If Hoosiers is to be believed, every decent soul in Indiana learned to shoot on a basket tacked to the side of a barn, getting his jumpers up after a long day of honest labor. Dee Davis went for extra difficulty by hanging his bucket indoors and looping his shot through the rafters of the barn. I don't know if that movie represents the current state of things in Indiana, but the place has been a gold mine for Xavier-bound talent.
Jeff Robinson was the first player Coach Mack signed after Sean Miller took his promises and his recruiting class and headed west. Butler, Purdue, Indiana, and Michigan State were all in on him before he signed with X. Let's look at some quotes from his scouting reports:
"He has great size and is a very good athlete but gets very little done on the floor. He plays very unaggressive and unsure of himself most of the time."
"Robinson is physically weak, but he also is not willing to mix it up inside with bigger players. He settles for jump shots and does not actively pursue rebounds. While I hate to say it, right now, he is a soft player."
Yep. That was Robinson in a nutshell at Xavier. One minute he's dunking on the entire La Salle roster for fun, the next he's dropping an ORtg of 29 in 26 minutes against Kent State. Jeff Robinson spent four years at Xavier looking like a player just about to put it together without ever actually doing so.
While we're here, let's talk about Justin Martin. A 6'6" ESPN100 shooting guard, Martin took the prep school route after high school and was still only a partial qualifier as a freshman. He was scouted as a languid player with a great stroke and the ability to find spaces in a defense that would allow him to shoot. He could defend multiple positions but lacked urgency and energy on both ends of the court.
At Xavier, Martin was a languid player with a great stroke, et c. et c. After hearing about how good he was in practice, Xavier fans were disappointed by his 2.9 PPG as a freshman. He developed everything but enthusiasm in his time at Xavier. He was frustrating to watch for most of his career, but he averaged 11.7/5.2/1.0 as a junior and 14.2/5.9/0.9 in Big East play while guarding the opponents' toughest wing. He was primed to be a big part of Xavier's 2014-2015 season before leaving for SMU and the later "the pros." Rumors that academic problems continued to plague him were likely not entirely unfounded.
Dee Davis was the complete opposite in many ways. He was a fairly unheralded recruit whose size was a concern. He had a slow release on his jumper but was a willing and aggressive defender and a pass-first point guard. Purdue, Ohio U, and Butler also recruited him out of Bloomington South.
Dee grew into his role at Xavier. After serving as an understudy to Tu and Cheekz, he stepped right into a backcourt where he was overshadowed by Semaj. All he did was handle the ball and the pressure. When Christon left after two years, it was clear Davis was the lone PG on the roster despite some people calling for other players to take his starting spot. His final six or so weeks on the campus cemented his legacy as carried X through the Shootout and then led the Muskies to another Sweet 16 bid.
Accompanying him on the path was Trevon Bluiett, a freshman. Bluiett was a scoring machine out of Park Tudor whose skills were so in demand that he initially committed to UCLA. When he reopened his recruitment, Arizona, Michigan, Butler, and Purdue were also in line to sign him, but he (obviously) chose X. His strength and feel for the game were big positive points on a scouting report that also mentioned his sweet touch and ability to score at all three levels. Only on-ball defense stood out as a concern.
Trevon has spent one year with Xavier so far, but he's already looking like the kind of kid who has a very productive three- or four-year stay at Cintas. He came out of the gates firing (and hitting) before hitting a bit of a wall late on, but all the tools that made him so highly-recruited were clearly visible. He was the team's leading scorer for much of the year and will be the leading returning scorer this season.
Indiana has been where Xavier has gone to find players. I like the idea of the Muskies being a local/regional recruiting power even more than one of them grabbing players from all over, and the caliber of recruits they've pulled in from Indiana has served them very well.