Bearcats Breakfast 12.19.11

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Big UC Day today, as I'll head down there for football practice and media availability then stick around for a basketball media session soon after. Keep an eye on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) for any news that comes up as I poke around.

I'll, of course, be keeping an eye on Zach Collaros and his rehab and also catching up with Cashmere Wright to talk about his emergence. I'll also be doing a quality control stop at Chik-fil-A, to make sure everyone is still functioning properly.

Let's eat...

--- Cashmere Wright may have
put up the most impressive stat line at UC in years in Saturday's win against Radford:

27 minutes, 25 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 0 turnovers. Toss in 4 of 9 shooting from behind the arc and 10 of 16 from the field and you have a near perfect game for a point guard.

Combine that line with his line at Wright State and over the last two games in this new offense, Wright is averaging 18.5 points and 7 assists.

Shoot, over the last six games he's averaging 6.2 assists and 1.8 turnovers. That's a 3.4:1 assist to turnover rate. Last year, only five players nationally boasted an A/T rate better than 3.4. And none of those averaged better than six assists per game.

People were heavily critical of Wright early in the season, and understandably so considering he turned the ball over 17 times in the first four games against just 11 in the next six. Lately, he's clearly found his rhythm and his offense suits him perfectly.

"Right now, it's like coaching Tom Brady," Mick Cronin said. "He is just picking people apart. His stat line: 27 minutes, 25 points, six assists, zero turnovers and two steals.  That doesn't count that I go in the locker room and he is in there with his arm around Kelvin Gaines telling him to keep his head up. That's the stuff he's been doing all week. As long as he continues to give us that type of leadership and continue to command our team in that way, the sky is the limit for our team. It's really easy to coach."  

Looking forward to talking more with Cash today about this roller coaster season, his mindset, his knees and running the open offense.

--- By the way, for reference on Wright averaging 6.3 assists in his last six games, the most assists/game in a season over the last 30 years came from Keith LeGree in 1995-96 at 5.7. Obviously, the chances those numbers stay this high in Big East play are slim, but this is clearly an elite run from him.

--- While I'm heaping praise upon Wright, Mike DeCourcy thinks Louisville's Peyton Siva might be the most complete point guard in the country.

--- Since I was poking around in the record books, check out the 3-point percentage numbers.

UC currently is knocking down 37.4 percent from deep, thanks to a run of 24 of 56 over the last two games.

If they could hold that percentage over the course of the season, they would rank third all-time in UC history. And that's by a hundredth of a percentage point behind the Final Four team of 1992.

Here's the Top 5

Year     Total      Pct
86-87  115-267   43%
91-92  208-555   37.5%
11-12  67-179     37.4%
93-94  253-693   36.5%
01-02  209-577   36.2%
99-00  165-459   35.9%

Last year, the Cats shot 33.8% from deep. Yeah, UC's taking a ton of 3-pointers right now, but when they are dropping it's easy to rationalize.

--- Our guy Chris Gundrum wrote about JaQuon Parker early in the year before the junior got hurt, but Park may be the most improved player on this team.

His grit, hustle and intangibles have made all the difference over the last two games. Even the quality minutes he gave in the Xavier game were noticeable.

Anyway, Bill Koch put this piece together about Parker prior to Saturday's game.

--- Bearcats football gave away team awards last night at that postseason banquet.

Here they are:

Scout Team Players of the Year:

Special Teams Player of the Year: Pat O'Donnell

Specialist of the Year: Tom DeTemple  

Brig Owens Outstanding Back:

Most Valuable Receiver: Anthony McClung

John Pease Outstanding Lineman

Most Valuable Linebacker: J.K. Schaffer

Ray Sheakley Most Improved Leader Award: John Hughes, Randy Martinez, Walter Stewart

Jim Kelly Hold the Rope Award:

C-Club Strothman Award for Academic Excellence: Austen Bujnoch

Glenn Sample Represent the C Community Service Award: Jordan Luallen

Claude Rost MVP Award: Isaiah Pead

--- Let'stalk Team MVP. You know I'm not arguing with Pead. For me, it had to come down to Pead, Wolfe and Schaffer. All three would be deserving and I probably wouldn't argue any of them receiving the award. As far as complete disruption created, nobody surpassed Wolfe this season. In many ways the play of Schaffer and Wolfe worked together, but few teams provide that type of up-the-middle push like Wolfe brought and it sent gameplans into the trash bin repeatedly.

That said, this BE title share never would have happened without Pead. When Collaros went down, the offense moved into the hands of Pead. As if he hadn't made enough plays to that point in the season. With teams keying on him he still managed to make plays and push UC over the top with an inexperienced rookie QB combo.

Both are going to play in the league next year and watching their careers will be fun. But for the purpose of this specific award, Pead was the right choice.

--- Reminder, the Bearcats are holding a bowl game celebration at Dave & Busters on Tuesday night from 7-8 p.m.

Here are all the details. Should be a fun event and sendoff of sorts.

--- Reminder, Part II. Vote for Connor Barwin for the Pro Bowl. Today is the last day. He notched another sack yesterday and now has 10.5 sacks on the season. While we are at it, vote Trent Cole, too. The former Bearcat has nine sacks. Two UC products are in the top 20 in the NFL in sacks right now.

--- Reminder, Part II, get your Liberty Bowl tickets. Seriously, NYE in Memphis, $50 for games, $35 for all you can eat and drink UC tailgate. I'm not sure what else you think your life is going to offer to top this.

--- Need more motivation, have you seen the Liberty Bowl promos our man Tommy G has been cranking out?

--- Randomness...

--- How about my Ohio Bobcats taking the coveted Famous Idaho Potatoes Bowl. By the way, the potatoes are famous, not the bowl game. It was their first bowl win in school history and they are now 1-0 in bowl games while quarterbacked by the son of a major leaguer.

--- I think this would be the exact moment I'd consider a new profession.

--- Exact moment I'd consider a new profession, Part II.
When you are a cable repair guy and you find a 550-pound bear blocking your work area, it's a game-changer. Somebody isn't getting free HBO.

--- Aw, The Biebs endured a tortured, Santa-less childhood. As if he needs to be more of a sensitive, broken-soul figure for tweens everywhere.

--- What is wrong with people? And what are the chances I can get him to tattoo as a tramp stamp on his lower back?

--- I'm officially intrigued by the new Will Ferrell movie.

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