Who is gone:
Travis Taylor – expired eligibility – 31.7 minutes , 11.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Brad Redford – expired eligibility – 23.0 minutes, 7.6 points, 1.2 rebounds
Jeff Robinson – expired eligibility – 24.2 minutes, 6.8 points, 4.8 rebounds
Taylor was the Atlantic 10’s Most Improved Player and was named to the Third Team All-Atlantic 10 squad for the 2012-13 season. Xavier needed him to make a big leap from his junior to senior season, and he did just that by leading the team in rebounding and finishing second in points. Redford was one of the nations’ most lethal 3-point shooters, converting 45% of his 148 attempts. And Robinson provided Xavier with valuable minutes and a big body, but was essentially a role player. Taylor will be missed the most, but all three had a role.
Who is back:
Semaj Christon – guard – 34.3 minutes, 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals
Dee Davis – guard – 28.8 minutes, 8.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists
Justin Martin – forward – 25.9 minutes, 7.9 points, 4.7 rebounds
Isaiah Philmore – forward – 24.9 minutes, 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds
Erik Stenger – forward – 8.9 minutes, 1.8 points, 2.3 rebounds
James Farr – forward – 3.2 minutes, 1.2 points, 1.1 rebounds
Christon was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year and a member of the Second Team All-Atlantic 10 squad. He was a highly touted freshman in the 2012 class who was called upon to step up immediately given the departure of some key pieces from the previous year’s team. Christon lead the team in points, assists and steals per game. Last season was Philmore’s first season with Xavier after transferring from Towson, where he was the team’s leading scorer, and he will continue to cause significant matchup problems for the opposition moving forward. Martin was a top-100 recruit in the class of 2011 and will be looking to unlock more of his potential in the upcoming season, while Davis will provide sound experience in the back court. It was hoped that Farr would have a bigger impact as a freshman, but he didn’t find the court often and is seen as more of a project at this point.
Brandon Randolph – 6-foot-2 point guard
ESPN’s 86th ranked player and 19th ranked PG
Rivals.com’s 146th ranked player and 32nd ranked PG
Kamall Richards – 6-foot-6 small forward
ESPN rates him as a 3-star player
Aleksander Vezenkov – 6-foot-8 small forward
Matt Stainbrook – 6-foot-9 center – transfer from Western Michigan
Practiced with the team last year and will have two season of eligibility remaining. He led Western Michigan in rebounding his sophomore season with 6.8 per game and was second on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game. He is known as a banger who can dominate in the interior, but often times for only short spurts. However, he lost roughly 50 pounds during last season while sitting out, and could be a whole new player compared to what he was before transferring. Also, he tore his meniscus during his ineligible season, but he is expected to be 100% come fall. Stainbrook could conceivably be Xavier’s most productive low post presence.
Jalen Reynolds – 6-foot-9 power forward
A 4-star rated power forward in class of 2012 by ESPN
Reynolds was called a “hidden gem” by CBSSports.com after going through an under-the-radar recruiting process. He was ruled ineligible last year and could not even practice with the team.
Myles Davis – 6-foot-2 shooting guard
ESPN’s 21st ranked shooting guard in the class of 2012 and was given a 4-star rating
Davis, a highly touted incoming freshman, was ruled ineligible, albeit with controversy, for the 2012-13 season after the NCAA invalidated classes he took at Notre Dame Prep. And like Reynolds, he also was not allowed to practice with the team.
Probable starting lineup:
Semaj Christon, PG
Dee Davis, G
Isaiah Philmore, F
Justin Martin, F
Matt Stainbrook, C
When I wrote up the Big East power rankings about a month ago I admittedly overlooked Xavier’s roster as I mistakenly forgot about the three players that will be on the team this year, but could not play last year – Stainbrook, Reynolds and M. Davis. And Xavier fans made sure to let me know about it. That was my mistake and I apologize. And after reassessing this squad, the Muskies should be in the top half of the Big East as they have a legitimate shot at competing for the conference title.
Xavier had ESPN’s 14th ranked recruiting class in 2012 (which included Christon, Farr, Davis and Reynolds), but only two of those four players were allowed to suit up last year. Now the Musketeers will be at full power with potentially the best point guard in the conference and talent and depth at every position. Throw in another top-100 recruit in Randolph, and Xavier fans should quickly forget about the turmoil of the last two years as they should find immediate success in the newly formed Big East.