Our Man Armon

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Let's hope that this is the year that the UC basketball team returns to the NCAA tournament.  After all, it could be the key to luring the next Armon Binns.


The wide receiver is from Pasadena, CA where he grew up rooting for Kenyon Martin and the Bearcat basketball program.


"Growing up, I was always a Cincinnati basketball fan because I played basketball for most of my life and that happened to be the school that I followed," Binns told me.  "It's ironic that I would end up going here to play football because I watched them in the tournament every year and always rooted for them."


His interest in the Bearcats proved significant when Binns was a high school senior.  Despite being a standout in football, basketball and track, Armon was not satisfied with his scholarship offers, so his father contacted Cincinnati.


"It was getting late in the recruiting process and I was still under the radar a little bit, so my dad sent some film out," Binns said.  "Coach Elston (the recruiting coordinator at the time) got a hold of it and we heard from them really quickly - less than a week.  They said they couldn't believe I hadn't signed anywhere, so I was just really happy and blessed for the opportunity."


And now, the 6'4" junior is getting the opportunity to shine.  After catching one pass in each of his first two seasons, Binns has 29 receptions for 385 yards and 4 touchdowns this year.  All four of the TDs have come in the last three weeks.


"It's been really exciting," Binns told me.  "I've been working hard and waiting for my opportunity and fortunately this year was that chance so I'm embracing it.  My peers and my older teammates taught me to stay patient and keep working hard and wait for my turn."


"With so much rotation and double-coverage geared toward Mardy Gilyard, I think Binns now understands how important he is," Coach Kelly said.  "He went up in the air to get the football a couple of times against Louisville and made some big plays.  If we keep doing that with D.J. Woods in the slot, and our tight ends, and Isaiah Pead, we're tough to defend because we've got so many different answers."


While his dad gets credit for helping Armon play football at Cincinnati, his mom played a major role in helping his succeed academically.


"My mom has always been on my about grades since I was little." Binns said.  "She's been really serious about it and when I was in elementary school, she wanted me to set a goal of reading 25 books a year to expand my vocabulary and help me get smarter.  Any word that I didn't understand, she told me to look it up in the dictionary and use it in a sentence so I could sound intelligent when I speak."


His mom was one of several family members who made the 13 hour drive from Pasadena to Corvallis, Oregon to see the Bearcats face Oregon State in September.


Perhaps in January, Armon's family won't have to travel nearly as far to root for UC in a bowl game.


I hear there a couple of pretty good ones in Pasadena this year.


I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.


And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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