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Xavier 2015-2016 player preview: Edmond Sumner

Edmond Sumner played some minutes last year, but it remains a mystery exactly what he is bringing to the court this season. Could he be the answer for Xavier at point guard?

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In one sense, Ed Sumner is not much further along than he was at this point last year. He flashed some interesting skills during his truncated on-court showing for the Muskies last season, but hardly in a sample that was large enough to use to draw meaningful conclusions. He scored 33 points on just 15 field goal attempts in Brazil on his way to a blistering .600/.500/.923 shooting line but he didn't rebound or distribute particularly well and turned the ball over quite a lot. He reined in his flaws a bit against D1 competition, but the scope of the evidence upon which we have to judge him has hardly changed over the intervening year thanks to his taking a medical redshirt.

In another sense, he's clearly continued to develop. The knees that sent him to the bench last year have looked just fine in the various videos exhibiting his dunking skills that he has posted. He has continued to add muscle to his skinny frame; reports now place him north of 180. He has also posted videos of his performances in various passing and dribbling drills and at least one memorable clip of him alternating hands while draining threes, flashing jaw-dropping ambidexterity to the casual rhythm of the ball-return machine. The question from all of this is obvious: what will Sumner bring to the floor this year?

Best-case scenario:

Sumner puts down the kind of freshman year that we'll be talking about 20 years from now. I'm that high on where this kid can go. Healthy and itching for competitive action after sitting out most of last year, he grabs the starting point guard position early on and forces Coach Mack to decide which starter-caliber player he wants to bring off the bench. He will have his ups and downs, but he has the length to be a nightmare for opponents in the 1-3-1, and how many defenders in college ball are there capable of staying in front of a 6'5" point guard who is comfortable with either hand? People who slept on Xavier because of point guard questions are hedging by Thanksgiving and apologizing by Christmas.

Worst-case scenario:

The enthusiasm of the young man gets the better of his discretion and he puts too many early miles on his chassis. Along with the knee problems that cost him a year, Sumner still isn't built to run into college-level paint traffic a couple of hundred times a season and come out unscathed. He has a stop-start year, showing incredible production at times and being slowed by a step from nagging injuries at others. He remains a weapon off the bench to change the tempo of a game in short bursts but is not yet a player who can control the floor.

Most likely scenario:

Sumner follows the kind of trajectory Trevon Bluiett did last year. The early part of the year will be good for him as he finds his legs and puts up big numbers against mediocre competition. When the Big East starts, there will be some tough sledding for Edmond, and the long grind of the college season will probably start to weigh on him a bit at the end. I think the most probable outcome for Sumner is to fight for starter's minutes at the one all season, put up a few very big games, and end the year with a solid stat line on an NCAA tournament team.