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Xavier can't afford to keep starting Kyle Castlin

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With this season circling the drain and too many questions left to answer, the Muskies have to move on from giving the grad transfer automatic minutes.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Missouri
This picture feels appropriate somehow.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball at the D1 level is about winning games, period.

Coaching basketball at this level is also about winning; not just the current game, but future games, too. Do it enough, and your grandkids will never want for anything. Do it too little, and you'll find yourself interviewing for the Maine Red Claws position. Travis Steele, like every college coach, has two basic questions he has to answer: what helps me win now? and what helps me win in the future?

It has come to the point where the answer to neither of those questions is Kyle Castlin.

Let's start with the now. In Big East play, Castlin has a total line of 0/5/0 with 3 turnovers on 0-5/0-4/0-0 shooting. He has an ORtg of 0, an EFG% of 0.0%, and an otherworldly 44.9% TO rate. Put simply, he would have been more productive if he had missed those three games with strep. Instead, he got 31 minutes that I'm confident lowered Xavier's win probability.

The future is no more kind to Kyle. Obviously, he isn't going to help the 2019-20 squad win games, what with being out of eligibility and all. I wouldn't bet anything very valuable to me that he is going to help this current team win games, either.

The starting position and minutes he is getting are too valuable to keep spending on him. Xavier has 4* guards KyKy Tandy and Dahmir Bishop coming in next year and are still in on 4* guard Harlond Beverly. With that kind of talent coming on board, they need to find out what they have in Elias Harden and Keonte Kennedy. If either of those guys is going to be on the next Xavier Sweet 16 team, they're going to need a chance to show it this season.

If they aren't, the rest of this year can be used to clarify their futures. College eligibility becomes history all too quickly, and it's not fair to the student-athletes to leave them in an ambiguous position regarding their future roles.

Let's see more Eli and KK and try to figure out next year, or let's slide Naj to the three, start Welly, and try to get goofy and see what happens this year. The least productive move for the present or the future is to stay the course with Kyle Castlin.

As a side note, this brought me no joy to write. I don't know Kyle Castlin personally, but I don't have any hard feelings towards him. I pull for every guy who comes through the program and want them each to get the very most they can out of their year(s) at Xavier. I hate to bag on a guy who's just out there doing his best. Sorry, Kyle.