Last season's player preview for James Farr projected 5/3/1 as the best case scenario for the sophomore swingman. On the 21st of November, Farr was setting the world on fire and looking like the next Xavier big to make the jump from unproductive to a complete monster. Farr carried that start, with a few ups and downs, into the new year, going for 10/4/1 in a win over Marquette on the 9th of January. With Farr playing well, the Musketeers were a different team. Add into that a swagger that was both infectious and fun to watch, and Farr was electrifying the crowd every time he entered the game.
After that, the wheels came off for Farr. Not only did he not score in double digit again, he only managed 29 point for the rest of the season. Farr was averaging 8.2 points per game after Marquette, and managed 1.6 per contest after that. As the points went down for Farr, so did playing time. While the big man still got on the glass fairly well, the season that had started so well degenerated to averages of 4.6/3.9/.2. What on earth went wrong for James Farr? More importantly, can the player that played the 2013 portion of last season so well come back, or is Farr destined to be a bit player on a deep team?
Where last year Farr was trying to keep Erik Stenger off the floor and occasionally spell Isaiah Philmore and a very raw Jalen Reynolds down low, he's now in the mix with a variety of explosive athletes and returning stars. Reynolds is clearly on the way to being a focal point of the team, and, despite the graduation of Stenger and Philmore, the post position (specifically the four) is deeper this year. Sean O'Mara, Trevon Bluiett, and Makinde London will all play the four, especially when Xavier looks to go small. As the team has plenty of depth in the backcourt, smaller lineups will be the order of the season. Once again, James Farr finds himself on the precipice of a make or break season.
Worst case scenario:
Farr gets off to a slow start and gets buried. There's not really a lot more to say here. Coach Mack showed last year that he will sit Farr down and cut his minutes as his offensive production drops. Farr played two minutes in the Big East semifinal against Creighton, and didn't appear against NC State in the NCAA play in game. The team that relegated Farr to the bench last year wasn't this deep or this talented. A bad start for James could spell the end.
Best case scenario:
Farr comes out shooting like he did last year. Prior to finishing the year in an 0-9 slump from deep, Farr was shooting 46% from behind the arc. Even his ending number of 38% is excellent for a big and compliments a 61% mark inside the arc quite nicely. Couple that with the best defensive rebounding efficiency on the team and the second best offensive rebounding rate, and you have a player who can impact the game in a number of ways. If Farr starts the season well and holds his spot, he could go for 10/7/1 and be a matchup nightmare.
Most likely scenario:
It's a cop out to say that I just don't know with far, but it really is hard to tell. What is certain is that James will give himself a chance. Despite his struggles near the end of last year, he shot when he played enough, and he got on the glass. This year the leash will be shorter, but Farr should still attack. With the depth that is in play and the way last season ended, maybe it's best to pencil the big in for 5/3/1 again with the knowledge, and the hope, that he could explode at any time.