The next man up in the Bearcats Blog countdown is Leonard Stokes. Yes, we have hit the era of early 2000s Cincinnati basketball, and we are hitting it very hard. We had Kenny Satterfield on Friday and Stokes today. You can go ahead and bet your bottom dollar that we will see a couple of Lenny's teammates as the countdown rolls on. When I was coming up with names for the site, Bearcats Blog was not the one I wanted to go with. The blogger site was the UC Bearcats Blog, which is incredibly wordy. I don't know why I chose that. It was a bad idea. I kicked around some joke blog titles, most of which I can not remember. The one I do remember and almost went with was Lenny Stokes' Headband. I was very close to picking that, but I didn't. Sometimes I wish I did. It would have been cooler. And I wouldn't be the lame ass who named a blog about Cincinnati "Bearcats Blog." Actually, I was the lame ass who named it the "UC Bearcats Blog." Whoever designed the site dropped the UC, which was a brilliant move. How self indulgent to use this space about another person to talk about myself for 45 minutes.
Leonard Stokes came to Cincinnati as a member of the epic 99-2000 recruiting class. He was not a McDonald's All American like Kenny Satterfield or DerMarr Johnson. He wasn't even considered a diamond in the rough like Bearcat legend and icon BJ Grove. Lenny was considered a very good player who was not as good as the great high school players that he came into UC with. Through his hard work and dedication over the course of 4 seaons, Stokes would score more points than both Satterfield and Johnson combined as a Bearcat.
The 1999-2000 Bearcats were loaded to the brim with talent. That's assuming talent comes in a container that has a brim. That was good in the early season for number 13, because he got to play in the blowout games. Like the season opener, where he scored 5 points and had 2 asissts. Stokes played 21 minutes the second game and scored 8 points. He had 2 steals as well. When the Bearcats played tougher foes like Gonzaga, North Carolina and Xavier, Stokes played about 2 minutes a game and scored about 1 point a game. UC had to play Wisconsin-Milwaukee, or just Milwaukee now I believe, before Stokes played a lot more. He played 23 minutes against them, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting. He had 3 rebounds. Lenny blocked 2 shots to go with 4 points against Boise St. He scored 5 against UNLV. The Bearcats beat the hell out of Charlotte. Stokes went 3-5 and scored 8 points to do his part.
The next 7 games he didn't play more than 6 minutes and went 0-5 from the field and didn't take a free throw. It was a full month from January 5 to February 5 that Stokes didn't score. That magical February afternoon, he hit a 3 against UAB. Stokes hit DePaul for 4 the next game and Houston for 2 after that. He got 20 minutes against Southern Miss, scoring 6 points. He scored 2 against Louisville in the home finale. He played 5 minutes against UNC Wilmington in the NCAA tournament, scoring 2 points. He played just 1 minute against Tulsa.
The freshman season impact that Stokes made was kind of small. He played in 30 of the 33 team games. He was 22-56 from the field, 39%. He hit just 7 of 27 from 3, 26%. He was very good at the line, 14-17, 82%. He scored 65 points that year, with 18 rebounds, 13 assists, 8 steals and 4 blocks. His stat line was 2.2, 0.6, 0.4.
The second season for Stokes would pretty much start off the same way as the first. He was still a guy who came off the bench, but he played heavy minutes early in the year. He responded well. He set career highs in the first 2 games of the season. He scored 13 on 5-12 shooting with 3 steals and scored 15 on 5-8 shooting. Lenny pulled in 8 boards against Notre Dame. He played a big part in the Bearcats win over Dayton. He scored 16 points on 5-11 shooting, with 7 rebounds. Lenny exploded against Oakland for 23 points on 7-12, 9-10 FTs, to go with 4 boards, 5 assists and 5 steals. It was the first of his 11 20+ point games as a Bearcat. Lenny liked the way 7-12 from the field felt, so he shot 7-12 against Xavier. He scored 16 in that game. He had 8 rebounds in the loss. Stokes shot 7-12 against UNLV, yes 7-12 in back to back to back games, for 23 points. Stokes had 6 boards.
After the explosion of points, things fluctuated for Lenny. He played 13 scoreless minutes against Youngstown St, then scored 11 against Clemson. He posted 14-8 in a 3 point win over Alabama thanks to 6-8 free throws. Lenny had 16 against UNC Wilmington, 9-11 FTs. Stokes put up 11-4-3-2 in the loss to Toledo, then scored 11 points the next 2 games combined. He would score 6 against Louisville, 7 against UAB, then not take a shot against St Louis. Lenny had 6 in the Louisville rematch on 3-9 shooting. He hit double digits for the first time in 2001 with 12, 6-6 FTs, against Wake Forest. He, and the Bearcats, didn't miss against Tulane, 5-6 for 13 points. Lenny had 6-7 against Charlotte. He was 6-8, 3-3 from 3, for 17 points in a win over DePaul. Stokes went 3-15 the next 3 games for 7 points in the first, and 0 the next 2.
