Marcus Sikes Talks with BCI

As Cincinnati fans watched their Bearcats perform last season in their first year as a member the Big East Conference, it became painfully obvious that having size on the roster was of utmost importance. One player that could help UC in that department for the 2006-2007 campaign is Marcus Sikes from San Jacinto Junior College, although the Deveroes program identified him as "Marvin Sykes."

Marcus Sikes brings not only size (6' 8"/240 pounds) but also valuable Division IA experience to a Bearcat roster that has very little. Sikes played his freshman year in the SEC as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs and averaged 12.8 minutes a game. He also seems to bring a nice blend of scoring and rebounding to Cincinnati. At San Jacinto last season, Marcus averaged a double/double with 13.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, but he's also shown an ability to pass the basketball and have a truly complete game.

In a recent game in the Deveroes summer league, Sikes showed his ability to shoot by hitting two 3 pointers early in the contest, but he showed his dedication to having a complete game when asked about his performance. "I thought I was productive on offense, but I think I could have gone to the glass some more and had some more rebounds and been more aggressive." That's the kind of attitude UC needs from its front line players if they hope to compete in the Big East Conference this year.

This is a player that has been somewhat transient throughout his athletic career, and he acknowledges the difficulty the 2006-2007 Bearcats face with so many new faces but also is optimistic about the future. "It's been kind of difficult with so many new guys, but at the same time it's coming along. Everybody works so hard together. It's been a transition for me just getting into the flow of things with the workouts and conditioning and things."

Sikes has lived in New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and California and has been in Cincinnati about a month. He was asked what he likes about the Queen City, but his answer showed his focus is clearly on Bearcat basketball. "I just like the city and especially my teammates and bonding with them."

The recruiting process for this junior college big man ultimately came down to a two school race between Mick Cronin's Bearcats and Dan Monson's Minnesota Golden Gophers. Marcus is very happy with his final choice. "No regrets. I've loved every minute here."

Recruiting is a tough business, and there are many excellent schools. What gave Cincinnati the recruiting edge over Minnesota? "Basically, Coach Cronin. He's real down to earth- a player's coach. He sold me overall, and that was it." Marcus went on to say the choice was anything but an easy one. "The Big Ten was also attractive. Minnesota has a pretty good program also, but you have to go with your gut feeling. That's what I had here with Cincinnati." The Golden Gophers have legendary Williams Arena (aka The Barn) with its raised floor and 14,000 fans. Marcus spoke about the attraction of playing there, but he wanted to do it as a Bearcat.

Armed with the experience of having played in 29 games with one start as a true freshman in the SEC, Marcus seems much more confident than most about moving from junior college ball to what many believe is the premiere basketball conference in the country-the Big East Conference. "Playing in a conference like this is one of my big dreams. I always wanted to play in the Big East. Like you said, this is the best conference, but I'm not concerned because we're working hard every day to improve my game. I'm actually kind of confident."

What kind of season does Marcus think the Bearcats will have this year? "I wouldn't be one to predict anything right now. I think we have to work really hard on the court and off the court. We'll see how we do come game time."

Playing in the Deveroes summer league has allowed Marcus to meet some of the rabid Bearcat fans and start to understand the kind affection so many have for UC basketball. "Coach had already talked to us about how the fans embrace the players in the Bearcat basketball program, but it's different when you go to the gym, and it goes from 50 people to many more than that when we play. It's kind of nice."

Playing at Cincinnati with almost every game televised provides UC fans the chance to readily recognize Bearcat basketball players in the community. I asked Marcus if he was ready to meet with fans and sign autographs. A big grin came across his face as he replied, "I'm more than ready. I love the attention."

As we shook hands and I started to leave, Marcus reminded me to get his name right. After the Bearcat season starts in November, I doubt it will ever be a problem again in Cincinnati.


Bearcat Insider Top Stories

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Marcus Sikes brings not only size (6' 8\"/240 pounds) but also valuable Division IA experience to a Bearcat roster that has very little. Sikes played his freshman year in the SEC as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs and averaged 12.8 minutes a game. He also seems to bring a nice blend of scoring and rebounding to Cincinnati. At San Jacinto last season, Marcus averaged a double/double with 13.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, but he's also shown an ability to pass the basketball and have a truly complete game.

In a recent game in the Deveroes summer league, Sikes showed his ability to shoot by hitting two 3 pointers early in the contest, but he showed his dedication to having a complete game when asked about his performance. \"I thought I was productive on offense, but I think I could have gone to the glass some more and had some more rebounds and been more aggressive.\" That's the kind of attitude UC needs from its front line players if they hope to compete in the Big East Conference this year.

This is a player that has been somewhat transient throughout his athletic career, and he acknowledges the difficulty the 2006-2007 Bearcats face with so many new faces but also is optimistic about the future. \"It's been kind of difficult with so many new guys, but at the same time it's coming along. Everybody works so hard together. It's been a transition for me just getting into the flow of things with the workouts and conditioning and things.\"

Sikes has lived in New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia and California and has been in Cincinnati about a month. He was asked what he likes about the Queen City, but his answer showed his focus is clearly on Bearcat basketball. \"I just like the city and especially my teammates and bonding with them.\"

The recruiting process for this junior college big man ultimately came down to a two school race between Mick Cronin's Bearcats and Dan Monson's Minnesota Golden Gophers. Marcus is very happy with his final choice. \"No regrets. I've loved every minute here.\"

Recruiting is a tough business, and there are many excellent schools. What gave Cincinnati the recruiting edge over Minnesota? \"Basically, Coach Cronin. He's real down to earth- a player's coach. He sold me overall, and that was it.\" Marcus went on to say the choice was anything but an easy one. \"The Big Ten was also attractive. Minnesota has a pretty good program also, but you have to go with your gut feeling. That's what I had here with Cincinnati.\" The Golden Gophers have legendary Williams Arena (aka The Barn) with its raised floor and 14,000 fans. Marcus spoke about the attraction of playing there, but he wanted to do it as a Bearcat.

Armed with the experience of having played in 29 games with one start as a true freshman in the SEC, Marcus seems much more confident than most about moving from junior college ball to what many believe is the premiere basketball conference in the country-the Big East Conference. \"Playing in a conference like this is one of my big dreams. I always wanted to play in the Big East. Like you said, this is the best conference, but I'm not concerned because we're working hard every day to improve my game. I'm actually kind of confident.\"

What kind of season does Marcus think the Bearcats will have this year? \"I wouldn't be one to predict anything right now. I think we have to work really hard on the court and off the court. We'll see how we do come game time.\"

Playing in the Deveroes summer league has allowed Marcus to meet some of the rabid Bearcat fans and start to understand the kind affection so many have for UC basketball. \"Coach had already talked to us about how the fans embrace the players in the Bearcat basketball program, but it's different when you go to the gym, and it goes from 50 people to many more than that when we play. It's kind of nice.\"

Playing at Cincinnati with almost every game televised provides UC fans the chance to readily recognize Bearcat basketball players in the community. I asked Marcus if he was ready to meet with fans and sign autographs. A big grin came across his face as he replied, \"I'm more than ready. I love the attention.\"

As we shook hands and I started to leave, Marcus reminded me to get his name right. After the Bearcat season starts in November, I doubt it will ever be a problem again in Cincinnati.

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