The season review series is rounding towards the end. Only a handful of players are left to review. The next 4 days will have 4 player reviews. After taking a day off for Memorial day, there will be the final player review and a review of Mick Cronin. That will be the end of the reviews. A new series will start in June. Hooray new series. Hooray current series. I can feel the excitement in the air. Before we cover Titus Rubles, let's run through the players previously reviewed if you are new to the site.
David Nyarsuk - Jermaine Sanders - Shaquille Thomas - Justin Jackson
Ge'Lawn Guyn - Jeremiah Davis, Alex Eppensteiner, Kelvin Gaines
Titus Rubles came to Cincinnati from a junior college in Texas. Rubles played in all 34 games, starting 12. His starts came towards the end of the season as 9 of his starts came during conference play. Rubles averaged 22 minutes a game. He used 21.8% of Cincinnati possessions, meaning those possessions ended in a Rubles shot, assist or turnover. The possessions that ended in shots were not really successful because lord did Titus Rubles struggle from the field his first season in Cincy. Rubles was 66-195, 33.8%. That number was bad in the non-conference and was even worse in conference play where he shot 30%. A very large part of his trouble was 3 point shooting. Rubles attempted 43 bombs. He only made 4. Yes, a 9% three point shooter. Titus was better in conference play where he went 3-19, a solid 15.8%. Rubles wasn't great from the foul line either, 64-97, 66%. Overall shooting wise, Rubles had a 34.8% effective shooting percentage and a 41.4% true shooting percentage. His offensive rating was a woeful 87.1. Rubles scored 200 points, 5.9 a game.
Titus made up for his up and down scoring by being one of the best rebounders on the Bearcats squad this season. He pulled in 199 rebounds, 5.9 a game. He wasn't a killer on the offensive glass as he pulled in 8.5% of those rebounds. Rubles was dominant of the defensive glass however. He pulled in 21.3% of the defensive rebounds, which was 3rd in the Big East. Rubles was a solid passer with 67 assists, 2 a game. He was also a bit turnover prone with 64. He turned the ball over on 24.4% of possessions, which is very high. But Titus ripped the ball back with 38 steals, 1.1 a game. He had a solid 3.1 steal percentage. Rubles blocked 9 shots on the season. He was foul prone. Titus averaged 2.3 fouls a game and fouled out of one contest.
Titus Rubles got his Cincinnati career off with a very solid start. In the season opener, he scored 8 points on 3-6 shooting, 2-4 free throws, with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 turnovers. He followed that with 8 more points on 3-6 with 7 more rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. That was 1 of 3 games this season Rubles did not have a turnover. This game was the only non-conference game where Rubles made a 3 pointer. He missed 18 in a row after this. Titus filled up the box score against NCAA tournament team NC A&T to the tune of 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. That was followed with a 5, 6, 3 assist performance.
Cincinnati stepped up to better competition with the Vegas tournament and Rubles stepped up his shooting performances. After attempting 20 shots in the first 4 games, Rubles attempted 23 in the next 3. He reached double digits in all 3 games. He had just 4 double digits the rest of the season after this. Titus scored 10 on 4-10, 2-3 FTs, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block against Iowa State, 13 points on 5-9, 3-3 FTs, 4 rebounds, 1 assist but 4 turnovers against Oregon in the title game. Against Alabama, Rubles had 10 points on 4-14 shooting with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Titus pulled back as UC played weaker teams again. He lost his shooting touch starting with Bama. He was 2-7 for 6 points, 2 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals against UALR. He was 2-6 for 7 points against UMES, but that featured Rubles' first 10 rebound game. He also had 4 assists. Rubles was 0-5 for 2 points against Marshall, 8 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 1-7 for 2 points against Xavier. He had 9 boards against X. His only bucket was the picture after the next two sentences. The 14-16 streak from the foul line starting with Iowa St through Marshall was his best sustained streak free throw wise. He would have a solid stretch a couple paragraphs from now.
Titus Rubles had 1 double double this season but he came close a couple other times, including a solid 11 point, 9 rebound game against Wright State. He was 5-10 from the field, briefly breaking out of his shooting funk. He had 3 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers. He was not good against New Mexico with 2 points on 1-6, 2 rebounds and 3 turnovers. That was followed by 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers against Pitt.
