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Surprising Bearcats Look to Sustain Basketball Success

Bearcats Basketball

This season is the premiere of the American Athletic Conference, formed from members of the old Big East Conference that did not join one of the large power conferences. The basketball world did not know what to expect from the quality of play in the conference, given that the conference had lost much of the star power that the Big East previously had. 

 

Given that lack of star power, it seemed logical that a team would step up and fill that void. So far that team has been the Cincinnati Bearcats. The team has jumped out to a 16-2 start, playing a tough defensive style that harkens back to the Big East’s heyday. Coach Mike Cronin has said that the team is trying to set a tone in the new conference and establish a culture of dominance that could put the program in a new regard. 

 

With this hot start in the new conference, the team is looking to parlay the exposure into some impact recruits. This year’s recruiting class looks to have some players that will fit into this bruising ethos. Whereas in the Big East the Bearcats might not have been able to push people around, in this new conference it is clear that the team is looking to do exactly that against teams that haven’t adjusted to the new conference. 

 

The top recruit for the Bearcats’ 2014 class is 6’8 Quadri Moore (Linden HS/N.J.). Moore was ranked just outside the top 100 recruits in the country by Rivals.com (#103) and was considered a top forward prospect. Moore is a multi-talented big man, averaging 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds while also showing flashes of skill at the three-point line. Moore shows up on both ends of the court and could fit in well with the bruising style that coach Cronin is looking to instill.

 

Gary Clark, another forward prospect out of Clayton, North Carolina, comes in with a gaudy high school stat line. As a junior he averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds a game, along with 4 blocked shots. ESPN listed him in their top 80 recruits following that stellar statistical season, and while he is not as physically big as Moore just yet, it could be assumed that the Bearcats’ coaching staff will look to whip the recruit into shape.

 

Coreontae DeBerry is a junior college transfer that is playing the season out in Hutchinson Community College. Not only does he come in a bit more grizzled than the other recruits, but his 6’10 270 frame will provide an even more intimidating low-post presence for the Bearcats. Currently DeBerry is averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game at Hutchinson, impressive statistics that the Bearcats hope will translate well to the AAC.

 

Cincinnati is making the most of their new situation by adjusting their style of play and learning from their experiences from the Big East. Coach Cronin looks to be building a system of intimidating play, and the future looks bright with recruits that match that philosophy. While Cincinnati may not keep up their level of play for the entire season, they have a class set up that could keep the team among the AAC leaders in coming years.