Had he developed in UC’s system, I fully believe he could have grown into a solid contributor for the Bearcats.

But I guess it was never meant to be. It’s just a shame to me that this is the way Lawrence’s career at Cincinnati will end.

So where will he wind up? Well the safe bet is on one of the schools he spurned to come to Cincinnati. That would be either UNLV or St. John’s. Considering the latter’s proximity to Lawrence’s family in New Jersey along with his father’s apparent poor health, the Red Storm probably have the inside track to land the power forward.

At this point all I can do is wish Jermaine Lawrence the best of luck in the next phase of his life.

UC’s press release in its entirety is below.

Rising sophomore forward Jermaine Lawrence (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Pope John XXIII High School [N.J.]) has decided to leave the University of Cincinnati and the men’s basketball program Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin has announced.

“I’m leaving UC because my father is ill,” Lawrence said. “I want to be closer to him as well as be close enough where I can have him and my mom attend my games. We appreciate everyone’s support.”

Lawrence played in 26 games without a start, averaging 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes. He scored a season-high nine points against Kennesaw State on Nov. 29 and grabbed a season-best eight rebounds against NC State on Nov. 12. Lawrence missed eight games from Jan. 7 through Feb. 2 due to a toe injury.

“We have been praying for Jermaine’s father and understand the situation,” Cronin said. “We wish Jermaine all the best.”

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