Xavier now begins life without fan favorite center Matt Stainbrook and gritty guard Dee Davis. With a roster makeup largely of guys recruited to play in the Big East, things look to be on the upswing in Cincinnati.
Here are your starting five:
PG: Myles Davis - RS Junior (6'2/188 lbs)
2014-15 Stats: 10.6 PPG/2.1 APG/2.4 RPG
I know what you're all probably thinking, "Myles Davis at point guard!?" Yes, you read that right.
With only two other point guards on the roster, Davis will fill the role at least in the beginning of the season. Sophomore Larry Austin Jr. is the only other traditional point guard on the roster, but he is still a work in process on offense. Redshirt freshman Edmond Sumner is coming off a medical redshirt due to chronic knee tendinitis, so both these young lads are full of question marks. To think either will be ready to be the starting point guard in November is foolish thinking. Myles Davis has been at Xavier for three years, and will be the seasoned veteran the Musketeers need to run the show. He's training hard for the opportunity.
SG: Remy Abell - RS Senior (6'4/195 lbs)
2014-15 Stats: 8.4 PPG/1.2 APG/2.0 RPG
After a very productive year for the Musketeers, Remy Abell added another accolade to his college career. In all three seasons he has played (besides his redshirt year), his team has made it to the Sweet 16. Twice for Indiana and now once for Xavier. Remy is a lockdown defender, and a consistent threat from deep. His 41.1 percent mark from the 3-point line was tops on the team last year. Having another veteran player at the shooting guard position is an invaluable benefit.
SF: Trevon Bluiett - Sophomore (6'6/207 lbs)
2014-15 Stats: 11.0 PPG/1.9 APG/4.2 RPG
Trevon came into Xavier with high expectations. Coming out of high school, he was praised as one of the best shooters in the class of 2014. Bluiett put up a shooting line of .422/.326/.746 in his rookie campaign. Not exactly what many Xavier fans were expecting, but he was only starting to dip his toes in the water. This year, expect him to put his whole body in the water. The biggest jump in college basketball takes place between a players freshmen and sophomore seasons. See Myles Davis as a familiar example, or Wichita State guard Ron Baker for a national example.
PF: Jalen Reynolds - RS Junior (6'10/232 Ibs)
2014-15 Stats: 9.9 PPG/6.1 RPG/1.0 BPG
Jalen Reynolds is another classic example of a guy who made a huge improvement between his first and second years of college basketball. Jalen nearly averaged 10 points and 6 boards in just 20 minutes of action. Say Jalen plays 30 minutes per game this season (which depends largely on his unwary 3.1 fouls per game last year), he could average close to around 15 points and 10 rebounds on a given night. That would help offset the loss of Matt Stainbrook's averages of around 12 points and 6 rebounds this past season. Many are expecting Jalen to leave Xavier after this year, due to the fact that he will turn 23 in December and this is his fifth year removed from high school. A line of 15 and 10 wouldn't hurt his case to turn pro.
C: James Farr - Senior (6'10/247 lbs)
2014-15 Stats: 4.2 PPG/5.3 RPG/0.8 BPG
What if I told you James Farr might be the best rebounder in the Big East? You'd probably call me crazy, but Farr is elite on the boards. He only averaged 15.6 minutes last season, which means he grabbed a board every three minutes of game play. Not too shabby if you ask me. Unfortunately Farr saw a huge dip in his offensive game. Loving to stretch the floor (even if he wasn't too good at it last year), Farr's 3-point percentage dropped from 38 percent as a sophomore to 28.9 percent as a junior. I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe it was a shooting slump or tired legs from playing more minutes, but his offensive shooting was Farr from good. As long as Farr rebounds like the manimal he is on the boards, he will be helping the Musketeers win regardless of limited offense.