The Transfer Portal Giveth and Taketh Away: Bearcats Add Another Big Man

The transfer portal is an interesting place. Though a new phenomenon, I expect most players will ultimately depart the portal with their sights trained on a shiny, new university destination. UC has seen its fair share of portal activity following Cronin’s departure for UCLA, including Rashawn Fredericks (F), Nysier Brooks (C), Eliel Nsoseme (C), and Logan Johnson (PG). While Johnson and Nsoseme remain in the portal, Fredericks and Brooks have announced new destinations (UAB and Miami, respectively).

Meet Jay Sorolla

This morning, another recruit announced his committment to play for Coach John Brannen’s somewhat-new-look-Bearcats. Jaume “Jay” Sorolla, who spent his previous three seasons at Valpo, announced his intent to transfer to the University of Cincinnati. Sorolla played center for Valpo (6’11″/240 lbs.), and will have a great opportunity for minutes with Brooks (and Nsoseme, potentially) out of the picture.

Sorolla is from Tortosa, Spain and already graduated with his degree in international business. As a graduate transfer, then, he’s eligible to play immediately. During his previous three seasons, Sorolla shared duties at center for Valpo and averaged around 5 points and 5 rebounds each game. Sorolla also had occasional breakout performances in which he scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. It looks like he has the frame (and demonstrated potential) to play a significant role in Brannen’s offensive and defensive sets.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Sorolla missed Valpo’s first seven games with an ankle injury, but should be healthy for UC. Sorolla only considered two schools, choosing the University of Cincinnati over Nevada.

Brannen’s New Look Roster

It’s been a busy stretch for the Bearcats basketball program of late. In addition to Sorolla, UC recently received commitments from incoming freshman Jeremiah Davenport (SG), Mika Adams-Woods (PG), and senior transfer Chris McNeal (PG). Davenport led nearby Moeller High School to a state championship in 2018 before playing for Hargrave Military Academy last season. He chose UC over ECU and Virginia Tech.

Adams-Woods is a New York point guard who chose UC over Nebraska, Georgia Tech, and Nevada. He originally committed to play for Nebraska, but the Huskers’ coaching change caused him to seek greener pastures in Clifton. Sound familiar?

McNeal is a point guard who transfers into the program from Tennessee Tech (by way of New Mexico … by way of Western Kentucky). A college basketball journeyman of sorts, McNeal last played for the Lobos a couple of seasons ago as he sat out last season at Tech. In that season for New Mexico, he averaged 9.5 points a game and knocked down quite a few threes. He has one year of remaining eligibility, so this season functionally sets up as his senior campaign.

The Bearcats scholarshipped roster now looks like this … so far:

  • Jarron Cumberland (Senior) 6’5″ SG
  • Trevon Scott (Senior) 6’8″ F
  • Keith Williams (Junior) 6’5″ SG
  • Trevor Moore (Junior) 6’5″ SG
  • Laquill Hardnett (RS Freshman) 6’8″ F
  • Mamoudou Diarra (RS Sophomore) 6’9″ F
  • Prince Toyambi (RS Freshman) 6’7″ F
  • Jaume Sorolla (Grad Transfer Senior) 6’11” C
  • Mika Adams-Woods (Freshman) 6’3″ PG
  • Chris McNeal (Transfer Senior) 6’0″ PG
  • Jeremiah Davenport (Freshman) 6’4″ SG
  • Chris Vogt (Transfer Junior in 2020-21/sits 2019-20) 7’1″ C

With Nsoseme and Johnson remaining in the portal at this point, it’ll be interesting to see how all of this shakes out. The Bearcats are reportedly in the running to land highly regarded grad transfer SG Jaevin Cumberland. Jaevin is Jarron Cumberland’s cousin, stands 6’3″ tall, and averaged 17 points a game last season at Oakland. Jaevin also ranked 22nd in the nation in made 3-pointers, but is being recruited hard by a number of suitors (e.g., Purdue, Michigan, and Oregon). But if Jaevin chooses UC, the Bearcats backcourt will have some serious shooters…

Regardless, Coach Brannen has his hands full as UC’s 2019-20 roster features at least six players who haven’t played a minute at Fifth Third Arena. It should be fun to see how he deploys the weapons he continues to acquire.

By Brian Fox


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