Bearcats Breakdown: Wilks, Thomas, Davis, Jackson and McClain

Bearcats Breakdown today is all about highlighting the men who played a role, but not a large role statistically, in the Bearcats success. Most of them were part of the goon squad, the reserves that came in and played with attitude. The other was Ibrahima Thomas. Since Thomas was not like the others, let’s start with him. 

Ibrahima Thomas
The Bearcat power forward started 30 of the 35 games the Bearcats played his senior year. In 18.9 minutes, Thomas averaged 5.7 points on 49.7% shooting, with 5.2 rebounds per game. Thomas used 17.7 percent of the UC possessions while he was on the floor, scoring with an offensive rating of 109.3, a career high. Thomas’ effective fg% was 50.6, and true, which accounts for free throws, 52.8%. His freshman year numbers were a little higher in those categories, but those were Cincinnati highs. Ibby hit 78 of the 157 shots he took for 49.7%, up 10% from his junior year. It would have been higher, but Thomas took 28 threes, making only 3. Thomas had a career best at the foul line, going 42-70, 60%. His free throw rate was down 14% from his junior year, but he only had 3 less points at the line. 

Thomas’ 5.2 rebounds a game put him 29th in the Big East. His 2 offensive boards were 12.9% of the UC total while he was on the floor, while his 3.1 defensive boards a game were 20.7%. The offensive rebounding was up, but the defensive rebounding down. Thomas tried passing the ball this season. His 22 assists were more than all 3 years combined, where he had 17. Thomas had 29 turnovers, for a 0.8 assist to turnover ratio. Thomas picked up 18 steals and 21 blocks, both career highs. His plus minus of 232 was good enough for 19th in the Big East.

Ibrahima Thomas started the season off relatively well. He scored 9 in the opener, had 9-9, 11-6, 6-8, and 6-8 in the first 5 games. After a dud against Wright St, Thomas played his best ball of the season. He had 7-8-2 steals, 11-12 against Utah Valley, 12-5-2 assists-2 steals-2 blocks against Georgia Southern, a dud against OU, and a 11-13 double double against Miami. Thomas closed 2010 with 6-10-2 blocks against DePaul, and 12-9 against Seton Hall. 

When the competition picked up, Ibrahima Thomas did not. His numbers went down to 2-4, 4-3 in a bizarre performace against Villanova, in which Thomas picked up 4 fouls in about a minute and a half of game time, 0-2, 4-8, 0-5, 3-1, 2-2, 2-5, and 7-6. Thomas saw a cut in minutes due to the poor performance, getting as few as 10 in that span. He bounced back with his best game as a Bearcat against DePaul. Thomas went for 16 on 8-10, with 7 rebounds. He followed that with a 7-8 in the St John’s loss. Thomas played only 9 minutes against Louisville, thanks to 3 fouls, 18 in the OT Providence game, and 4 and 8. Thomas once again came back strong from that valley. He scored 12 with 7 boards in the huge Marquette victory.  He followed it up with 6-4 on senior day, and 8-5 in the first round BET game. He scored 7-7 in the Missouri victory. 

Ibrahima Thomas had an up and down career as a Bearcat. It started with him trying to fight the Xavier bench, to him missing a ton of layups, to him being a dependable rebounder, to him being a leader, to him being on the bench, to him being in good graces, and in bad. Thomas did pretty much everything Mick asked for. His career didn’t pan out greatly, but he did a big job on this Bearcat team. 

Everyone else after the jump.

Darnell Wilks
Darnell Wilks senior season saw something he didn’t see the first three years of his UC career, playing time in every game. Wilks played in all 35 games, starting 11. In 15 minutes a game, he averaged 3.6 points on 43% shooting. Wilks mixed in 2.6 boards, and 1 assist per game. Wilks was a key part of the pressing and aggressive goon squad. The group crushed inferior opposition early in the season. Wilks made his bones on defense, and if he wasn’t guarding, he wasn’t playing. 

Wilks put up a career best 3.6 points a game, using 16.6 of the UC possessions while on the floor. His 43% shooting translated into an effective fg% of 48.9, and a true shooting percent of 52.6. Those percentages weight 3 pointers and free throws. Wilks made a career low percentage from 3, 31% on 11-35. He made a career best 63.5% of his free throws. Wilks took 52, which was 19 more than his first 3 years combined. He had as many points on 3 pointers as he had on free throws, which is a little weird. 

