There were a ton of takeaways from Xavier's first and only exhibition game against Northwood University, but I will highlight the five that stood out most to me.
Randolph stands out despite poor shooting night
The player who provided the most intrigue and difficulty to make a comment on during Xavier's exhibition game against Northwood was Brandon Randolph. Though the box score will not do Randolph any justice, ending the night going 0-8 from the field with zero points scored,, he showed insane athleticism and confidence when he drove to the basket. He also had an excellent preseason, according to head coach Chris Mack, which is why he got to start off at guard for the Muskies. The sophomore guard from Inglewood, California displayed great hustle throughout the night, showcasing exemplary on-ball defense when matched up against the most prolific scorer for Northwood, Maurice Jones, who was labeled as a "jet" by Mack in his post game comments.
Blueitt brings boastful performance to the table
Trevon Bluiett looked as good as advertised in his first game as a Musketeer. He displayed an impressive scoring ability, putting up 14 points on whilst shooting 75.0 percent from the field on eight field goal attempts. His play was very fluid, and displayed a catch-and-shoot ability, something few Muskies have had over the past few years. There really isn't much else to say about Blueitt, but if he can play like he did against Northwood every night, then he will be a very important piece of the Musketeers' offensive attack.
Farr set to be a role player
Both Matt Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds looked good on Saturday night, as they combined to score 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, seven apiece.. I'm going to focus on James Farr however, because the minutes that are not taken up by Reynolds and Stainbrook at the four and five positions will be Farr's to lose. Xavier most likely will not need huge offensive production from Farr, as he only scored two points Saturday night, but they will need solid rebounding numbers, as well as stout defensive play. He did not rebound as well as he needed to, but his defense and leadership on the court were respectable and noticeable. If James Farr can be consistent, and put up a stat line of perhaps 6-5-1, then the Musketeers should be in good shape.
Freshman Austin performs well
The point guard position is locked up this year by one of Xavier's only two seniors on the roster in Dee Davis. However, with the depth that this team has, Davis should be well-rested every game. Freshman Larry Austin Jr. was very impressive in his debut. He showed an ability to take the ball to the basket, finish when needed, as well as bring the ball up the court. His inexperienced showed at times, getting his pocket picked by Northwood's Maurice Jones a few times However, the most impressive aspect of Austin Jr.'s game was his ability to be a facilitator, as he posted seven assists in 18 minutes of play I could hear Larry from my seat, and I could see him encouraging his teammates in the huddle. He should be a very serviceable backup for Dee Davis this season.
Freshmen, as a whole, shine
My final observation is a very basic one: the five freshman that played Saturday night were very impressive overall. Larry Austin Jr. showed that he has a natural ability to both lead the team and run the offense out of the half court set. Makinde London showed an ability to stretch the defense while still contributing with his length underneath the basket. Sean O'Mara may have been the most spectacular of the five, as he showcased his ability to use his large 250-pound frame to his advantage in the paint, putting up 14 points in his debut performance. Trevon Bluiett showed his natural ability to get open and put the ball in the hoop from anywhere on the court. JP Macura showed, like Trevon, he has the ability to fill up the stat sheet offensively and not just from behind the arc, either. He showed the ability to shoot over his defender as well as drive to the hoop and find the open man. He should be a valuable offensive asset to a young Xavier squad this year.
It is important to keep in mind that exhibition games literally mean nothing. Xavier is still 0-0 with a lot to prove this year. However, there was much to be encouraged about Saturday night as the Musketeers showed an array of talent that has been lacking the past few seasons. Hopefully Chris Mack can take this young team and help them grow over the next few months.