If you've ever had the unique privilege of living in Kentucky for any period of time, you know that the citizens of that commonwealth think pretty highly of their basketball credentials. Ignoring the fact that their biggest school's arena is named for an unrepentant racist and their second biggest school is currently coached by a married man who gets busy in restaurant bathrooms under questionable circumstances with women who are not his wife, they act like they invented both the concepts of baskets and balls. Despite that, Xavier has not found Kentucky to be the source of a lot of talent in the Mack Era.
That's right; Remy Abell is the only recent Muskie to have his roots in Kentucky, and even he came by way of transfer from Indiana University. When he was leaving the Hoosiers, he had contact with Butler, Saint Louis, and St. Mary's before settling on the Musketeers. He came in with the reputation of being a physical and aggressive defender with an unorthodox but effective shot and the athletic ability to change the game in transition.
After sitting out a year, Abell proved to be exactly as advertised. Even despite having some trouble transitioning to the concepts of Xavier's man defense, he started almost every game and spent a good portion of the season on top of our power rankings as Xavier's best player. His .489/.411/.713 shooting line came with a very low usage rate and he slotted in nicely as a solid but undemanding offensive player.
It's interesting to me that Xavier has brought so little talent across the Ohio River from Kentucky. My guess is that the top players from there get thirsty for UK or Louisville and the Muskies can pluck better remaining talent from elsewhere. As we'll see later this week, nearby states without dominant in-state schools have a tendency to be the lifeblood of Xavier's recruiting efforts.