The career high scoring performance for Titus Rubles is his biggest anomaly of the season. He scored 14 points on 4-8 shooting. 3 of those baskets were 3 pointers. He was 3-6 from deep and 3-6 from the foul line. That last one hurt because St John's beat Cincinnati by 1. Rubles missed 18 3 pointers in a row before this game. He missed his final 16 of the season after this. St John's had to be wondering what the hell was happening that Titus Rubles of all people was bombing 3s on them. On the plus side for us, we saw that Rubles was possibly capable of finding the range from deep. The fact he didn't before this game and didn't after this game shows he didn't actually have the range. This paragraph was not very nice to Titus Rubles best scoring performance of the season.
Rubles went right back into a funk after his career high with a 1-9 game against Notre Dame that saw him miss 3 three pointers. He had 7 boards and 5 assists in that contest, one of his better all around games. Titus had 7 points and 11 rebounds against Rutgers but just 2 and 3 against DePaul. Cashmere Wright missed the Marquette game, putting a scoring burden on the team. Rubles picked up some of the slack and then some. He had his only double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He was 1-8 from the field, but he was 10-12 from the free throw line. He also had 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Titus followed that double double with a 5-6-5 assist game, a 6-4-2 assist-1 steal game and a 2 point, 6 rebound game. He was 7-9 from the foul line in those two games. Added with the 10-12, the 17-21 was his best free throw shooting stretch of the season.
Titus Rubles had 6 games where he didn't make a field goal. Three of them were already mentioned. The third was the 2 point, 6 rebound game. The 4th came in the only game this season where Rubles didn't score, the Cincinnati loss to Providence. He bounced back with 8 points on 2-9, 4-5 free throws, and 8 rebounds in the loss to Pittsburgh. Titus filled out the box score with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls against Villanova in a win, but did so to a lesser extent in the first loss to Georgetown with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls. Rubles put up 7 in each of the next 2 games, 7-5 and 7-7. The following game had him with 7 rebounds to go with 4 points, 2 assists and 2 steals. The first 7 point game was the loss to UConn. That game is significant because it's the only game he fouled out of this season.
The final kick of the season saw Titus Rubles do one thing very well, rebound. You noticed back to back 7 rebound games. He had back to back 9 rebound games against Louisville and South Florida. The rest of his game was lacking. In the Louisville game, Rubles was 0-2 for 2 points with 4 assists and 8 turnovers. He had 4 assists total the last 4 games. He put up 2 against USF. Rubles had a miserable Big East tournament. He had 2-2 in both games. He bounced back with a solid NCAA tournament performance against Creighton. Titus was 5-12 for 11 points, 0-3 from 3, with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.
It's easy to look at Titus Rubles' numbers from this past season and think that he should get better next year. He can't possibly shoot that poorly over a full period again. It would seriously take a lot of talent to have back to back years of shooting 33%. Rubles is going to shoot a lot next season. He took the 4th most shots on this team. With Cash and Parker gone, there are going to be shots up for grabs. I say this with a lot of love, but Titus Rubles should be banned from shooting 3 pointers next season. At least on probation. 22% of his field goal attempts were 3s. That's awful because he was awful at shooting them. If you take out the 3 pointers, Rubles shot 40.8% from the field. That's pretty solid. You can build with that. Rubles did make a season out of hitting the long 2 with the foot on the line. Maybe that's a sign that he can hit from 3. Either way, I think for our sanity it would be better if he took another step inside the line. Cut the 3s and cut the turnovers and he's a big time player on next year's squad.
That being said, cutting the 3s and cutting the turnovers isn't easy. Some players can never do it. Titus Rubles can do something that no other Bearcat can do, fill out the box score consistently. Sean Kilpatrick can get you points and rebounds, but he's not going to have big assist or steal games. Justin Jackson can do the defensive parts, but not the offensive. Jermaine Lawrence could be special, but we don't know what he'll bring to the table in college. I think Rubles needed some time to adjust to the college game. As a senior this season, he's going to be looked at as a leader. We don't have any idea how he will lead the team in practice or in the locker room. But we can tell how he leads the team on the court. Rubles could be a great leader on the floor by learning from his flaws last year. He could set the example by not taking bad shots, by not being out of position on defense, by stopping his feet when he picks up his dribble, by not turning the ball over so much. On the positive side, his passing his contagious. If you have ever played with someone that is a great passer, or at least unselfish, that rubs off on everyone. Rubles can be focused defensively. He was a spark plug this season and he can be one next year. It's easy to think he can turn a B-/C+ year into something better next year. The tools are there. I've said that about other guys, but for Rubles, we know they are there. We know what he needs to tighten up in his game. He knows it as well. He's just gotta do it.