Already well positioned next season with its top six scorers returning from a 23-win NCAA tournament team, Cincinnati took a big step Wednesday toward securing its long-term future too.
The most impactful addition might be Cumberland, a muscular 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Wilmington, Ohio, who is Rivals.com's No. 65 prospect in the Class of 2016. Cumberland had interest from the likes of Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Xavier and Butler, but a blue-collar, hard-nosed program like Cincinnati ought to be a good fit.
A 6-foot-8 big man from New Jersey who thrives on doing the little things, Brooks is another good fit for the Bearcats even if he is less heralded than Cumberland. He seldom scores any other ways besides tip-ins and dump-off passes, but he is an effective interior defender and rebounder.
The last among the three additions is Washington, a 6-foot-9 forward who transferred from NC State after he averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore. Washington will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in the 2016-17 season and will provide a potential replacement for top big man Octavius Ellis, who will play his final college season next year.
Next season's Cincinnati team has a chance to contend for the American Athletic Conference crown and advance deeper into the NCAA tournament if young stars Troy Caupain and Gary Clark can become more efficient scorers.
And with Brooks, Cumberland and Washington all set to debut the following season, there's good reason to believe the Bearcats can sustain their momentum.
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