Happy Memorial Day everybody. I hope your extended weekend went great. I spent mine on a boat. I didn’t really, I just love that song. I did spend the weekend getting linked to by the Enquirer’s UC blog, which was pretty cool. Thanks to whoever did that at Cincinnati.com. I also updated the blog roll, which should have been done a long time ago. Sorry Voodoo 5 and Down the Drive. There is also some potentially big news coming down the pipeline, but we can never be sure about such things. What we can be sure about is this edition of Bearcats Breakdown. This features a player who was frustrating, flashy, fixed to the bench, and finally broke out. That player is Darnell Wilks.
Darnell Wilks averaged 3.4 points a game, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Wilks averaged less than that before the Big East Tournament and NIT, where he averaged nearly 7 points a game. Wilks didn’t get his chance to play because he was position blocked by Rashad Bishop. Wilks averaged 10 minutes a game, and used 18% of UC possessions his time on the floor. Wilks had an offensive rating of 106, up dramatically from his first 2 seasons in a Bearcat uniform. His effective field goal percentage was right on line with last season, 56. His true shooting percentage was also 56. Wilks took more shots this season than he had his whole UC career up to this point, 98. He made 49, for 50%. A third of those were 3 pointers, 32, of which Wilks made 12, 37%. That made him one of the better UC 3 point shooters because the rest were horrible. Wilks only got to the free throw line 13, making 6. He got to the line 17 times his sophomore season, but his free throw rate was 34%. This year, it was 13%.
Wilks started the season playing sparce minutes, but when the Bearcats came back from Maui, Darnell scored a career high 12 against Texas Southern. Wilks scored 8 against Xavier, making 2 of 4 triples. I remember the two he missed being bad shots. Wilks then didn’t do anything until the bench stat stuffing game against Cal St Bakersfield, where he poured in 8 points. Most of them like this.
The almost dunking Wilks picture is definitely from the Bakersfield game if you check the recap. I have pictures of Darnell Wilks dunking, and I’m going to use every last one, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. After CSB, Wilks didn’t do anything until the Providence game. Wilks led a Bearcats rally with 10 points on 5/7 shooting. Wilks went back to gathering dust on the bench until the Big East Tournament. With Bishop suspended, Wilks got thrown into the fire. Let me go back a second. Wilks didn’t play much, but it always seemed like he would take a bad shot. He took 4 against Seton Hall, 1 against Louisville in losses, so maybe that’s not true. Back to the Big East Tournament. Wilks played 13 minutes against Rutgers and dropped in 9 points, all in the first half. The next day against Louisville, Wilks was more assertive, matching his career high of 12. Wilks shot 5-11 in the game, also a career high in shots. Wilks didn’t score much against West Virginia, making a three. He scored 7 in the NIT win over Weber State to close out his good games.
Wilks averaged nearly 2 rebounds a game, 66 total. He had 32 offensive, nearly 1 a game, which was 10% of the UC o boards when he was on the floor. Wilks averaged 1 defensive board, but only got 11% of them, down from 13% his sophomore year. Wilks best rebounding game was against Notre Dame, where he pulled down 8 boards in 12 minutes. The 8 is a career high. Wilks pulled in 7 in the Big East Tournament win against Louisville. He had 6 against Texas Southern and CSB, and 5 against Xavier and Prairie View.
Wilks had 15 assists this season, down from 20 the year before. Wilks had 7 steals, down from 15. He turned the ball over 3 times less than the year before, 22 times. Wilks had 11 blocks, 2 coming in the Big East Tournament game against West Virginia.
Overall, I have to say that Darnell Wilks had a nice season. We were teased a little at the end of his sophomore year when he started getting minutes late, and I hope that we aren’t teased again with this performance. Wilks seemed to finally put it together, and it was great to see. Darnell still has some areas to improve his game, but I think some of that is going to have to come with him getting more play. I think that he will, regardless of Bishop coming back. I think Wilks has earned some minutes. Mainly because he can do this.