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Xavier 2018-19 Player Preview: Keonte Kennedy

The recruit who came in from the cold is officially a Xavier player and one of only two incoming freshman.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Xavier vs Texas Southern
None of these people are Keonte Kennedy.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the personnel portion of our 2018-19 season preview. We will be running down the players and coach who will represent the Musketeers this season and try to retain the Big East crown. We hope this helps you know what to expect for the upcoming year and, as always, enhances your experience following Xavier basketball this season!

Keonte Kennedy was committed to Xavier, then not committed, then committed again. Kennedy is a 6-3 shooting guard who is definitely a guard, he’s not going to run inside to grab rebounds like JP or even Paul Scruggs. What Kennedy can do is shoot the ball. With Xavier’s top three outside shooters (Trevon, JP, and Kaiser Gates) all leaving, the Musketeers need some help on the perimeter. Kennedy comes in with a chance to provide that, and he’s a high level three star recruit for a reason. If this sounds like Elias Harden to you, there’s a reason for that. Both are off guards who can shoot the ball but aren’t necessarily going to create their own shot.

Best case scenario:

Kennedy arrives on campus as a polished shooter on a team that needs them and has a top tier point guard. Of situations to walk into, one that suits your skillset and has someone capable of helping you actuate it is about best case scenario. Kennedy isn’t just a shooter, though, he’s a good athlete who can get loose in the open court and do some damage. A guy who can spot up or knock down a 17 footer off a drive and dish from Q or Paul Scruggs is going to be a weapon. If Kennedy can play enough defense to stay in the rotation he could see 15 minutes per game and be a threat to score double figures every time he steps on the court.

Worst case scenario:

Elias Harden last year. Kennedy can’t defend at a high level, doesn’t have a secondary skill that immediately plays, and loses confidence in his shot in the few times he does get some run. All of that adds up to a wasted year and both player and program wondering if the second chance was such a great idea.

Most likely scenario:

One thing that stands out in most scouting reports on Kennedy is that he has a good mind for the game. Acumen generally plays if it comes attached to someone who has a skill that gets them on the floor. Kennedy knows the game and he’s playing for a coach that some players have described as an offensive genius. It’s reasonable to think that he works himself in on the low end of the rotation as a dangerous weapon off the bench. There will be a couple of games where he completely vanishes and probably one or two where he hits double figures in scoring. Teams that win have pieces like Kennedy, and he has a role to paly here.