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Xavier 2015-2016 player preview: Makinde London

Makinde London had a year off to contemplate life and take a developmental period. Now that he's eligible, what should Xavier fans expect from him?

Can Makinde go from leading the celebrations to causing them this year?
Can Makinde go from leading the celebrations to causing them this year?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

How much do you know about Makinde London? Unless you're a particularly rabid Xavier fan, probably not much. London - like Edmond Sumner - took a redshirt last season. Unlike Sumner's medical redshirt, London's was developmental. Coach Mack looked at the roster, looked at Makinde, and decided that the best thing for all involved was to have London spend a season working on his body and his game rather than risk doing something silly like losing a year of eligibility to play 42 dang minutes.

Anyway, London is a wiry 6'10" former guard with explosive athleticism and some residual small-man skills. He has a 7'3" wingspan and the kind of athleticism that saw him attempting a dunk that I'm convinced was supposed to involve him juggling and then dunking three basketballs during last year's Musketeer Madness. When there's just the one ball on the floor (as dictated by the most up-to-date version of the NCAA rule book), London has a smooth jumper through the mid-range out to the occasional three to go with good handle for a big man.

Best-case scenario:

Bench dynamo. With Farr, Reynolds, and Bluiett all having started multiple games at forward positions last year and Sean O'Mara ostensibly at least beginning the season ahead of him on the depth chart, it's hard to see London in the starting lineup this year. With the way he runs and jumps and the offensive skills he brings to the floor, he can be for the forwards what JP Macura was for the wings last year. Throw in that wingspan and his shot-blocking skills on the defensive end and he could change a lot of games between media timeouts (of which there are fewer this year, as I recall).

Worst-case scenario:

Bench dynamo, but in a different way. If things break wrong for Makinde, he's the guy waving the towel after Jalen plants a wrinkle on another helpless defender. There's a window here for Makinde that is being closed down from more than one direction. He can lose minutes because Xavier went small, because Jalen and James are dominating, because Sean O'Mara has stepped up, or because Kaiser Gates has showed up on campus ready to fill the role of a skilled forward who isn't a banger. I think Makinde has the skills to be a big part of the program this year and going forward, but there's a certain pressure on him to hit the ground running or get lost in the sauce this year.

Most likely scenario:

Makinde comes off the bench to get some decent minutes but finds himself behind a raft of other players trying to get the same playing time. He can be a nightmare on the wing or in the middle of the 1-3-1, and I think his skill set will help Xavier go to a small-style lineup without actually getting smaller. Makinde London is the future for Xavier, but he's probably slightly less of the present for this season.