Some technical difficulties slowed our poll results, but we’re back with the player-by-player autopsy of the season and a look at where each guy needs to develop to fit into next year’s plan.
Paul Scruggs came out of high school as the purported jewel of Chris Mack's last good class at Xavier. A big-bodied guard out of Indianapolis, he proved worthy of the hype as a freshman before leaping into the gap left by Tre and JP in his second season. A versatile scorer on one end and an attack dog on the other, Scruggs carries with him the Xavier tradition of having the toughest dudes on the court.
Community grade: A-
|Paul Scruggs||Votes||% of votes|
|Community GPA: 3.51|
The steps Paul took as a sophomore jump off the stat sheet. Despite shooting just 30.4% from beyond the arc as a freshman, he took 90 more threes and raised his 3P% to 37.5%. He was also just as good inside the arc as he had been on his debut despite more than doubling his volume. He also dished out a respectable 3.3 APG and rebounded like a small forward, posting a 12.5% DReb%. The beginning of January wasn't great for Xavier, but the only set of footprints in the sand was Paul's, as he ripped off a four-game stretch in which he averaged 38 MPG and a game line of 18/7/3.5 with only 3 total turnovers to help Xavier stay afloat while Q was out injured.
Banners staff grade: B+
Scruggernuts was rolling through the middle of the season, but he had a rough month of February, cracking double digits just twice and racking up 24 turnovers in 7 games. He was spotty down the stretch, dropping 28 on Nova in the conference tournament before putting up just 14 points and shooting 2-13 from deep in 2 NIT games. Scruggs carried a lot of minutes all year, and that burden might have hampered him a bit down the stretch. Still, he was Xavier's best player for parts of the year and established himself as a vocal on-court leader.
There's not much Paul can't do, really. The only gap left to fill in his offensive game is becoming a truly knockdown shooter from deep. Beyond that, he has great feel for the game and can score from all three levels. For all the talk of how Naji and Q will benefit from a little more guard depth, how that same luxury will benefit Scruggs seems to be flying a little bit beneath the radar. As he's able to focus his work on what he does best, don't be surprised to see his name working its way up mock drafts next year.