HAMILTON, Ohio — Hamilton 2022 center Sage Tolentino announced his verbal commitment to the University of Cincinnati men's basketball program on Thursday afternoon during an ESPN 1530 AM radio show.
Tolentino is the first high school player to announce his verbal commitment to the Bearcats under the leadership of head coach Wes Miller. He is also the first verbal commitment for the UC men's basketball program in the 2022 class.
UC named Miller as the Bearcats coach April 14.
Tolentino had previously been verbally committed to Auburn but considered other options earlier this summer.
"I will be one thousand percent headed to the University of Cincinnati," Tolentino told ESPN 1530 host Mo Egger.
Tolentino said he was impressed with the UC campus, players and coaching staff during his unofficial visit.
He felt UC was the perfect fit for his academic and athletic career. He also enjoyed the fact that his family can watch him play locally.
"I think he really likes the coaching staff," Hamilton boys basketball coach Kevin Higgins told WCPO. "Coach Miller, (assistant) coach (Chad) Dollar, I think they were the lead guys on his recruiting. You know, the location, I think it's a big factor. The family really likes the area."
Higgins told WCPO that Tolentino is more confident in his game against high-level competition than from a year ago. Higgins said Tolentino is physically stronger and played very well in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition this spring.
Tolentino played high school basketball in Hawaii before moving to Hamilton. He played in 14 games this past season for the Big Blue and averaged 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, according to the Greater Miami Conference website.
The early national signing date for NCAA Division I basketball is Nov. 10.