The next person in the series of season recaps up is #1 Cashmere Wright. The redshirt junior had an interesting season. More importantly, he had a season in which he showed off his maturing skill set. Every statistical category showed improvement. His scoring, rebounds, assists and steals all improved. In some cases, they improved dramatically. Yet when you look at the big picture for Cashmere, there is still a lot of growth that is yet to come.
Cashmere Wright played in all 37 Cincinnati games this season. He started 36 of them. He generously gave up his starting job for 1 game when Justin Jackson was having back problems and Mick wanted him on the floor. That's a sign of a leader. Wright scored 403 points, 10.9 per game. He was 149-364 overall from the field, 40.9%. Wright greatly stepped up his 3 point game. He made 63, he made 50 total his first 2 seasons, and attempted 170, 161 attempts those 2 seasons. That's a pretty good 37.1%. He went from 25.7% to 35.2% to 37.1%. That does mean that the 2 percentage fell off. He hit 44.3% on his 2s this season. He made just 37% in Big East play. That's pretty rough. Wright didn't help himself at the line either. He took a career low 63 attempts. He made 42 for 66.7%. His free throw rate was just 17.3, meaning for every 100 field goals he attempted, Cash would shoot 17 free throws. His rate last season was 47.8. Cash had just 5 games where he got to the free throw line 4 or more times.
Wright played a career high in minutes with 31. In that 31 minutes, he used 22% of the Cincinnati possessions. That's just about right on pace from last season and the year before, 22.3 and 21.1 respectively. Wright came up a little short in matching last season's offensive efficiency, hitting 105.3 this year. He stepped up his shooting possessions. He took shots on 21.5% of them. Wright had his best effective field goal percentage (counts 3s) at 49.5. Because of his free throw shooting, his true shooting percentage was worse than last year, rating at 51.1%. That was down from 53.8%. Wright scored 46.8% of his points this season from 3. He scored 42.6% of them from 2, right on pace with last year. Just 10.4% of his points were from free throws. That was the worst of his career by over 10%.
One area Wright really shined as rebounding. He pulled in 140 boards, 49th in the Big East, 3.8 a game. 112 of them were defensive boards, 32nd, 3.0 a game. Wright pulled down a career best 11.2% of the available defensive rebounds. His 28 offensive rebounds nearly matched his career total of 29.
Wright upped his passing to career best levels this season. He had 169 assists, 52nd in the nation and 7th in the Big East. His 4.6 a game ranked 11th in the Big East. He assisted on 30% of the Cincinnati field goals. That's actually down from last year's 31.4%, but hey, you can't make people make shots. Wright turned the ball over 83 times, 2.2 times a game. That was a career high. Because of the amount of minutes he played, Wright turned the ball over a career low 20.3% of possessions. That's over 3% less than last season. His assist/turnover ratio was 2. A great sign of improvement.
What was also a great sign of improvement was the defensive anticipation of Cashmere. He had put up some solid defensive numbers last season, 17th in the BE in steals, 19th in steals per game, 10th in steal pct, but no one could have guessed what he had in store this season. Wright had 74 steals. That was good for 15th .... in the nation and was 4th in the league. Wright's 2 steals a game ranked 35th in the NCAA and 4th in the league. His 3.9 steal pct ranked 47th and 6th. 43 of those steals game in Big East play. Where he dropped off the past couple years, he stepped up big time this past year. That's what you want to see out of one of your star players.
Cashmere Wright started the season off with a modest 10 points on 4-7 shooting, 3 boards and 3 assist game that was marred by 4 turnovers. He went to town on Jacksonville State however. He scored 23 points, 1 off his then career high (spoiler alert), on 9-14 shooting, 2-3 from 3. He added in 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Wright turned the ball over 5 times though. He had a miserable game in the loss to Presbyterian, going 1-8, 0-5, 2 points, 2 boards, 2 assists, 3 turnovers. That was followed with a good shooting game, 4-5 for 9 points, but 5 more turnovers against Northwestern State. That's 17 turnovers in 4 games. Wright had his second bad shooting game next, and that corresponded with the second Cincinnati loss. He was 2-10 against Marshall for 7 points. He had 10 assists and 4 steals however. Wright had a solid 9-7 assist game in the slow down Miami game. He had a solid 7 boards-5 assists-2 steals, but just 5 points and 4 turnovers at Georgia. He followed that with an absolute clunker against X, 4 points on 1-8, 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers and he fouled out.
With the team changing face, so did the direction of Wright's play. He hit for 12 against Wright State on 5-10 with 8 assists and 4 rebounds. He had 3 turnovers in that game. He wouldn't have 3 turnovers again for a month. Cashmere exploded offensively and as a result, the Bearcats exploded offensively. He scored a career high 25 points against Radford on 10-16 shooting, 4-9 from 3, with 6 assists and 5 rebounds with 2 steals and 0 turnovers. It was probably the best game of his career. That was followed with a 20 point game on 6-12, 6-10 from 3, with 5 assists and 0 turnovers against UAPB. The Bearcats scored over 100 in both of those games. Cash played just 23 minutes against Chicago St, but had 14 points on 5-7 and 7 assists.
