Talented junior college prospects Octavius Ellis and Farad Cobb have signed with the University of Cincinnati men's basketball program, head coach Mick Cronin has announced. Both will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Ellis, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward from Memphis, Tenn., returns to the Bearcats' program after two seasons at Trinity Valley College in Athens, Texas. He was named First Team All-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association after averaging 14.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots as a redshirt sophomore last season. He helped lead the Cardinals to their first NJCAA tournament appearance since 1999 while posting a 29-7 record.
Ellis attended Cincinnati during the 2011-12 academic year. He played a total of 25 minutes in three games, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds for the Bearcats. He suffered a broken hand in November 2011 and sat out the rest of the season. He would later earn a medical hardship.
"The day Octavious left for junior college was a very tough day for him, his teammates and the coaching staff," Cronin said. "We try to operate like a family and, at the time, the best thing was for him to go play, develop and mature. I am extremely proud of him for growing up and becoming an All-American this season. His love for UC, his teammates and Cincinnati are exactly what we need. He has gained weight and become a very effective big man. We really need his shot blocking with Justin (Jackson) graduating. Octavious knows that we need him to give us a great attitude and leadership as well."
Ellis was tabbed a three-start recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com coming out of Whitehaven High School where he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds as a senior in 2010-11. He was named an all-conference selection, averaging 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 2.1 assists as a junior.
Cobb, a 6-foot, 165-pound guard from West Palm Beach, Fla., averaged a team-best 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 46.3 percent from three-point range as a sophomore last season at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla. He averaged 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists with eight starts in 26 games as a freshman at Chattanooga during the 2012-13 campaign.
Tabbed a Top-40 point guard in the Class of 2012 by ESPN.com, Cobb was named the Class A Player of the Year and an All-State performer as a junior attending Summit Christian School. The 2011 and 2012 Palm Beach Post Player of the Year and the 2012 Fort Lauderdale Player of the Year, Cobb was ranked the No. 1 point guard in Florida by ESPN.com while averaging 27.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds as a senior. He led the Fighting Saints to a 107-16 record for his career, winning the Class A State Championship as a junior while claiming tournament most valuable player honors.
"Farad's junior college coach, Steve Demeo, is a long time Division I coach and a good friend of our coaching staff. He could not say enough about what a good young man Farad has been for him during his stay at Northwest Florida State. We are in need of a shooter and a playmaker offensively. Farad wants to win and he can really make shots which are two great traits in a player. Farad had a great year this past season playing in the one of best junior college conferences in the country. I'm really happy he is becoming a Bearcat."
Ellis and Cobb join three high school prospects that signed national letters of intent with the Bearcats during the fall signing period in November: 6-foot-8 forward Quadri Moore, 6-foot-7 forward Gary Clark and 6-foot-10 center Coreontae DeBerry.