Thomas, Skillings, Reed, Bandaogo announce return

It was a busy week for the Bearcats and Wes Miller.

Viktor Lakhin and Jamille Reynolds announced their intentions to enter the transfer portal, but Miller and his staff received good news with the announcements that several key contributors would be returning.

First, 7'0 center Aziz Bandaogo announced that he would test the NBA Draft waters to get feedback on areas he needs to improve, but intends to return to Cincinnati for his final season. 



Bandaogo finished the season averaging 6.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 1.7 blocks per game. A defensive presence around the rim all season, Bandaogo was the first Bearcat since Gary Clark in 2015/16 to finish the season with atleast 49 blocks and 17 steals. His return gives the Cats an elite rim presence heading in to a key season for Miller.

6'1 point guard Day Day Thomas also announced his return to the Bearcats via social media.



Thomas averaged 10.4 ppg, 3.3 ast per game, and 1.7 stls per game for the season. His 61 steals this season rank sixth all time for most steals in a season. Thomas struggled with his shot at times this season but really came on during the post season, making 11-of-24 shots from deep. Thomas season was cut short after suffering a broken bone in his foot at the end of the NIT game against San Francisco.

While Josh Reed's announcement wasn't much of a surprise, it is an important one because it gives Miller experience at a position of need with the departure and graduation of John Newman. 



Reed lacks the same explosion and athleticism that Newman possessed, but he is a smart player who rebounds and works hard defensively. It will be interesting to follow the off-season progression of redshirt freshman Rayvon Griffith, as well as true freshman Tyler Betsey. Reed could help both with his experience. 

Dan Skillings was probably the most important announcement of the bunch. Skillings led the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and was second on the team in rebounds per game (6.5)

The New Jersey native 

Speaking with Anthony Mazzinni during the TCU/UC baseball game, Skillings made the following comments regarding his future.

"This year coming up will be my last year, for sure. Then I'll be going to the league. That's been the goal,"

Skillings has been working with strength and conditioning coach Mike Rehfeldt daily to continue to improve his body but also made sure to hit on his relationship with Coach Wes Miller during the interview. 

"Coach Wes is a great coach. He said (during the recruiting process) we don't see you doing more than 2-3 years here."

With Edgerrin James also making it known on social media that Jizzle will return for his sophomore season, the Bearcats have a strong foundation to build around heading in to year two of Big 12 play. 

The transfer portal will become even more important as Wes tries to round out the roster to get the Bearcats back in to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2018/19 season. 

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