There’s little question that RaShid Gaston is a monster. He could scarcely have been a bigger part of his team the last time he played, dropping 15.5/9.6/1.4 on .626/.000/.543 shooting two years ago at Norfolk State. Now he’s older, stronger, and has over a year of practicing against some of the best big men the Big East has to offer under his belt. He could be colossal this year.
The subtext to all this is that the difference between performing at Norfolk State and performing at Xavier is monstrous. The jump between leagues is legitimate, and what used to be a half step faster than anyone could end up being a half step slower than everyone. The question of Gaston’s season will be whether or not he can adjust to a higher level conference.
Best case scenario:
He totally can adjust. There’s not a lot to go on, but Gaston’s numbers against high-level competition measure up adequately against Jalen’s. He has a style of play that is well-suited to the bruising Big East season. He stays healthy and effective, dropping 12 and 9 with rebounding rates around 11%/24% OReb%/DReb% while anchoring the middle of the defense.
Worst case scenario:
He struggles to adjust. Gaston is listed at 6’9”, but that might have been with the ol’ tape shrinker out. Big, athletic defenders give him trouble in the post, and he struggles to be effective on offense. He’s strong and persistent on the glass, but his line hangs in the 7 and 6 range against Xavier’s challenging schedule.
Most likely scenario:
I think Gaston has enough athleticism to compete at this level, and a year battling Farrnolds in practice will have honed his technique down low. He has proven he has the legs to weather big minutes, but the presence of O’Mara and Jones and Xavier’s penchant for a smaller four keeps him fresh and around 25 minutes per game. In that time he drops 10 and 8 or so and gives Xavier a reliable option inside and a comfort blanket on the defensive glass.