#54 Xavier Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Xavier Musketeers
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #7 Big East
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Travis Steele’s second season as Xavier’s head coach came with higher expectations, but the results ended up about the same. The Musketeers won 19 games for the second consecutive season and would have been unlikely to be selected for the NCAA Tournament after losing to DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament. This year, Xavier will be without two of their best players from last season, but a top 25 recruiting class and some impact transfers should keep the Musketeers afloat in the Big East.
2019-20 Record: 19-13, 8-10
Coach: Travis Steele
Coach Record: 38-29 at Xavier, 38-29 overall
Key Departed Players:
Naji Marshall, Forward, 16.8 ppg
Tyrique Jones, Forward, 14.0 ppg
Quentin Goodin, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Bryce Moore, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Paul Scruggs, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg

Zach Freemantle, Sophomore, Forward, 7.5 ppg
Jason Carter, Senior, Forward, 6.9 ppg
Kyky Tandy, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Daniel Ramsey, Sophomore, Forward, 2.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Bryan Griffin, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Division II
Nate Johnson, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Gardner-Webb
Colby Jones, Freshman, Guard
Dieonte Miles, Freshman, Forward
Dwon Odom, Freshman, Guard
Ben Stanley, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Hampton, Pending Waiver
C.J. Wilcher, Freshman, Guard
Xavier will look different this season without Naji Marshall, Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin back. Paul Scruggs returns for his senior year and is poised to become the top scoring option on the team. Scruggs averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals as a junior and should be an all-conference caliber player as a senior. Jason Carter is also a returning senior who started 31 games last season and averaged 6.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Zach Freemantle and Kyky Tandy each return after strong debut seasons which earned them spots on the Big East All-Freshmen Team. Both players should see increased playing time as starters in their sophomore season. Xavier will have to heavily rely on new acquisitions this season. Ben Stanley could be the most impactful arrival, though he is still awaiting a decision on a waiver to play this year. Last season at Hampton, Stanley was among the nation’s leaders in scoring, averaging 22.0 points per contest along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Gardner-Webb transfer Nate Johnson joined Stanley on the All-Big South Team last season. Johnson is a graduate transfer and averaged 13.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals last season. The third and final transfer is Bryan Griffin from Division II Mercy College. Griffin averaged 19.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks, though Division I will be a big step up in competition. Xavier also adds a top 25 recruiting class with three top-150 prospects. Dwon Odom and C.J. Wilcher are four-star recruits while Colby Jones is a three-star, but still in the top-150. Xavier has remained in the middle of the pack in the Big East since hiring Travis Steele, and this year appears to be no different. The development of Freemantle and Tandy along with the impact of the new arrivals will likely dictate the ceiling for the Musketeers this season.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.7 (192nd in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.6 (125, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (183, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (62, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (249, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.2 (286, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.8 (318, 10)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (73, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.4 (76, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (251, 9)
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#56 Dwon Odom
#100 C.J. Wilcher
#115 Colby Jones