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.
Xavier’s front court went from a little bit thin to a little bit crowded over the summer. With the departure of Zach Hankins being the only meaningful loss up front, Tyrique Jones and Dontarius James return up front and are joined by Ohio transfer Jason Carter and freshmen Dieonte Miles, Zach Freemantle, and Daniel Ramsey.
With Naji Marshall also more than capable of playing the four if Xavier goes small, any big man trying to earn his scholarship has his work cut out for him.
That’s the situation Daniel Ramsey signed up for when he chose Xavier over other high-major offers from Ohio State, Florida, and a couple dozen others. Ramsey is a 6’8” big man with classic back to the basket game that compliments a reliable touch from mid-range. He has good length, stays active on the glass, and is a determined defender.
Ramsey talked last year about needing to get his body right for Big East play, but this summer hasn’t been optimal for that pursuit. Knee issues slowed him in the summer and kept him off the court during Xavier’s tour of Spain. He is back practicing at full go now, but he is playing a bit of catch up in terms of both reps and overall fitness. Basketball at this level is a tough enough transition from high school when everything is going well, to say nothing of when you’re trying to clear health hurdles.
The easing-in period this year is exactly a week long; then Missouri comes to Cintas and things get real. If Daniel Ramsey can’t get some game run against Jacksonville and Siena, it might be nearly December before Xavier gets a chance to stretch the bench again. By then - depending on how ready the other freshmen are and what the staff decides to do with Dieonte Miles - the rotation might be set.
Keep an eye on Ramsey in those first couple of games. If he is moving well and finding spots to knock down a clean look or two, he can line himself up to be a useful piece of the rotation this year. If not, he might end up wearing the James Farr not-quite-redshirt this year.