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RaShid Gaston is coming to Xavier

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Xavier adds another big body down low for the 2015-16 season. RaShid Gaston is yet another big transfer get for the program.

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RaShid Gaston has come all the way from Warren G. Harding High School in hardscrabble Warren, Ohio, to the big time. After three successful seasons at Norfolk State, the forward is transferring to Xavier to finish his career as a Musketeer. Gaston just missed the tournament this year as his Spartans lost to Hampton in the MEAC final.

Gaston is a prototypical big, bruising forward. In his career he has attempted a grand total of zero three pointers, preferring to do his work under the bucket. At 6-9 and 240 pounds, he is well suited to it. That size gave him a serious advantage in the MEAC, where he finished in the top 10 in  ORtg, EFG%, TS%, DR%, OR%, and FTRate. Gaston was also in the top 60 nationally for his 13.9% offensive rebounding rate, and his 23.2% defensive rebound rate.

Strengths:

Gaston, as noted above, hammers the glass. His numbers on both ends are higher than those of Xavier's returning rebounding animal, Jalen Reynolds. Gaston doesn't have the same explosive leaping ability as Reynolds (who does?) but his frame is the same and should be able to handle the beating in the Big East. Additionally, he turns that basket presence into a 4.5% block rate as well. That would have been good for second among Xavier's qualifiers.

RaShid is also excellent at converting his shots into points. This season he averaged 15.6 points on just 10.2 shots and shot 62.6% from the floor and posted an offensive rating of 115.1 with a usage rate 25.3% for Norfolk State. Against Coppin State he poured in 30 points in 35 minutes with just 15 field goal attempts.

Weaknesses:

Gaston cannot shoot free throws. Warren is tough little town and maybe free throws are seen as soft there. Whatever the reason, Gaston shot 54.3% from the line last year. That represented a career high, but not by a wide margin. The forward is essentially a coin toss proposition from the line whenever he steps up, and he steps up a lot, roughly five times per game.

The big man is also not going to stretch the floor from the four position. No three point attempts in his career probably speaks to that. Xavier will still have plenty of shooters on the roster when Gaston becomes eligible next year, so this probably isn't a significant issue.

Conclusion:

RaShid Gaston exploded this year, averaging 15.5/9.6/1.4 after two very solid seasons to start his career. He's agile, big, and a monster on the glass. That, coupled with a good understanding of his offensive game, make him a very efficient player who will give Coach Mack another option down low on a team loaded with outside talent.