Earlier this week, I kicked off the season review with a look at the Cincinnati program. Up next are the players themselves. Last will be a review of Mick Cronin. Since stat sheet lists players in alphabetical order, that's a good way to go through the roster. That works out especially well because the 3 men at the top of the roster played a combined 33 games.
#0 Jeremiah Davis
It's hard to get a good recap of Jeremiah Davis for this season because he only played in 4 games before injuring his wrist and missing the remainder of the season. Davis will receive a medical redshirt. Davis played nearly 11 minutes a game. He was going to be a key cog off the bench.
Jeremiah Davis was in gunner mode this season. He used 29.3% of UC possessions while he was on the court. He took shots on 29% of his possessions. He was 7-18 from the field, 3-9 from 3 and 5-6 from the foul line. The 5-6 from the foul line set his career high in free throws made. Davis averaged 5.5 points a game. Jeremiah pulled down 10 rebounds, 2.5 a game. Davis only pulled in 25 as a freshman. He had 5 assists, 1.2 a game. He had 0 steals and 4 turnovers. He fouled 6 times.
Davis played 13 minutes in the season opener, scoring 5 points on 2-5 shooting. He was 1-2 from 3. He had 3 assists and 1 rebound. Jeremiah scored a season high 9 points in just 10 minutes against Mississippi Valley. He was 2-4, 1-2 from 3 and a career best 4-4 from the foul line. Davis had 4 rebounds and 2 assists. 3 turnovers was the only bad stat. He cooled off against NCAA tournament team NC A&T with 5 points on 2-6. It was the only game he didn't make a 3. Davis had 4 rebounds in that contest. In his final game of the season, Jeremiah played 7 minutes, scored 3 points and had 1 rebound, which was his only offensive rebound of the season.
So last year was pretty much nothing for Jeremiah Davis. He would have been a shooter off the bench, which is something that this team desperately needed. He will have the chance at that role next season. He will fight for minutes at the point, although I don't know how good he is at running the point. He is a bit turnover prone and his defense has never been his calling card. The thing Davis does well is shoot. He's not a tremendous percentage shooter, but he will put up shots. The man does not lack confidence. UC should have some guys who can score next year. Jeremiah Davis will be one of them. For better and sometimes for worse.
#10 Alex Eppensteiner
Alex Eppensteiner played in 7 games this season, starting 1. He played a little under 2 minutes a contest. Epp used 18.9% of UC possessions, which was his 3rd lowest usage rate. He did have a career best 21.6% shot percentage. Eppensteiner was a career worst 1-4 from the field. This was coming off a career best 2-4 as a junior. The 4 attempts tied his career high. Eppensteiner set his career high for 2 pointers attempted at 3. He was 0-1 from long range. Alex managed 2 free throw attempts. He finished 1-2. He ended his career 4-8 at the foul line. Kind of disappointing since he could probably hit 8 free throws in a row easily. Alex scored 3 points. He finished his career with 13 only 2,960 behind Oscar Robertson on the UC scoring list.
Eppensteiner set a career high in assists with 3 and steals with 2. He had 1 rebound. Alex didn't turn the ball over at all this season. That ties his own UC record of 0 turnovers that he set as a sophomore. 2 of his 4 years Alex Eppensteiner didn't turn the ball over.
AE saw 1 minute in the season opener and responded by missing a 3. Out of that frustration, he got one of his steals. Epp played a season high 3 minutes in the next game. He didn't take a shot, but he lent out an assist. He showed off his passing skills with an assist in the following game to go with his 1 rebound. Eppensteiner got on the board against NCAA tournament team NC A&T by going 1-2 at the line. This was also the game he shattered his career high in steals. It was a huge minute. We'll say that Alex took a career high 2 shots 4 games later against UALR. He missed them both. In his final non-conference attempt at scoring, Eppensteiner put in a bucket against Maryland-Eastern Shore. It was good that he did that because he didn't play until senior day. He started that game and had an early assist. Because that game went into overtime, it was one of the key assists for the game and helped UC to victory. Alex saw his last action in a Cincinnati uniform against Georgetown in the Big East tournament. He was on the floor for the final UC Big East game.
Alex Eppensteiner had the career of a walk on. He ended up with a scholarship. He had fans chanting his name. He has the honor of starting UC's final Big East home game and being on the floor for UC's final Big East tournament game. I don't think anyone else can say that. That's a special thing that only Alex Eppensteiner can enjoy.
#24 Kelvin Gaines
Out of the 3 men talked about in this post, Kelvin Gaines played the most this season. He played in 22 games. He averaged 6 minutes a contest, which was a little less than last year. Kelvin used a career high 11.2% of UC possessions. He had a career best 7.5% shot percentage. The problem with that was that Gaines was a career low 35.7% from the field. His true shooting percentage was 31.7%. Gaines was 5-14 from the field. I'm pretty sure 4 of his makes were dunks. Gaines attempted 7 free throws, a career best. He made just 1. That was down from his career high of 2 as a freshman. Gaines scored 11 points, 0.5 a game. His scoring was down from 0.8 a game. Gaines was also worse as a rebounder. He pulled in 31, 1.4 a game. He had 14 offensive boards, 11.6% offensive rebound percentage, but only had 17 defensive rebounds, a 14.3% defensive rebound percentage. That was 7% lower than last year. KG had 1 assist to 9 turnovers. Those were both worse than last year. He matched his total of 5 steals. Gaines blocked 15 shots, a career low. His 24 fouls were an improvement on 27 as a freshman.
Gaines saw his first action in the second game of the season, where he scored a bucket, had 3 rebounds, 1 block and 4 fouls. Gaines didn't score the next outing, but he had 3 rebounds and 3 blocks against NCAA tournament team NC A&T. Gaines had 2 rebounds, a block and a steal total his next 3 games. He scored 2 against UMES with 3 rebounds and 2 blocks. Gaines was a defensive force in 6 minutes against Wright State as he blocked 3 shots. KG had a block total the next 2 games before he gave solid minutes against ND with 2 points and 4 rebounds. After playing 5 minutes total in the next 4 games, Gaines saw some regular action.
Kelvin played in 11 of the last 14 games of the season. He scored 2 points on 1-2 with 2 boards against Rutgers and 2 points with 2 turnovers against Seton Hall. Gaines had 3 rebounds the next 2 games with a steal and a block in one of them. He blocked a shot in the win over Nova. Gaines didn't add much besides 2 missed put back attempts the next 3 games. KG got on the board against Louisville with his first made free throw of the season. He had 2 rebounds in that game. In his last significant action, Gaines played 11 minutes against USF with 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block. He was on the floor for the final Big East game against Georgetown.
Kelvin Gaines has a lot to improve on next season. For one, he has to learn how to set a screen without being called for an illegal screen. I'm not saying he has to learn the proper way, just the proper way to get away with illegal screens if he sets that variety. Gaines has to be more assertive offensively. We saw him take the most modest of steps, but he has a long way to go. Cincinnati was definitely playing 4 on 5 with him in the game. He also has to be more assertive defensively. In general, he needs to be more assertive. The only thing he doesn't seem afraid to do is trying to block shots. He will let other guys do the rebounding, he will let other guys do the scoring. He can't take a backseat. Gaines is going to be a junior next year. Juniors take steps forward. Kelvin Gaines has to take a step forward.