The NFL Combine is going on right now, which means we have a significant portion of the sports world fawning over the physical dimensions of athletes. Did you hear? Josh Allen's hands are huge! All of this got me thinking about UC's own physical freak, Coreontae DeBerry.
I loved that guy. The 6'9" 270lb behemoth was a thrill to watch on the court and a joy to listen to off it.
DeBerry transferred to Cincinnati from Hutchinson Community College, brought in to plug a hole on the bench during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. As I wrote about in my story on Gary Clark, the Bearcats were in a flux during that period, trying to bridge the gap between a program designed to compete in the hard-knock Big East and one designed to win in the American. The 'Cats brought back former Bearcat Octavius Ellis to start at center, but they needed a backup. DeBerry was perfect.
I could go on for hours about my favorite DeBerry moments: The glacial breakaways, the thunderous dunks, or the time he fouled out of a game in just six minutes.
The obvious #1 moment in Corey's career was the Purdue game in the 2015 tournament. With Ellis having been ejected and the game heading into OT, things didn't look good for the Bearcats without their starting center facing a team with two strong bigs. Rather than serve as a weakness, DeBerry was a strength. Playing what was probably the best basketball of his UC career, the Bearcats won because of DeBerry and his brilliant stretch in OT.
I understand if this post feels random, but sometimes I need to get things off my chest. I just miss Coreontae DeBerry and his lumbering finesse. It's a shame we only got to watch it for two seasons.