Cane Broome: Hartford Native Makes Noise at Cincinnati

Photo courtesy of University of Cincinnati Athletics

By David Cordova

In this day and age in college basketball, transferring schools has been the norm. Many people may ask, “Why do these players want to leave?” Many reasons vary, including increased playing time, better exposure, and a better chance of making it to the professional ranks.

Cane Broome made his decision based on the latter two options. When he was playing at Sacred Heart University, he was wreaking havoc in the Northeast Conference on a nightly basis. Now, he’s doing the same at the University of Cincinnati, which is a program that is in the American Athletic Conference, a league that has been inception since 2013.

The 6-foot point guard has been known for his scoring, while also having a penchant for taking over games, and has taken his game to a whole new level. But he has also found a way to contribute to a winning program in the Bearcats.

When asked what motivated him on the court, he said, “Just watching it, my passion for it as a kid, I used to always get that fire in me, watching my older cousin, Doug Wiggins, play for UConn on TV when I was, I think 10, 11. Remembering that type of stuff, thinking about a kid doing the same with us, so that keeps me going. There’s somebody out there watching, so you’ve got to make it.”

Broome brings the ball up the court during his days at Sacred Heart. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart University Athletics)

Broome hails from Hartford, Connecticut, which is also where the UConn Huskies plays their home games at the XL Center, during the season. However, Hartford also has some good basketball talent in the area. Broome is just one of the latest gems from the area.

“Being from Hartford, Connecticut is hard, as far as making it, because it’s a small state. Most people don’t know where Connecticut is. They don’t know that it’s in between New York and Boston, so it’s hard. Being from Connecticut, that put a chip on my shoulder, because of how people look at the state.”

In regards to the basketball culture in Hartford, he replied, “We got a good basketball culture, we got a lot of talent that people might say gets overlooked. Like I said, we got Khalil Dukes, Kuran Iverson, Jared Wilson-Frame at Pittsburgh, and a lot of other guys that’s at colleges that people might not know came from Connecticut, so I think it’s a big state [for basketball]. I think the fact that ESPN is in Connecticut can help more, now that we’re becoming a bigger basketball outlet. I think in the years to come, people will see what basketball is like out there.”

Broome first played high school basketball at East Hartford High School, where he spent the first three years of his scholastic career. As a junior, he averaged 27 points and five assists for the Hornets. Then, he transferred to prep powerhouse St. Thomas More, where he averaged 12.5 points and six assists as a senior in the prestigious NEPSAC (New England Prep Schools Athletic Conference) and earned Honorable Mention in the AAA division.

“I went to East Hartford for my first three years and I had a great three years there. My freshman year, we had a great team, I played behind Anthony Jernigan. Then my sophomore year, I started, that’s when I got my first offer. My junior year, I played and we made it to the playoffs, I think we lost in like, the second round, after that, I went to prep school.”

Broome tries to get through defenders during game against Northwestern during his sophomore season at Sacred Heart. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart University Athletics)

On the prep school experience at St. Thomas More, he replied, “It was great, I went from playing high school to college rules. We played in the NEPSAC’s top league, so we played like Brewster, New Hampton, and all that, so my first year, all of the teams was loaded and stacked, they had like Devonte Green, Noah Vonleh [Portland Trail Blazers], so it was a lot of guys in that league.”

After high school, Broome went on to play at Sacred Heart, a program in the Northeast Conference. As a freshman, he averaged 14.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Pioneers. The following year, as a sophomore, he averaged 23.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, which would earn him NEC First Team honors and also the NEC Player of the Year Award.

On his time at Sacred Heart, he replied, “It was a great two years there, I love Sacred Heart, the league was great. It was honestly, the best two years of my life, basketball-wise. I got 1,000 points in two years, I won NEC Player of the Year, so I got a lot of accolades in my two years there.”

On winning the NEC Player of the Year award, “That was a great accomplishment, that’s something that a lot of people don’t get to do. That’s something that I’ll take with me forever. I may not win it here [American Athletic Conference], but I won it in another conference. I was the first player to win it at Sacred Heart, so that was a good accomplishment for me to be the first player in that school to win Player of the Year.”

Although he was tearing up the Northeast Conference with his scoring ability, like many players in the league, Broome decided it was best take his talents to a more high-profile conference. After his sophomore season, he decided transfer to Cincinnati, where he sat out the 2016-17 season, per NCAA rules.

Broome shoots over Shake Milton during the first round of the AAC Tournament in Orlando, Florida last season. (Photo courtesy of UC Athletics Communications)

When asked what led him to transfer to Cincinnati, he replied, “Just the chip on their shoulder, as a university, a chip on Coach’s shoulder, on different players shoulder. I wanted to go to a place where I wasn’t going to get complacent, you know, I could’ve went somewhere that probably had a bigger name or something, or been complacent, because I was at so-and-so school, but I knew that Cincinnati and Mick Cronin wasn’t going to let me come and just be a slouch, so we were going to work every day and that’s why I picked Cincinnati.”

On playing for Mick Cronin, “It’s great, you’ve gotta be tough. He wants perfection, so if you put a lot of pressure on yourself, playing for him, it’s going to be too hard. He’s a great guy, wants the best for you. It’s going to be tough, though.”

Last season, as a junior, Broome averaged 7.9 points and 2.8 assists per game, as he helped lead the Bearcats to a 31-5 record, an AAC championship and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 75-73, to Nevada.

When asked about last year, Broome replied, “I think I did good, I think I helped the team in a lot of ways. Selfishly, I wanted to do better as far as individually, but as a team, we did great, [and in] my role on the team, I did good. It was a great year last year, that’s a year, that I’ll remember forever.”

Now a senior, Broome will look to increase his scoring average and help the Bearcats get back to the Big Dance, and also complete his degree in criminal studies. If he continues to play he has, there’s a chance that overseas or the NBA will look for his services.

“The plan for my senior year is just, win. You know, do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s score, get assists, get a stop, whatever I gotta do to help my team win,” said Broome.

As far as his plans for the future, he added: “Hopefully, win another American [Athletic] Conference championship, win a national championship, then start my professional career, whether it’s in the NBA or overseas.”

The transfer from Sacred Heart to Cincinnati has worked out for him tremendously and now, because of it, the kid from Hartford is reaping the benefits of his success. It is only a matter of time that the state of Connecticut will continue to produce more and more special talents like Cane Broome.

Highlights of Cane Broome:

Courtesy of Nick Colosimo.

Courtesy of Nick Colosimo.

Courtesy of 2EZ Gang.

Courtesy of Next Ones.

Courtesy of ESPN.

Courtesy of Sam Broome.

Courtesy of Sam Broome.

Courtesy of Erik Tesauro.

Courtesy of Northeast Conference.

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