UC signee Cumberland Scoring In Bunches During HS Tourney Run

Wilmington High School star, ESPN Top-100 recruit, and Cincinnati signee Jarron Cumberland has been lighting up scoreboards and dominating games in Ohio’s top high school division.  His Wilmington Hurricane have reached the Southwest Regional Final of the OHSAA Division I state tournament after they defeated the Moeller Crusaders on Wednesday night at the Cintas Center.  They will take on Centerville this Saturday night at 7:00 with a trip to the state Final Four on the line.

It’s been noted that Cumberland previously dropped 52 points in a regular season game, but what’s more impressive is that he continues to take over as the competition gets tougher and tougher.  Last Saturday, Cumberland absolutely dominated the final 12:00 of a district championship game against GMC champion Mason, including going on a solo 10-0 run to make a one-point game into a blowout.  The Hurricane wound up blowing the Comets away by a final of 63-38, with Cumberland’s solo 10-0 run coming as part of a greater 19-0 run.  Cumberland physically dominated the game – he was a freight train, and getting in his way was unwise.  He was unstoppable when driving to the basket, and also connected on 4-of-8 three-point attempts, totaling an impressive 35 points to go with 5 rebounds.

Four days later, Moeller tried the old football trick – win the time of possession battle and keep the ball out of Cumberland’s hands.  With no shot clock in Ohio high school basketball, the Crusaders attempted to take the air out of the ball, running a motion offense and even sometimes just plain holding the ball for stretches ranging from 45 seconds to well over a minute per possession.  It didn’t work.  Cumberland poured in 22 points by attacking the rim and getting to the foul line.  Moeller’s Trey McBride manhandled Cumberland, grabbing and holding him away from the ball.  Despite much of that holding going unpenalized, Jarron managed to account for more than half of Wilmington’s production in a 40-37 win.  He hit 3 three-pointers, and sank 7-of-8 free throws.

Cumberland has shown an all-around offensive game that UC has desperately lacked over the past few years.  The six-foot-five wing player can score from anywhere.  He can shoot the three, attack the rim, and reliably hit foul shots.  He also has a college-ready body – he literally looks like a man among boys at the high school level.  Cumberland will be physically ready to play for the Bearcats on day one next November.  His conditioning must improve (he takes an occasional possession off on defense), but if there’s one thing you can count on Cronin and Co. to take care of, it’s conditioning.  He effectively manages being the focal point of the opposition’s defense, distributing the ball to open teammates in an efficient manner, while still shouldering the bulk of the scoring duties when the team needs a big basket.  Cumberland should only become more productive at the college level, when defenses will not be able to key on him and only him.  He is the most physically dominant high school player to come out of the Cincinnati area since Yancy Gates led Withrow deep into the regional playoffs in 2008, and his physically dominating game reminds me of watching a young LeBron James play at the high school level about 15 years ago.  I am not saying that Cumberland is the second coming of the King, but I am saying that there is reason to get excited in Clifton.  Maybe a better comparison is that Cumberland is a less selfish version of Lance Stephenson – a physical hulk who will create matchup problems by playing on the wing.