Trevon Bluiett, JP Macura, Sean O’Mara. All of those guys have been Xavier stalwarts for the last four years and none of them will be pulling on the white and blue this year. It’s going to be a year of adjustment for Xavier fans, who also saw one season fan favorite Kerem Kanter, junior swingman Kaiser Gates, and all time winningest head coach Chris Mack leave the program. From a place of relative solidity now comes a complete roster overhaul. These are the names that will be highlighting Xavier write-ups this season. (Have no fear, full player previews are coming).
Xavier has no rising seniors this season. These guys have all come from somewhere else for a shot a March glory with the Musketeers.
Ryan Welage- Welage is a 6-10 sniper who spends more time on the perimeter than his height might suggest. Matt Jennings is going to put some weight on Welage, but you can bet that Travis Steele is salivating at how to deploy the 41% three point shooter.
Kyle Castlin- When healthy Castlin is a lock down defender and capable of repeating the 121 offensive rating he posted last year. Castlin wasn’t healthy last year, though, and took some time to get rolling in the Ivy League. The Big East isn’t the Ivy, and Castlin will need to be on his game right away.
Zach Hankins- Hankins was a D1 talent coming out of high school in beautiful Charlevoix, Michigan, but leg injuries sent him the D2 route at Ferris State. He dominated there, but if Castlin has a big adjustment to make from the Ivy, Hankins has a much greater one. Early returns suggest he’s up to it.
Quentin Goodin- Goodin will be running the show this year. He was good last year, with flashes of great. This year, he’s going to have to further develop the shot that flourished in Big East play and be consistently great for Xavier to succeed. No single player may shoulder a greater burden this year.
Tyrique Jones- Tyrique has been enigmatic for Xavier in his time. He can be a monster, or he can completely disappear. What is certain is that he’ll have to play more than 33.9% of minutes he did last year.
Paul Scruggs- Scruggs was a tantalizing blend of absurd skill and just plain absurdity last year. In the games in which Xavier was eliminated from the Big East and NCAA tournament Scruggs averaged 13/2/2.5 and only turned the ball over three times. In a two game stretch in Big East play, he turned the ball over nine times. The tools are there, though, for Paul to make the leap.
Naji Marshall- Marshall doesn’t need to make the leap. Naji was great last year as a freshman and figures to continue to develop this year. If Xavier has a star, it’s Naji Marshall.
Myles Hanson- If you have a keen eye, you’ll note the other walk ons have not been listed. Hanson is different in that he was on scholarship last year at Columbia and figures to play a role this season for Xavier. He’s a mediocre offensive threat who will ride his defense and rebounding to playing time.
Keonte Kennedy- Gone and then back again, Kennedy is a 6-5 swingman who can shoot the ball but, like Hanson, figures to make an impact defensively first.
Dontarius James- James is the only Xavier player in his original recruiting class who didn’t drop his commitment. He’s big at 6-7, 210, strong, and can fill it up. When it came down to Xavier or Kansas, James came to Xavier.