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Why haven't Xavier's transfer targets landed at X?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nick King chose to transfer to Alabama instead of coming to Xavier. Junior Etou joined Frank Haith at Tulsa. Jordan Caroline went to a very bad Nevada team rather than joining what we're all hoping will be a very good Xavier team. Coupled with not landing Trey Lewis early on and the fact that there are still 2 empty scholarships on the roster, losing those three players to lesser programs feels like a little bit of a kidney shot.

Was it really a loss though? Watching these three recruitments develop and come to fruition raised the question in my mind as to whether this is something to be concerned about. I think the answer is no.

King would have probably been the best of these forwards to land given his status as a former top-50 recruit and a productive player in a decent mid-major conference. Most of his connections were in the south during his initial recruiting though, and it's not that surprising that he ended up heading deeper into SEC country with his second shot at finding the school of his dreams. He had interest from Xavier, but it's not clear that he was ever even on campus. It's also worth noting that Alabama's top forward is Shannon Hale, and he'll be graduating once King become eligible.

Beyond that, I think Trevon Bluiett is the main reason neither of the other two players ended up at Xavier. Etou - who may or may not actually be 24, depending on whom you believe - went to a Tulsa team whose top forward was 6th on the team in scoring last year and figures to graduate by the time Etou is ready to go. At Nevada, Jordan Caroline will be competing against a set of forwards whose leading scorer averaged a game line of 2.7/2.8/0.2 last season. Clearly opportunities are going to abound for both of those guys to impress in their redshirt years and challenge for big minutes as soon as they're eligible.

Players transfer because the school they're leaving didn't end up being the right fit. For all but the very top tier of transferring players, this comes down to a desire to get more playing time and be more involved when on the floor. Three of Xavier's most recent targets have chosen schools that are demonstrably lesser than X in basketball terms. Rather than representing a sudden inability on Coach Mack's part to persuade basketball players to play for him, this probably just shows how deep and competitive Xavier's current roster is.