By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns
1. LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
Xavier may be the forgotten team in the Atlantic 10 but the Musketeers are much more capable than people realize. This squad doesn’t have proven commodities like they did last season but there’s still more than enough talent for Xavier to win their fair share of games. Experience and depth are fair questions for this team entering the season — overall talent isn’t.
2. YOUNG GUNS
Unlike last season when Xavier had two seniors in the back court in Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, they will now to turn the keys to the car to a freshman and a sophomore. Dee Davis, a role player last year should be ready for a major jump in his second season of college basketball and Semaj Christon has all the requisites to be one of the better first-year guards in the country. This duo is going to go through their share of growing pains early but they have the speed, skill, and overall feel to keep the Musketeers competitive.
3. FARR’S DISTANCE
With only eight scholarship players available, James Farr should have a major role for for Xavier as a freshman. At 6-9, the lefty power forward has serious shooting ability from long range and could develop into a lethal stretch four-man. The biggest key for Farr to stay on the floor? He has to get better defensively, especially in ball screen situations.
4. MAGIC MARTIN?
Make no mistake about it, Justin Martin is the x-factor for Xavier. The 6-6 wing is the Musketeers best perimeter shooter and could really open up the middle of the floor for Davis and Christon if he makes shots consistently. If Martin averages close to double figures, the chance for Xavierto overachieve and surprise people drastically increases.
5. ISAIAH THE BULL
Towson transfer Isaiah Philmore is a brick wall masquerading as a basketball player. The 6-8 power forward has a noticeable toughness the second he steps on the floor. This will be the Musketeers best low post defender and the person who will regularly guard the opponent’s best low post scorer.
The expectations may be lower than usual for this program but Xavier coach Chris Mack has to love the fact that his team is flying under the radar. The Musketeers inexperience could hold them back early but the combination of Christon and Davis is good enough to develop into a quality back court by the middle of the Atlantic 10 schedule. Xavier may not be battle tested enough this season to compete for a league title, but they’re far from a pushover. This team will be better than people anticipate.
Your prediction for Xavier? Let us know in the comments below!