Much like spring training baseball and preseason football, there isn't always a lot to be gleaned from the trips that college basketball teams go on before the season actually starts. We compiled all the statistics from Xavier's recent trip to Brazil, though, in an effort to see if the raw data tells us anything. What can be found there at least gives some indication of where the team is going.
1. Jalen Reynolds is going to make the leap:
Last year Jalen showed tantalizing flashes the ability to completely dominate a game. That was in evidence when he did whatever he pleased in a 17/16/0 in an amazing performance against St. John's. It was less in evidence in a consistent manner all season. Down in Brazil, Jalen averaged 13.3/10.8/.3 on .611/.000/.391 shooting. While that free throw shooting number is alarming, the rest shows a young man who didn't spend much time in summer simply resting on his laurels. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that no Xavier player took more shots than Reynolds did. The days of being the world's largest wallflower may be over for good.
2. James Farr is still James Farr:
5.8/7.3/1.0. That is Farr's line from Brazil. 4.6/3.9/.2. That is Farr's line from last season in the Big East. Factoring in for opponent's level of ability and there isn't a massive difference. Farr went for 12/14/3 in the first game in Brazil, and then went back to being very talented and most uninvolved. When Farr is going well, Xavier is an entirely different team but, at the start of his junior season, it looks more and more like those days are just catching lightning in a bottle.
3. Myles Davis needs to regain his stroke:
Gene Hackman very famously pointed out to all of us that, no matter where you go, the rims are the same height and the game plays the same. That pertains to Myles Davis because he only shot 28.6% from behind the arc in Brazil. Davis started last year doing what he was supposed to do, impacting games with his shooting. After the Alabama game that he greatly influenced, Davis finished the season 13-64 (20.3%) from deep. Davis struggles to change the game in other ways, if he doesn't shoot well, he eventually doesn't play.
4. Free throw shooting might be a strength:
Xavier shot 68.8% from the line last year, good for a glittering 214th in the nation. In Brazil, the team shot 78-106, good for 73.5%. Remove Jalen Reynolds appalling 9-23 from the equation and the team made 86.7% from the line, with Makinde London, Remy Abell, Myles Davis, and Brandon Randolph all at 90% or better. If Reynolds can even revert to the 62% he shot last year (in a very small sample size), this team will be excellent from the line. 73.5% would place them in the top 75 in the nation. 86.7% is 7.7% higher than the national leaders last year.
5. There is depth here:
Last season games tended to hinge on whether Semaj Christon, and to a lesser extent Matt Stainbrook and Justin Martin, was prepared to be dominant. If Brazil is an indication, the team should have more scoring options available this year. Jalen Reynolds and Trevon Bluiett both averaged double figures (and shot over 50% from the floor), Edmond Sumner, Myles Davis, Brandon Randolph, JP Macura, and Remy Abell all averaged over seven per contest, and Sean O'Mara, Larry Austin Jr., and James Farr all chipped in over five. Absent from that list are returning starters Dee Davis (7.7 PPG) and Matt Stainbrook (10.6 PPG). The numbers themselves may dip a bit with an uptick in competition, but they show a team capable of scoring in depth.