Standing lower than two months between the beginning of the 2022-23 school basketball season, and in some ways, the atmosphere across the Xavier College males’s basketball staff 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 staff that gained 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 cut up from Travis Steele in March, Miller rapidly emerged as one of the best candidate, and it solely took a couple of days for the 2 events to agree on a deal.
With Jay Wright’s retirement at Villanova, Xavier is now one of the vital skilled and successful coaches on the Massive East Convention, a convention held by Miller in Pittsburgh.
Miller’s 422nd profession was ranked third among the many energetic coaches within the Massive 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 all the former teaching workers.
Colby Jones’ potential
There might have been some manufacturing gaps over the previous two seasons. Maybe you may attribute it to rising pains, or order, or maybe the encircling items weren’t at all times excellent.
One factor is for certain: 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 celebrity within the Massive 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 powerful defender, a terrific activist, and a playmaker. He can deal with the ball and make the best strikes – he has confirmed it. If he could be productive exterior of the arc and extra environment friendly on the spoiled line, he’ll verify all of the 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. Increase’s best attribute is his capacity 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 your entire Division I, and his 172 free throws have been eighth nationwide.
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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.
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 could have an opportunity to make an impression as a brand new scholar.
Over the previous 4 seasons, taking pictures round Xavier has been a evident downside. 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 making an attempt to make use of 3 pointers, and the way usually. Xavier does not anticipate to hit a doubtlessly nasty shootout from the ocean once more.
Adam Kunkel will most likely get essentially the most oceanic appears to be like 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. 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 have been a mixed 26 for 112 of three final season.
The best factor Freshman Kam Craft acquired out of highschool was getting shot. It might take some time for that to translate to school stage, but when it does, it may actually assist Xavier’s exterior arsenal.
An alternative choice could possibly 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 solution to the bottom, he is likely one of the greatest shooters on the checklist.
Schedule and commentary loom
A fast tour via the non-conference portion of Xavier’s schedule, and it is fairly clear he is assembled for a staff 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 could possibly be in opposition to Gonzaga, Purdue, West Virginia, Or Portland.
It is a robust schedule and could possibly 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 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 can 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 may miss.
Xavier’s expertise needs to be a powerful level. It is a protected assumption that Xavier’s beginning lineup can be Baume, Konkel, Jones, Fremantle and Nong.
These 5 gamers performed in a complete of 460 school 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 gained 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 will probably be helpful to see who will win minutes off the bench.
Nong performed loads final season, scoring 26.5 minutes per recreation for a person who was coming off his second main knee damage and solely began coaching a couple of weeks earlier than the season began. When Xavier immersed himself in staff play, there was an extension final season the place Nunge seemed a bit exhausted.
With a full coaching interval beneath his belt, we hope he is higher ready for this season. Even then, will probably be vital to maintain your Nunge as contemporary as potential all through the season.
He was arguably one of the best participant final season Xavier, main the staff 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 can 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 can be vital.
Miles and Edwards performed to a restricted extent final season. Miles performed early within the season when Fremantle missed attributable to a foot damage. Edwards performed extra on the finish of final season. They provide completely different types. 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, but it surely stays an intriguing battle for who would be the first large man to sit down on the bench.
The blueprint makes the staff
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 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 sooner 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 staff that has the flexibility to leap right into a zone at instances.
One of the vital attention-grabbing issues to observe this season can be how completely different Xavier appears to be like in comparison with final season. They’re just about the identical gamers with two exceptions, however how the scheme modifications and the best way every part works could be very completely 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 blatant solutions are the freshmen – Claude and Kraft.
Craft brings ambient firepower to a staff that has struggled taking pictures these days. Claude presents 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. Study protection jargon and perceive the way to make the best choices. In the event that they each handle to get via this course of efficiently, there is no such thing as a motive why they can not have an effect on the staff.
Two different choices could possibly be Miles and Tandy. Each have 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 couple of seasons ended.
February and March have been the disappointing months at Victory Parkway. Sturdy groups are solely beginning to fade alongside the sprawl. It is essentially the most compelling motive 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.