Over the weekend, Belmont transfer guard Adam Kunkel announced that he had chosen to continue his basketball career at Xavier. Kunkel had his choice of several local high-major programs, turning down the likes of UK and Louisville to make his way to Cintas. After scoring 2.3 PPG as a freshman, Kunkel dropped 16.5 last season. He'll sit one to play two at Xavier.
You can read Bryan's breakdown of the decision above. Below, I'll take a closer look at what Kunkel brings to X.
A much-needed deep threat
The top line of Kunkel's resume is that he can flat out stick. He's 94-253 (37.2%) from behind the arc in a Belmont uniform, including 83-213 (39%) last season. Xavier fans will also be delighted that he is 100-121 (82.6%) from the line on his career. For a team that struggled from both behind the arc and at the stripe, Kunkel's skill set will be a welcome addition.
More than a shooter
Kunkel is more than just a catch and shoot dude on offense. He took about a quarter of his shots from the rim and another quarter from the mid-range, a distribution reminiscent more of Myles Davis or Remy Abell than Brad Redford or Ryan Welage. He also jarred more than 41% of his mid-range jumpers last year, a number on par with what Tre and JP offered on those shots. Kunkel has excellent footwork and a quick, consistent release; he can find pockets of space on the floor and take advantage of them.
A guy with room to grow
The year off while making the jump from a low-major to the Big East should do Kunkel good. He measures out at 6'3", 165 in the program, an inch taller and 25 pounds lighter than Kyky Tandy, Xavier's smallest rotation player from last year. While Kunkel did a good job going to all three levels last year, his shooting percentage at the rim was just 53.6%, off the pace of Xavier's returning guards Tandy (57.6%) and Paul Scruggs (58.3%). Things aren't getting easier around the rim for him, and a year to add size and continue to add to his bag should help.
Ultimately, the difference between a starter, a rotation player, and a role guy off the bench is defense, and Kunkel is going to need to get bigger to be able to defend effectively at X. Depending on which metrics you like, he was either just above or just below average defensively at Belmont; the ability to be the kind of defender Coach Steele demands at Xavier will probably be what determines his immediate contribution at X.
I'm excited to have Kunkel on board. There's a reason so many good programs were after him, and it's hard to deny the value a shooter can have in the modern game. Please enjoy the below highlight mix from his time at Belmont, though you may want to do so with the volume down if you have impressionable minds in the area.