CINCINNATI – Wilmington High School graduate Jarron Cumberland has been named the American Athletic Conference men’s basketball player of the year by the conference’s coaches.
Cumberland is the second straight Bearcats player to earn AAC player of the year honors. Gary Clark, who is now in the NBA, was the top player in the AAC in 2017-18.
“It’s one of my goals,” Cumberland said during a media press conference following the announcement. “I knew I really worked for it. It was something I wanted to accomplish. A lot of my teammates were backing me up (for the honor). I learned a lot from the past three guys, the three guys that left last year.”
While appreciative of the honor, the team-first Cumberland said he was “upset” more of his teammates didn’t receive post-season honors from the conference.
Clinton County’s all-time leading basketball scorer with 2,408 points, Cumberland averaged 18.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Bearcats. The 6-5 guard also averaged 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from the three-point line (71 of 176).
He enters the postseason with 1,275 career points, ranking 28th on UC’s career scoring list.
Cincinnati is 25-6 this season and will face either Tulsa or Southern Methodist University 7 p.m. Friday at FedExForum in Memphis in the Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Championship tournament. The Tulsa-SMU is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday in Memphis. Both games are to be aired on ESPNU.
“We still have a lot to prove,” Cumberland said of his team’s desire to win the conference tournament. “We have to go back to being the old Bearcats team, doing all the dirty work, being aggressive, getting rebounds out on the floor.”
A first-team All-AAC selection, Cumberland was named AAC player of the week four times this season while earning a place on the league’s weekly honor roll five times. He led Cincinnati in scoring in 20 games this season and reached 20 or more points 15 times.
As a freshman, Cumberland was named to the conference’s’s All-Rookie Team and was the AAC’s Co-Sixth Man of the Year in 2016-17.
Cumberland ranked among AAC leaders in seven categories this season: points (third at 18.4), three-point field goal percentage (fifth at .404), three-pointers made (tied for sixth at 2.3), free throw percentage (eighth at .780), assists (11th at 3.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (13th at 1.3) and minutes played (15th at 32.1).
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports