You can be forgiven if you tuned out this summer and are tuning back in to find a Xavier drastically different from what you were expecting. We’ve had injuries, court charges (three of them, go us!), mysterious transfers, and transfers of the normal type. Myles Davis isn’t leading the team, he’s suspended. Kaiser Gates isn’t starting at the four, he’s not even playing. LAJ is gone, Makinde is gone, and JP will presumably be an even bigger target than he was before.
So when X jogs on to the floor for the first time tomorrow night, who will be there?
Edmond Sumner, Trevon Bluiett, and RaShid Gaston are going to start. Gaston is Xavier’s only established post, and I shouldn’t really have to tell you why the other two will be out there. Just in case I do: Trevon Bluiett is the returning leading scorer and is as consistent as any player in the nation. He scored in double figures in all but three games last year. Edmond Sumner is the livewire that makes the team run. He’s freakishly fast, dunks as if the Lord created him to do that, and sees the court very well for a scorer.
The second tier:
JP Macura is the kind of player you either love or hate. Well, only Xavier fans love him actually, everyone else hates him. He was the 69th most efficient scorer in the nation last year, he can score from anywhere on the offensive end of the floor, and is a menace defensively. He’s going to be on Coach Mack’s mind when the starting five is made out. Malcolm Bernard is a 6-6, 200 pound guard who could drop in for Trevon at the four against smaller lineups. He’s not a tremendous shooter, but his assist rate of 31.8% was in the top 60 in the nation last year. The last consideration for a start that I can see is Sean O’Mara. If Xavier goes big, he’s the only other guy on the roster that has played college basketball.
The guy who might make me look stupid:
Quentin Goodin is, most likely, a second variation on Ed Sumner, just with much larger arms. He can run, shoot, pass and do pretty much everything you’d ask of a point guard. He represents the start of the avalanche of talent coming to the Cintas in the next couple of years. A start here for him would be surprising only in that he’s a freshman, not in that he doesn’t have the talent.
That’s the seven guys that I can see getting starts for Xavier tomorrow night against Lehigh. With both Gates and Davis unavailable, the look that we see to start the season may not be the one that settles in as we go on. Either way, basketball is finally, finally starting.