Originally posted on Bearcats Blog  |  Last updated 5/15/13
This fine May day brings another season review, this time of one of the UC big men, David Nyarsuk. There have been season reviews for a handful of players: Jermaine Sanders Shaq Thomas Justin Jackson Alex Eppensteiner, Kelvin Gaines, Jeremiah Davis Ge'Lawn Guyn David Nyarsuk came to Cincinnati as the tallest Bearcat ever at 7'1. Unless he has a horrible shriking disease, he will leave Cincinnati as the tallest player ever. David played in 33 of the 34 Cincinnati contests. He even started 2 of them. He played 11 minutes a game. Dave used 13.3% of the Cincinnati possessions. He took shots on 12.3% of them. That means he turned the ball over a lot. And he did. 27% of the UC possessions that ended with Nyarsuk were capped off by him turning the ball over. Dave was pretty solid from the field. He was 39-66, 59%. He attempted only 23 shots during conference play. You would think the big guy who was hitting 6 of 10 shots would get a lot of shots, but that was not the case. Nyarsuk was a poor foul shooter because of his horrible shooting form. He was 8-15, 53.3%. One of his free throws this year hit the far side of the right block. It was very funny. David averaged 2.6 points a game. You would think a 7'1 player would dominate the glass, especially in the non-conference. That was not the case. David averaged 2.5 boards a game. 1.1 of them were off the offensive glass. He pulled in 10.2% of the offensive rebounds, which isn't that great. He wasn't great, hell no one on this team was, on the defensive glass by pulling in just under 14%. It was a solid team rebounding squad. Nyarsuk had 7 assists to 22 turnovers. He had 2 steals. Dave's strength was being very tall and blocking shots. He blocked 29, pretty much 1 per game. He blocked 8.2% of the shot attempts while on the floor. What Dave wasn't good at was blocking shots and keeping position without fouling. He averaged 1.5 fouls a game, remember he played 11 minutes on average, and fouled out of 3 contests. Even with playing at the back end of blowouts early on, Nyarsuk's plus minus was only 19. His Roland was -111. That doesn't seem good. The season started off very well for David. UC played a lot of terrible teams with no height. Dave put up 9, 6 and 2 blocks in the opener while playing a season high 24 minutes. Dave followed that with 8-3. Against NCAA tournament team NC A&T, Big Dave had 6 points, 6 boards, 5 blocks, 1 assist and 3 turnovers in just 12 minutes. He filled up the stat line against an NCAA tournament team. He put 6-4-1 block and 1 steal up the next game. Dave played 23 minutes against Iowa St in Vegas, the most minutes by far he played against someone good. He had 5 points and 5 rebounds in the win. He followed that with 5 rebounds agaisnt Oregon, but he fouled out in 11 minutes. Dave did nothing against Alabama before posting a career best 12 points on 5-6, with 6 rebounds. He had 2 turnovers and 4 fouls in that game. Dave became a turnover machine starting with that game. He had 4-2-2 blocks-3 turnovers and 4-5-1 block-2 turnovers the following 2 games. Nyarsuk played 20 minutes total against Xavier and Wright State, the highlight being a 4 block game against WSU. He scored 2 in the Bearcats loss to New Mexico before his defining performance of the season. When Biggie McClain was a Bearcat, he had one random game where his height paid off when UC was in foul trouble. He pulled in some boards and scored some points in a key UC win. Dave had his moment against Pittsburgh. He scored 6 points on 3-3 with 3 huge offensive rebounds, 2 of which came very late. Nyarsuk helped seel up a key UC victory. And that was pretty much it for Big Dave. He went for 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block the next 3 games. He had 4 points and 3 boards against ND. He scored when UC was making a short run late. The 5 games after that he scored 4 points on 3-7, with 7 rebounds and 7 blocks. He blocked 4 shots against Marquette before fouling out in the overtime win. Dave scored 2 against Seton Hall, 2 against PC and 2 against Georgetown. The UConn rematch saw Dave kick in 17 big minutes. He had 6 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks. He scored 2 with 5 boards against Louisville and then didn't have another point or rebound the rest of the season. The game he missed was the Big East tournament win over Providence. Before the season started, I wrote a piece about David in which I predicted he wouldn't play more than 10 minutes and that he wouldn't average 3 and 3. That was unfortunately correct. I also joked that people would call him Nyarsuck, which they did. Dave has 1 thing going for him that opens all the doors in basketball. That is that he is 7 feet tall, kind of athletic and he can dribble. Coaches think they can mold guys like this. In fact, Mick said this when UC signed Dave: Mick Cronin is quoted in the linked piece earlier saying that Nyarsuk's strengths are "catching lobs, finishing around the rim and making free throws. He made over 70 percent from the line. He’s not a guy that you’re going to throw the ball to 15 times a game but that’s not what we need in our style. We need a shot blocker and a rebounder and that’s what he is.” That was just not correct at all. Nyarsuk could have hit 80% in practice, but he was awful during games. He was very good at catching lobs. He was very bad at finishing around the rim because once someone put a body on him, he would wilt. He was easily pushed around. Dave was a shot blocker, but he was not a rebounder. Dave didn't average double digits in high school or as a junior college player. To expect him to average double digits, or anywhere close to decent percentages, in the Big East was wishful thinking. If you read the piece I wrote when UC signed Dave, I never expected him to be good. If you read this piece, you would know that he wasn't very good. Yes he had his good games because he is a division 1 basketball player and they can all have good games because they are very talented. What he didn't bring was any kind of consistency or strong play. And I do mean physically strong. Too often Dave would be pushed off the block on offense or down under the basket on defense. He could block shots when people went right at him, but they could also go right at him and draw fouls because he was bad on defense. UC is in a bit of a roster crunch and there are a lot of people who want to see Dave not come back. I think he will be back. 7 footers who can block shots and rebound on occasion are too valuable to cast aside. Even if they don't have fancy stats, they can still turn a game. Like Pitt or the UConn home win. Nyarsuk could have some mild growth like Cheikh Mbodj did. I doubt he would turn into the player Mbodj could be at times, but I also doubt that in more minutes he would post 2.5 and 2.5 again. That would raise. Even a 4-4 Nyarsuk would be a nice contributor. Especially early in the season, especially on lobs. I don't think UC players looked to lob to him enough. This was a bad passing Bearcats team. Maybe next year will see better passing and easier baskets for a guy who can covert easy baskets. It seems that I've talked myself into thinking Nyarsuk can be a decent play next season and I haven't, but if you were convinced that is good enough for me.
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