First off, the news. Dieonte Miles, Cesare Edwards, and Elijah Tucker have all elected to enter the transfer portal. As Kyky Tandy has demonstrated, that doesn’t necessarily mean the player is gone, but it’s most definitely a very big step in that direction. With these three, there’s not a lot of reason to think they will return.
Cesare is probably the most intriguing of the departures. Edwards got off to an inconsistent start this season, but ultimately played in every game in February and March. At times he has flashed a lot a skill in the post. Only Jerome Hunter finished at a higher rate near the rim and on the block than Edwards did this year. Cesare has demonstrated that he can score at the high major level. Xavier was at their most efficient offensively this season in the 230 possessions Edwards played, and Cesare himself rates higher in the Bayesian measures on offense than Des Claude. Sample size is, obviously, a serious concern here.
There are drawbacks, though. Edwards finished 27.9% of his possessions with a turnover, highest of anyone on the team that played 20 games and higher than everyone but Kam Craft overall. His hands are questionable at best. If you need to drop a baby off an apartment building to a Xavier player, Edwards may not be your guy. Cesare also has a bad habit of nodding off defensively. He’s actually pretty good when defending his man, but Terrell Burden scored a layup in the Kennesaw State game about two feet from where Edwards was facing the wrong direction.
All told, Cesare seems like the kind of guy who can still develop into a good big. His effort is high and he rebounds well. Drop him in the MAC or the American and he’s going to put up good numbers and get good minutes. A mid major coach will happily snap him up.
Miles profiles almost the exact opposite as Edwards. He can guard one to five in short spans, he erases shots, and he’s very quick for his size. However, he’s hopeless on offense. In just 12 games this year his offensive efficiency rating was 70. Last season in 18 games it was 91. For his career he’s 12-40 from the line. Miles actually finishes very well at the rim, he just struggles to get there.
On defense, he’s a menace. Last season no player on the team came near his DBPR and Xavier’s defensive efficiency with Miles on the court was an incredibly low 80.3. That’s an otherworldly low number than demonstrates how he can change a game with his defense. His block rate his first two season was 13.9% and 9.7%. That’s excellent.
Ultimately, Miles is going to play as much as his offense gets him on the court. Surrounded by offensive stars he could be a great defensive piece. He could be a sort of defensive star off the bench for a team looking to lock down for a two or three minute stretch. His ceiling is limited by his offensive ability.
Tucker just never got his chance here. It was injury first, then a long road to try to catch back up. Unfortunately, that just didn’t pan out at Xavier. His career line is 7/5/2 on 2-10 shooting. Hopefully he lands somewhere where he can get the playing time to flash the skill set that landed him here.
As harsh as it may sound, Xavier can afford to lose these three guys. Edwards stings the most, because you don’t have to squint much to see a really good player in there. The three of them leaving means Xavier has to find 278 total minutes elsewhere. That’s essentially Kyky Tandy’s time this season. Sean Miller shouldn’t have to work too hard to find that in recruits, the transfer portal, or even just a healthy Kam Craft.