Cashmere Wright didn't have a reputation for taking and making the big shot until December 29. The Bearcats trailed Oklahoma 55-54 in the closing seconds. Wright was 2-13 with 6 points until then. With 9 seconds left, the seas parted and Wright made a layup to put Cincinnati ahead for good. It was a crucial win for that point in the season.
Wright had a rough shooting game at Pitt, 3-10 for 7 points, but had 7 assists and 4 steals. He bounced back some against ND, 4-9 for 9 points, with 5 assists and 5 steals. His shooting slump continued though. He was 3-11 for 8 points against St John's with 0 assists in a UC loss. That was followed with an 0-6 game against Georgetown. Wright did have 4 steals. The shooting stayed out 1 more game. He went 2-14 for 11 against Villanova, which included 0-8 on 2s, but he had 6 boards, 5 assists and 6 steals. Even through a prolonged slump, Wright kept up his all around play.
Cash's shot came back to him as UC's schedule picked up. He had 13 on 5-6 shooting, 3-4, against UConn with 5 assists in that huge win. He had 17 on 6-14 with 7 rebounds and 4 assists against West Virginia. He had another 17 on 6-13 shooting, 5-9 from 3, in the loss to Syracuse. Cash hit a skid against Rutgers, as did the whole team, going 1-7, 3 points in the loss. He did have 6 assists. He didn't bounce back fully the next game, 4-13 for 11 points, but it was against DePaul so UC won. Cashmere had a monster game against St John's in the return game. He put up 12 on 6-9 shooting with a career high 10 rebounds. He did that in 27 minutes. It was his first double double of the season, and the second of his career. Wright had a good shooting game in the Marquette loss, 4-11 for 14 points, with 5 assists, but he turned the ball over 4 times. Cash put 9-5-5 on Providence and 13 on Seton Hall in wins. He would have a pretty big next game.
Last season, Cashmere Wright had a huge game against Louisville. This season, Cashmere Wright had a huge game against Louisville. He had 22 points on 8-19 shooting, 6-13 from 3. He had 5-5 in the big UC win. He had just 7 against USF. 4 of those points came in the last minute. Both put UC ahead by a point. Senior day against Marquette was a big win, but not a landmark game for Cash. He was 0-7 and didn't score for the only time this season. He made up for that in the regular season finale against Nova. Cash had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals. That's one of the highest steal totals in UC history.
Tournament play would be good for Cash. He had 10-4 assists-5 steals in the Georgetown win. He had 11 points on 5-11 with 5 rebounds and 8 assists in the Syracuse upset. Cash was the only Bearcat who scored against Louisville. He had 16 of the 44 Cincinnati points on 7-12 shooting. He had 5 turnovers though. Cash opened up the NCAA tournament with 11 points on 4-8 shooting, 6 rebounds and 5 assists against Texas. He shot poorly against FSU, 2-10, but Cash had 5 boards, 6 assists and 5 steals. Cash closed his junior year by scoring 18 against Ohio St on 6-12 shooting, including 4-6 from 3.
Overall, there was a lot of good to take away from this season. Cashmere really grew as a player. He's definitely not the same guy who stepped onto the court 2 years ago. He was able to stay relatively healthy all through this season. Mick managed his minutes very well. It didn't seem like Wright had much of a problem playing 39 minutes or 29 minutes. If you were looking at some of the holes from his game this year, I think it begins and ends inside the arc. He had some bad luck on 2 point shots, but some of the looks he took from 2 just weren't very good. He had much better shot selection from deep, that needs to translate inside. Of course, the free throw shooting, or lack thereof needs to be addressed. Your point guard has to be one of the team leaders in free throws attempted. I don't know if it was the injuries or what, but Cash just wouldn't get to the line. He had 2 games last year that he got to the line 10 times. He had 11 free throws attempted the first 8 games of the season. That's just not good enough. His defense could stand to be a little better, but so could anyones.
Looking into the future, I see big things on the horizon for Cashmere Wright. The Big East is loaded with point guards so he may not make any of the preseason teams, but don't let that change your mind about what he brings to the table. In the preseason, I threw out 10-11 points, 5.5 assists, 2 boards for Cash. That ended up averaging out and even was surpassed with his steals. With Dixon gone, the scoring is going to go up. I think he's absolutely going to get to the line more. I'm thinking he puts up around 13-14 a game next year. The rebounds will probably stay the same, around 3.8, 3.9, maybe 4. I expect the assists to bump to 5. Add in a steal a game and that's a point guard that could get you to the tournament 3 years in a row. That's what I think Cashmere Wright is. There are a lot of good guards in this league, but I would take him on my team any day.
0 Jeremiah Davis