Standing lower than two months between the beginning of the 2022-23 faculty basketball season, and in some ways, the atmosphere across the Xavier College males’s basketball crew could be very totally different from that interval final 12 months.
New boss, which is definitely Xavier’s previous boss. New assistant coaches. New power coach. Some gamers graduated, many returned, and three new Scholarship gamers joined the roster of the crew that received the Nationwide Invitational Championship six months in the past.
Listed here are 10 concepts for the upcoming season.
The return of Shawn Miller
When Xavier break up from Travis Steele in March, Miller shortly emerged as the very best candidate, and it solely took just a few days for the 2 events to agree on a deal.
With Jay Wright’s retirement at Villanova, Xavier is now one of the skilled and profitable coaches on the Large East Convention, a convention held by Miller in Pittsburgh.
Miller’s 422nd profession was ranked third among the many lively coaches within the Large East, behind Craigon Greg McDermott (556) and Butler Thad Mata (439).
Miller is a confirmed coach who can compete within the NCAA Championships and compete for the convention championships. He is greater than able to getting Xavier again to the place he expects it to be.
The query this season is what Miller can do with the roster that he inherited nearly the entire former teaching employees.
Colby Jones’ potential
There might have been some manufacturing gaps over the previous two seasons. Maybe you’ll be able to attribute it to rising pains, or order, or maybe the encircling items weren’t all the time good.
One factor is for positive: If Colby Jones can put collectively a complete season the best way he completed final 12 months, and win the Nationwide Invitational Match MVP award, Xavier may have a famous person within the Large East and past.
Over the past 11 video games final season, Jones averaged 14.7 factors, 6.7 rebounds, and three.8 assists.
Discuss to The Enquirer over the summer time about areas he desires to enhance. Final season, Jones shot 29% from the 3-point vary and 68% from the foul streak.
Jones is a powerful defender, an amazing activist, and a playmaker. He can deal with the ball and make the precise strikes – he has confirmed it. If he might be productive outdoors of the arc and extra environment friendly on the spoiled line, he’ll test all of the packing containers.
play level guard
The bottom’s place has not been very dependable for the previous 4 seasons. For a number of causes, this submit lacked consistency and manufacturing.
Xavier is hoping Sully Baume can change that in his UTEP switch deal. Increase’s best attribute is his skill to attain and attain the free throw line. Final season within the UTEP, Pom performed 37 minutes a recreation and averaged 19.9 factors, which ranked twenty third nationally in all the Division I, and his 172 free throws had been eighth nationwide.
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If he can care for the ball and make it simpler for his teammates, then he can stabilize that mode and permit Xavier’s offense to run extra effectively.
Increase will get some assist. Desmond Claude, the brand new beginning guard, did properly over the summer time, in accordance with coaches and teammates. Claude is an actual keeper. He may have an opportunity to make an impression as a brand new scholar.
Over the previous 4 seasons, capturing round Xavier has been a obtrusive drawback. Of the nation’s 353 Division I groups, Xavier’s 3-point shot ratio has ranked within the backside half nationally over the previous 4 years (236, 282, 229 and 250, respectively).
That is the product of selecting picks, who’s making an attempt to make use of 3 pointers, and the way typically. Xavier would not anticipate to hit a doubtlessly nasty shootout from the ocean once more.
Adam Kunkel will most likely get essentially the most oceanic seems to be this season. He had 162 three-pointers final season and made 33% of them.
It won’t solely fall on Kunkel’s shoulders. Increase hit 37% of three factors final season. Jack Nong is a succesful behind-the-bow shooter. Zach Fremantle and Jerome Hunter should be extra eclectic than deep. Fremantle and Hunter had been a mixed 26 for 112 of three final season.
The best factor Freshman Kam Craft received out of highschool was getting shot. It could take some time for that to translate to school degree, but when it does, it may possibly actually assist Xavier’s exterior arsenal.
An alternative choice might be older KyKy Tandy, who’s lastly in good well being after needing end-of-season surgical procedure final 12 months. In line with a number of accounts on the present, Tandy has modified his physique and is in nice form. If he can discover his option to the bottom, he is without doubt one of the finest shooters on the record.
Schedule and commentary loom
A fast tour by means of the non-conference portion of Xavier’s schedule, and it is fairly clear he is assembled for a crew anticipated to be within the NCAA Championships subsequent March.
