For the first time in the little exercise, we have encountered a state that sent multiple players to the Coach Mack era Musketeers. Both North Carolina products that came to Xavier departed after a single year, albeit under very different circumstances. Injuries and a roster crunch drove Jay Canty out, while more nefarious forces worked to end Dezmine Wells's time at Xavier far too soon.
|North Carolina totals||49||32||961||337||171||37||6.9||3.5||0.8|
Canty came in as a four-star wing according to ESPN and Scout, with Rivals rating him a three-star player. Out of Oak Hill Academy, he was known as a slasher and a scorer who could fill up a box score with rebounds, assists, and steals. Some academic questions kept bigger programs at bay, and Xavier appeared to have landed a high-value player when Canty signed.
It didn't quite work out that way. Canty posted the unspectacular line you see above before injuring his foot and sitting out most of the remainder of the season. He then transferred to Appalachian State, where he averaged 14.3 PPG as a sophomore. His junior year was only 9 games long, as he was academically ineligible to start the season, was sidelined by a broken hand, and then finished the year sitting out for a violation of team rules. Jay Canty never used his final year of eligibility.
Dez Wells's is a story with which I'm sure you're familiar. A full-grown man right out of high school, Wells signed with Xavier despite offers from Baylor, NC State, Georgetown, and a flock of others. His strength and athletic ability had him starting from day one, and his offensive game was polished enough that he was putting up consistent and efficient numbers as the third banana behind Tu and Cheeks.
Then something happened; what it is ain't exactly clear. At the end of it, Wells was railroaded off of Xavier's campus and landed at Maryland, where he was immediately eligible and enjoyed a productive three-year career. Wells is a borderline NBA draft prospect right now, and he could be a productive long-term pro if he lands in the right situation.
North Carolina gave Xavier a couple of players who ran into trouble: one seemingly arbitrarily while with Xavier, the other largely of his own device after leaving the campus. Jay Canty's story is sad in some objective way, but thinking about where Dez may have landed in Xavier lore if we had kept him for four years is still a visceral punch to the gut.