Rather than a full on preview for each player on the roster this year we will be attempting to focus on one question that will determine how the player might fit on the team. The questions aren’t designed to carry either a positive or negative connotation, just really suss out how the roster is built. We’ll start with the freshman and build on to the players everyone knows.
When Xavier landed a top-100 6’5” guard who can, according to various recruiting sites “fill it up from anywhere on the floor” and “provide Xavier with an infusion of scoring” who the staff said “can make a big impact at Xavier,” the Muskie faithful were understandably excited. The man himself said, “I can run the floor and I’m a big guard who can defend, so they’ll use me in a lot of different ways.” All of that is ancient history, though, because those quotes are all from or about Elias Harden.
If Elias Harden’s career had turned out as hoped for, Dahmir Bishop might not have ever landed at Xavier. Bishop is, at least at first glance, cut from the same mold as Harden. He has good size for a guard, comes in billed as a scorer with good range on his jumper, and has the mentality and physical tools to defend at a high level.
Bishop’s ceiling is going to be determined by his offensive skill set. He scored at all three levels in Spain and, while he only shot just over 30% from beyond the arc there, his stroke looked mighty smooth and he certainly wasn’t hesitant when the opportunity struck. At some point in time during his Xavier career, I suspect Dahmir will be a primary perimeter option.
For this year, his role will be more in taking the chances that come his way. He has Q, Scruggs, Naji, and Bryce Moore ahead of him in the perimeter pecking order and, depending on how things shake out, maybe some Jason Carter on a wing or Kyky Tandy getting some shots up also chipping into his usage rate. If he can establish his catch and shoot bona fides early, expect him to be able to find chances to put the ball on the deck when defender rush to respect his jumper.
What is going to endear Dahmir to Xavier fans this season is that he has some of the same chippy determination that made JP such a treat to watch in his four years at Cintas. Bishop isn’t as chatty on-court (at least not yet), but he contested every corner of the floor in Spain. I was especially impressed with his doggedness on the offensive glass. Offensive rebounding is a numbers game, and Bishop consistently ran at the rim when a teammate lifted.
Even the best shooters have off games, and it’s almost axiomatic that freshmen have trouble keeping life in their legs down the stretch. Hustle never slumps though, and the kind of savvy effort that Bishop is capable of will hold a place for him on the court as he grows into what the college game will demand from him.