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Season Preview: Who are these guys?

It’s cold, it’s grey, and it’s perpetually raining. That can only mean it’s time to get excited!

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Midwest Regional
At least we know this guy
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

We’re back! The summer was over. It was filled with two baseball teams that flattered to deceive, an excellent Women’s World Cup, and the oppressive humid heat that comes with Ohio in the summer. That’s all in the past now. College basketball, praise God, is back. With that comes your favorite (just go with it) brother-run Xavier site. The podcast will be back soon, but for now we’re jumping into previewing the team that will take the court for Xavier this year.

In the cult classic movie Major League the Cleveland Indians (as they were called at the time) are a team rebuilding and trying to save money by bringing in a bunch of scrap heap players. This is the same strategy the Dolans employ now. Fans are looking through the paper and scanning the roster and incredulously ask “who are these guys?”

That same question can be asked of Xavier this season. If you turn the television on November 6th and hope to see a face you recognize, you may be a bit stunned. Sean Miller is there, but here is a list of guys who appeared for the Musketeers last season and won’t this season: Colby Jones, Adam Kunkel, Souley Boum, Jack Nunge, Jerome Hunter, Zach Freemantle, Cesare Edwards, KyKy Tandy, Dieonte Miles, and Elijah Tucker. That is 10 players who were either drafted, transferred, graduated, or will miss the season with injury.

So what does that leave? Desmond Claude and Kam Craft, basically. Xavier doesn’t even return 30 minutes per game. You need 200 minutes per game to field a full team for the entire contest. Bradley Colbert, Bob Nunge, Michael Wolf, and Ian Sabourin are also back, but, and no offense to those guys, they don’t figure to play a major role this season.

So who are these guys? Well, I hope you’ve brushed up on your language skills, because Sean Miller has brought in an eclectic group. Abou Ousmane hails from Brooklyn and has played for North Texas for the last three years. Kachi Nzeh was born in Pennsylvania to Nigerian parents. His full name, Onyekachi Uchechukwu Nzeh, would be a bit difficult for the student section to work into a chant. He’s a freshman three star recruit.

Eastern Europe will also be heavily represented for X this season. Lazar Djokovic (Serbia), Sasa Ciani (Slovenia), and Gytis Nemeiksa (Lithuania) are all big body forwards with experience playing on the club level in Europe. Toss in recruit freshman Dailyn Swain, Trey Green, and Reid Ducharme and you have seven new players when added to the diaspora.

But that’s still not all. Quincy Olivari (Rice) has four seasons under his belt already. Dayvion McKnight (WKU) also brings a good deal of experience to a callow team. Helpfully, Xavier has included a pronunciation guide on their roster site this season to help with getting to know the new guys.

So that’s a brief overview of just who these guys are. If you like Des Claude last season or thought that Kam Craft added a lot in limited minutes you’re in luck, because both figure to have a hand in bringing along the players who have never donned the white, grey, black, gold, or blue before. Beyond that, though, this team has an entirely new look. What can we expect from all of these new faces? We’ll spend the next couple of weeks exploring just that.