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Nobody on Xavier is Good at Anything

Sports Illustrated continues the time honored media tradition of ignoring Xavier until March.

Not a good rebounder, apparently.
Not a good rebounder, apparently.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated posted their projected lists of the top 100 scorers, top 20 rebounders, and top 20 assist...ers, I guess for the upcoming season. If you're really interested in the methodology, you can click through the link and read about it, but the basic thrust of it is that they simulated the season thousands of times and then published the results that came out.

There a lot of numbers on the screen (again, click through to peruse), but the most important to me and likely you is that they didn't have anyone from Xavier listed anywhere in any of the categories. They top rebounders list ends at people averaging 7.8 per game, meaning SI doesn't believe that Matt Stainbrook will muster even a modest improvement from his 7.4 per game last year. The assists leaderboard ends at 4.6 per game, meaning SI believes that Dee Davis will post a lower APG number than he did last season.

For the past several years, Xavier has enjoyed the presence of a dominant scorer on the roster, from the silken, born-to-get-buckets flow of Jordan Crawford through the bloodless guile of Tu Holloway to the raw attacking pace of Semaj Christon. Sports Illustrated has Dez Wells at 71st and the final listed scorer (Davidson's Brian Sullivan) averaging 13.5 PPG, but nary a single Musketeer warrants mention.

While it hasn't been the status quo during the Mack Era, there is certainly precedent for Xavier teams to be very good while lacking a dominant scorer. Consider, for instance, the following four season run:

Four players over 10 PPG (Stanley Burrell, Justin Cage, Justin Doellman, Brian Thornton) and five over 8 PPG (Dedrick Finn)

Four players over 10 PPG (Burrell, Cage, Doellman, Thornton) and five over 9 PPG (Duncan)

Four players over 10 PPG (Burrell, Cage, Doellman, Drew Lavender) and five over 9 PPG (Duncan)

Four players over 10 PPG (Duncan, Derrick Brown, Lavender, CJ Anderson) and six over 9 PPG (BJ Raymond, Burrell)

That more or less bridges the span between the teams with David West and Romain Sato to the present era on on-ball scoring guards. The '04-'05 team isn't one that is remembered in story and song, but '05-'06 traded punches with a three-seeded Gonzaga team before falling by four in the first round, '06-'07 played in that OT game against one-seed OSU, and '07-'08 gave us the BJ Raymond game against West Virginia before being overmatched by a UCLA team brimming with NBA talent. That's a pretty darn solid run from a group of teams that didn't feature one player that you knew was getting the ball in crunch time.

The other thing that jumps out about that list is the youth. Burrell was a freshman, Cage and Doellman were sophomores, and Josh Duncan joined them a year later after a solid freshman campaign. Like those teams, this year's roster is loaded with young, promising talent. To come back to the original premise, I guess my question is: does it matter if Xavier has a top 100 scorer, or a name on the top 20 for rebounding or assists? Or does this squad have it in them to become one of those ensemble casts that goes down in Muskies history?