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.
His freshman year, Quentin Goodin got 56 minutes of rest in the team’s last 14 games, and 12 of those came in the final game of the year.
Things were a little better his sophomore year, but he still got just 5 minutes of rest per game during the crucial month of February as Xavier closed hard to secure a 1 seed.
Last year was brutal, with Q getting 45 minutes of rest from the beginning of February through the end of the season, a span of 13 games. Thirteen of those minutes came in OT games; down the stretch, Q averaged over 37 minutes of playing time per game.
Over the course of his career, coaches have saddled up Q during the most important games of the year, and he has emptied the tank to rise to that task.
Enter Kyky Tandy. Tandy is a 6’2” combo guard out of Kentucky who drew interest from high-majors like UK, Florida, Clemson, and Louisville and mid-major players like Cincinnati and Wichita State before landing at X. He can score it at all three levels - including being an excellent shooter from beyond the arc - but he has gained most of his internet buzz by being an incredible athlete, most notably when he lit Twitter on fire by dunking over a 7-foot opposing center in a rivalry game.
In Spain, Tandy showed glimpses of his immense potential. He averaged 8 PPG and shot 43% from beyond the arc. He looked somewhere between composed and confident on the ball and wasn’t afraid to take the game to his opponent.
One thing that jumps out from his stat line in Spain was that he tallied just a single assist. Tandy might be the closest thing Xavier has in the freshman class to a point guard, but he’s more of a combo guard in the mold of Mark Lyons (or Mac McClung, if you’re looking for a more recent, more Big Easty example) than a true one.
Will that help ease the load on Q? I think it will. When Paul Scruggs moved to the point to spell Goodin last year, the options at the two were Kyle Castlin and Elias Harden. I’m not here to throw shade at either guy, but that was a drop off that Travis Steele had trouble stomaching for long stretches. Kyky may not solve the problem of getting Goodin some rest, but he’s part of a bigger backcourt picture that - along with Dahmir Bishop and Bryce Moore - gives Xavier real options to shuffle through to keep everyone’s legs fresh.
I’ve been here long enough to remember three straight years of Dee Davis being incumbent in the back court and the madding crowd agitating for the newest incoming player to take his position. Kyky Tandy is the newest shiny thing, but he’s also the kind of guy who can step right onto the floor as a freshman and make a difference even as he learns to adapt to the college game. By the time conference play rolls around, I think he’ll be more than just a change of pace off the bench. I’m really excited for what this kid can do.