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Xavier Power Rankings: 12/21

Seven guys on this team have a claim to be starters, but only one of them tops the power rankings this week.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier is going to move up to a single-digit ranking this week when the polls drop. With Wake Forest coming up as the last game before Christmas and then Big East season, there's a solid chance the Muskies can be rolling into that monster matchup with Villanova undefeated. It's going to be hard to segue from that into the power rankings, so I'm not even going to try. Here they are. Also, happy birthday to Bryan D, one of the top three writers on the staff here with D as his last initial.

12. RaShid Gaston
RaShid's middle name is Surret. He did not start every game he played in as a junior at Norfolk State. This has been this week's episode of Gaston Facts; please tune in again next week for more things I may or may not make up in the meantime.

11. Kaiser Gates
Good rebounder, good free throw shooter, positive ORtg, great hair. Kaiser still gets lost on defense a bit too often, but the building blocks are there for a very good player. It will be interesting to see who fills in the minutes left vacant when James Farr and probably Jalen Reynolds are gone next year. I think this guy is going to have a good shot at minutes at the 3 and 4 next season. This year he's a pretty good sign that either foul trouble has run rampant or Coach Mack feels pretty good about the game situation.

10. Makinde London
In a couple of years, Makinde playing piano will be the new Matt Stainbrook driving for Uber. Against Auburn, Makinde blocked a shot fairly resoundingly and stepped confidently into a three, which he nailed. Ignore the fact that he used the glass. Makinde's length and athleticism make him a defensive asset right now, but he's going to have to do something about that TO% to become a bigger part of the offense.

9. Sean O'Mara

Half of a player's position in the Xavier power rankings is determined by how well he's playing; the other half is dictated by how well the other dudes at that position are doing. There's no question that Sean is playing well right now, but he is made less indispensable by the fact that he's behind James, Jalen, and Trevon for big man minutes that are basically being divided between a position and a half at this point. This shouldn't take the shine off of the fact that O'Mara is playing as well as he has at any time for Xavier right now.

8. Larry Austin, Jr.
Larry isn't having a very good year. My dad thinks he needs to shoot more to make defenses respect him. I would respect Larry a lot more if he would just use his abilities to defend and get the ball to the four other dudes on the floor.

7. JP Macura
JP is second on the team in assist rate to Edmond Sumner but boasts a TO% 14 points lower. For a guy who made his bones in high school from beyond the arc, he's shooting a pretty disappointing 31.2%, but he is second on the team in two-point field goal percentage to James Farr by 0.5%. Macura has been a bench dynamo since he arrived at Xavier, and he continues to be fairly amazing in that role on a team with seven guys with legitimate claims to the starting lineup.

6. Remy Abell
Remy is four of his last six from beyond the arc, and that's pretty in keeping with what this team wants out of peak Remy. He defends without fouling, spaces the floor, and hits his free throws. As long as other teams know they can't punt on defending Remy to go close down other scorers, he's setting up buckets without even touching the ball.

5. Jalen Reynolds
The last six games Xavier has played have seen Jalen put up ORtgs of 108 or better. The problem is that he has only gotten over 18 minutes in those last six games. Despite the loss of Matt Stainbrook, Jalen is actually getting fewer minutes this year than he did last season. A guy who can put up 10.8 and 6.5 in less than 20 minutes per game is obviously a monster, but it would be nice to see him averaging 16 and 10 in 29 minutes per game. The downside is his 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes; the upside is that we're keeping miles off of his odometer and still undefeated.

4. James Farr
This guy is outplaying Jalen in every facet of the game. He has a higher ORtg, a better EFG%, better OReb% and DReb%, and even a better block% (though I guess Jalen does have the vastly superior steal%). The leap from junior year to senior year for James has been immense; he's a titan in the middle right now.

3. Edmond Sumner
I honestly believe Sumner will leave campus as the best PG ever to play for Xavier unless he gets derailed by injuries. I know that's heavy stuff, but his potential is insane. His athletic ability is obvious, he draws fouls like a foul-drawing machine, and he has already demonstrated the ability to knock down open threes off the catch or dribble. Once he tames the turnover problem a bit more, he's going to get that Kris Dunn media hype. He hits the deck hard a lot though, so the injury potential is distinctly non-zero.

2. Myles Davis
Myles didn't have a great shooting game against Auburn, but he does keep creeping closer to the 20%/10% assist/TO club with JP thanks to his 5 assists and just 1 turnover. Someday X will be in a game where there are actually high leverage possessions, and Myles is the guy I want the rest of the team looking to when that happens.

1. Trevon Bluiett
Trevon rebounds. We have other guys who can rebound. Trevon defends hard. We have other guys who defend hard. Trevon hits shots. We have other guys who can hit shots. Trevon can create his own shot. We have other guys who can create their own shots. Trevon plays 3/4 of our minutes. We have other... actually we don't. The point is that everything Trevon does, someone else can do. That's a point for how deep this team is. You need two or three guys on the floor to replace everything that Tre does, which is why he's staying top in this week's power rankings.