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Player Preview: James Farr

James Farr burned a year of eligibility on 42 minutes last year. Whether or not he should have redshirted, the sophomore now faces a fight for playing time.

This is where James Farr spent most of his time last season.
This is where James Farr spent most of his time last season.

James Farr played 22 minutes against Fairleigh Dickinson to start last year. With large chunks of the team missing for various reasons, Xavier needed someone to step in. Farr responded with 14/4/0 on 6-7 from the floor and 2-3 from deep. For the rest of the season, Farr played 20 minutes, scored two points, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Even with the outburst in the first game taken in to consideration, it's difficult to understand why Farr didn't redshirt. He didn't though, and now he enters this season with only 42 more minutes experience than most of the people watching.

The reasons it was tempting for Coach Mack to keep Farr on the bench are pretty obvious. Highly touted as a pick and pop four coming out of high school, Farr didn't do anything to disprove that idea. While he finished 2-8 from the behind the arc, Farr was 2-3 in that FDU game when he actually had a chance to settle into a rhythm. According to ESPN "On the pop action he can knock down open shots to the arc with time and although he needs to add strength to better hold his low post position he can score with his great length and quickness." While those abilities didn't see the floor much last year, the attention other teams paid to Farr when he did sneak off the bench show that they are not illusory.

Of course, all of that information is basically still what the word was on Farr when he arrived at Xavier. What can you learn in 42 minutes spread over an entire season? Walk-on Landen Amos, in admittedly odd circumstances, played 132 more minutes than that. Farr rebounded passingly well, but even that bright spot is tempered by the fact that most of those rebounds came in garbage time. Only against Tennessee, in one of the worst games of basketball ever seen, did Farr play even five minutes. Production with Farr may come down to playing time, but that time won't be any easier to come by this year.

Best case scenario: If Xavier needs to spread the floor with a big and Philmore isn't hitting, Farr remains a solid option. Off a pick and roll or just dragging his man outside, James presents a very viable option for a penetrating guard to find. If that ability showcases itself early, Farr could play 12-15 minutes per contest as a stretch four and really give opponents fits. (Think Raphiael Putney at his best). In that kind of time it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to expect 5/3/1 from the big man.

Worst case scenario: Playing time for Farr wasn't readily available in one of Xavier's worst seasons in recent memory, and the team got a lot better in the offseason. Kamall Richards, Matt Stainbrook, and Jalen Reynolds have all joined the team since then, Erik Stenger was granted a scholarship, and Isaiah Philmore is threatening to become irreplaceable. Into that miasma of names, Farr must somehow insert his. Not possessed of any skill so great that is must play, James slides to the end of the bench and transfers at the end of the season.

Most likely scenario: Sadly for Farr, it's probably closer to the worst case than to the best. Farr can't rebound like Reynolds and Philmore, can't consistently score like Stainbrook, and can't slash like Richards. That means that Farr will absolutely have to capitalize on every single chance he gets. With a team this deep though, those chances figure to be few and far between unless the big man starts burying some shots.