Originally posted on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 5/29/13

NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Cashmere Wright #1 of the Cincinnati Bearcats reacts late in the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the quarterfinal of the 2010 NCAA Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The season review series is down to the final two players. All that remains are the star players from the 2012-13 Cincinnati Bearcats. In hindsight, I feel like I should have started the series with Cashmere Wright or Sean Kilpatrick and ended it with the other. I'm saving Kilpatrick for last since he's the most important player in this series because he's the most important player coming back to the team next season. That's not to say Cashmere Wright was not important, because he very much was. Before I talk about how him, here are the other entries in the season review series. Jeremiah Davis, Alex Eppensteiner, Kelvin Gaines - Ge'Lawn Guyn - Justin Jackson - Cheikh Mbodj - David Nyarsuk - JaQuon Parker - Titus Rubles - Jermaine Sanders - Shaq Thomas Cashmere Wright played and started in 33 of the 34 Cincinnati games this season. He averaged 29.6 minutes a game, which was about a minute and a half less than his junior season. His conference minutes were higher though. Wright basically used the same amount of UC possessions as last year, as he used 22.5% compared to 22%. When you factor in conference play, that jumped to 23.6%. Wright posted a career best 111.5 offensive rating. Much of that game during the non-conference slate. His Big East rating was a more pedestrian 100.9. Obviously you have to break down Cash's performance to before the injury and after the injury. He was 140-354, 39.5% for the season,  73-202, 36.1% from 3 and 65-81, 80.2% from the foul line. The first two percentages were a point dip while his FT % rose 14 points and was by far his career best. His effective field goal percent, factors 3s, was practically last year's number at 49.8%. His true shooting, weighs 3s and FTs, was 53.2%, pretty much his sophomore year number. Those numbers for just Big East play tell a different story. Outside of 84% at the foul line, they were all down. Wright was 64-190, 33.7% overall, 31-113, 27.4%, from 3 and 42-50 from the stripe. He only shot above 40% in BE play once in his career, and it was his freshman year where he only had 78 attempts. Wright shot a career low from 3 as you could imagine. This was with the higher usage rate. His effective shooting was 41.8% and true was 47%. His true percentage was under a percentage less than last year because of his much improved foul shooting. Cashmere reverted back to his sophomore self on the glass this season. He pulled in 80 rebounds, 2.4 a game. That was nearly a rebound and a half less than last year. His defensive rebounding percentage of 7.4% was a career worst effort on the glass. Wright's assists also took a hit.  He had 106 on the season, 63 less than the previous year. He averaged 3.2 assists a game. That number dropped to 2.8 in conference play. Wright assisted on 25% of UC baskets. He assisted on 31.4% and 30% the prior two years. His steals were bound to revert and they did. He had 52, which was the second most in his career. His 3.2% steal pct was right on his sophomore year average. One thing Cashmere really improved on was not turning the ball over. He had 60 turnovers all season. He turned the ball over just 16.7% of the time. It was the only time in his career he was under 20%. His assist turnover ratio was 1.8. That was the second lowest of his career. Cashmere Wright's senior season got off to a pretty decent start. He scored 16 on 6-10, 4-7 from 3, with 4 boards and 3 assists (3 turnovers) in the season opener. That was followed with back to back 4-10 shooting performances, three 3s in both, for 11 and 13 points respectively. One game featured 5 assists, the other 4 steals. Wright didn't attempt a free throw until the third game of the season. Odd. Cash put a hurting on Campbell to the tune of a season high 28 points. He was 8-14, 4-6 from 3, 8-10 from the line, with 5 steals. It was one of two double digit free throw attempt efforts. UC went to Vegas and Wright didn't shoot that well. He was 5-13, 4-4 FTs, for 14 points, with 5 assists and 3 steals, against Iowa St and 6-14, 5-9 from 3, for 17 points against Oregon. Starting with the Oregon game, Cashmere didn't attempt a free throw for 5 games. This was one of the more frustrating things about Cashmere's career. Maybe the injuries took their toll in more ways than one, but his free throw rate plummeted his last two years. His rate this year was a step up from last year, but was still in the 20s. For as good a foul shooter as Cash was, these were points he never seized consistently. The lack of free throws showed up as a lack of scoring immediately. He was held to just 9 attempts against Alabama and had 4 turnovers, but the fourth field goal he made was the game winner. Wright followed up with another 8 point game on 4-10 shooting with 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 turnovers. I mention the turnovers because Wright went from December 6 to January 30 without turning the ball over more than twice. That's incredible. He had two 3 turnover games the rest of the season. Cash had his best shooting performance against UMES. He was 7-8, 6-7 from 3, for 20 points. He had 9 assists and 4 rebounds in just 24 minutes. One thing Cash definitely did during the non-conference was just 3 pointers to cover up for his lack of 2 pointers and FTs. For example, the Marshall game where he went 5-13, 4-7 from 3, for 14 points. Wright got one last Shootout win over Xavier with a 15 point, season high 6 rebound, 4 assist, 2 steal performance. He was just not good against Wright St the following game, going 1-8, 4-7 FTs, for 6 points. He did have 4 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals. New Mexico held Cash to just 6 shot attempts. He made four of them and three of them were from 3 to get him 12 points. It wouldn't be enough in the loss. Big East