Part of Xavier’s extremely touted 2017 class was a swing four who could shoot with the accuracy of a two guard. Throw on 30 pounds of muscle on a 6-7 frame and you have the kind of player capable of destroying even the stoutest of defenses on a good day. Missouri may not be the basketball hotbed that Indiana, Kentucky, or Ohio is, but landing Mr. Basketball in any state is an honor. That’s what Jared Ridder was bringing to Xavier. Now, however, he isn’t.
Ridder headed home behind the de rigueur typed message on the iPhone posted as a photo. Rumor currently has Ridder landing as Missouri State, which you may recognize as being a massive step down in caliber from Xavier. That’s what is going on with Ridder but, as cruel as this sounds, he is no longer our concern. Xavier basketball is.
There’s no denying there is going to be a loss here. As always on Twitter, there was a reaction of people espousing the “if he doesn’t want to come here, we didn’t need him anyway,” line of not logic. Respectfully, that’s idiotic. Coach Mack didn’t recruit a guy that wasn’t ready to contribute. This wasn’t the second coming of Griffin McKenzie, a desperate stab when scholarships went vacant. Ridder can play and, more than that, he can shoot. Xavier doesn’t exactly have a plethora of shooters returning this year. Trevon Bluiett is the leading three point shooter returning, and he posted a modest 37.1% mark. JP Macura shot only 34% behind the arc last year. The less said about Quentin Goodin, the better.
Ridder was a salve to some of that. The rest of the incoming class has some shooters, Elias Harden probably tops among those, but Ridder was the bright spot in that regard. There are games that are going to come down to just shooting better than the other team. That’s where the Musketeers will miss Ridder this year. He likely wasn’t going to set the world alight from behind the arc every game, but there are games he was going to.
The other area is, simply, depth. Coach Mack was a wizard last year when Trevon and Edmond missed time, but even he couldn’t paper over the cracks enough to prevent a six game swoon that nearly dropped Xavier out of the NCAA tournament. The nice thing about compiling 80+ grade talent is that injuries and cold streaks are more easily mitigated. If someone needs a game off and someone else can step from nine minutes to 20, your problems get smaller. The loss of one person like that hurts a program.