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Let's talk about X: is Sumner the next Semaj?

How high should our expectations be for Xavier's redshirt freshman?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A commenter mentioned this morning that Edmond Sumner was going to give Xavier fans a lot more than they expected this coming season. Sumner is coming off a year in which he appeared in six games before being granted an injury redshirt. In those six games game Sumner averaged 1.3/.8/1.0 on a .200/.000/.667 shooting line in 7.2 minutes per game. Obviously, that sample is size is far too small to draw any meaningful conclusions from. What, then, is it fair to expect from Edmond Sumner next year?

Brad
Riffing off Edmond Sumner's biggest fan's comment on the site today, what do you think it's fair to expect from him? Joel texted this as the last piece in the conversation we were having: I think Sumner is a better shooter and uses his left better, but I'm not sure he can be as forceful around the rim considering he's listed as two inches taller and 17 pounds lighter.

Joel
I think we've already seen his floor, which is being injured and having to sit out. He's slight and has that history with his knees now. Obviously Semaj had his own set of durability issues with the cramping. My question at the rim is, does Sumner's leap and freakish athleticism offset Semaj's advantage in thickness?

Brad
I don't think so. Getting to the rim or even a foot above it is one thing, absorbing a body shot from a guy like Daniel Ochefu is another. Edmond could add some bulk this offseason, though.

Joel
I saw some interaction between him and Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Jennings on Twitter a while back that seemed to indicate a playing weight of 185 was the goal. Sumner's always going to be slender. He has the handle and quickness to get into the lane; even if he's looking to dish, having some meat on his bones to absorb the punishment would be a good thing.

How do you use him next year? Certainly the shooting guard position is more crowded than the point, but are you comfortable handing him the ball and asking him to run the team for 15-20 minutes a game?

Brad
Not exactly, but he wasn't awful in the limited time he played this year. His TO rate was almost exactly the same as Dee's in his freshman year and his assist rate (23.7) was actually quite good. The sample size is tiny, of course, but those numbers aren't alarming on their face.

Bryan
I am not sure we don't want him off the ball a bit more if LAJ can handle the point. Sumner will be tough to guard if he proves he can finish at the rim, so shifting him to the 2 and everyone else up one position would give us a really dangerous look.

Joel
That gives us Sumner, Abell, Myles, Trevon, and JP splitting minutes at the 2/3, which is kind of a squeeze. I think Sumner has combo guard potential, but I'd really like to see him able to play the point effectively. I think that gives us more minutes for our most dynamic guys.

What do we think the kind of 90th percentile best case for him is this year?

Brad
Semaj as a freshman. They won't come the same way, but if he balls out he could have 15 per game.

Joel
Wow, that's ambitious. I think that Sumner might have a skill and athleticism package that makes a Semaj comparison reasonable, but 15 a game would probably give Sumner the freshman scoring record if we have a good postseason. With his talent on this roster, I can see him getting 12 points and 3 or 4 assists per game as part of a deep and balanced attack. As long as he's healthy, I think we're guaranteed a couple of appearances on the ol' Sportscenter Top 10 with the kind of bounce he has.