Standing lower than two months between the beginning of the 2022-23 faculty basketball season, and in some ways, the surroundings across the Xavier College males’s basketball group may be very completely 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 group that gained the Nationwide Invitational Championship six months in the past.
Listed below 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 perfect candidate, and it solely took a number of 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 successful 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 possibly can attribute it to rising pains, or order, or maybe the encircling items weren’t all the time excellent.
One factor is for certain: If Colby Jones can put collectively a whole season the way in which he completed final 12 months, and win the Nationwide Invitational Event MVP award, Xavier may have a famous person within the Large East and past.
During the last 11 video games final season, Jones averaged 14.7 factors, 6.7 rebounds, and three.8 assists.
Speak 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 robust defender, an ideal activist, and a playmaker. He can deal with the ball and make the correct strikes – he has confirmed it. If he will be productive exterior 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 place lacked consistency and productiveness.
Xavier is hoping Sully Baume can change that in his UTEP switch deal. Growth’s biggest attribute is his means to attain and attain the free throw line. Final season within the UTEP, Pom performed 37 minutes a sport and averaged 19.9 factors, which ranked twenty third nationally in the complete Division I, and his 172 free throws had been eighth nationwide.
“I felt wanted right here”:From Mosswood Park in Auckland to Xavier, meet Sully Growth
If he can handle the ball and make it simpler for his teammates, then he can stabilize that mode and permit Xavier’s offense to run extra effectively.
Growth will get some assist. Desmond Claude, the brand new beginning guard, did effectively over the summer time, in accordance with coaches and teammates. Claude is an actual keeper. He can have an opportunity to make an impression as a brand new scholar.
Over the previous 4 seasons, taking pictures round Xavier has been a obvious 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 choosing picks, who’s attempting to make use of 3 pointers, and the way typically. Xavier would not anticipate to hit a probably nasty shootout from the ocean once more.
Adam Kunkel will most likely get probably the most oceanic seems this season. He had 162 three-pointers final season and made 33% of them.
It is not going to solely fall on Kunkel’s shoulders. Growth 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 bought out of highschool was getting shot. It might take some time for that to translate to school degree, but when it does, it may actually assist Xavier’s exterior arsenal.
Another choice may very well be older KyKy Tandy, who’s lastly in good well being after needing end-of-season surgical procedure final 12 months. In response to a number of accounts on the present, Tandy has modified his physique and is in nice form. If he can discover his method to the bottom, he is among the finest shooters on the listing.
Schedule and commentary loom
A fast tour by way of the non-conference portion of Xavier’s schedule, and it is fairly clear he is assembled for a group anticipated to be within the NCAA Championships subsequent March.
The Knights play Indiana and West Virginia at house, Cincinnati on the way in which, 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 sport may very well be in opposition to Gonzaga, Purdue, West Virginia, Or Portland.
It is a powerful schedule and may very well be much more difficult relying on the looming potential suspension for Miller, arising from the NCAA wrongdoing difficulty from his time in Arizona.
It’s nonetheless unclear when this resolution might be issued. He may are available in October earlier than the season begins, which might be helpful. Xavier will understand how lengthy Miller might 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 anticipated to function Xavier’s coach in any match Miller would possibly miss.
Xavier’s expertise ought to be a robust level. It is a secure assumption that Xavier’s beginning lineup might 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 effectively with a brand new coach who has 17 years of expertise and has gained 73% of his matches, however it could take a while.
Past the beginning, Xavier is not with out depth both. These competitions are ongoing and will probably be helpful to see who will win minutes off the bench.
Nong performed rather a lot final season, scoring 26.5 minutes per sport for a person who was coming off his second main knee harm and solely began coaching a number of weeks earlier than the season began. When Xavier immersed himself in group play, there was an extension final season the place Nunge regarded a bit exhausted.
With a full coaching interval underneath his belt, we hope he is higher ready for this season. Even then, will probably be necessary to maintain your Nunge as recent as potential all through the season.
He was arguably the perfect participant final season Xavier, main the group in scoring (13.4), rebounding (7.4) and blocking pictures (50).
Behind the Nunge, Xavier really has three different actual large guys in Freemantle, Dieonte Miles, and Cesare Edwards.
Fremantle might be on the bottom. He can rating and if he commits to rebounding, he can assist Xavier at each ends of the earth.
However this third man might be necessary.
Miles and Edwards performed to a restricted extent final season. Miles performed early within the season when Fremantle missed on account of a foot harm. Edwards performed extra on the finish of final season. They provide completely different types. Miles are extra cellular 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, however it stays an intriguing battle for who would be the first large man to sit down on the bench.
The blueprint makes the group
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 capable of watch lots of basketball, research analytics, and put lots 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 group that has the flexibility to leap right into a zone at occasions.
Probably the most attention-grabbing issues to look at this season might be how completely different Xavier seems in comparison with final season. They’re just about the identical gamers with two exceptions, however how the scheme adjustments and the way in which every thing works will be very completely different.
Xavier cannot rely on his beginning lineup on a regular basis. Somebody on the bench, ideally two or three gamers, must fill necessary roles and must be trusted to take action.
The 2 most blatant solutions are the freshmen – Claude and Kraft.
Craft brings ambient firepower to a group that has struggled taking pictures recently. Claude affords consistency and reliability within the again space, one other space that has been falling quick.
For brand spanking new college students, it is a course of. Be taught protection jargon and perceive how one can make the correct selections. In the event that they each handle to get by way of this course of efficiently, there isn’t a purpose why they can not have an effect on the group.
Two different choices may very well 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 probably 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.