Welcome back from the holidays, friends and... you know, other friends. We still have the one holiday ahead of us, though I guess it's technically next year, so Christmas was the last one for this year. Whatever. You didn't click through for an analysis of the finer points of the calendar. How about we get right in on the good stuff?
13. Eddie Ekiyor
It's not often that a kid comes down from high school halfway through the season, but Ekiyor has done just that. He's a redshirt this year, but he's on scholarship so he's on the list. The Canadian dollar is worth about 72 US cents right now, but buckets are on a one-to-one exchange. Welcome to America's 35th-most bicycle friendly city, Eddie.
12. RaShid Gaston
I know the natural inclination is to just ignore the old redshirt now that there's a new redshirt in town; that's not how we roll here. RaShid is on firm ground with the staff here at Banners, not least because he (kind of) represents The Land.
11. Makinde London
A Twitter follower told me today that he thinks Makinde's ceiling is higher than Ed's. My goodness, if that's true. I don't necessarily see it, but apparently Coach Mack does, because he's giving Makinde more minutes than...
10. Kaiser Gates
I loves me some Kaiser Gates. He is on the Xavier four-year track right now, but that suits him perfectly. He has the athleticism and the jumper right now, and he has a knack for putting himself in good positions. Those are attributes you see in a freshman who will be a big contributor sooner rather than later.
9. Larry Austin, Jr.
Not that long ago, Jhonny Peralta was my favorite Cleveland Indian. As his time with the Tribe drew short, I found myself making increasingly ridiculous rationalizations for why his performances were acceptable. When I look at Larry's lines and listen to myself internally monologue about his defensive value and how he doesn't need to score to be effective, I wonder is he has Peraltaed me. LAJ is serviceable, right guys?
8. Sean O'Mara
Xavier continues to need 10-12 good minutes out of Sean while James and Jalen race to five fouls. About 85% of the time, Sean gives the team those minutes without doing something silly like fouling three times or turning it over on consecutive possessions. He's doing his job.
7. JP Macura
I'm not sure what to make of Macura. He has averaged 4 PPG over his last three games, but he has 5 assists and 1 turnover in that time, as well as 3 offensive boards and 2 steals. I'd like to see him hit some more shots, but as long as he's making plays, who am I to judge?
6. Remy Abell
He has 21 points on just 9 shots in the last three games, but he has also developed just a little bit of a turnover problem. Assuming that's a blip, his ball distribution remains solid, he's not gobbling up possessions, and he's really good at getting to the line and hitting his free throws. His defense is good in the 1-3-1 or man. If Remy's the 6th most important player on your team, you're doing okay.
5. Jalen Reynolds
Jalen is first on the team in points per 40 minutes, second in rebounding, third in blocks. The elephant in Jalen's room is that he can't get 40 minutes or even 30 because of foul trouble. A platypus is a beast that lays eggs. Jalen is a platypus and will remain so until you can really pencil him in to get his numbers in any given game.
4. James Farr
The top four is really tight. James is a brute on the glass and is really coming into his own offensively. He has posted ORtgs of 130 or more in 5 of his last 7 games and been over 140 in 4 of those. He is tied for the team lead with 14 two-point jumpers made and is shooting a handsome 42.4% on those shots. Big Game James has found a niche and is playing it for all it's worth.
3. Myles Davis
When Myles got his brain scrambled against Wake and woozed his way through the first half, X went down by 15. When the fog cleared for him it did so for the team, and you know what happened next. Even when he's not making threes, he's setting teammates up, never turning the ball over, and hitting just about all of his free throws. Add to that his emotional leadership and you've got a guy you'd have real trouble replacing.
2. Trevon Bluiett
He has 10 more made baskets than his nearest teammate. He has 11 more made threes than his nearest teammate. He - not James or Jalen - leads the team in defensive rebounds. The dude has almost double his DReb% from last year. That kind of commitment to the glass and versatility on the floor makes him a huge part of what Xavier does.
1. Edmond Sumner
Why is Ed number one? We don't have anyone else who can do the things that he does. We just don't.