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Player Preview: Brandon Randolph

Brandon Randolph is faster than spilled mercury and possessed of an incredible right hand. Why then, is he struggling to find playing time?

Randolph can run, but can he do anything else?
Randolph can run, but can he do anything else?
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

As a quick reminder, if you are looking for any of the previous player previews, a look at a non-conference opponent, or anything pertaining to the upcoming season, the Season Preview 2014 main page can be accessed by clicking the link at the top of this page, or be chosen under the sections tab on the site header.

"He is predominately right-handed." "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." All of those statements were gleaned from information from scouting reports and landed in last year's player preview of Brandon Randolph. Most of the time, scouts can find a weakness in a player and look at it in isolation. Rarely are those weaknesses so consistently damaging as the ones that plagued Brandon Randolph's freshman season.

Before looking at some of the more glaring flaws in Randolph's game, it's worth noting that the game began to slow for him a bit by the end of the year. In his final eight appearances, he only turned the ball over one time. It's true that there weren't many minutes in those appearances, but Randolph didn't come into the game and start throwing the ball all over. That's something. Randolph's season assist rate was a respectable 17.1% and his A/TO ratio was 1.3/.7. None of those numbers are amazing, but they do speak to a guard capable of controlling the ball.

Unfortunately, Randolph's other issues led to him playing only 13.3 minutes per game and only playing double digit minutes three times after the calendar flipped into February. Randolph quite simply was not a factor offensively to the point that teams sagged far off him and into passing lanes. Xavier, at times, appeared to be playing four on five offensively when Randolph was on the floor. The freshman guard's shooting line of .354/.192/.636. Randolph was, with the exception of the specialist Myles Davis, the worst two point shooter on the team. He was, with the exception of absolutely no one, the worst three point shooter on the team.

The problem with Randolph remains the same. He is blazingly fast and has the kind of right hand and first step that few possess. Unfortunately, that speed and right handed dribbling ability come paired with the kind of shot that completely nullifies Randolph's advantages. Almost equally troubling is Randolph's inability to add his left hand as a weapon that he could play to his advantage. That absolutely has to change for Randolph to crack the much deeper rotation this year.

Of the paltry five three pointers that Randolph made all year, two fell against the hated Bearcats of UC. In that game Randolph went for 8/4/1 on 3-6 from the field and played 26 minutes. In there was a glimpse of the player that Coach Mack surely hopes that Brandon will develop to be. With an ever expanding cast, the time is running out for the kid from Inglewood to make an impact.

Worst case scenario:

Randolph still cannot shoot. Unlike Myles Davis, Brandon Randolph doesn't have the pedigree to suggest that he is an elite shooter. He will not get the leash that Davis will. If Randolph hasn't developed a shot or a left hand that will at least keep defenses honest, he will again be the forgotten man whose minutes played in Xavier's last seven games were 1, 5, 6, 5, 0, 1, 1.

Best case scenario:

Brandon Randolph shoots 34% from behind the arc. That number may seem pulled from thin air, but it's basically what Mark Lyons shot for his career other than one blistering junior year. Randolph may not be quite as quick as Lyons, but that number illustrates what a little bit of room can do for a guard who wants to slash. 34% isn't impossible, it's not the North Face of the Eiger, it's not anything that cannot be achieved with a lot of hard work.

Most likely scenario:

In Brazil, Randolph shot 28.6% from behind the line. That's not where the number needs to be, but it's a lot better than 19%. If that means that the shot is progressing, and that some left hand has come with it, Randolph could slot in behind Dee Davis at the guard spot. Most likely, though, Randolph is left fighting for scraps behind Larry Austin Jr and getting 8-10 minutes per contest.