The 2013 seniors will see their last home action on Saturday afternoon. Let's take a look at their journey to their final home game. We started with Alex Eppensteiner. We continue on with Cheikh Mbodj.
Cheikh Mbodj came to Cincinnati as a junior college transfer. He was a 3 star recruit according to rivals. Cheikh had the reputation of a shot blocker. It's a reputation he's lived up to. He's played 58 games in his Bearcat career, starting 29 of them. Mbodj has scored 198 points in his UC career. He's averaging 3.4 points a game. He's a 44.5% shooter. He's 60% at the free throw line. Mbodj is averaging 3.4 rebounds overall with 1.7 blocks.
In his first season as a Bearcat, Mbodj played 9.7 minutes a game. He was 20-53, 37.7% from the field. He was 1-1 from 3. He was 7-18 from the foul line. Mbodj pulled in 60 rebounds, 2.1 a game. He had 4 assists, 3 steals and blocked 19 shots.
Cheikh started his UC career injured. He missed the first 3 games. He saw action in the 4th game, where he scored his first points at the free throw line. He scored his first field goal the following game. Mbodj had a breakout performance against Miami. UC was very sluggish and Mbodj came off the bench to go 5-9 from the field, 1-1 from 3, for 12 points to go with 4 rebounds. He had a solid 4 point, 5 rebound, 2 assist game against Georgia before scoring 2 against Xavier.
Mbodj was involved in the brawl in the Crosstown Shootout. He missed the next 6 games as the result of stomping a Xavier player. He returned for the Notre Dame game, where he went scoreless in 7 minutes. Mbodj contributed 4 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks against St John's. He had 5 offensive rebounds. Mbodj scored 2 the next game before going scoreless the next couple of games. He came alive at West Virginia. Cheikh was 3-4 for 6 points with 5 rebounds in 10 minutes. He had a 7 rebound, 2 block game in a nice performance at Rutgers. In the St John's rematch, Mbodj had 4 points, 5 rebounds and 5 blocks. He was largely ineffective the rest of the season, scoring 4 points with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.
For his senior season, Cheikh Mbodj is 53-111, 52.5% from the field. He is 44-67, 65.7% from the free throw line. He's averaging 5 points a game. He's pulled home 137 rebounds, 4.6 a game. He's 14th in the Big East with 2.1 offensive rebounds a game. He has 7 assists and 6 steals. Mbodj is one of the best shot blockers in the Big East. He's second with 77. He's second in blocks per game at 2.6. He's blocking shots on 13% of possessions. Mbodj leads the Big East with 103 fouls. He's 7th in the nation. He's got that going for him.
Mbodj started the game like a shot blocking machine. He had 4 in each of the first 3 games. Mbodj had 5 points, 6 boards in the opener, followed by 8-6 and 8-4. He would score 2 a game the next 3 games, with 4 blocks in that span. Cheikh put up 8-5-4 blocks in a close win over Alabama. He totally overwhelmed Arkansas-Little Rock with 12 points on 4-4 shooting, 4-4 on FTs, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Of course, he went scoreless the next game. Cheikh came back strong with 9 on 4-4 shooting against Marshall and he had 5 rebounds and 4 blocks against Xavier. Cheikh had his first career 10 rebound game in the Bearcats loss to New Mexico. He blocked 3 shots in that game. Mbodj had his second 10 rebound game against St John's two games later. He was just 1-7 from the field though. That was something he turned around with a 4-4, 8 point game against Notre Dame. He put up 4 blocks as well.
Cheikh set a career high with 7 blocked shots in the Bearcats victory over DePaul. After a minimal effort against Marquette, Mbodj had his best scoring stretch as a Cat. He put up 9-6 and 10-5. That was followed with a solid 7-7-5 block game in a win over Seton Hall. After scoring 6 against Providence, Mbodj scored 6 in the next 2 games total. Against Georgetown, he didn't attempt a shot. But he had 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Mbodj followed with 4 blocks against UConn. Mbodj was pretty quiet the next 2 games and had 4-4-5 blocks against Louisville.
Cheikh Mbodj is one of the better shot blockers in UC history. He is 2 blocks away from passing Kenyon Martin's 1999 season for the 5th most blocks in a year. Mbodj could pass Kenyon's 1998 season and end up 4th. He has a skill and he does it pretty well. When we look back at the career of Cheikh Mbodj, sure we will remember the foul outs. We will remember the missed layups. We will remember his role in the Xavier brawl. But some of us will also remember that he blocked shots. He will end up with a historic career. Who knew.