He's done that, and impressed his coaches along the way.
"He's surprised me maybe a little bit. But we all knew that he was very talented last year," Mercer assistant Spencer Tatum said. "Coach decided last year to keep all those freshmen together and not move any of them up."
Gasping the speed of varsity basketball took some getting used to for Cinnamon.
"It's a whole a lot faster game. You turn around and the other team's halfway up the court and you're standing there. It was hard to adapt to," he said.
Cinnamon has also had to learn how to find different ways to score, and work much harder on defense.
"In freshman ball, I was just kind of a spot-up shooter. Now I'm practicing ballhandling skills and I'm kind of taking my man off the dribble more," he said. "I try to play help-side defense and help on the big man with Jamel (Taylor) so he doesn't get in foul trouble."
Tatum said Cinnamon has been a quick study.
"I tell the kids all the time, when you go from freshman to jayvee and jayvee to varsity, the speed of the game is a lot different," Tatum said. "He skipped that jayvee level, so he was kind of thrown into the fire early in the year. But he's played really well and we're pleased with him.
"He's athletic. He does a good job of keeping people off-balance. He's not overly fast, but he's got good enough ball skills. He's got that good head and shoulders move that kind of gets his defender off balance and he can get his own shot. He's a great 3-point shooter and pretty good defender as well. I know he's going to get bigger and stronger, and when he does, the sky's the limit for him."
Tatum said Cinnamon still makes "young mistakes," but sees improvement from him each week.
"He went straight from playing freshman ball last year to starting varsity," Tatum said. "That's a lot to ask of a young kid, but he's had games where he played extremely well, and he's had games where he's struggled."
Cinnamon knows he has a ways to go, but his mistakes haven't hurt his confidence.
"I remember in the East Jessamine game at the end of the game I got pressure on me and we end up losing the game (56-51). That was a big turnover," he said. "But I've just got learn from it and go. I try not to get my head down.
What has helped the sophomore is learning a lot from his older teammates.
"It's hard, but they help me out and they teach me things in practice," he said. "They've helped me a lot."