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Who will be Xavier's next NBA draft pick?

The program exists primarily for competing at the collegiate level, not creating NBA players, but NBA players usually help make college team competitive. Let's do some speculating.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Xavier
Maybe one of these dudes?
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently the NBA draft lottery occurred very recently, leading to a slew of mock drafts being published by sites desperate for some #content during the continued pandemic-related slowdown of sports. While your friend and mine Naji Marshall has shown up late in the second round of some of the mock drafts, most of them are sadly bereft of Musketeers. Xavier hasn't had a player drafted since Ed Sumner went 52nd overall in the 2017 draft.

Is the player to break that streak on the current roster? I don't know (obviously), but that's not going to stop me from speculating. Let's run down some candidates.

Paul Scruggs

Scruggs has a lot going for him. He's a consensus top-50 recruit who has been productive in college, he has good length, and he's been an efficient scorer for Xavier. He's a good defender on the ball as well.

I think where he will have trouble is that he's not in possession of ideal two-guard size in the NBA, and it's not clear he's cut out to play the point for long stretches of time. He also doesn't have the kind of high-level athleticism that would allow him to run through a crowd and punch on someone like Ed Sumner does.

Much of Scruggs's value at the collegiate level comes from how clever he is. He can score at all three levels and finishes well around the rim with either hand. He also flashed a good set of post moves last season. His craft allows him to get a ton of value out of his ability, but it also might indicate to potential future employers that he's already producing at close to his ceiling.

Zach Freemantle

The fact that we're skipping from Scruggs right to Freemantle speaks to how tough the recruiting was in the transition to the Steele Era. Anywho...

Freemantle is an interesting case here. He has the right size to play a stretch big position, and his skill set seems to show potential for that role. Almost 70% of his shots last season came from away from the rim, and he hit 40% of those, including 35% of his three-point attempts. He posted good rebounding rates and block rate as a freshman, and he has a very high basketball IQ.

He posted 7.5 and 4.3 as a freshman in the Big East, which is a great return. If Freemantle continues to develop both in terms of skill and physical prowess, I have to imagine he'll be on some radars as his career progresses.

Kyky Tandy

Is being able to dunk on seven-footers good? It seems good.

After a slow start as he worked through some injury problems, Tandy took off in conference play. He showed that he's a really instinctive scorer and absolutely fearless in any basketball context. He posted 7.7 PPG in conference play and hit 38.4% of his three-point attempts in that time. His athletic ability is off the charts, and there were times he was borderline unplayable for opponents.

For Tandy to get drafted, he would have to prove to be either an unstoppable scorer or a point guard. You can certainly see the foundation of someone who can't be held, but his assist rate was more reminiscent of a post player than a distributor. His road to the league and his path to his most productive college self might not entirely overlap, but it's not out of the question that he would develop into the kind of dominant college guard that forces NBA front offices to take notice.

Dieonte Miles

Wild card! Miles is yet to log a minute in NCAA competition, but a redshirt season seems to have - if social media is any indication - done him a world of good. He showed in Spain at about this time last year that he can run the floor well for a big man and that he has a skill set that can make him formidable on both ends of the floor. He also has great size, which isn't something that can be understated. He's a really tall dude.

Maybe he blows up as a freshman like Justin Patton. Maybe he grows into a monster over the course of multiple years in college. A dude who can get up and down the floor well and has 15 feet of scoring range but has to duck to make it through a doorway is also going to have potential to hear his name called.

An incoming freshman

Maybe Dwon Odom is just so strong and bouncy that nobody can keep him from getting into the middle and wrecking defenses. Maybe CJ Wilcher just can't stop drilling jumpers. Maybe Colby Jones can defend four positions and counter defensive adjustments with his versatility. It's tough to make a call on kids who are still looking forward to their first in-person class, but the crop of talent Travis Steele et al. have accumulated here has exciting potential.

Maybe none of these dudes get drafted, or maybe all of them do. I hope we have a season this year to let them put some work on tape.