It seemed every big scoring output by Lenny Stokes had a high volume of free throws. The game against St Louis would be no different. He scored 14 points on the strength of 6-7 at the line. He also chipped in 7 rebounds. He scored 11 against Houston. Lenny hit 6-6 at the line, made 2-3 from 3, as he put up 18 points to go with 7 boards in a win over USF. Lenny hit 5-6 at the line for half his 10 points in a win over DePaul. He hit 5-9 from the field in a 16 point game against UAB that UC won by 3 in the C-USA tournament. Stokes followed that with 2 in the semi-finals. He scored 15 on 6-13 shooting, but it wasn't enough as UC lost to Charlotte in the title game. Lenny score 9 against BYU to kick off the NCAA tournament. He scored 8 against Kent State in the second round. Things ended with 6 points in the game against Stanford.
Lenny Stokes took a big step his sophomore season. He was 116-262, 44% from the field. He shot a career best 31-97, 32% from 3. He was a solid 91-118, 77% free throw shooter. That totaled up to 354 points. Stokes added 135 rebounds, 43 assists, 33 steals and 5 blocks with that. His stat line read 10.1 points. 3.9 rebounds. 1.23 assist. 0.9 steals.
For the rest of his career, Leonard Stokes would start every game. He opened the season with a bad 5-14, 12 point, 6 rebound performance in a loss to Oklahoma State. He picked it up with 16 on 7-10 against Wright State. He filled out the stat sheet against UNLV, 12-5-3-1 steal-2 blocks. He put 19 on UD thanks in part to 7-8 FTs. Lenny could be up and down. He scored 7 agianst Duquesne. That was followed with the first of his 4 career double doubles, a 14-10 effort against Coppin State. Stokes posted 19-7 in a win over Toledo. He had another nice game against Xavier, scoring 15 on 7-12 in the only win he had against the Muskies.
After scoring 10 against Richmond, Stokes wouldn't hit double digits until the second game of 2002. He had 7, 6, 9, 8 and 3. UC won all of those games though. When Lenny came back, he came back with some of the best ball of his career. He scored 19 on 6-11 against Charlotte. He put 19 up again the following game, this time on 7-12 and adding 6 rebounds, against Houston. In his best shooting performance ever, Stokes hit 14-18 from the field, and made all 6 free throws, as he scored 36 points against DePaul. Stokes had 6 rebounds and 3 steals in that game. He did it all in 31 minutes. Incredible.
Lenny scored 11 against Louisville in a blowout win, then scored 9 and 2. He had 10 against ECU, but just 6 in the highly anticipated meeting with Marquette that UC lost. The Bearcats beat the pants off of Charlotte, once again carried by Stokes. He scored 30 on 11-15, 6-9 FTs, with 8 boards and 2 steals. He had 17-8 in the wild 103-94 win over Wake Forest. Stokes had 12-7 in a win over St Louis. He had 2 points on 0-5 against Southern Miss, but he pulled in 9 rebounds. Lenny had 13 against DePaul, but that was the bright spot of the next 4 games, at least individually. He had 8 on 3-9 in the C-USA title win against Marquette, but didn't score in the 3 point loss at Louisville. Lenny had 6 in the regular season finale against Memphis.
The Conference USA tournament opened up against USF. Stokes posted a solid 11-6 as UC easily advanced. They drew Charlotte in round 2, which meant Stokes was going to have a big game. And he did. He scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting with 6 rebounds. He was rough from the field, 3-10, but hit 6-8 at the line for 12 points to go with 7 boards in the championship game win over Marquette. Lenny took it easy on Boston to open the NCAA tourney. He scored 11 on 3-7. The Bearcats played a wild 105-101 double OT game against UCLA in the second round. Stokes played 46 minutes. He scored a career high 39 points on 12-27 shooting. He hit 5 threes, a career high. He was 10-12 at the foul line. He pulled in 10 rebounds as well. He gave it all he had. But UC was 4 points short.
With his expanded role in the offense, Stokes made a career high 154 field goals. He was 154-330, 47%. He was not a good 3 point shooter, 25-84, 30%. I rounded up there to help him. He was 112-153, 73% at the line. He scored 445 points. He pulled in a career best 168 rebounds, with 50 assists, 31 steals and a career high 14 blocks. His stat line was 12.7, 4.8, 1.4, 0.9. For his efforts, Stokes was named 3rd team All-Conference USA.
