I've got three kids, and at any given time I can easily rank them for you. I love the Musketeers even more, but that doesn't keep me from being able to rate the scholarship players from bottom to top. As always, keep in mind that these rankings aren't centered on any objective basis and that they reflect a blend of a player's recent contributions and his work over the course of the season. A player's ranking is based on how difficult he would be for X to replace if, say, he destroyed his ex-girlfriend's phone tomorrow, not just on his raw production.
10. Elias Harden
This is hardly Harden's fault, really. He's not going to take Tre and JP's minutes as a wing, and Naji is picking up the scraps that fall in the off-ball perimeter positions. He hasn't played particularly badly - his ORtg is 103, which is especially impressive considering he's a shooter who isn't getting chances to get into rhythm - he just hasn't gotten to play a ton.
9. Kerem Kanter
Kanter's numbers are superficially impressive for a bench guy, particularly his 21% usage rate and 106 ORtg. Dig a (very) little bit deeper, though, and you see that 15 of his 19 points on the year came against Hampton, by far Xavier's weakest opponent. He was mediocre against Morehead and Rider and basically invisible in 7 minutes against Wisconsin. He has work to do to establish himself.
8. Naji Marshall
I've been impressed by Marshall so far, but he's fighting for minutes at Xavier's deepest position. He's got a length and limberness that may well have him in line to be a Big East James Posey on the defensive end. He's currently 10-14 at the rim, 0-0 from mid-range, and 1-3 from the arc, if you're wondering how his offensive game may be playing out.
7. Paul Scruggs
If you like your point guards to find their own buckets, Scruggs is your guy. He rarely turns the ball over and is averaging almost 7 points per game, but he's behind Q, Tre, and JP in assist rate. I'll say this for the dude though: he's physically imposing and oozing with potential.
6. Sean O'Mara
All this dude does is get buckets. He's crushing opponents in the post, getting to the line at an elite rate, and literally nothing missing free throws. He's not a defensive force, and he's a touch below elite on the glass, but there aren't a lot of teams that have a scorer like Big Sean in the paint.
5. Quentin Goodin
I remember when Dee Davis was PG and every year began with Xavier fans identifying his replacement and ended with Dee still starting. Despite being about 5" taller and possessing huge bounce, Q has somehow inherited that role. With Twitter identifying Scruggs as a potential star, Goodin is averaging 5 points and 6 dimes a game and posting an EFG% of 50%, identical to Scruggs's. Having those two dudes to choose from puts X in an enviable position at the point.
4. Kaiser Gates
Xavier is deep in dudes who can shoot from deep and dudes who can rebound a bit, but Kaiser has found a niche as a guy who can do both and defend almost anyone on the floor. X doesn't need him to hunt shots, especially not if he's jarring 44% of the threes that come his way and playing good defense.
3. Tyrique Jones
This dude is just mean. He plays mean basketball and makes mean faces doing it. He grabs mean rebounds, converts mean dunks, and blocks shots in a mean manner. Jones imbues Xavier with a toughness that they don't get from anyone else; the fact that he's also being productive is making him a star.
2. JP Macura
He does everything on the court except make friends. Tre sealed the Wisconsin game with his outburst in the last few minutes, but it was JP's brilliance to that point that put X in position to win. He defends, he scores from all over, he makes needlessly flashy passes... how could you not love him?
- Trevon Bluiett
- 24.2/6.8/3.8 on .625/.556/.957. The guy just isn't missing right now. What else is there to say?