I wonder if he'll enter the draft before he's National Player of the Year. - Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports
Barely more than a year ago, Dez Wells and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera were set to become the core of another wave of young talent at Xavier. Yesterday, a desperately thin Xavier team with neither of those guys on it lost in the A-10 tournament. Today, Wells and Smith-Rivera are offering tantalizing glimpses of their talents.
For those of you who don't know, Georgetown freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was once a verbal commit to Xavier. It wasn't hard to imagine him and Dez Wells as partners in a high-flying perimeter offense at X. Instead, Dez is at Maryland and Smith-Rivera chose to attend Georgetown instead, probably for the excellence of one of their academic departments.
Smith-Rivera wasn't any great shakes in grabbing 29 minutes in the Georgetown OT loss to Syracuse tonight. He had 3/4/1 on 1-6/0-4/1-3 shooting. He had a pretty good year, though, averaging 9.2 points per game and shooting 36.8% from beyond the arc. It's hard to imagine that he would not have gotten big minutes for Xavier this season.
Dez was scintillating today. He had 30/6/3 on 9-13/2-2/10-10 shooting and dominated Duke from end line to end line. This is coming off 21/4/1 against Wake in the first round of the ACC tournament yesterday. The 10-10 is especially salty to Xavier's wound this year, as the Muskies struggled from the line for most of the year.
You can't go back and replay the season with those two guys on the roster, but it's hard not to think of all the games in which they would have made that critical one or two bucket difference between a close win and a tough loss for Xavier. Swing enough of those games and X is cruising into Selection Sunday in good position. Those, of course, are the vagaries of college basketball at some level. I wish both of these young men well, and I look forward to Xavier's NIT game(s), I honestly do. In weaker moments, though, I do wonder what might have been.