First, the news:
Xavier has landed North Texas transfer big man Abou Ousmane, he told @stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 18, 2023
The 6-10, 230-pound big man averaged 11.1 points and 6 boards per game last season for the Mean Green.
Terrific, physical defender. Anchor of a big-time UNT defense.
Xavier has landed North Texas transfer big man Abou Ousmane. We'll break it down more fully below, but if you're in a hurry, here's the bottom line: he's a back to the basket post who does well on the glass and is an excellent defender. He's big and athletic; his ceiling in the Big East will be determined by his ability to refine his offensive game and stay out of foul trouble. Seton Hall, Providence, Syracuse, and LSU were among the other teams involved before Xavier beat them all to land Ousmane.
Ousmane is a much different big man than Jack Nunge was. While Nunge was a threat out to about 25 feet, Ousmane has attempted 1 three in his college career. He missed it. As shown in the tweet above, he averaged 11 and 6 last year after posting about the same the season before.
His shooting line jumps off the page, and not in a good way. He's a career .499/.000/.609 shooter, including .487/.000/.704 last season. There is a bit of a silver lining in the numbers though; according to both hoop-math.com and Bart Torvik, he shoots above 60% at the rim, but that mark was undermined by taking about 40% of his shots from the mid-range. Either adding a jumper or cutting down on the mid-range attempts would presumably lead to a jump in his efficiency.
Not that he was inefficient. He posted an ORtg of 107.1 last season, which is a solid number especially considering it came on massive usage. He stayed on the offensive glass and drew a ton of fouls, which he then cashed in on by making 70% of his FTs. He also had excellent ball security for a big man.
Defense was Ousmane's calling card at North Texas. He was the center of three top-50 defenses, including top-25 marks in his last two seasons. He blocked a lot of shots, showing a strong chest as a primary defender and good timing as a helper. Partially due to hunting blocks, he was a tick below elite as a defensive rebounder. Troublingly (in this context, not in terms of like actual life problems), he got called for more than 5 fouls per 40 minutes last year, including a staggering 7.5 per 40 in KenPom tier A games. Xavier played 16 such games last year; it wouldn't be optimal to have your rim protector taking himself out of half the games on your schedule.
Like fellow recent Conference USA to Xavier Quincy Olivari, Ousmane was asked to carry a lot of the load for his team last season. He figures to slide to a more complimentary role for the Muskies, which will presumably allow him to focus on doing what he does best rather than having to try to make something happens most trips down the floor.
Xavier lost a ton from its team whose season ended in the Sweet 16. It's barely mid-April and Sean Miller and his staff are well on their way to having finalized another dangerous roster.