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2013 Player Preview: Brandon Randolph

The latest highly-recruited guard to hit campus, Brandon Randolph was once a Pepperdine commit before deciding to travel from California to Cinci to join Xavier. What should we expect from the Inglewood native this season?

Brandon Randolph has traveled 3/4 of the way across the country to join up with the Musketeers this season. Despite Tupac's assertion that Inglewood is always up to no good, Randolph was actually up to all kinds of good during his high school career on the west coast. Randolph's team won the conference his freshman and junior years and went to state in his senior campaign. He also played on the Pump 'n' Run AAU team, which sounds more sexual than I hope it actually is.

Brandon's greatest strength is in his speed and quickness. He is strong on his way to the rim and has the explosiveness to get to the tin in the full- or half-court settings. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a senior and made the All-Area and All-Conference teams. His physical tools also extend to the defensive end, where he has all the markers of being a potential lockdown defender.

Like Semaj last year, Randolph comes in with the profile of a player who has gotten by to some extent on his superlative physical talents. He is predominately right-handed off the dribble, likely because he has not needed to develop a left to beat his man in high school. His shot, while possessing great lift, is not consistent. Randolph has a tendency to get playing a little too quickly and getting himself into trouble. These kinks will need to be ironed out on as his career moves forward.

Best-case scenario: Basically, Semaj part two. Because of the comparative stability of the team this year, there will not be enough minutes available for Randolph to have the impact Christon did as a freshman. With his ability to increase the speed of the game to a level untenable to his defenders, Randolph is a good up-tempo guard who can come on to spell Semaj without a loss of speed. When both are on the court at the same time, Xavier can turn the game into a track meet. Randolph's physical skills make him viable from day one as his game continues to become more refined, and he ends up averaging something along the lines of 9/2/4 while challenging for a starting spot mid-year.

Worst-case scenario: Speed covers a multitude of ills, but the ones it doesn't are laid bare as the athletic ability of the competition is a step up from what Randolph is accustomed to facing. Unable to consistently get onto his deadly right hand, he begins cheating out on the break from defense and settling for jumpers in the half-court. He has the burst to make a difference from time to time, but spends most of his year on the bench en route to averaging 4/1/2 in learning season.

Most likely scenario: Randolph is, by all accounts, a fierce competitor, and nothing could be better for a one-handed, very athletic guard than going up against a guy who was the same thing last year. That is the challenge Randolph will face as he takes on Semaj in practice every day. A coach can only do so much to help a player learn to run and jump, and Randolph comes with those skills already in hand. He is able to take over some games as a spark plug off the bench, but his output suffers when his jumper runs cold or the other team is committed to slowing down the game. It wouldn't surprise me to see him average 6-7 points per game while having the occasional outburst that makes Xavier fans very excited about his future.