Many people do not want to hear the negatives. As people we look for optimism in our lives, so that way we have something to live for. Unfortunately sometimes we need to look at the glass half empty point of view to fully understand not only our lives, but our favorite basketball teams too.
Here are 3 Reasons for Pessimism for the 2014-15 Xavier Musketeers:
1. Semaj Christon
The First Team All-Big East guard last year is not walking through the door this year. Christon decided it would be better for him and his family to jump to the NBA after just two years in Cincinnati. Christon and his averages of 17 points, 4.2 assists, and 1.3 steals have left with him, and taking those stats into account, Semaj accounted for roughly 40 percent of the 72 points per game Xavier averaged a year ago.
That is a lot to replace for Xavier. Who on the team can fill that gap? Maybe Remy Abell, but he only averaged 4 points as a sophomore at Indiana. Maybe Trevon Bluiett, but he is only a freshmen. Finding a player on this year’s roster to replace those numbers is hard to do. It won’t be easy and it shouldn’t be easy. Replacing an NBA draftee’s production is hard for any team not named Kentucky or Duke.
There are seven new faces for the Musketeers. Six of those faces are freshmen who have never played one minute of college basketball. One of those faces is Remy Abell, who has not played in a college game since March of 2013, where he and Indiana lost in a Sweet 16 game against the Syracuse Orange. Remy, as well as at least 3-4 of the freshmen, will be needed to play right away. So nearly half of the players with playing time will be largely new to playing college basketball and Big East basketball.
Experienced teams win in March, unless it is Kentucky with their new crop of 5 McDonald All-American freshmen every year. Butler made it to back-to-back national championship games because of experience (Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, and Gordon Hayward), and UConn won two national championships in the past four years because of experience (Kemba Walker & Shabazz Napier). Experience is a key component of success for teams who advance far during their conference tournament and when playing in the NCAA tournament. Xavier has 2 seniors and 2 juniors, but 3 sophomores and 6 freshmen. 70% of their roster has little college basketball experience. Inexperience is largely at fault for teams who do not have much success, and Xavier is overwhelmingly an inexperienced team.
3. Star Power
Semaj Christon was Xavier’s star the last two seasons. He was the guy who took the last shot when Xavier needed it. Who is that guy this year? If you look at the year’s Xavier had much success, it was because they had a star -- a guy who could take over games and put the team on his back. A guy who was willing to take the shot when the game was on the line. The likes of David West, Romain Sato, Stanley Burrell, Drew Lavender, Jordan Crawford, and Tu Holloway. All of those guys were stars, and were on some of the best teams in Xavier history.
This team lacks that by far. Matt Stainbrook is good, but is he a star who can put the team on his back? Jalen Reynolds has so much potential, but can he be the star they need? Trevon Bluiett has so many expectations, but is it realistic to expect a freshmen to be the star? Xavier has no clear cut answer for who that player is. Throughout the last 15 years they have had an answer to the "star question" nearly every year. This year’s team is one of the few over that time who does not have that answer. Can a Xavier team with no star win the tough game? Can a Xavier team with no star find a go-to player at the end of games? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Do you agree or disagree? Are they any other reasons for pessimism for the Musketeers? Let us know in the comments!