#41 Xavier Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Xavier Musketeers

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #3 Atlantic 10
Xavier Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Xavier Team Page


The Xavier offseason has not gone very well. This is now a team that needs to replace all five starters. As bad as that sounds, the Musketeers are still a very talented team. It may take a little time for all of the pieces to come together and the younger players to live up to their potential, but this group will be very dangerous by March. With the roster, presumably, finalized Xavier will be happy to get out on the court and play some basketball. Xavier has reached the Sweet Sixteen in four of the last five years, but it will take a minor miracle for another run like that.

2011-12 Record: 23-12, 10-6
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Mack
Coach Record: 73-30 at Xavier, 73-30 overall

Who’s Out:
The obvious big loss is that of Tu Holloway. The point guard was the heart and soul of the Musketeers and finished up his senior season averaging 17.5 points, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals. What Holloway did for this program cannot be overstated. Backcourt mate Mark Lyons, who averaged 15.0 points per game transferred to Arizona. Lyons was the shooter of the bunch and he will try his luck out in the Pac-12. The story of Dezmine Wells could fill a book, but the bottom line is that the bruising wing is not playing for Xavier this year. Following a superb freshman campaign, that is a huge blow since Wells was supposed to be the new go-to-guy. The frontcourt will make do without Kenny Frease and Andre Walker. Frease was always a major force in the paint on both ends of the floor and seemed to save his best for March. During his senior season he averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. Walker did the dirty work for the Musketeers and was always strong on the glass.

Who’s In:
The bad news got worse when guard Myles Davis was deemed ineligible. However, this is still a very good recruiting class. Semaj Christon is one of the best point guards in this class and Coach Chris Mack will find a place for him in the regular rotation right away. Christon is a superb athlete who can make things happen with the ball in his hands. He is not a great shooter at this point in his career, which limits where he can play, but do not be surprised if the Musketeers run two point guards quite a bit this year so they can have Christon on the floor. The frontcourt will get a huge boost from four newcomers. James Farr and Jalen Reynolds are the two incoming freshmen. Farr is a power forward who can stretch out the defense with his shooting ability while Reynolds is a more traditional big man. Reynolds is a nice pickup for Xavier and sooner or later will be a star on this team. Isaiah Philmore has some more experience after spending some time at Towson. Two years ago he averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. That was in the CAA where the competition is pretty tough. Erik Stenger, a transfer from Northern Kentucky, may not make much of an impact, but a team can never have too many experienced big bodies.

Who to Watch:
A handful of returning players were pretty much lost in the shuffle last season. Travis Taylor is the most experienced returning player after averaging 14.7 minutes per game last year. But these returning players are not bad…they were just stuck behind some pretty darn good players. Taylor is a 6-8 senior who is extremely tough on the glass and can do some scoring in the paint as well. Jeff Robinson is another senior forward who is ready to take the next step. At 6-10, Xavier will need Robinson to at least make a major contribution off of the bench. Justin Martin could be a great small forward if he can start knocking down shots. His freshman campaign was a little disappointing, but he can still do a little bit of everything even if his scoring does not pick up. However, now that he will be asked to do more, Martin should be a double figure scorer. Brad Redford will likely turn into the pure shooter. His experience could earn him a starting job at first, but he may be best utilized as a shooter off of the bench. Dee Davis will battle it out with Christon for the starting point guard job. He may not be as talented overall as Christon, but he does have a year of experience in the system and is a much better defender. No matter which point guard starts, Coach Mack should end up very pleased with his options considering the player they must replace.

Final Projection:
Usually a team like Xavier must start strong to be considered for an at-large bid come March. The Musketeers are again loading up the non-conference schedule, but they can actually afford to lose those games and still come away with a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Atlantic 10 is loaded this year, especially with the additions of VCU and Butler. This young team will need time adjust. In the past missing opportunities to beat quality competition in November and December would leave just about every A-10 team with just a few days to make things happen in the conference tournament. Now Xavier can struggle early and still tally some quality wins in January and February. And by January and February, Coach Mack will have this group playing great basketball.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Semaj Christon, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Brad Redford, Senior, Guard, 3.2 points per game
Justin Martin, Sophomore, Forward, 2.9 points per game
Travis Taylor, Senior, Forward, 4.5 points per game
Jeff Robinson, Senior, Forward, 3.6 points per game

Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#75 Semaj Christon
#113 Myles Davis
#121 Jalen Reynolds