With this being the day set aside for doing things to scare and revolt people, for instance a guy showed up to my church's Trunk or Treat in a UNC hoodie, we often are forced to confront our worst fears around this time of year. Maybe it is man-sized spiders, or maybe it is drowning, or rejection by a loved one, or did you read the thing about MAN SIZED SPIDERS!?! For many an X fan though, it would be one of our beloved Musketeers being excluded from playing due to an injury or suspension. Xavier has had various players suffer their assorted injuries throughout the years, but few were as devastating as when Senior Brian Thornton, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, went down in the midst of A10 play in 2006, leaving the team in a desperate situation to even make the NCAA tournament. They did, but a 4 point loss to Gonzaga left fans wondering what could have been with a healthy Thornton.
With all this being pretty unpleasant to think about, and the caveat that of course no one wants to see a player injured or suspended, lets examine the front runners for who this edition of the Musketeers would me most terrified to see go down.
Davis brings a couple of things to the table for X that make him invaluable. First and foremost is the fact that he fits the mold of a vocal leader on the floor, following in the vein established by players like Stanley Burrell, Dante Jackson, and Tu Holloway. Secondly, Davis is a very, very good offensive player, and was the closest thing to someone X could throw the ball to for a basket for a lot of the season last year.
Trevon was elected to the all-Big East Freshman Team last season by a unanimous vote for a reason. He can score the ball in a variety of ways, beyond the scope of anyone on the Xavier roster. His movement off the ball was often a catalyst when things went stagnant on offense for X and his ability to play any position from 2-4 is a huge advantage for Chris Mack as he tries to outwit his counterparts.
Although his offensive production can sporadic, Farr brings an ability to kill possessions for the opponent with defensive rebounds beyond that of anyone else for Xavier. His shooting, although soured by a season long slump last season, still makes him a threat to step out and punish a dozing post man, and he gives Xavier an experienced hand at the wheel down low, where he is prone to the more than occasional blocked shot.
Reynolds exploded into the national spotlight last season when he obliterated Georgia State to help X to the Sweet 16. His explosiveness and athleticism make him a very tough assignment for anyone tasked with guarding him and his bit of edge to his play helped galvanize Xavier at times last season. He brings a lot to the table at both ends of the floor because of his length, but his main boon for Xavier comes in his ability to get points from the low post if left single teamed.
Abell is often underrated for his offensive contribution, where he edges Reynolds as Xavier's most efficient returning player. He led X in three point shooting last season, showed he could hit big shots when needed, and used his speed and quickness well in transition. The reason his contribution on offense is often overlooked is because Abell makes his impact felt as a defender. While Xavier may go increasingly to zone looks this year, there is little doubt that Abell is their best man-to-man defender.
A Point Guard
We are still yet to see who between Larry Austin Jr and Edmond Sumner will get the nod as the starter at the point, but it is pretty safe to figure the other will get his fair share of looks as well. While Austin does not bring the scoring punch or length that Sumner does, he has played in the Big East before, and his experience will serve him well. While there is a case to made for both guys, what would be vexing is for the case to made by an injury and X be forced to put all their eggs in one basket as it were. Plan b would probably involve Davis or Abell on the ball, which weakens X elsewhere and gives opponents the advantage of facing a 2 guard running point.
As is clear, Xavier has several players that fans would be loathe to see miss an extended period of time. While this is scary to think about (BOO), the fact of the matter is that it is a possibility that one of these players might go down at some point. Let us know below who it is you think that X can't afford to lose.