As a general rule, Xavier does not typically recruit the highly polished one and done types that dot the college basketball landscape every year, meaning that X fans have grown accustomed to spending the summer wondering which of their returning players they will get to watch take the leap in the coming season. Sometimes a player like Semaj Christon or Trevon Bluiett comes along and is a major contributor as a freshman, but most players who become legends in Xavier lore do so by putting in the work between seasons as a Muskie and growing into the player they are remembered as. Last season, Jalen Reynolds and Myles Davis notably came back as sophomores ready to do some damage after largely pedestrian freshman campaigns. So who will it be this year? We will break down all 9 of Xavier's returning scholarship players odds of being that guy.
Remy Abell- 20/1
Remy is entering his senior year as the player X fans hoped he would be when he transferred in. He is a quality on the ball defender, led the team in three point shooting last year, and showed ability to get out in transition and take care of the ball. There is probably room for an uptick from the 8.4/2.0/1.2, but with his deferential style in a backcourt loaded with scoring talent, Remy will most likely hang his hat on his defense and steady hand at the wheel, rather than try to force his own touches.
James Farr- 18/1
Farr was a perplexing player for Xavier fans to watch last year. The pick and pop movement was still there from the year before, but the jump shot wasn't. What Farr did to make himself a valuable player for Xavier was rebound, rebound, and rebound some more. He ate the space inside at the bottom of the 1-3-1 and killed opponent's possesions by corralling their misses better than almost anyone else in the nation. It is likely that we will see Farr's streaky shooting ebb and flow in the coming season, but his rebounding remain steady. Even if his shot were to start falling, without Stainbrook alongside him, Xavier will be leaning on him more heavily on the glass this time around.
Myles Davis- 14/1
One of the most popular of Xavier's current crop of players, Davis's on the court leadership and off the court candor coupled well with his strong numbers to show his immense improvement as a player last season. The question becomes for Davis, how much further out can he really break? He has the potential to go for 15-20 a night if called upon, but with Bluiett, Reynolds, and a well rounded supporting cast, how often will Myles taking over be necessary? Not saying it can't happen, but with the current roster, Myles seems like a good bet to continue his steady progression.
Trevon Bluiett- 12/1
Bluiett, like Davis, showed he can do the business when need be from a scoring standpoint last season. Also, like Davis, the question can be asked how much bigger his numbers can get in a balanced attack like Xavier features. I would love to predict 20 a game from both of these guys, but unless X averages 115, it is likely not going to happen. Bluiett has growing to do on defense where he was too often exposed on the wing last year, and a season of progress there plus a similarly efficient offensive showing, sans the exhaustion caused fall off at the end, should be seen as a success for the young man.
Larry Austin Jr.- 10/1
I cannot lie, I love the way Larry plays the game. Exuberant, bordering on out of control at times, but always exciting. Larry's minutes picked up last season when Dee Davis started breaking down a bit due to wear and Coach Mack saw LAJ as a more suitable replacement than the since departed Brandon Randolph. For all Larry does well, which is on the ball defense, pushing the tempo, and occasionally handling the ball well, he is not a guy you expect to step out and put up 15 points in a night. With the talent around him, he won't need to either. Austin showed a propensity for looking to set people up rather than look for his own shot, and with the cast of scorers surrounding him this yer, that is probably all he will need to do to be successful as a sophomore.
J.P. Macura- 7/1
I have gathered that JP Macura likes to shoot the basketball. Most the time from a long, long way away. His struggles last year were that he was not particularly adept (I don't like to say bad, but: bad) at on the ball defense, and tended to drift out of the game if he wasn't getting looks on offense. However, he possesses a knack for zone defense, which Xavier used increasingly last season, and when his shot is falling, he has unguardable range. He probably will still not be the main focal point for X on offense, but he will be an awfully good bail out if plan a fails. He hustles, works hard on the boards, and gets in opponents faces. All in all, the ingredients are there for a guard that can torment opponents, what remains to be seen is if Macura can keep the rest of his game going when his shot goes cold.
Sean O'Mara- 5/1
O'Mara showed two things for sure last season: he is big, and he is not on a basketball court to be pushed around. His amazing propensity for fouling eclipsed even that of Jalen Reynolds, meaning that O'Mara did not log a lot of minutes last season. When he was on the court, he showed a physicality that befits a man of his stature in the notoriously rough and tumble Big East, while also possessing a good touch around the rim. O'Mara will surely be in line for more minutes with Matt Stainbrook's departure, but the key to being a major part for this X team is keeping himself on the court. Reynolds figures to be in an out like last year, and X will need a back to the basket presence like O'Mara at those times. He has shown he means business. now it is just a matter of keeping himself out there to get it done.
Jalen Reynolds- 3/1
Reynolds is three months older than Dee Davis, which means he will literally be a man among boys this year. The only thing that limits his impact on a given night is himself, whether it be through lapses of concentration or foul trouble. His spin and slam in Xavier's Sweet Sixteen loss to Arizona served to alert the nation at large to his frightening abilities around the rim. His highlight reel is both expansive and impressive, X fans just hope this can be the year he keeps himself on the court and in the game, fulfilling his potential.
Edmond Sumner- 5/2
Coming out of high school as part of the class hailed Xavier's best ever, Sumner was thought to be in the same tier as Trevon Bluiett, widely being touted as the best or second best player in the group. One knee injury later, and Sumner will be entering his freshman season trying to prove the hype true. Sumner never really got going in the 6 games he did play in last year, due likely to the injury, so Xavier fans still really don't know what all this guy can do. Some things we know is that he has a slight 6'4" frame, can jump out of the gym, and was witnessed knocking down 20 footers with either hand earlier this summer. It all seems like a Paul Bunyan-esque tall tale, but if even some of it is true, Xavier fans will be thrilled with Sumner this season.