play started and Cashmere Wright took off. He scored 18 against Pitt on 5-10, 6-7 FTs. He had his only double double of the year against St John's with 23 points on 9-16, 5-10 from 3, 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Cash put up a shooting dud against ND going 1-5 for 5 points, but he had 8 assists. Wright carried UC with 23 points on 6-17, 9-10 FTs, in a win over Rutgers. He was crushing DePaul to the tune of 20 points on 8-11 shooting, 2-3 from both 3 and FTs, and 7 assists before he sprained his knee. Wright missed the following game against Marquette. When he came back, he wasn't the same. Maybe Wright was trying to do too much in his return when UC took on Syracuse. He was 2-13, 1-8 from 3, for 5 points. He didn't have an assist. This game was a trend of how the rest of the season would go. Be it the injury or the way defenses started playing him, Wright was primarily a 3 point shooter. After the injury, he attempted 159 shots. 98 were from 3. That's 61.6%. Couple that with 29 FT attempts in those 15 games and it was a major part of why he had so much trouble consistently scoring. Also, Wright only missed 5 of those. The hidden points. He didn't attempt a free throw in the Syracuse game. 12 of the 29 attempts would come in the next 3 games. The free throws helped otherwise awful shooting performance against Rutgers and Seton Hall. Cash was 1-6, 3-4 FTs, 1-5 from deep, for 6 points, and 3 turnovers breaking the streak, in the first and 4-13, 7-7 FTs, 2-8, for 17 points, with 4 assists, against the Hall. Providence broke this string because Wright attempted only three from distance. But he was 1-6 from two for 6 points in the loss. He bottomed out with a 2-12, 1-11, 5 point outing against Pitt. He had a worse shooting performance, but this game featured bad shots and he had more turnovers than assists. Cash hit a pair of 3s in six attempts as part of a 3-14, 11 point outing against Villanova. He had 4 assists and 3 steals in the win. He had 14 attempts, two made 3s and 3 steals the following game against Georgetown, but he made just 5 field goals overall, and attempted 8 from distance. The Georgetown game started a 3 game stretch where Wright didn't attempt a free throw. In the OT loss to UConn, Cash had 10 points on 4-12, 2-9, and 5 assists. He, like the entire team, was miserable against Notre Dame. Wright was 0-2, both from three, for 0 points. It was first scoreless game in nearly a calendar year. In the win against UConn, Wright scored 10 points on 2-14 shooting, 2-11 from 3, hitting 4-4 at the line to help secure the big win. The two best games that Cashmere had after his return were in blowout losses. The third best game that he had was also in a loss. The first of these was against Louisville. Wright was 6-11, 3-5 from 3, for 15 points. He had 0 assists and 3 turnovers though. He had 15 again on senior day against USF thanks to three made 3s and 4-6 at the stripe. Wright was held to 6 shot attempts in the Big East tournament opener against PC, but his 5 assists as well as his 6 points helped key the win. His best shooting game was against Georgetown the following day. Cash hit 4-5 from 3, 5-8 overall, for 14 points. He didn't shoot as well against Creighton, 6-14, 3-7 from 3, in his 15 point day where he also had 6 assists and 4 rebounds. What stood out from this game was the 0-1 from the foul line. The miss, one of five the last 15 games, came with 40 seconds left and UC down 3. Cashmere Wright had an amazing career at Cincinnati. He played the most games at UC, 138. He stared the second most with 114. He is the all time steals leader with 198. Wright is 22nd with 1,317 points. That's right between Leonard Stokes and Damon Flint. One of the biggest what if questions when you think back on this season, hell even during the season itself, was "What if Cashmere Wright didn't hurt his knee?" He was playing at an All-Big East level. He was shooting the best he had in his entire career. The team was following his lead. And then he got hurt and wasn't the same. I think it's safe to say that he was never 100% once he came back. He probably rushed back a little. He definitely took a heavier burden once he returned, which probably didn't help matters. One of the major flaws of this team was the lack of consistent inside scoring. That's a big part of why Wright's assist total dropped. It's a lot easier assisting on a layup than a 3 pointer. The lack of another scoring option outside of Wright and Sean Kilpatrick was something a (relatively) healthy Wright could deal with. It wasn't something that an injured Wright could completely handle. He lost some of his explosiveness. Teams started pushing him back on the perimeter more and more. He liked shooting long 3s, but that seemed to be all he had. It's not like he was taking the much easier corner 3 either. There was a lot riding on Cashmere Wright's shoulders. Unfortunately his body couldn't handle the weight of it all. Cashmere Wright was a great player, but the potential of what could have been if not for the injuries kind of shadows his career both on the micro level of this season and the macro level of his career. He blew out his knee before he played a game. He had constant shoulder trouble. The knee was the last of the blows. It's a shame because a full season of great Cashmere Wright was never had. But when you flip that coin, what we saw of Cashmere Wright was still very good. The man had toughness and heart and the determination to be on the court. I said it about Parker and you could say it about Cash, he was a player who could fit in during any era of UC basketball. Not just because he missed a lot of 3s. Because he was a tough son of a ***** who played all out. Cashmere Wright had an all time career. I'm glad that I got the chance to chronicle it on this blog the last four years. Thank you, Cashmere Wright. We finish the last, or one of the last, posts about Cashmere Wright with my favorite picture of Cash. This was as UC was beating Florida State. Look at the guy in the stands. I love it.
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