Darnell hit the glass hard his last year as a Bearcat. He pulled home 91 boards, a career best that translated to 2.6 a game. His 1.1 offensive boards were 8.7% of the UC total while on the floor, and his 1.48 defensive boards were 12.2%. Like Thomas, Wilks gave passing a try. His 38 assists were more than all 3 years combined. His 35 turnovers gave him an assist to turnover ratio of 1.1, which was actually a career high. Wilks had 20 steals and 16 blocks. While many of the blocks came late in the year, only 4 of the steals came after January 12. 

Wilks started the season as a non factor. His first game with minutes was against UD, where he had 4-6-5 assists. He had 8 against Toledo, followed by a 6 point, 5 steal game against Utah Valley, and an 8 rebound game against Georgia Southern. Wilks started Big East play with 11-5-2 steals against DePaul, and 7 points against Seton Hall to close 2010. Wilks got 23 minutes against South Florida, and his 12 point-4 steal game ended up being a key part in an 8 point win. The 12 matched his career high. Wilks went back to mainly nothing before a 4-5 against Rutgers, 4-5 against Pitt, and 6-5-2 assists against DePaul. Wilks scored 7 points the next 5 games before netting 7 against UConn. He closed his home career with 8-6 against Georgetown. Wilks was one of the only guys to score against Notre Dame in the BET, putting in 7.

Darnell Wilks came to UC as a 4 star recruit. He quite frankly didn’t play like one. He never seemed to have the motor that he needed to be that guy. His solid Big East tournament in 2010 gave the impression that he could put it together and be a big part of the team. Unfortunately, he never got all the pieces in place. Oh well, it happens. 

Larry Davis
Larry Davis played in all but 2 games the Bearcats had in his UC career. This season, he played 35, starting 5. Davis got 16 minutes a game, averaging 4.5 points on 37% shooting, with 0.9 assists, and 1 rebound. Davis had a horrible junior season, but bounced back well enough for his senior campaign. Davis had a career best 103.1 offensive rating, up from 83, while using a career low 16% of UC’s possessions. Davis hit 30 of 89 triples, 33.7%, which was 9% better. His effective fg% was 47.3, and true shooting 49.2. Those were the highest since his freshman year. They were boosted by his 16-22 at the free throw line, both of which were career bests. 

Davis pulled in 1 rebound a game, 0.4 offensive, and 0.5 defensive. His rates were the lowest they have been in his career. His 33 assists were the second most, and his 25 turnovers his second least. His 1.3 assist to turnover rate was his second best. Davis had 17 steals, 1.8% of the Bearcat steals, which was a career best. He didn’t block a shot for the first time in his career though. His plus minus was 39, which isn’t great, but it was up from -14. That’s a good thing.

Larry Davis’ senior year started off slow, 3,0,1,0,3,3, before he caught some fire. Davis had 9 against Toledo, 5 vs UVU, 11 against Ga Southern, and then a couple of dud games. Davis had the best back to back games of his career against St Francis and DePaul. Davis had 18 on 6-10, 4-7 from deep, with 4 assists against St Fran. Against DePaul, he scored 20 points for the second time in his UC career, on 6-9, 4-6 from 3. At this point in the season, Davis was 27-56, and 16-33 from deep. He went 5-10 the next 4 games. 2 of the threes came in an 8 point outing against X. Davis had 9 big ones in the St John’s win, including a huge basket before the half. He followed with 8 against Rutgers. Davis scored 13 against Pitt, but took 17 shots to get there. Starting with the game before that, Davis made just 5 threes the rest of the year. He took 34. Needless to say, Davis didn’t scored much after Pitt, 22 points to close the season. His most impressive basket of the year was his dunk on dude on Missouri in the NCAA tournament. 

Larry Davis was on the path to having a great senior season. The last 2 months of the season, he completely lost his shot. He was bombing 3’s at a 45% rate before that. It kind of sucks because Larry seemed like a good guy, and he was obviously trying hard. He embraced his role as part of the goon squad, and started off great. Unfortunately, he lost his shot, and lost his confidence a second straight year. He played hard nosed defense all he could, but when the shots aren’t falling, you are playing at a disadvantage. I was hoping it would turn out better for Larry. He can be proud of his senior year though. 

Justin Jackson
Justin Jackson took all of about one game for the UC fans to love him. Jackson played only 13 minutes a game his freshman season, but all 13 minutes, you knew where he was. Jackson was active as hell on the glass, pulling in 2.5, got some steals, blocked some shots, passed some passes, and scored 2.5 points a game. He also fouled some fouls, getting 71 whistles and 2 disqualifications. Jackson played hard, and with energy and passion. It was easy to want to see more of him. Before we look to the future, let’s look back. 