The Knights play Indiana and West Virginia at dwelling, Cincinnati on the best way, they usually head to Portland on Thanksgiving for the Phil Knight Legacy, the place they open to Florida, then both Duke or Oregon State, and the third recreation might be in opposition to Gonzaga, Purdue, West Virginia, Or Portland.
It is a powerful schedule and might be much more difficult relying on the looming potential suspension for Miller, arising from the NCAA wrongdoing challenge from his time in Arizona.
It’s nonetheless unclear when this determination can be issued. He may are available in October earlier than the season begins, which might be helpful. Xavier will know the way lengthy Miller can be and what video games he’ll miss. It will also be decided later, maybe after the season has already began.
As the choice goes down, assistant coach Adam Cohen is predicted to function Xavier’s coach in any match Miller may miss.
Xavier’s expertise needs to be a powerful level. It is a secure assumption that Xavier’s beginning lineup can be Baume, Konkel, Jones, Fremantle and Nong.
These 5 gamers performed in a complete of 460 faculty basketball video games throughout their profession with 268 video games between them.
This could mix in properly with a brand new coach who has 17 years of expertise and has received 73% of his matches, however it might take a while.
Past the beginning, Xavier is not with out depth both. These competitions are ongoing and it is going to be helpful to see who will win minutes off the bench.
Nong performed quite a bit final season, scoring 26.5 minutes per recreation for a person who was coming off his second main knee damage and solely began coaching just a few weeks earlier than the season began. When Xavier immersed himself in crew play, there was an extension final season the place Nunge seemed a bit exhausted.
With a full coaching interval below his belt, we hope he is higher ready for this season. Even then, it is going to be vital to maintain your Nunge as contemporary as doable all through the season.
He was arguably the very best participant final season Xavier, main the crew in scoring (13.4), rebounding (7.4) and blocking photographs (50).
Behind the Nunge, Xavier truly has three different actual massive guys in Freemantle, Dieonte Miles, and Cesare Edwards.
Fremantle can be on the bottom. He can rating and if he commits to rebounding, he may help Xavier at each ends of the earth.
However this third man can be vital.
Miles and Edwards performed to a restricted extent final season. Miles performed early within the season when Fremantle missed as a result of a foot damage. Edwards performed extra on the finish of final season. They provide totally different kinds. Miles are extra cell and have an effect on the sport extra on the defensive finish. Edwards performs aggressively and is extra aggressive. These contrasting approaches may enable each to play, nevertheless it stays an intriguing battle for who would be the first massive man to take a seat on the bench.
The blueprint makes the crew
Miller is aware of how he desires to play. Throughout final season when he wasn’t coach, Miller talked on the podcast about how he was in a position to watch a whole lot of basketball, examine analytics, and put a whole lot of thought into how he desires to play when he returns to teaching.
He has mentioned that he desires to play quicker than any of his earlier groups. Speak about how he likes the look of getting two goalkeepers deal with the ball on the bottom collectively to assist accommodate that rhythm. He desires Xavier to be a man-to-man defensive crew that has the power to leap right into a zone at occasions.
One of the attention-grabbing issues to look at this season can be how totally different Xavier seems to be in comparison with final season. They’re just about the identical gamers with two exceptions, however how the scheme adjustments and the best way every little thing works might be very totally different.
Xavier cannot depend on his beginning lineup on a regular basis. Somebody on the bench, ideally two or three gamers, must fill vital roles and needs to be trusted to take action.
The 2 most evident solutions are the freshmen – Claude and Kraft.
Craft brings ambient firepower to a crew that has struggled capturing recently. Claude provides consistency and reliability within the again space, one other space that has been falling quick.
For brand new college students, it is a course of. Study protection jargon and perceive how one can make the precise choices. In the event that they each handle to get by means of this course of efficiently, there isn’t a purpose why they can not have an effect on the crew.
Two different choices might be Miles and Tandy. Each had been members of the 2019 Xavier Recruitment Class and neither discovered their spot within the rotation. Early proof means that they each had sturdy summers. However will that proceed into the season?
Rigidity on the end line
Nobody must be reminded of how Xavier’s previous few seasons ended.
February and March had been the disappointing months at Victory Parkway. Sturdy groups are solely beginning to fade alongside the sprawl. It is essentially the most compelling purpose the Knights have not been within the NCAA event in 4 years.
That is why Miller is again – to develop the toughness wanted to complete the season stronger and higher than when he began.