As we mentioned yesterday, we're going to spend the week taking a look at what the KenPom numbers say about the potential of the current players on the Xavier roster. For more detail on what exactly this will entail, click through here. Once you get caught up there, let's jump right in.
First up is JP Macura. JP was good for a game line of 5.4/1.2/0.6 on .413/.337/.762 shooting. He was electric off the bench, nine times hitting multiple threes in a game. He also had five games in which he played 9 or more minutes without scoring, so it was kind of a work in progress. Here are some of his closest KenPom comps with their similarity scores.
Top performer: Kim English, Missouri (896)
English is the closest comp to JP, as his game apparently defied closer comparisons. As you can see, English was a role player on a good team as a freshman, just like Macura. Despite struggling to convert around the rim through the middle of his career, English was still an accurate three-point shooter and a volume scorer. He really came into his own as a senior, ranking 10th in the nation in EFG% for a Missou team that earned a 2 seed and then ruined everyone's brackets by losing to Norfolk State in the first round.
The middle road: Cameron Tatum, Tennessee (892)
Where English's game branched out, Tatum's never really did. His rebounding numbers crept up as a function of more playing time, but his scoring touch never developed. His sophomore season was probably his best, but his shooting from inside the arc fell from 57.8% to 56.0% to 47.0% to 36.2% in his four years in college. If you can't score from the paint, all you'll ever be is a shooter, and that is all Tatum ever was. That final line of 8.1/4.1/2.6 isn't superficially awful, but he used too many minutes and too many touches in getting there to ever be more than a role player for the Vols.
Danger, Will Robinson!: Dee Giger, Harvard (884)
We'll probably have a different header for the bottom category in the future, but holy cow did it go off the rails for Dee Giger. He had a respectable freshman campaign learning the ropes as a reserve guard, and then it all snowballed in a way that can't be explained in the numbers alone. Giger didn't get hurt, he just stopped being effective or even functional. He was 19-63 from deep as a freshman and 2-12 for the rest of his career. I'm confident in saying this won't be JP's fate, if only because there's no way he would spend all four years at X if things progressed like this.
Macura had fans excited with his unbridled swagger and the game to back it up when he hit campus last season, and he did enough as a freshman to have at least a segment of the Xavier faithful ready to join his fan club. I picked out the best of his close KenPom comps, the worst, and one that split the difference; which do you think Macura's career will most closely resemble?