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What should Xavier fans expect out of Kerem Kanter?

Is Kanter this year’s RaShid Gaston?

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Green Bay v Texas A&M Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With the NBA draft officially not on the docket, Green Bay transfer center Kerem Kanter is fairly well assured of being at Xavier when the season starts. With RaShid Gaston having moved on, there will be some minutes in the paint available for Kanter.

Gaston is actually probably the best place to start in terms of comparing the two big men, so let’s take a look at their respective final seasons before transferring:

Kanter and Gaston

Player Ht Wt Yr G %Min ORtg %Poss eFG% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTM-FTA Pct 2PM-2PA Pct 3PM-3PA Pct
Player Ht Wt Yr G %Min ORtg %Poss eFG% OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTM-FTA Pct 2PM-2PA Pct 3PM-3PA Pct
Kanter (2017) 6-10 240 Jr 29 46 105.5 26.7 52.9 10.6 21.8 7.4 14.1 2.9 0.8 4.4 4.9 52-85 0.612 116-221 0.525 14-38 0.368
Gaston (2015) 6-9 240 Jr 30 70.8 115.1 25.3 63.1 13.9 23.2 11.4 16.3 4.5 0.5 3.7 5.3 86-158 0.544 190-301 0.631 0-0 0

A couple of things right off the bat. First of all, Gaston was just better in his last year at Norfolk State. In more minutes over more games, he was more efficient offensively and more effective on the glass. This comes down to shooting, particularly scoring in the paint. Gaston took more than 70% of his shots at the rim and shot 73% from that range; Kanter took only 53% of his shots from the rim and shot 66.7% from there.

Gaston was also a more effective defender, both in defending the rim and clearing the glass. Kanter flashed more range than Gaston ever did, but beyond that it seems clear that RaShid was the better pre-transfer player.

As far as post-transfer... RaShid was just a hair shy of 21 years old in his last year at Norfolk State; Kanter was almost 22 in his last year at Green Bay. RaShid had a year to refine his game and learn Xavier’s system while he sat out; Kanter is going to be immediately eligible.

I think something on the order of 7 and 5 - which is pretty close to what RaShid averaged - is a reasonable expectation to have of Kanter. The beauty of the situation is that - with a top-10 recruiting class coming in and plenty of talent returning - it’s not clear that Xavier will need anything more.