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Xavier 2015-2016 player preview: JP Macura

Can JP be scouted out of games, or does his arsenal of moves exceed a defender's ability to counter him?

He looks so dang happy.
He looks so dang happy.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

JP Macura signed with Xavier with the reputation of being one of the best shooters in the 2015 class, and he immediately set about demonstrating that he had earned that status. He flashed deep range, a smooth release, and the size to get clean looks over smaller players. He also showed a good feel for the game, using a variety of dribble moves to get to the rim and good vision to find moving teammates. On the other end of the floor, he lurked in the passing lanes, ending up leading the team in steal percentage by a fair margin.

Going along with the flashes of brilliance were all the usual hiccups you expect from a freshman. JP had a tendency to eschew the routine play for the flashy one at times, especially on the defensive end. If not stealing a pass or sheltered by the help inherent in the 1-3-1, he had a lot of the same defensive qualities as a traffic cone. He got to the glass fairly well on the offensive end but was a statistically worse defensive rebounder than Dee Davis. To his credit, none of his intermittent failings ever appeared to dent JP's self-assured style of play. To his discredit, his natural swagger sometimes overdevelops to the point where it is no longer an asset to the team.

Best-case scenario:

It all clicks for JP. He has the legs to handle the long collegiate season and the savvy not to let his reach extend his grasp. He starts the season as a reliable bench weapon, grabs a handful of starts throughout the year, and is generally good for 20 solid minutes a night. His offensive efficiency bounces back from last year's fairly average mark and he looks set up to infuriate opponents immediately and going forward with his brash style and general success.

Worst-case scenario:

The difference between having a bag of tricks and having game is being able to get consistent results, and opponents who have had the time to scout Macura push him deeper into his arsenal than he would like to go. Not blessed with a blazing first step or breakaway speed, JP has to continue to deploy his higher-risk moves to get clean looks at the bucket. They work, but not as efficiently as one might hope, and he continues on in the same role that he occupied last year.

Most likely scenario:

JP shows that he has game, not just gimmicks. I think he still will make the occasional play that has you clutching your head in frustration, but he'll be a reliable bench scorer who con carry the team every once in a while. I think he is who he is defensively, but a year of understanding that will make him more serviceable on that end.