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What does RaShid Gaston mean to this year's Xavier team?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

As you likely read on reputable sites all across the internet Tuesday , Norfolk State transfer forward is coming to Xavier to finish his eligibility. He will have to sit out a year after the transfer before playing his lone season in a Xavier uniform in 2016-2017. That season had already been targeted by some Xavier fans as the year in which the current roster cycle would reach its zenith, and having another talented big man capable of stepping in and getting some minutes has in no way diminished that enthusiasm.

While Gaston's signing means that Xavier has either additional 2016-2017 front court depth or a capable replacement for Jalen Reynolds if he departs early, it still leaves the Musketeers with some questions regarding the roster this year.

The optimistic view is that Coach Mack is satisfied going into the season with who he currently has. He believes that some combination of Edmond Sumner, Larry Austin, and Myles Davis is capable of handling the point not just against the November buy games but also in the Big East season. He believes the combination of the 1-3-1 and man defense is good enough to paper over the numerous limited defensive players on the team. He sees Sean O'Mara and Makinde London and/or the possibility of a running a small lineup as sufficient insurance against the inevitable bouts with foul trouble and ineffectiveness that will face presumptive starters Jalen Reynolds and James Farr. He believes everyone on the team is healthy and ready to go.

The pessimist's view is basically the exact opposite of that. LAJ didn't exactly light the world on fire last year, Edmond Sumner has little college experience and balky knees, and Myles Davis is a shooting guard. There's not anyone you'd trust one-on-one defensively in the post or on the perimeter who isn't named Remy Abell. Sean O'Mara might be as capable as Matt Stainbrook was as a sophomore, but there's a reason Matt Stainbrook as a sophomore was playing for a directional school in Michigan. There are plenty of places on the roster that could have used some help, and Coach Mack couldn't address any of them.

Of course, the middle view is that something may yet happen between now and November. Time is getting short to add a player to this year's roster, but that empty scholarship still beckons. Beyond that, players are getting healthy, getting better, and getting instruction from the coaching staff. There is a world of development that a player can do between the final horn in March and the first tap in November without the fans being any the wiser until it suddenly shows up on the floor. It's entirely possible that someone surprises all of us and makes a world of summer speculation void.

It's hard to say for certain. What I do know is that, as of June 18, Xavier has 11 scholarship players who can suit up and take the team to wherever it's going in the coming season.