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Know Your Non-conference Opponent: Detroit

Things have changed a lot since the days of Spencer Haywood. Detroit is a legit buy game now, and the last opponent before Big East play for Xavier.

NCAA Basketball: Detroit at Michigan
Not a lot of Detroit Mercy shots for me to choose from, for whatever reason.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Someone emailed me the other day to ask what the Banners position on former University of Detroit head coach Dick Vitale not listing Xavier in his top 40 teams in the preseason is. Since it has been 20 years since Dick Vitale has had something meaningful to contribute to the general discourse on NCAA basketball, my position is that I don’t care. He’s the proverbial old man yelling at cloud, except loudly and with stupid catch phrases.

Detroit is somehow coached by former Indiana University head man Mike Davis. After crashing and burning at IU, Davis spent 6 years each as head coach at UAB and Texas Southern. He made the NCAA tournament once at UAB and four times at Texas Southern, never rising higher than a 12 seed or winning a game. His last game as a head coach at Texas Southern was a 101-84 loss in the first round last year to none other than your Xavier Musketeers.

This game will be contested at 7pm on Friday, December 21. FS2 got the broadcast rights to this marquee matchup, so be sure to tune in. From here, it’s Christmas break and then Big East player for Xavier.

Key departures

Kameron Chatman, F (17.8/8.3/2.1, .472/.414/.849)
Corey Allen, G (14.4/3.2/2.2, .432/.382/.790)
Jermaine Jackson, Jr., G (10.5/3.0/2.7, .339/.296/.851)
Roschon Prince, F (9.2/5.2/1.2, .553/.000/.731)

Did you do anything notable for UDM last year and aren’t named Josh McFolley? Congrats on your new destination! Head coach Bakari Alexander left the program after compiling a 16-47 record, and most of the players jumped ship with him.

Kameron Chatman was a former Michigan player who decided to keep his name in the NBA draft, as one expects a guy from an 8-24 Horizon League team. He had a good year, so more power to him. Roschon Prince lived on the glass on the offensive end and made an impact without needing the ball a ton. He graduated.

Corey Allen was a pretty good guard with a high usage rate. He’s taking his 129 made threes and career 40.6% success rate from deep to Georgia State. Jermaine Jackson was not very efficient at all and, as of this writing, I still can’t seem to find proof that he has landed anywhere. He’s probably running shop at open gyms though.

Key returnees

Josh McFolley, Sr., 6’1” G (11.1/2.2/1.5, .408/.342/.783)

Four guys return from last year’s roster. Of them, Musial Gjysma was taking a redshirt, and Cole Long and Gerald Blackshear, Jr. were deep bench players. That leaves McFolley, a scoring guard who isn’t a great shooter. He was pretty average from all three levels; the Titans will need a lot more out of him to be successful this year.

Incoming players

Harrison Curry, Jr., 6’7” F
Jacob Holland, Sr., 6’4” G
Tra’Quan Knight, Jr. 6’3” G
Darrell Riley, Jr., Jr., 5’8” G

Holland is a grad transfer from D2 New Mexico Highlands University, where he led the team in scoring and shot .439/.326/.715. He’s a volume scoring guard that Detroit will need to do just that. Curry was a standout for two years at Pensacola State College. His foray into four-year ball wasn’t as successful, as he blew up his knee one game into his only season at Fresno State. He shot 37% from deep in JuCo action.

Knight is another JuCo transfer, this time by way of Shelton State Community College. He averaged 14.7/6.0/4.7 in his time there and was a Third-Team All-American at the JuCo level last year. Riley is a walk-on, but he has a pretty good resume, including dropping 15.4/3.5/5.1 last year at Williston State College.

The rest of the roster is made up of a kind of spaghetti-at-the-wall construction. Davis has added 13 total new players in an amalgamation of freshmen and transfers from mostly JuCo programs. From that morass of 17 dudes, a rotation is going to emerge. Your guess is as good as mine about how exactly that will break down.

This is a team in transition from a position that wasn’t that solid to begin with. From well below 300 in the KenPom rankings, they lost the bulk of their roster - including all but one of their contributors - and their head coach. Mike Davis has stabilized a couple of low-major programs since leaving the high major level, but spinning the straw into gold would be his magnum opus.