2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: Xavier

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Xavier Musketeers (Last Year: 17-14, 9-7 in A-10)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

F/C: Matt Stainbrook (Jr)/James Farr (Soph)

PF: Isaiah Philmore (Sr)/Jaylen Reynolds (Fr)/Erik Stenger (Sr)

SF: Justin Martin (Jr)/Kamall Richards (Fr)

G: Dee Davis (Jr)/Myles Davis (Fr)

PG: Semaj Christon (Soph)/Brandon Randolph (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Jeff Robinson, PF-Travis Taylor, SG-Brad Redford

2013-14 Outlook:
After being one of the premiere programs in the Atlantic 10 for nearly two decades, the Xavier Musketeers take a step up in competition by moving to the Big East. Their streak of seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances ended last year and will more than likely extend another season.

The biggest bright spot in a rather disappointing 2012-2013 season was the play of freshman point guard Semaj Christon, who led Xavier in scoring while averaging more than 15 points per game. He is at his best off the bounce but needs to limit his turnovers and improve his outside shooting to take the next step in his game.

Dee Davis will once again be Christon’s backcourt mate and is capable of playing either guard spot. Davis is also the Musketeers’ top returning three-point threat, which becomes an area of concern since the team loses three-point specialist Brad Redford. There isn’t a whole lot of depth at guard, meaning freshmen Myles Davis and Brandon Randolph need to play immediately. Davis redshirted last season and Mack will need his long range shooting off the bench. Randolph brings more explosiveness to the point guard position, but might find minutes hard to come by.

Justin Martin returns to the small forward position. He is a solid role player due to his combination of strength and athleticismsm. Richards is a lefty with similar size and stature as Martin and should see minutes in a reserve role.

The frontcourt gets a boost with the addition of Western Michigan transfer Matt Stainbrook. He provides the true big body down low that Xavier lacked last season. Isaiah Philmore should step into the starting power forward after a solid, though certainly not spectacular, first year with the Musketeers after transferring in from Towson. Energy role player Erik Stenger, the seldom-used James Farr, and redshirt freshmen Jaylen Reynolds will compete for playing time off the bench.

Mack also added Indiana transfer Remy Abell during the offseason though he must sit out this upcoming season. With already three top-100 level recruits committed for 2014, Xavier figures to be a player in the new Big East in the very near future; just don’t expect big things in the Musketeers’ inaugural year in the their new home.

Player to Watch: Semaj Christon, PG
You can make a solid argument that Christon is the best point guard in the conference. Last year’s A-10 Rookie of the Year has caught the eyes of NBA scouts and might bolt for the NBA after this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/12 vs. Tennessee
  • 11/28 vs. Iowa (Battle 4 Atlantis)
  • 11/29 vs. Tennessee/UTEP (Battle 4 Atlantis)
  • 12/1 vs. Kansas/Wake Forest/Villanova/USC (Battle 4 Atlantis)
  • 12/14 vs. Cincinnati
  • 12/21 at Alabama
  • 12/28 vs. Wake Forest

  • Predicted Big East Finish: 7th

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