First, the news:
JUST IN: KyKy Tandy is leaving the transfer portal and returning to #Xavier, said Travis Steele.— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) April 9, 2021
This is not superficially seismic news. Kyky Tandy shot 36% from three last year and averaged 6.6 PPG overall. After starting the year hot, he got shuffled to the back of the rotation in Big East play, averaging just 8.8 MPG in conference games. His ORtg of 101 on the nose doesn't portend huge things necessarily.
This feels huge. With Tandy returning, Xavier brings back every major contributor from last year bar Jason Carter, who they have replaced with Iowa transfer Jack Nunge. It was not secret that Tandy was outside of the circle of trust at the end of last year, drawing a DNP-CD in Xavier's final game of the season, an OT loss against Butler. Despite that, he has chosen to come back and fight for minutes and a role on the Muskies.
A cynic might find this to be an indication of how far Tandy's stock has fallen, but I think it's more likely that he is willing to accept the role Travis Steele envisions for him and to put in the work to earn his minutes in a highly competitive back court. This is perhaps the ultimate bet-on-yourself move for Tandy; he could have easily found a starring role at a mid-major or slotted into the rotation at another major school. Instead he is counting on his ability to make the case that it couldn't last season.
If Xavier has a healthy, happy Kyky Tandy filling a role on the roster, this looks like a very dangerous team indeed.