2005 Cincinnati Bearcats Basketball Preview
2005 Cincinnati Bearcats Team Preview
Coach Bob Huggins in sixteen years at Cincinnati has a 399-127 record and always seems to get his team into the Tournament. This year the team has moved from Conference USA-- where they were 12-4 (25-8 overall)—to the Big East. The Bearcats find themselves without four key players from last year, including small center-man Jason Maxiell who, at 6’ 7”, averaged 7.7 rebounds and 15.3 points per game. Cincinnati is also without legendary coach Huggins, who resigned after Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher refused to extend his contract beyond the two years left on his deal. With the main reason being the ultimatum of leave or be fired stemming from the DUI Huggins was convicted for last year.
Andy Kennedy, former assistant, was then named interim coach. Two big questions for this team are how will Cincinnati fair this year without Huggins’s defensive guile and motivational abilities and what will their future be without his recruiting cache?
In Kennedy’s favor he has four starting seniors and one junior this season, which means there’s some fine chemistry to exploit. Eric Hicks and James White are both solid senior forwards, while junior college transfer student Ivan Johnson, a physical player with solid rebounding skills, will probably get the nod at center. That leaves the dependable and versatile Armein Kirkland at guard and the poor passing but solid shooting Jihad Muhammed at the other guard position.
Off the bench will be promising first year players DeAndre Coleman (forward), Devan Downey (guard), Domonick Tilford (guard) and junior college transfer man Cedric McGowan.
The changes for this team have been major—new conference, new coach due to the old coach losing out to the college president. Andy Kennedy may have a solid 2005-06 season; it’s next year that will be the ultimate challenge, since Huggins’s decision to leave destroyed the school’s ability to recruit for 2006. What a way to come into the Big East.
For more info on the 2005 Bear Cats check out the official Cincinnati athletic site.