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An obvious veteran tops the Xavier power rankings, but freshmen are nipping at his heels

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Basketball is back! And so are the least consequential power rankings in sports.

NCAA Basketball: Siena at Xavier
Can’t stop dunking? Or choosing not to stop dunking? Tyrique, this is an intervention.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve done this for a while now, but in case you forgot what the Xavier power rankings are all about, here’s a quick rundown. We take every scholarship guy on the roster and then rank him by how replaceable he is, from most to least. The guy you can pull any rando off the bench to replicate will be at the bottom, and the dude who simply can’t even be imitated from the available parts will be at the top. It’s partly analytical and partly subjective, partly cumulative and partly based on recent results. It’s all from my mind and there’s plenty of room for disagreement. Let’s dive in.

Oh, also, Kyky Tandy will be in here at some point, but not now, given that he hasn’t played yet.

10. Dontarius James

The whole team was gunning to get Dontarius a three-ball last time out, and he came through at the third time of asking, much to the delight of his mates. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I’m not sure how to feel seeing a scholarship sophomore getting the same treatment that a deep-bench walk-on usually does. He was a rock on post defense, and being able to step out and hit is an obvious skill, but there’s a reason he trails Leighton Schrand in minutes. Until he can get consistent court time, I’ll struggle to move him from here.

9. Leighton Schrand

This is kind of an inspiring story and kind of a recognition that Schrand is better than like 90% of the people the average guy or gal whose career ended after high school and consists of men’s leagues and open gyms now will play against. Three mostly thankless years have given way to a full ride and some real minutes early on. I don’t know how much we’ll see of him against Missouri, but he has held his own against low-major starters in the early going, which has been surprisingly useful considering Xavier’s issues with guard health.

8. Jason Carter

I don’t know what to make of Carter just yet, as he’s not fully healthy and not fully able to practice. For now, he seems like the third-best post option and the second-best big wing option on the team. He’s 1-1 from deep, but it went glass first. Overall he’s shot well - if infrequently - and gotten to the offensive glass. He seems a half step behind, which I’m hoping will smooth out as the season goes on and he gets feeling 100%.

7. Paul Scruggs

Scruggs has played in one game about the same amount of minutes Carter has played in two. His stroke - when he’s healthy - provides a much-needed wrinkle that the offense lacks without him. His assists are down a bit from last year, but it’s almost meaninglessly early to draw much from that. Get well (very) soon, Paul!

6. Quentin Goodin

Not a banner start for Q, if we’re being honest. He’s shooting a lot, making very little, and not distributing like he usually does. I don’t know what happens on a day-to-day basis in practice or in the various instructing periods during a game, but Q seems to need an occasional gentle reminder to focus on his strengths. At his best, he’s advancing the ball between the arcs and giving his teammates easy looks to convert. We haven’t seen too much of that so far this season.

5. Dahmir Bishop

Your team leader in defensive rebounding percentage! Bishop is off to a slowish start on offense, shooting just 3-10/1-5/1-5, but he’s doing everything else really well. He has distributed a bit with very few ball security issues, and obviously he has gotten to the glass. Most importantly, he just puts himself in really good positions on the floor. Even when it doesn’t break his way, he has shown a knack for being there that calls to mind the high-IQ graft of JP Macura.

4. Zach Freemantle

Speaking of putting yourself in good positions, I’ve been equally impressed with Zach Freemantle’s ability to do so, at least early on. It’s tough for a young big to contribute right away, but he hasn’t shied away from getting into the middle and banging so far. He’s relentless on the offensive glass and hustles to dangerous spots on the break and in the half-court. The Big East will be another animal altogether, but no complaints about his start. Also, he hits his FTs.

3. Bryce Moore

He’s shooting 3-8/2-5/5-6, which is perfectly fine from him. Far more importantly, he has been as destructive a defender as Xavier has seen in some time. He follows Remy Abell and Malcolm Bernard as defensively capable transfer guards, but the way he eats for 94 feet on and off the ball calls to mind the game-breaking defense of Stanley Burrell. I’m excited to see him take on some of the high-major guards on Xavier’s schedule, because he has ruined some days in buy games so far.

2. Naji Marshall

Naji has been playing like a point forward on offense so far this year, taking the ball from end to end and distributing or getting his own shot. He has an assist rate of 38.5% (63rd in the nation) and is shooting 64.7% from inside the arc and 80% from the line. If he were just an end-to-end distributing slasher who could also crush the defensive glass, he’d be impeccable. The only thing holding him back right now is his 1-11 mark from behind the arc. The less said about that, the better.

1. Tyrique Jones

His 136.6 ORtg trails only Bryce Moore, but he has a usage rate that almost triples that of Moore. With 7-7 on dunks supporting a 15-20 mark overall, he has been almost literally unstoppable on the post. He has crushed the glass on both ends and - after figuring out Siena’s doubles and triples with a couple of early hiccups - been sensational with ball security. There are a couple of new moves - including the up and under he showcased against Jacksonville - but by and large he’s getting the ball deep and doing his thing. He’s been a bully so far this year.