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Jamaree Strickland Signs with UC
November 16, 2012Queen City Preparatory Academy
Charlotte, NC-Summit Country Day’s Kevin Johnson grew up a University of Cincinnati basketball fan just like UC coach Mick Cronin did, but that’s not why Cronin signed him to a scholarship Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
“It’s important for our fans to realize that we want Kevin Johnson to be a Bearcat because we think he’s a great player,” Cronin said. “It’s great that he’s from Cincinnati and that he loves the city and that he grew up loving the Bearcats, but that’s not why he’s coming here. We don’t just give away scholarships.”
Johnson, a 6-2 point guard, is one of three players the Bearcats signed Wednesday. The others two are Troy Caupain, a 6-3 guard from Midlothian, Va., and Jamaree Strickland, a 6-10 center from Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C.
UC still has one scholarship available for next season.
Johnson, who led Summit to the Division III state championship last year, can play either guard position but is best suited for point guard. He averaged 14.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.3 steals last year as a junior.
“He can handle the ball, he can score the ball and he’s got a chance to be a great defender because of his length and athleticism,” Cronin said. “He fits the mold of a lot of our current players. He can play a couple of different positions and he’s good with the ball in his hands. He’s an extremely unselfish player. He can beat his man whenever he wants.”
Caupain, who averaged 26 points, 12.9 rebounds and eight assists as a junior, can also play either guard position.
“He’s a big-time get for us,” Cronin said. “He’s in ACC country, but he grew up in New York until the ninth grade so he grew up a Big East fan. He’s got a gift for leadership and vision. He’s got things you can’t teach. His talk on the floor is natural and he finds the open man.”
Strickland, who committed to UC last week, has flown under the recruiting radar because he underwent two knee surgeries that kept him from playing in high school in Oakland, California during his junior year and limited him to two games his senior year.
“He was one of the highest ranked players on the West Coast before he got hurt,” Cronin said. “Everybody who saw him this summer offered him a scholarship. As he gets into shape, he’s going to be a really good player because he can score. He’s got a really effective jump hook and he’s left-handed.”
Even though he’s from California, Strickland also grew up a UC fan. He’s averaging 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots through six games at Queen City Prep.
“The first jersey his dad every got him was a Kenyon Martin jersey,” Cronin said. “Any time you can find a guy who’s 6-10 and can score…that’s something that we don’t have in our program right now.”