1. A starter emerging as a three point specialist
Following the departures of two senior post scorers in Jalen Reynolds and James Farr, Xavier was supposed to reorient its offense around its abundant perimeter threats. I envisioned a five-guard lineup, using Trevon Blueitt at center, that could, to put simply, get buckets.
Instead, Edmond Sumner, Malcom Bernard, and J.P. Macura’s 3-point percentages have significantly decreased this season, stunting Xavier’s offensive output. The trio shot a combined 3-for-23 from behind the arc in Xavier’s two losses to Baylor and Colorado. Also, whenever Xavier looks to J.P. Macura for a basket, he pulls up from 30 feet.
For Xavier to reach its potential on this side of the ball, one of these shooters, or senior Myles Davis, looking to be reinstated to the program following a suspension, must step forward.
2. Bench Help
Minute distribution has troubled Xavier’s Chris Mack this season. Channeling his inner Tom Thibodeau, Mack has left Trevon Blueitt, Edmond Sumner, and J.P. Macura for 34 out of the 40 minutes each game. Their increased workload signifies a lack of depth. Sophomore forward Kaiser Gates is a promising option; his beautiful looking shot helps Xavier stretch the floor, and his length is a beneficial tool in Xavier’s 1-3-1 zone.
3. Myles Davis
Chris Mack has hinted that Myles Davis’ “indefinite” suspension is close to ending. His scoring, ball-handling, and hustle could help sparkplug Xavier’s season. Last year, Davis shot 38 percent from three, led the team in free throw percentage and steals, and averaged four assists per game. He was also the undisputed floor leader; Davis would pull Jalen Reynolds close to help him keep his composure or take the point when Edmond Sumner would struggle.