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Three Guards

We apparently really like this picture.
We apparently really like this picture.

Xavier left the NCAA tournament loss against Baylor with reasons to think that the coming year would be one of the proverbial reloading, not one of rebuilding. Depth a the guard position was one of the things that made Xavier supporters think that this season may not be so different from the several that had preceded it. Then, the off-season happened.

First, a protracted disagreement with Coach Chris Mack over position and other stylistic issues led senior starting guard and returning leading scorer Mark Lyons to transfer to Arizona. After that, the ship briefly righted and excitement started to build again. After all, Dez Wells was coming back and he had a world of untapped potential. An abrupt expulsion followed by the usual absolute mess on the public relations end left Xavier short another player capable of operating off the wing. This week brought with it the news that Myles Davis, a freshman with seemingly unlimited range, would not only not be able to play, but not even be permitted to practice with the team. Xavier's guard situation has taken a marked downturn.

That leaves Coach Mack with three options as natural guards Dee Davis, Brad Redford, and freshman Semaj Christon:

Dee Davis: Davis is a natural point in the classic mold. That means that he is content to distribute, slash and then kick out, and run the offense without really looking for his own shot. Davis' has the ability to shoot from deep if given time, but a slower release and flat shot don't go a long way toward helping him in that department.

What this means for Dee: That he goes from playing behind two of the best guards in the nation, to handling things all on his own. Dee had time to watch and learn all of last year. Only because of the rather unfortunate incident in the Crosstown Shootout was he ever in a position to handle the team completely on his own, and then only for one game. Dee has undoubtedly improved, but he is now playing without another true point on the roster. There is no net if things go badly for Davis.

Brad Redford: Redford is the fan favorite who makes up for a lack of athleticism with hustle and savvy. A poor start to last year didn't keep him from eventually raising his three point percentage to 34.1. While that number is a big drop from what we have come to expect, it doesn't show his blistering pace after the turn of the year to 2012.

What this means for Brad: Redford has thrived in a role not dissimilar to a change of pace back in the NFL, coming in to attack a defense for a couple of brief minutes before heading back to the bench to wait for his chance again. This has worked well at times, with Redford scoring eight or more points on five occasions last year, not bad output for a player averaging 11 minutes. Thus year, Redford will pile up far more minutes than that and put a lot of stress on a knee that has already been repaired once. Brad won the Xavier Mile with a 4:52 mark. If that speed shows on the court, this may be the opportunity he has been looking for.

Semaj Christon: Christon is almost the exact opposite of Dee Davis. He's a scoring first guard who gets into the lane with the sole intent of getting to the rim. While Christon is inexperienced, he's also potentially explosive.

What this means for Semaj: Quite simply, more playing time. Christon will be the first guard off the bench or start now, two things he wasn't sure of before. There will be no adjustment time for Semaj, he'll either sink or swim from the very first game.

It's also possible that Isaiah Philmore will see time at the three spot, despite not being a typical wing. Justin Martin will also figure into that mix, though with his somewhat languid approach and larger frame, he is far more suited to playing as a forward than he is a guard. Xavier will enter this season with only three pure guards on the roster, for Davis, Redford, and Christon, it is the opportunity to showcase their talents, but it could also cripple the 2012-13 season.