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Front court depth could be key for Xavier this year

On the perimeter, Xavier has a lot of depth and a question of who is going to start where. That's not the case down low.

Is Sean O'Mara the answer?
Is Sean O'Mara the answer?
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

You've probably spent a decent amount of time thinking about Xavier's guard situation for the upcoming season; that makes sense, as we have spent plenty of time discussing it. What has drawn less ink but is probably just as interesting a question is Xavier's big man situation, which is in many ways the opposite of that of the guards.

On the perimeter, Xavier has a lot of depth and a question of who is going to start where. In the middle of the floor, Xavier has two players in James Farr and Jalen Reynolds that have to be considered the prohibitive favorites to start and then a whole bunch of question marks following them. What's at stake is the share of Matt Stainbrook's minutes that Farr and Reynolds don't assume by moving up the depth chart. Just looking at the numbers, I'm going to say that there are somewhere between 16 and 20 minutes of big man play up for grabs at the start of the year. There are three obvious options:

1. Sean O'Mara

O'Mara didn't exactly light the world on fire with his raw production last year, but his offensive game was efficient (109.5 ORtg) in limited minutes (7% of the available time). He is in many ways a compromise between Reynolds and Farr, not sporting elite athleticism but having a certain nuanced savvy around the rim that makes him effective with his back to the basket. Of note, his assist rate was the same as Larry Austin, Jr.'s. Also of note, his DReb% was lower than LAJ's. Big men take time to develop, so O'Mara's lack of freshman productivity doesn't preclude his being a valuable piece as a sophomore. Think Jason Love.

2. Makinde London

London is more or less the opposite of O'Mara. At 6'10", 210, he's a whip thin former guard with the kind of athleticism that can blow a traditional big man off the map. On the other hand, being built like a Sour Punch Straw comes with its own set of limitations, namely in the ability to defend man-up on the post and bang for rebounds. London has a skill set that can draw a bigger opponent out of the paint or put a help defender on a poster, but it's unlikely that he could sustain a long stretch of minutes without protection from a broader big man. Think Derrick Brown if you're an optimist.

3. Go small

Xavier had a good deal of success last year with Trevon Bluiett at the four, and incoming freshman Kaiser Gates has the size and skill to be that kind of swing forward if Coach Mack deems it necessary. One of the reasons that lineup worked so well last year is because X could do it with Matt Stainbrook on the post and four shooters/cutters giving him options to pass to. It's not immediately clear that any of Xavier's current big men has that sort of skill set, though it's possible that it has developed over the summer.

There's what I'm seeing here on the last day of August. We're obviously going to get more information between now and the start of competitive play, but what's your gut telling you about Xavier's front court?