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An Early Look at the Xavier Depth Chart

This trip is as much about sorting things as it is about playing, but it will give us our first glimpse of the pecking order. Here's our thoughts on the current depth chart.

Number eleven in your charts but number one in your hearts.
Number eleven in your charts but number one in your hearts.
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

It's almost August, which means it's almost September, which is right around the corner from almost basketball season. If the people who write commercials are to be believed, a large portion of America looks forward to the summer, but the hot months between the end of March Madness and the beginning of practice are the part of the year I'd be most happy to excise from the calendar. You didn't come here to read me rage against the inevitable changing of the seasons, though, so let's talk depth chart.

Despite the fact that the team is bringing in more players that it's bringing back, there is a frontrunner for each position in the starting five. Some of these are a little more clearly defined than others, so we'll start with the obvious ones and work our way towards ambiguity from there.

Center: Matt Stainbrook
The Stain Train is one of only two returning regular starters, and he was unquestionably one of the most vital cogs in the machine last year. Even coaches who believe in an open competition for every spot - if any of those actually exist - couldn't see a way that Stainbrook doesn't get the bulk of the minutes at center. Xavier has some good players who will give Matt a breather when he needs it, but none of them seem to be capable of seriously challenging for his spot at the top.

Lead guard: Dee Davis
It's hard to say exactly what Coach Mack will call Dee Davis - he spent the last two years playing both guard positions almost interchangeably with Semaj - but there's little doubt that he'll be the man on the floor for X. It seems every summer that rumors have abounded about a new, talented player who is going to come in and consign Dee to the bench, but he has always seemed to be the one who answers the bell when crunch time rolls around. Brandon Randolph has talent and a year in the system and Edmond Sumner has a dynamic potential, but Darwin will be the one at the top of the food chain when the ball goes up for the first time.

Power forward: Jalen Reynolds
Jalen certainly has the inside track for the four to begin with. He came on massively at the end of last season and has continued to develop as the summer has gone along. He also added ten pounds of muscle, which should help in a very physical league If he can continue to extend his scoring range and add the discipline necessary to keep out of foul trouble, the four spot is his to lose. If not, James Farr showed himself to be an offensive threat and borderline dominant rebounder at the beginning of last year before fading, and incoming freshman Makinde London has small man's skills in a big man's body.

Small forward: Trevon Bluiett
I think things start to get hazy here, but the more I look at the roster, the more this seems like a foregone conclusion. Bluiett is a wing who can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and that's something Xavier is going to need this year. The team has post scorers and guys who can score on post-and-kick or penetrate-and-kick situations, but Bluiett - whose surname I am sure to misspell and then retype about a million times in the next few years - is the one true bucket-getter among the perimeter players on the roster. If he comes as advertised, he'll be at the top of the pile here. If not, expect to see some interesting lineups as Coach Mack tries to get his best players on the floor.

Second guard: ?
Even if you eliminate the idea that a freshman is going to start here from game one - which is not necessarily advisable, as Edmond Sumner and JP Macura both have skills that play right away - there is still a tough competition for this slot. Newly-eligible transfer Remy Abell is a ferocious defender on and off the ball and rumored to be a more than adequate shooter. Myles Davis was one of the best spot-up shooters in the nation for about two months last year before his stroke went stone cold. If he's banging in threes the way he was at the start of the year, he'll be hard to keep off the court. And don't forget about Brandon Randolph; his quicksilver change of pace and solid handle with both hands make him a one-man press break when he's going well. If he can improve the decision making problems that sometimes got him into trouble last year and demonstrate the ability to hit a wide open jumper, he's going to be hard to keep off the court. Gun to my head, I think Abell will get the starter's minutes early, but the competition for this spot is going to be fierce.

I think the 2 and 3 are going to be in flux for a large part of the season unless Bluiett is just blowing people's doors off from day one. This roster is loaded with talent but definitely in a state of flux. Having JMart around would have really solidified things, but it's hard to fault him for heading to SMU. Hopefully the trip to Brazil answers some questions and gets the team ready to open the year.