The off-season is the time to start worrying over trivial things. While pondering why Makinde left and what on earth happened to the original Brandon Randolph are mildly entertaining ways to kill time, Xavier has quietly come up with a bit of an issue. There are currently 10 players on the roster, as seen in our latest scholarship breakdown (just subtract LAJ). That number assumes that Trevon Bluiett is going to come back to the team next year. Given that there are three open spaces on the roster, Xavier doesn't exactly have a full stock of players. Is this a serious concern for the upcoming season?
For starters, the Celtics sniffing around Trevon isn't comforting. Trevon leaving would create a situation in which X is down to nine scholarship guys and without their returning leading scorer. At this point I would assume Coach Mack would have lined up a replacement for Bluiett if the swing man were leaving, but Boston has so many picks that they may just unexpectedly use one on Xavier's forward. Maybe not a huge possibility, but a concerning one nonetheless.
LAJ's departure left Xavier with three open spots. Assuming that some of the incoming recruits will take the top spots, what did the final scholarship spots accomplish last year? Well, one went to Rashid Gaston, who accrued no stats last season. Xavier won't have that happening this year without a transfer sitting. The final three scholarship players on the bench last year were Sean O'Mara, LAJ, and Makinde London. Those three played 22 minutes per game, roughly 10% of the play available each contest.
Before you freak out at the thought of Xavier missing three players like that, consider that those were spaces 9-11 on the team last year. Even in a worst case scenario this year, Xavier would still have nine players on the team before hitting those open spots occupied by the three named above. Should Trevon stay, Xavier doesn't hit the open spots until potential player 11. So, the spots occupied by last year's final three are filled already. Make sense?
So what does all this mean? For starters, Xavier is going to have plenty players even if Trevon bolts for the NBA. Coach Mack would have to add some bottom of the roster guys, to be sure, but that top level of players is already full of talent. That's the good news. The bad news is that injuries happen. Last year, there was some talent down at the end of the bench. When Edmond went down, LAJ picked up minutes and held his head above water well enough for Xavier to win all three games that the Musketeers played without him. If that happens on a team that has had to fill the lower level with the castoffs of the immediately available recruits (think Griffin McKenzie), things could get grim.
In short, Xavier is probably ok with what they have if Trevon stays. No, they wouldn't be insanely deep at the end of the bench, but not every great team is. If he leaves, they still may be ok solely in terms of players but would look at adding a talent likeTaurean Thompson. In either situation, Xavier is likely entering the season with a little less depth on the end of the bench.