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Xavier Power Rankings: New Year, New You Edition

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Back for the first time in 2017, it’s time to see where the Musketeers stand.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Georgetown
Personal theory: JP is really trying to avoid the flu
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The last power rankings hit the board just after Thanksgiving. Since then, some things have changed. For instance, Xavier has lost some basketball games. On the other hand, the Musketeers have also kicked off Big East play at 2-0 and ripped apart a decent Providence team. There’s still one name missing from this list, but here’s how the scholarship guys stack up right now.

9. Tyrique Jones

Tyrique was at the bottom last time, and that’s where he stays. The big freshman’s rebounding rates are almost otherworldly, especially on the offensive glass, where he racks up 21.6%. Throw in 18.7% on the defensive end and a block rate of 6.8% and you have a monster in the paint. Unfortunately, Tyrique would foul out twice were he allowed to attempt 40 minutes of play. That greatly hampers any sort of effectiveness he can have.

8. Kaiser Gates

Sometimes the pressure of expectation has an effect on where you land, and that’s the case here. When it comes to tempo free stats, Kaiser has regressed in almost every category since last year. For whatever reason, Gates just can’t assert himself on a game like you would expect a guy with his physical skills to. A .371/.333/.345 shooting line just isn’t cutting it for someone standing 6-8, 225.

7. Quentin Goodin

Yesterday, I pointed out that there’s no real need to worry about Goodin’s development just because of his turnover issue this year. That may be true for Quentin himself, but it very much does effect the team in the here and now. Goodin does a lot of things very well right now, but until he starts taking better care of the ball, he’s going to sit near the bottom of this list.

6. Sean O’Mara

The tantalizing potential of O’Mara is evident in two numbers. 6.1 (ppg) and 13.6 (minutes per game). Sean is a more efficient scorer than Edmond Sumner, has the second highest EFG% on the team, and shoots 69.6% from the line. But, he still fouls way too much and he rebounds like a slightly larger version of JP Macura. This team is excellent when O’Mara can catch the ball low and do his thing. He needs to get himself on the floor to do it.

5. Malcolm Bernard

Like a Remy Abell that can’t shoot free throws, Bernard does a little bit of everything. If he wasn’t so prone to turning the ball over (21.1% TO Rate), he’d be the ideal glue guy. As it is, he provides a valuable defense first piece, gets on the glass well for a guard, and is filling to match up with almost any position on the floor. The 38% from deep helps as well.

There is a large gap between the top four and the rest of the squad. That’s not a slight to any of the aforenamed players, but evidence to how these four have separated from the pack based on their play so far.

4. RaShid Gaston

If only Coach Mack could get more minutes out of Xavier’s man mountain down low. Whether it’s fouls, conditioning, or just matchups, Gaston is only playing about 20 minutes per game right now. Since he demolished Utah on December 10th though, it’s been a very effective 20. Only 14 players in the nation hit the offensive glass at a better rate.

3. JP Macura

JP is third on the team in scoring, third in rebounds per game, second in assists, and tops in steals. He leads the team in free throw percentage at 91%, shoots 35% from deep, and is playing 33 minutes per game. His steal rate is in the top 150 in the nation and he’s Xavier’s most efficient offensive player. If you want to move him up this list, the argument is surely there.

2. Trevon Bluiett

17.9 points per game and the second lowest turnover rate of any qualifier on the team is a pretty solid output from your big gun. Trevon adds to that by grabbing defensive boards at a higher rate that anyone other than Rashid Gaston and he shoots a passable 34% from behind the arc. He’s not a volume shooter by any means, but he’s very willingly stepped into a larger role this year. Only his recent output compared to that of the man in the #1 spot has him second.

1. Edmond Sumner

Ed went for 28/8/6 against Georgetown in what could only be called a virtuoso performance. He took nary a jumper, but went 7-13 from the floor and 14-17 from the line to carry X to the win in DC. Add to that a top 150 assist rate, an almost unheard of top 500 rank in both block and steal rate, the second best two point field goal percentage on the team, an unholy proclivity for getting fouled, and a suddenly very respectable 73% mark from the line and you have a guy that Xavier simply cannot replace.