Rumors surfaced yesterday that sophomore guard Brandon Randolph is going to transfer away from Xavier in the upcoming season. While Brandon himself took to Twitter to say that he was still a member of the Musketeers, the idea that he would leave isn't without merit. Brandon is averaging 2.2/1.0/1.1 this season in just 10.1 minutes per game after averaging 2.6/1.3/1.3 in 13 minutes per game as a freshman. Coinciding with Randolph's announcement to transfer was the news that coveted guard Traci Carter was considering signing with Xavier.
Only, Carter didn't sign. That left Xavier looking at an upcoming season with Larry Austin Jr. and Edmond Sumner running the point. Both Coach Mack and Brandon himself have been guarded on the situation, but the original source still defends his report. Xavier is suddenly looking at going from having two guys backing up a veteran who is capable of playing 35 minutes a game, to having two very untested players running the point with no safety net next year. With postseason play just around the corner, this is a topic for the back burner. Still, the question remains: what will Xavier do next year?
Option One: Convince Randolph to stay
Asked Chris Mack if Brandon Randolph had asked for his release to transfer. Chris said "no."— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) March 10, 2015
In this option, Randolph stays with the Musketeers. It's possible that Brandon was strongly considering a transfer if Carter had come on board. Without another new freshman to take away his time, and with Sumner and Austin both not having a great deal of experience running a team, Randolph could potentially find himself the starting point guard next year.
Of course, he would have to do something with that opportunity. Randolph played 21.4 minutes per game in his first two months with the Musketeers. In that span he averaged 4.8/2.4/2.5, not gaudy numbers but certainly serviceable for a freshman. For the rest of the season, those fell to the numbers listed above and the minutes fell commensurate with that. This year Brandon has played 20+ minutes in a regulation game only once and put up 6/3/2. This season Brandon's assist and TO rates are both marginally up, but the shooting issues that have been a concern all along haven't gone anywhere. Randolph is currently an average offensive player who turns the ball over more than he gets assists. That may get better while running the point full time, or it may become a serious issue.
Option Two: Myles plays the point
The second choice would be to have Myles Davis slot in along the two youngsters as a fill in point guard. Myles's assist and TO rates are nearly identical as it stands (at 15.4% and 15.6%) and he's looked serviceable in the rare moments he's given Dee a break this year. Serviceable in moments and running the point for a high major, though, are two vastly different things. Myles prefers to work off the ball and off screens to get open for threes. Myles has taken 37 more threes than two point field goals, and, despite his efforts, still isn't great around the rim. A point guard would have to put the ball on the floor and go more frequently even than this year's more aggressive Myles has shown. Even Dee Davis has taken more shots in the lane and at the rim than Myles has.
Option Three: Fill the open scholarship
This is probably the more palatable option should Randolph choose to depart. Coach Mack offered on Traci Carter, and has offered on Nick Noskowiak, AJ Harris, and Corey Sanders. While none of those have come to fruition, it's an indication that Mack is well aware he needs another point guard. With Randolph gone, you can be sure that another scholarship would go to at least a combo guard to leave the coaching staff options.
Departing may very well be the best choice for Brandon. His chances at Xavier have been limited and they don't seem to be on the rise. Even with his obvious limitations, Randolph could play, and thrive, at a mid or low major school. Where that leaves Xavier, though, is anyone's guess.