#27 Xavier Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Xavier Musketeers
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #2 Big East
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Coach Travis Steele has stepped into a great situation. The long time Xavier assistant has taken over the head coaching job after being an assistant with the program since 2008. Last season the Musketeers went into the NCAA Tournament as a #1 seed. While that tournament did not go as well as hoped, this group should pick up where they left off and make another push towards a Big East title and a high seed in the tournament.
2017-18 Record: 29-6, 15-3
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Travis Steele
Coach Record: 0-0 at Xavier, 0-0 overall
Key Departed Players:
Trevon Bluiett, Guard, 19.3 ppg
J.P. Macura, Guard, 12.9 ppg
Karem Kanter, Forward, 10.9 ppg
Kaiser Gates, Forward, 7.2 ppg
Sean O’Mara, Forward, 6.7 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Quentin Goodin, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Naji Marshall, Sophomore, Forward, 7.7 ppg
Tyrique Jones, Junior, Forward, 7.0 ppg
Paul Scruggs, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Elias Harden, Sophomore, Guard, 0.7 ppg
Key New Players:
Kyle Castlin, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Columbia
Zach Hankins, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Ferris State
Dontarius James, Freshman, Forward
Keonte Kennedy, Freshman, Guard
Ryan Welage, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from San Jose State
Myles Hanson, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Columbia, not eligible
Quentin Goodin will be the new leader of the backcourt. The 6-4 point guard averaged 8.7 points and 4.9 assists and he is certainly capable of adding more scoring to his resume now that the rest of the top scorers are gone. Paul Scruggs showed some promise as a freshman, but now is when Xavier needs him to live up his expectations coming out of high school. Elias Harden and a few of the newcomers will have to add depth on the perimeter. Adding Kyle Castlin, a graduate transfer from Columbia, brings some much needed experience and shooting prowess to the backcourt. The frontcourt returns more experience with Naji Marshall and Tyrique Jones, but with Kareem Kanter, Kaiser Gates and Sean O’Mara gone, those two will be asked to do much more in 2018-2019. Jones, a 6-9 junior, is stepping into more of a leadership role and is expected to start stretching out the defense with his outside shooting. The frontcourt also adds Ryan Welage, a graduate transfer from San Jose State who averaged 18.1 points and connected on 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts last season with the Spartans. Zach Hankins, a transfer from Ferris State, was the 2018 Division II Player of the Year and is looking to make an impact at the next level. It may take a little time for the pieces to come together, but this team has more than enough talent to win the Big East.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 84.4 (8th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.7 (241, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.2 (14, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (119, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (155, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.2 (69, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.9 (8, 2)
Rebound Margin: 7.1 (12, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (20, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (148, 7)
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#148 Jake Walter