The Journey of Cane Broome

CINCINNATI, OH – DECEMBER 08: Justin Jenifer #3 and Cane Broome #15 of the Cincinnati Bearcats look on in the second half of the game against the Xavier Musketeers at Fifth Third Arena on December 8, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati won 62-47. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Cane Broome fought and clawed himself to where he is now, how did he get here? 

Cane Broome finished his high school and prep school career in 2014 with All-State Honors in Connecticut and as a two-time All-Conference Performer. Overlooked by larger schools, the 6’0″ guard stayed in Connecticut, committing to Sacred Heart University. As an unranked prospect (247Sports), he also held offers from fellow Northeast Conference members LIU Brooklyn and Wagner.

It was clear to Sacred Heart immediately that Broome was a steal. He was placed in the starting roster in the first game of the season, and became their key offensive player only a few games later. For a program who had single digit wins the previous two years, Cane was a sign of optimism. He led the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game as a true freshman leading the Pioneers to their best season in six years.

Any Pioneer fans worried about a “sophomore slump” were quickly relieved, as Cane shot out of the gate with 27 points in the first game of the season. The natural scorer collected five 30-point games over the course of the season, including a career high 38-point performance in a close road win over Fairleigh Dickinson.  It was a fantastic individual season from him, earning the NEC Player of the Year award while averaging 23.1 points (8th best in the country in 2015-16) and 4.9 rebounds per game. Sacred Heart, however, regressed to 12 wins and had their season end in their first game in the conference tournament. In an interview with Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant, Cane made it clear that he wants to win and have a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament. He decided to transfer and reopened his recruitment, this time receiving much more attention. He took visits to two programs, Creighton and, of course, Cincinnati, before deciding to become a Bearcat. In an interview with Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Cane had this to say of his new program:

“I felt like they welcomed me with open arms. The program is an elite program. I love the way the guys there work, and I want to be around people like that,” he added. “Everyone has a chip on their shoulder, from Coach Cronin to the players, and I’ve always had that from being small and overlooked.”

UC fans were immediately excited of the addition of such a great scorer, a trait that has been tough to find in players under Cronin’s watch. While sitting out the 2016-17 season per transfer rules, Cane was able (no pun intended) to learn the Bearcats system under the great Troy Caupain, and watched the Bearcats win 30 games and make the NCAA Tournament from the bench.

When November 2017 rolled around, Cane was ready to insert himself in the winning culture associated with Cincinnati Basketball, but what would his role be? He was the key player for Sacred Heart very early in his freshman year and many wondered how he’d adjust to a team featuring players like Gary Clark, Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington, and Jarron Cumberland. He began the season as a starter, but early on Coach Cronin made the call to change his role to a scoring spark off the bench. He accepted and thrived in that role by scoring double figures in 13 games, while shooting over 70% in eight of those games and over 40% in the other five. He proved to be the very efficient scoring threat that the great 2017-18 Bearcats needed. However, the team fell far short of their goals in the NCAA Tournament, and Cane scored only 5 points in the two games on 11% shooting. In my opinion, this showed the importance of his role. Having someone who can put up points like Broome off the bench is extremely valuable and can push any team that extra mile (foreshadowing).

It was a weird offseason this past year, with much less chatter than we’re all used to. A combination of crushing disappointment and low expectations sucked the life out of the fanbase. However, UC didn’t cancel the season and played anyway. Many fans expected Cane to start, and he did in the grand opening of the new-look Fifth Third Arena against Ohio State, but he, along with the team, had a rough night. Mick moved him back to his previous role, and he strung together six very nice games before going ice cold over the next five in some high profile games for the Cats. Fans no longer knew what to expect from him, but Cane responded. The team was on the ropes in Tulsa, coming off a disastrous loss to East Carolina. They could not afford a loss, and found themselves down late. Cane Broome absolutely willed the Bearcats to victory. He scored the team’s final 14 points of regulation, including a heavily-contested off-dribble jumper to tie the game with 0.7 seconds left. The Bearcats won the game thanks to his heroic performance, but this wasn’t the end. He played a pivotal role in several games after that, leading up to Cane’s big game- the return to his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut against UConn. The Bearcats were up big in the second half but UConn made a furious comeback and brought it to a one point game, when Cane hit a huge three with just over a minute to go. UConn again brought it back to one point, and Cane again responded. It was a bad possession for the Bearcats, and Keith Williams passed it to him with barely over one second left on the shot clock. Calmly, Cane got off a pretty looking shot just before the shot clock hit zero. Nailed it. The shot basically iced the game and Cane was the hero in Connecticut, nothing new for him.

It’s an ending fit for a movie, but the final chapter has not been written in Cane Broome’s college career. The team thrives on his key role off the bench, and his effective late game minutes and huge shots can carry this team to extra heights.