It's time to break down the basketball season that seemed like it ended a year ago. It's been just a couple weeks, but seems like it was decades ago since UC last played. Hell, it seems like decades ago that we had the Final Four and the title game, and that was just last week. The wheels keep moving with or without you, so let's hop on the train.
We start the season recaps with the first player listed on the roster. Why I chose to go by numerical order, I don't know, but it will work out for the best anyway. The first on the list is number 0, freshman guard Jeremiah Davis.
Jeremiah Davis came to Cincinnati as a 3 star recruit on both Rivals and Scout as a shooting guard. Davis played in 27 of the 37 Cincinnati games this season. In those 27, he averaged 8 minutes a game. Jeremiah scored 68 points, 2.5 a game. Davis used 20.2% of Cincinnati's possessions. He took 21.1% of the shots on the floor. He hit 26 of 66 shots from the field for 39.4%. Out of his 26 makes, 12 of them were from 3. He attempted 31 for 38.7%. Davis took just 9 free throws. He made 4 of them, finishing at 44%. Davis had an effective field goal percentage (counts 3s more) of 48.4%. His true shooting (free throws and 3s) was just 48.3%. That went a large part in Davis finishing with an offensive rating of 92, which is pretty bad. Davis had 14 assists against 16 turnovers. He turned the ball over on 23% of possessions. That hurts your efficiency.
Davis took home 25 rebounds this year, nearly 1 a game. 20 of those were defensive rebounds. He grabbed 10.9% of the available defensive rebounds when he was on the floor. Davis' 5 offensive rebounds accounted for 2.5% of the offensive total. Davis had 13 steals. That works out to half a steal per game. He got steals on 3.8% of possessions. Davis blocked 1 shot.
Jeremiah Davis started his career with a bad game. In the season opener against Alabama State, Davis was 0-1 with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 turnovers in 11 minutes. That's a lot of turnovers in a very short period. Davis sat the next 2 games before getting 6 minutes against Northwestern State. Davis once again had 2 rebounds and an assist while going 0-1, but mixed in a steal. After not playing against Marshall, Davis had a rebound in 2 minutes against Miami. It looked like Davis was headed for bench duty as the schedule picked up. He sat out against Georgia and Xavier. Then something happened against Xavier that changed Davis' season.
With the suspensions and the short bench, Davis started getting minutes. He played 11 against WSU, but went 0-2. All 4 of his shots were 3s. Davis finally got on the board against Radford. He went 3-8, 2-2 on his first career free throws, with 8 points. He had 2 steals and 2 assists with 2 turnovers. Davis followed that with the best of his career against UAPB. He scored 13 on 5-7 shooting, 3-4 from 3. He had 3 rebounds as well. Davis canned a 3 late to push the Bearcats over 100 for the second game in a row for the first time in ages. That was followed with a solid 11 points on 4-8 shooting against Chicago St. Davis matched his career high of 3 boards in that one.
Davis played sparingly against OU, 3 minutes, and didn't take advantage of his 8 minutes against Pittsburgh, 2 fouls. He responded in a huge way against Notre Dame. Davis checked in then dropped a 3, layup and another 3 in a minute and a half to take a 7 point game to 13. The double digit lead wouldn't be threatened after Davis pushed it to 13. Davis came into the St John's game in pure gunner mode. He went just 1-6 in 8 minutes, but the 1 came 9 seconds left to tie the score at 55. The Bearcats would lose on a last second tip in, but Davis' shot was a bright spot. He played 12 minutes against Georgetown, but didn't take a shot. Davis went 1-4, 4 points against Nova in 13 minutes. That was the most minutes Davis would play the rest of the year. He had a solid 8 minutes against UConn. He scored 4 points in that game, including a big tip in at the buzzer in the first half to put UC up 9 at the break. He played 11 minutes against WVU going 1-3 for 2 points with 2 boards. Davis fell back in a slump with that game. He was 0-3 against Syracuse and 0-2 against DePaul. He played 12 minutes in the St John's blowout. He went 3-5, 2-2 from 3, with 8 points. He played more garbage time minutes against Marquette, but went 0-3. He played 5 against Providence going 2-3 for 5 points. Those would be the last 5 points and the last 3 shots Davis took. He played 14 minutes from February 15 on with 2 rebounds and 1 assist. He played 3 minutes, 5, 2, 1 and 1 before ending up on the bench the entire Big East tournament and first 2 NCAA tournament games. I don't really know why Davis fell out of the rotation. Maybe it was his defense. Maybe it was something he did in practice. Maybe it was just Mick really tightening up the rotation. I would have liked to have seen him play more.
The take away from Davis' freshman season is that Cincinnati could have a dangerous scoring option off the bench. Using the word dangerous makes me sound like a gigantic homer, but when you look at the body of work Davis had, you can't deny that he could go all Russ Smith for the Bearcats next year. Maybe not that dramatic in his ball dominance, but Davis could come off the bench and drop 10 at will. His jumper has a tendency to look flat. That could just be his shot, but I wrote that a lot this season. His defense wasn't spectacular. He fouled quite a bit against higher quality opponents. He could take better care of the ball. A lot of those things could, and would, be ironed out getting more comfortable in the system and the college game.
I think the future for Davis is bright. Next year, I could see him being a little Field Williams/Tony Bobbitt type role player. He attempted 3s on nearly half of his shots. With more minutes, the more attempts he's going to take. And he hit 38%. That's something to build on. Field was a much better shooter as a freshman than Davis and shot the ball a lot more. Field hit 43.8% from 3 as a frosh. Both are in the 6-3, 6-4 range. Both are around 200 lbs. I think that Davis could become a better scorer around the basket than Field was, just because of his size. 9 free throws is not good enough. If Davis can win the 6th, 7th man spot off the bench next year, I think we could have a very pleasant surprise on our hands.