J Jack was 39-74 from the floor, 52.7%. He hit 1-3 from deep. He was horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible at the line, going 10 of 33. As a result, his offensive rating was 84.6. His effective shooting percent was 53, but his true was 49.6. Huge hit when you count the foul shots. Jackson had a 44.5 free throw rate, which not surprisingly was one of the highest on the team. Jackson used just 15.7% of UC’s possessions. 

Jackson had 88 rebounds overall. His 30 offensive equalled 7.8% of the UC total while he was on the floor, and his 58 boards translated to 15.8%, which was 27th in the Big East. Justin had 24 assists, 10.2% of the UC assists while on the floor, and 36 turnovers. That made a beautiful rate of 0.7. Jackson had 26 steals, a 3.6 steal percent, which was 7th in the league, and 18 blocks. His 4.4 block percent was 23rd in the league. His plus minus was 81.  

Justin Jackson showed his hustle game one. He had 4 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. All came when UC was lethargic and needed a boost. He scored his first point at the line in game two, and in game three had another point. He was 2-4 at the line then. He finished 8-31. Nice.  Jackson had a career best game against Dayton, scoring 5 points, with a career high 7 boards and 2 blocks. Jackson filled the box score against WSU with 2-3-2 assists-2 steals-1 block. He had 4-5-3 assists against Georgia Southern, and a nice 7-4 against St Francis. Jackson played sparingly the next couple weeks, before back to back 3 point, 2 steal games. He stepped up at St John’s though. With the UC bigs in foul trouble, Jackson played 29 minutes, scored a career high 8 points on 4-6, had 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and a block. He had a nice 8-6-2 assist-2 steal-1 block game at Pittsburgh. Justin had 6 boards and 3 steals in the other St John’s meeting, and 6-6 at Georgetown. Jackson played ok down the stretch, but had a lot of turnovers. 

Justin Jackson showed a lot of flashes that he can be a player. He had some growing pains, like 0-0-0-0-1 block-5 fouls in 12 minutes against West Virginia, 6 turnovers in 19 minutes against UConn, 4 fouls in 10 minutes against ND, and another 4 foul, 10 minute game in November. Despite that, Jackson seems like the has the pieces in place, and the drive to make himself a better player. 2 points goes to 4 points if he improves at the line. I think my grandma could hit 10-33, and she’s blind. Jackson has to learn the game a little more, and with the hard work he’s putting in now, he’s going to be special.

Biggie McClain
Last, and certainly biggest, we hit Anthony ‘Biggie’ McClain. The giant man played in 26 of the Bearcats games this season, getting 6 minutes. He scored 1.6 points a game, with 1.69 boards a game. Biggie made 14 of the 24 shots he took, and 14 of the 24 free throws he took. How odd. His effective fg% was 58.3, the same as his field goal and free throw. His true shooting percent was 59.3, a career best. Biggie used 14% of the Bearcat possessions when he was roaming the court. 

Biggie pulled home 44 rebounds, 20 on the offensive end. That was 14.2% of the UC total. He had 24 defensive rebounds, 17.7%. Those were the third lowest, and the lowest of McClain’s career. Biggie had 4 assists, up from 0 last season. He had 6 turnovers, for a rate of 0.7. That was up from 0.0. For the second straight year, McClain had no steals. He blocked a career low 5 shots.  

Biggie McClain saw action the first 5 games, scoring 2 in the first, 3 in the third, and blocking 2 shots against UD. In 14 minutes against Toledo, Biggie had 4-5-1 assist. He had a 4 point game against Georgia Southern. McClain played 18 minutes against St Francis, with 5 points and a season best 7 rebounds. Biggie didn’t see many minutes until the St John’s game. Biggie played the 8 biggest minutes of his career. He went for 4 points, 6 boards, 1 assist and 1 block. The assist was a touch pass to Larry Davis for a huge basket at the end of the first half. UC needed all Biggie gave them that day. Biggie played a season high 23 minutes against Pitt, scoring a season high 10 points, with 4 boards and a block. The only other game Biggie scored in was senior day, when he had 3. In fact, he had just 1 rebound the 7 games after Pitt, with 4 inactives. 

Like Darnell Wilks, Biggie McClain was a 4 star recruit. After a promising start, injuries ruined his career. He did his best to get back on the floor, and his efforts to do so were admirable. Biggie gave us all the greatest gift he could on Senior Day though, Biggie with a baby.



About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.