Player Preview: Brad Redford

Brad Redford is, by all accounts, one of the best shooters to ever show up on campus at Xavier. Not only does he connect on just shy of 45% of his attempts from beyond the arc, but his range stretches far beyond where most reasonable defenders will track an opposing player, his release is faster than a wedding night, and he works tirelessly off the ball to give himself the narrow separation required for him to catch, set, and make it rain. When he's going well, Redford is as valuable an offensive weapon as a guy with a career 7-17 mark from inside the arc can possibly be.
 
Of course, the former Mr. Basketball for the state of Michigan does have some weaknesses in his game. His athleticism is not elite, nor is he a viable primary ball-handler for long stretches of the game. His career A:TO is a tick under one. On the defensive end - though it should be noted that his effort is never in doubt and that he improved throughout his sophomore year - he's not quite quick enough to handle a slasher one-on-one, nor is he large or strong enough to bully very many of his opponents.

Because of his limitations, Redford has been used as a change-of-pace guard to put pressure on opposing defenses with his range. If you don't think that's valuable, go ahead and check out last year's game tapes from when Dante was struggling and X lacked a viable shooter. This season, there are other players on the roster that can lift from deep, and Tu and Cheek will surely see their percentages rise for not having to carry so much of the load. For Redford to be competitive in the battle for minutes, he's going to have either improve the peripheral facets of his game or demonstrate that his shooting is so valuable that X can live with his limitations.
 
Best case: Redford shakes off the rust from a year off and his knee trouble and comes back with an increased understanding of the nuances of the college game. Without the nagging hip injury that slowed him as a sophomore, he is able to get himself into good enough positions to hold his own on defense and score from near the basket as well as beyond the arc. He continues to terrorize defenses from deep, opening up driving lanes for Tu, Cheek, and Dez Wells and post position for Big Kenny and his supporting cast. Even in this sunny scenario, he doesn't break into the starting rotation, but he is good for 18-22 minutes per game of dynamic offensive output.
 
Worst case: Assuming there are no further setbacks with his knee... Redford can't quite get up to speed after being out for a year rehabbing his knee and is left behind by the Muskies. Justin Martin emerges as Xavier's go-to shooter, and his superior athleticism makes much of Redford's skill set redundant. Brad is good for short bursts of impressive deep shooting, but it begins to look like all he'll ever be is an outside threat. With so many other weapons in the arsenal for Xavier, Redford only comes on when the only thing the Muskies need is a deep shot. He plays out the season as a reliable offensive weapon to be pulled from the deep bench at the greatest need.
 
Most likely: Redford is slowed a little bit by his knee - remember, he's still not cleared for full activities yet - but the goodwill that he has garnered in the past three years earns him a regular spot on the floor as his knee will tolerate. While his lateral mobility is not the best on the team, he's able to hang in there much like he was his first two seasons on the floor. He eventually settles back into his niche providing about 10-12 minutes per game and sending opposing defenders back to the bench to explain to their irate coaches that they didn't think he'd shoot from there.

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