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Kyky Tandy is off to a good start

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Xavier’s freshman has been as advertised in the two games he’s played this year.

NCAA Basketball: Green Bay at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

KyKy Tandy came to Xavier with the all the wrappings of a burgeoning star. He had the ESPN top 100 ranking, nationwide recruiting buzz, and highlight reel that went viral thanks to a dunk where he hit his chin on the rim. Xavier fans were penciling him in for the numbers than went along with all of that before he even set foot on the court. Then, things took an unexpected detour.

Before Xavier even tipped off their preseason exhibition Tandy got hurt. What started as a foot injury that Coach Travis Steele expected to limit the freshman for “just a couple of weeks” ended up lingering into the season, past a month, and eventually until it cost the highly touted freshman eight games. Instead of getting his feet wet against Jacksonville and Siena and getting a first taste of the big time in Charleston, Tandy faced having two games to get tuned up for the Shootout.

It’s no stretch to say that Tandy’s arrival on the court against Lipscomb was one of the most anticipated Xavier debuts in a long time. KyKy didn’t disappoint, either, confidently stepping into a 25 footer and jarring it for his first shot attempt as a Musketeer. Tandy wasn’t bashful after that, either, getting up seven shots in 14 minutes and accruing a 22% usage rate. In his second game against Green Bay, KyKy was one of the few Musketeers in attack mode. A tantalizing display of his talent came with a James Hardenesque jab step into a step back three just two minutes after entering the game. Later, Tandy attacked the rim and hung in the air before flipping in a right handed finish that called to mind Jordan Crawford.

It’s not possible to draw complete conclusions from 29 minutes of play. It’s been a good 29 minutes, but that’s not even a game. What have we learned about Tandy in those 29 minutes?

Coach Steele trusts him

At times yesterday with Quentin Goodin on the floor, it was KyKy Tandy bringing the ball up. Tandy also saw floor time with both Paul Scruggs and Goodin in smaller, quicker lineup. In that one he also spent a lot of time on the ball. This is likely because Tandy has avoided the turnovers that usually plague freshman guards. Again, it has only been 29 minutes, but Tandy only has one turnover and a TO rate of 7.9% to go with his two assists and rate of 14.8%. That’s essentially a solid game’s worth of numbers. Not much, but it shows his head man is willing to give him the ball.

He’s not at all afraid of the situation

There’s been no hesitation in Tandy from the moment he took the court. His first shot came from long range without so much as a pause. Since then, Tandy has racked up a 25% usage rate and 34.8% shots rate while he’s on the floor. That has turned into a 104.3 offensive rating and a shooting line of .333/.300/1.00. That’s not stellar, but yesterday’s game was already a step in the right direction. What it definitely shows is a young man not at all afraid to take a game on.

He’s healthy

Plenty of bounce, plenty of lateral quickness, and speed to burn. There’s been nary a limped step or wince (aside from getting whacked in the face). It seems like Coach Steele’s insistence on not rushing KyKy back has paid off.

There’s not a lot you can take from just one game worth of playing time, but in that time KyKy Tandy has showed that he is ready to go. He’s healthy, he’s willing to attack, and he has the trust of his coach. It’s onward and upward from here. The Crosstown Shootout was certainly a great place for another freshman guard with plenty of bounce to have his coming out party.