Leonard Stokes was the only returning starter for the Bearcats in the 2002-03 season. He was the go to guy, which probably wasn't really his style. It worked in the season opening win over Tennessee Tech. UC couldn't score, some things haven't changed since 2002, and the Bearcats were trailing. Lenny popped in 15 straight to put UC ahead for good. He scored 21 points on 7-20 with 5 assists. He followed with 14-4-2-2. He wasn't good against UD, 5-12 for 13 points, and UC lost. He did have 4 boards and 4 assists in that game. Lenny had a very solid 15, 6-8, 3 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals against Valpo. He hit double digits, 13, against Xavier for the 3rd straight time, but UC lost 50-44. Stokes had 13-5-4 against LaSalle, but on 4-10.
The Bearcats met up with #4 Oregon in NYC for an ESPN game. Stokes was a key part of the 25 point ass kicking with 15 points, even though it was on 6-14 shooting. Stokes scored 15 against Clemson, but his high volume of shots, 5-16, was part of the reason UC lost. He hit 6-12 the following game against Miami for 18 points. UC won that one. Lenny had 12-6-3-4 in a win over Chattanooga. He scored 11 on just 4-13 to open conference play against DePaul.
As you can tell from reading through this piece so far, Lenny Stokes had the ability to go on some very hot streaks. He went on one the next 5 games, all UC wins. He scored 20 on 6-8, 8-8 FTs, with 6 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals against TCU. That was followed with 25 on 10-19, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals agaisnt St Louis. He hung 30 on Tulane with 12-17 shooting, chipping in 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Stokes had 16-8 against East Carolina before hitting 20 again. He was 6-11, 6-7 FTs, in a 20 point outing against Charlotte. He had 5 boards and 6 assists as well. Stokes came down to earth hard against DePaul in a loss, 1-10, 9 points. He was 3-10 from the field, but 12-16 from the foul line, in scoring 18 against Marquette in a loss. Stokes was just 3-14 from the field, 7-9 FTs, for 13 points in a loss to Louisville. He hit 6-12 for 15 points to go with 10 rebounds in a non-conference win against Oklahoma State in a crucial win for the Bearcats. That was followed with just 7 as Charlotte put the screws on him in the rematch.
UC needed wins to close the season and make the NCAA tournament. Stokes did his best against St Louis with 18 points on 7-15, and 6 rebounds, but UC lost to St Louis. Lenny made sure they didn't lose to #4 Louisville. In a 21 point win, Stokes scored a season high 31 against the Cards. He hit 7-14 from the field, but was 15-18 at the free throw line. He added 5 assists. He had 13-5-5 in a close win over ECU. But he scored 5 on 1-8 and UC lost to Memphis. Stokes bounced back with 23 on 7-14, 7-7 FTs, and a career high 12 rebounds in a win over UAB. Lenny dished out a career best 7 assists, but his 5-13, 10 points, added into a UC loss to Marquette. The Bearcats were 1 and done in the C-USA tournament. Stokes scored 14 on 5-8, but UC lost 63-61 to Southern Miss. This was the first time ever UC didn't win a share of the C-USA regular season title, or the C-USA tournament. Lenny filled out the stat sheet, 6 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, but his 2-10 shooting for 7 points wasn't good enough as UC lost to Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Leonard Stokes took a career high 355 shots his senior year. He was 152-355, 43%. He hit just 19-71 from 3, 27%. He finished with a career low in FT percentage, going 131-185, 71%. Not bad, but it was a career fade. He scored a career high 454 points in 29 games. He had 140 rebounds, a career high 94 assists, a career high 37 steals and 5 blocks. His stat line was 15.7 points, 4.83 rebounds, 3.24 assists, 1.3 steals a game. For his work, Lenny Stokes was named 2nd team All-Conference USA.
For his career, Stokes scored 1,318 points, which was 17th at the time. He averaged 10.2 points a game, 3.6 rebounds a game, 1.5 assists a game and 0.8 steals.
Why He Made the List
Leonard Stokes was a very good Cincinnati Bearcat. He got better in every season. He wasn't ideally suited to be the leading scorer for a team, but it was a role he did pretty well at. He had the ability to put up monster games. That is a rare talent. Stokes was a pretty good defender. His 6-6 frame helped a lot with that. Even when Stokes didn't have monster games scoring, he was one of those guys who worked hard. It was easy to see his effort on the floor. He was sometimes frustrating to watch, but he was a fun player to root for.
What He's Doing Now
Lenny played in the NBA DL, he played in Europe. He had a legal thing with a restaurant that you can google search. As for now, I'm not entirely sure what he's doing. He is on twitter, @LStokes13. He follows me, so I'm assuming he spends his days reading my tweets and the site and loving it. Right, Lenny?