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Bearcat Backcourt Must Play Better

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My analysis of the season opener is pretty simple.

 

Sean Kilpatrick was great.  Yancy Gates was good.  And the starting backcourt of Cashmere Wright and Dion Dixon was very disappointing.

 

In Dixon's case, I'm willing to chalk it up to a bad night.  He's looked great at the practices I've attended and played well in the exhibition games.  Dion did pull down 6 rebounds against Mt. St. Mary's but only made 1 of 6 shots - all from inside the arc.

 

"He's playing to his strengths - last year he settled for too many 3-point shots," Coach Cronin told me before the game.  "He's always been a guy with talent, but I think he's matured enough to know what he's good at, what he needs to improve, and he's put a lot of time in.  He's put in more time than any guy on our team in terms of ball drills, shooting drills, trying to play against older guys.  He's been a pleasure to be around every day."

 

Wright started the game solidly by taking care of the ball and making some good passes, but once he made a couple of mistakes it all went downhill.  His decision-making on the fast break was especially troubling.  Cashmere was 1-for-4 from the floor, 1-for-6 from the line, and had more turnovers (5) than assists (4).  The 'Cats will not be significantly improved on offense until they get better point guard play.

 

"Your point guard has got to be a leader," Cronin said.  "He doesn't have to be your best player, but he has to run the team, get the ball where it's supposed to go, he's got to play with confidence, and he has to give other guys confidence.  Cashmere is really trying to do that."

 

Mick told reporters after the game that "Cashmere is a way better player than he showed tonight."  There is no doubt about that, but Wright needs to prove it on a consistent basis. 

 

Cashmere is the only true point guard on the roster, but the sophomore will have company next year with the addition of prospect Jeremiah Davis.  His letter of intent arrived on Monday, giving Cincinnati five recruits in the early signing period.

 

"Jeremiah Davis is a big point guard, although he can play the two if you need him to," Coach Cronin said.  "He's a legitimate 6'2" and his size is an advantage for him.  The game comes easily to Jeremiah.  He knows when to shoot and has great vision as a passer - stuff you can't teach.  He's very calm with the basketball and makes other people better.  He's going to have a great year at Huntington Prep playing with several Division 1 players.  I'm really excited about him because whenever you get a guy who has the feel to make other people better - those guys are hard to find.  We've been after him for three years, so we're excited to sign him."

 

UC still has one scholarship to give and since 6'11" Ibrahima Thomas and 7'1" Biggie McClain are seniors, the remaining target is a big guy.

 

"Absolutely," Mick said.  "We've been going hard after a lot of targets - some junior college guys in particular because of the balance of the class (five high school seniors).  We'd love to get an older big guy since Justin Jackson and Kelvin Gaines are so young, so that's definitely our focus in the April signing period. 

 

"It's definitely the best early signing period that we've had.  We still need to get a big guy, but we signed some really good players and all of them are four-year players.  Our best players right now are probably our freshman, sophomores, and juniors, so it bodes well for next year." 

 

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Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad.

 

Sam butterfly exhibit 

I'd love to hear from you.  Please take a moment to tell me who you are and where you're from in the comments section or you can e-mail me at dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

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

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