Rather than a full on preview for each player on the roster this year we will be attempting to focus on one question that will determine how the player might fit on the team. The questions aren’t designed to carry either a positive or negative connotation, just really suss out how the roster is built. We’ll start with the freshman and build on to the players everyone knows.
In somewhere around six hours Xavier will take the court for the first time this season. While the competition may not be top tier, all eyes will still be riveted to the court. It’s the start of the season and Xavier is back. The most important person on the team, for any team, is the point guard. Who Xavier’s point guard will be remains, this close to tip, a mystery.
The options come down to Adam Kunkel, Desmond Claude, and Souley Boum. The other two we have discussed, now it’s time for Boum.
The advantage that Boum has over the other two is that he has spent significant time as a point guard at the college level before. Per KenPom Boum was the second most used point guard for UTEP last season. Boum played fewer minutes as the one, but appeared in more of the most used lineups as the point guard.
Bart Torvik saw Boum as moving from a wing guard early in his career to a combo guard the last couple of seasons. His offensive breakdown there, it should be noted, peaked when he used the ball on 22.8% of possessions. In those games his offensive efficiency was extremely high at 121.2. In that five game band of excellence (not Boum’s five best games, but the five where his usage and efficiency meshed best) his assist rate was consistently over 20%. The more he shot, the lower his efficiency tended to be. That’s generally the rule with any player, but it’s instructive when it comes to a team looking for a point guard.
The other thing a guard needs to be able to do is, well, guard. Every metric agrees that Boum struggles there. Evan Miya, an excellent metrics site, actually sees Boum as a negative contributor on the defensive end. With that in mind, the other two players figure to be more useful than Boum, and not by a small margin.
That’s the last of the point guard contenders. Boum is the leader in the clubhouse. His experience both running the point and in general give him an edge there. He won’t be the highest usage player on this Xavier team, and that could actually lead to an uptick in his assist rate. If that happens, the problem is solved, at least on one end of the floor. In game where he shoots less than ten times he could function as a true point guard. Boum’s shots climbing could be an indication that Xavier’s offense is struggling to get on track.