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Getting Where You Want To Go

How recruiting is one cog in the increasingly effective Xavier machine.


What is your hope as a fan when the season jumps off? I'm sure that depends on the state of the program at that time, but it's obviously going to involve hoping for some measure of success. The bar to clear will vary from year to year. Now, what is your hope as a fan over the entire arc of the program? If it's anything other than winning it all, you're selling yourself short. A program is always going to mean more to a fan than an individual fan means to a program, but if they're taking your time, money, and affection and telling you success is a .500 season or an NIT run, you're getting taken advantage of.

Xavier, of course, made a decision a long time back that they wanted to hang banners. That's why the team joined the A-10 and then the Big East. That's why the Cintas Center was built, and that's why they made it one of the best college basketball arenas in the nation instead of just good enough. That's why successful head coaches around the country were assistants here first, and that's why our current assistants are all coaches who have the skills to go run successful programs in the future. That's why our current coach is getting paid money that he'll retire on one day.

That's also what this current recruiting class is about. I know that (a) this is a weird time to talk about recruiting and (b) our boy bald_so_hard is already providing you all with more in-depth knowledge on each player than you're about to get here, but the nice people at Adidas are sponsoring this post, they want a post about the recruiting class, and I'll be darned if I'm going to pay my own server costs.

This recruiting class is the continuation of that national championship-driven evolution of the Xavier basketball program. Schools that remain where Xavier has come from go after players who they hope they can groom into all-conference players by their senior years. If all goes well, maybe everything breaks just right for you and you get to play once or twice in the big dance in an "up" cycle before falling back to the middle of the league.

Schools with meaningful tournament ambition recruit guys who bang step-back, NBA-range, buzzer-beating, game-winning jump shots to send their high schools to state championship games, and they ask those guys to show up ready to compete from day one. That's the evolution Xavier is going through right now. Players like Semaj Christon and Jalen Reynolds are just the first wave. More is on the way.

Edmond Sumner is a super-lanky point guard out of Detroit. He has size, quickness, and handle, and can run through traffic to dunk over top of defenders. Shooter JP Macura gets buckets from wherever he cares to and looks good doing it. Wing Trevon Bluiett, other than being a one-man spell check nightmare, is maybe the most sought after player of the five Xavier signed. Top schools from coast to coast went after him because he is the complete package offensively and already occupies a grown man's body, but he chose X over Michigan State, Memphis, and UCLA. Closer to the basket, 6'9" forward Makinde London retains the small man skills he developed before an eight-inch growth spurt put him in a big man's frame. Sean O'Mara is a true post who will give Xavier another big bodied option for nights when they need to defend a guy like Davante Gardner.

All this boils down to one thing, though: Xavier is not looking to "compete" or "earn respect" or "get in position to make the tournament." Winning it all is the only goal. If it isn't, you might as well not be playing.