Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Banners on the Parkway postseason player report cards. We'll be breaking down each player's grades for the rest of this week and on into next week, where we'll reveal the top finisher according to the community. We'll also be assigning and explaining our own grades of each player. We'll start with the player who got the lowest community ranking and work our way up to the MVP.
|Larry Austin Jr.||Votes||%of Votes|
|Community GPA: 1.76|
LAJ is the second lowest rated Xavier player this year. Interestingly, despite having an objectively better season this year, Larry came in with a far worse grade among Xavier fans. Was Larry hampered by raised expectations this year or did he simply not develop in the way that most people thought he should? Austin was the only player on the team to net not one solitary A, and led the team in F's. Despite those extremes, most fans had the sophomore guard solidly in the middle.
Very simply put, Larry just didn't do well on offense this year. Larry took a grand total of 13 jumpers this year and knocked down only four of them. Pair that with shooting only 43% at the rim and you get the picture of a guy with a very limited offensive skill set. Larry either has no jumper or has no faith in it, but either way he's not a threat to defenses on the perimeter. When he puts the ball on the floor and gets to the hole, he's struggling to finish.
Maybe even more vital to his role as backup point guard is providing a steady hand at the helm when Edmond is down. LAJ struggled with that to the point that Myles Davis moved onto the ball about halfway through the conference season. Larry's assist rate of 18.9% was solid, but his turnover rate of 30% led players who routinely appeared by a pretty wide margin.
The other end of the floor is a completely different story. Behind Remy Abell, Xavier had essentially no one capable of playing a man to man. LAJ stepped into that void very well. He's laterally quick, has excellent jumping ability, and is strong for his size. Larry led the team in steals percentage and would have been just outside the top 100 in the nation had he played enough time to qualify. Most of those steals came from playing good head up man defense as opposed to gambling in the full court or jumping the lanes out of a zone defense. Of all of Xavier's returning players, Larry is the one who can go man to man with an opposing guard.
Overall grade: D
LAJ remains just that little bit away from being a true backup option. His inability to shoot means he can't be a three and D guy. His inability to take care of the ball means he can't come in and just spell Edmond when he needs a break. His athletic ability and defensive prowess make him a potential weapon if he can just figure out a way to even be average on the offensive end. If Larry sticks around and develops a jumper, he could be Xavier's breakout player next year.