Commentary

Starting 5: Cincy gets its man

Top-25 prospect commits to Bearcats, plus more recruiting news

Updated: February 4, 2013, 2:19 PM ET
By Dave Telep | ESPN RecruitingNation

Editor's note: Every Monday in "Starting 5," we'll roll out five stories, themes and nuggets from the basketball recruiting world to tip off your week in proper form. We'll set the table with the stories that need to be told and give you a leg up on the water cooler conversations around the office.

This week's edition of Starting 5 includes a look at how Cincinnati was able to land its top target, the best-available seniors by position not in the ESPN 100, five guys who share winning traits with Marcus Smart, an introduction to freshman Edrice Adebayo and why more players would be well served to focus on appreciation over entitlement.


1. Feels good to get your No. 1 guy

[+] EnlargeMick Cronin
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesMick Cronin's hard work and dedication on the recruiting trail helped land ESPN 100 PF Jermaine Lawrence.

When ESPN 100 power forward Jermaine Lawrence (Springfield Gardens, N.Y./Pope John XXIII) was a sophomore, Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and assistant Darren Savino locked in on him. At the time, Lawrence wasn't the top-25 recruit he is now. Back then, what the Bearcats likely saw -- because they look for it in all their guys -- was toughness.

The Bearcats get good players, but they aren't exactly swinging in Kentucky and Duke's league. So you recruit to your team's personality. Mix in Lawrence's length and versatility and by studying the sidelines and the time invested by the head coach, the tea leaves indicated Cronin wanted this guy badly.

That dedication paid off on Sunday when Lawrence, the No. 19 overall prospect in the 2013 class, committed to Cincinnati over St. John's and UNLV.


Want to know the latest basketball recruiting news, including how Cincinnati was able to land top-25 recruit Jermaine Lawrence away from hometown St. John's and which 2013 recruits resemble Marcus Smart? Become an ESPN Insider and find out.