Xavier basketball was rolling to a nerve-wracking end to the season, then a global pandemic hit the brakes so hard I went right into the windshield. We've shaken ourselves off a bit here and will continue, somewhat belatedly, with our breakdown of one of the weirdest Xavier seasons on record.
Dieonte Miles was not the purported gem of Xavier's 2019 class, but he was one of the most interesting pieces. At a staggering 6'11" but a nearly invisible 208 pounds and boasting a somewhat prolific injury history, he was definitely billed as a project out of high school. You can't teach size, though, and Miles has a skill set that compliments his incredible length. He has good mobility for a big man and snatches rebounds from all over the place in and out of his zone.
I think the two numbers that ultimately decided Miles's fate were 42 and 208. The 42 is, of course, the number of minutes that James Farr played while Xavier burnt his freshman year of eligibility. The 208 is his weight at the start of the season. For all of the feel Miles displayed in Spain on the preseason tour, his lack of bulk severely hampered his ability to make an impact in the half court.
The redshirt was ultimately a fairly obvious choice and the right one for both the team and Miles. Xavier was well-stocked on the post with Tyrique Jones throwing up monster numbers, Zach Freemantle emerging as a growing star, and Jason Carter holding down the four and forcing Dontarius James into a deep reserve role.
Travis Steele recently called Dieonte the most talented player on the roster, and he has reportedly added 20 pounds under the tutelage of Matt Jennings. With the aid of some bulk to help him in the middle of the floor and minutes opening up, Miles will have the opportunity to show whether or not his year investing in his future will pay immediate dividends for X.