CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - University of Cincinnati men’s basketball junior guard Jarron Cumberland (Wilmington, Ohio/Wilmington High School) has been named the 2018-19 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.
Earlier this week, Cumberland was tabbed a unanimous first-team All-AAC selection.
It marks the second consecutive year a Bearcat has received the league’s top honor (Gary Clark in 2017-18) and the first time Cincinnati has won conference player of the year honors in back-to-back seasons since Steve Logan in 2001 and 2002 (Conference USA).
An elite scorer and gifted passer, Cumberland helped lead the Bearcats to a 25-6 regular-season mark and a 14-4, second-place finish in The American. He averaged 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 40.4 percent (72 of 178) from three-point range. Cumberland scored 20 or more points 15 times during the season and served as Cincinnati’s top scorer in 20 games, including 14 in league play. It marks the most 20-point performances at UC since Sean Kilpatrick recorded 19 such outings during the 2013-14 campaign.
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).
A popular choice for weekly accolades throughout the season, Cumberland was recognized by the league nine times in 2018-19, earning player of the week honors four times (Nov. 26, Dec. 24, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28) and a spot on the weekly honor roll five times (Jan. 14, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and March 4).
Cumberland scored a career-high 34 points against USF (Jan. 15), the most points by a Bearcat since Troy Caupain tallied 37 in four overtimes against UConn at the 2016 AAC Tournament. He’s compiled 569 points in 2018-19, one of only three Bearcats to score 500 or more points in a season during the Mick Cronin coaching era (since 2006-07) along with Kilpatrick (2012, 2013, 2014) and Deonta Vaughn (2008). He enters the postseason with 1,275 career points, ranking 28th on UC’s career scoring list.
Clutch performances almost became commonplace for Cumberland in 2018-19, especially on the road. He had a hand in 10 of Cincinnati’s 12 points in overtime in its 70-65 win at Tulsa (Jan. 10). He scored five points and assisted on UC’s other two baskets in the extra period. He finished the game with 14 points. That victory sparked an eight-game win streak for the Bearcats.
Cumberland also scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half at Temple (Jan. 27) to help rally the Bearcats from a 14-point second-half deficit for a 72-68 victory. It marked UC’s largest comeback win this season and gave Temple its only conference home loss of the year.
Last month, Cumberland scored nine of UC’s last 11 points in the final 2:16 at Memphis (Feb. 7), including two traditional three-point plays, to seal the 11-point second-half comeback. He finished with 17 points as the Bearcats handed Memphis its only home loss in league action.
Cumberland was one of three AAC players to earn unanimous selection to the league’s first team on Monday, along with Cory Davis Jr. of Houston and Jeremiah Martin of Memphis. The other first-team All-AAC honorees were Temple’s Shizz Alston Jr. and UCF’s B.J. Taylor.
It marks the second consecutive season and third time in the league’s six years that a Bearcat was tabbed a unanimous first-team all-league selection. UC All-Americans Gary Clark (2018) and Sean Kilpatrick (2014) also earned the distinction.
As a freshman, Cumberland was named to The American’s All-Rookie Team and was the AAC’s Co-Sixth Man of the Year in 2016-17.