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2016 Xavier basketball player preview: JP Macura

Can JP go back to catching defenders with their pants down this season, or will the Big East finally get tired of being outfoxed?

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Georgetown
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Among qualifying players, who was Xavier’s leader in two-point field goal percentage? Obviously it was JP; it would be weird to mention it in his preview otherwise. That underscores Macura’s magic though: his .617 FG% at the rim trailed only James and Jalen, and he led the team in shooting percentage on two-point jumpers. Throw in an 80% mark from the stripe, the team’s best TO%, and weirdly effective offensive rebounding, and Macura was Xavier’s most efficient offensive player last year.

There are a couple of challenges this year, the most immediate being whether or not JP will be immediately eligible after losing track of his waistband in public. Beyond that, there’s also the question of defense. Macura is dangerous in the 1-3-1 because he can read the game and stalk passing lanes, but - for all his effort - he’s still a swinging gate on the ball.

Best case scenario:

JP does some community service or something and is immediately eligible. In the vacuum left by Myles’s suspension, he steps up and provides legitimate firepower from the perimeter. Filling in Myles’s shoes on defense isn’t too big an ask for JP. He doesn’t get the media attention Tre does, but he drops a crispy 14/4/3 with an ORtg somewhere just shy of 125.

Worst case scenario:

With Myles gone and the black hat securely on JP’s head, he’s a bit to eager to prove the haters wrong. The same aggressive nature that we all find so endearing when it works sends JP up a lot of blind alleys on offense. He’s good enough to get out of most of them, but he never quite hits the rich vein of form he was in late last year. His season line ends up looking something like 11/3.5/2.5 on an ORtg of 115 or so.

Most likely scenario:

I don’t see anything really getting into JP’s head for the worse. The more opponents and their fans deride him, the more he seems to enjoy the game. He can trusted be to want the ball in the big moments, make a few unnecessarily flashy but undeniably impressive offensive plays, and hustle his way onto the doo doo list of a lot of opposing teams (and fanbases). I think it would be reasonable to expect higher usage this year and a line of something like 12/4/3 on an ORtg somewhere in the 120 range.