The Big East Freshman of the Year award was rather handily decided this past season as Henry Ellenson took the conference by storm en route to becoming a Top 20 NBA draft pick and putting up one of the best freshman seasons in Marquette Golden Eagles history.
That isn’t to say though that Ellenson was the only freshman to make an impact in their first year on the court. Au contraire. Freshmen made impacts all over the conference. Khyri Thomas, Eli Cain, Jessie Govan, and Marcus Derrickson were all great in their own rights, and to a higher degree, the likes of Jalen Brunson, Kassoum Yakwe and Yankuba Sima were all terrific too. Lest we forget Ellenson’s teammates Traci Carter and Haanif Cheatham who both put up stellar numbers for the Golden Eagles.
Then there was Edmond Sumner. A Detroit native, Sumner stepped into the fray last summer in a point guard battle with Larry Austin Jr. The youngster would win the battle with Austin and was thrust into a lineup that featured Trevon Bluiett, Myles Davis, and big men Jalen Reynolds and James Farr. There are worse situations to be put into in the world and Sumner made himself comfortable rather quickly.
The newly minted point guard for X put up impressive numbers in his first full season with the Musketeers. His per 40 minutes and per 100 possessions numbers were especially pleasing as Sumner dropped 23.5 points per 100 possessions with an ORtg of 107.6 per Sports-Reference.com. His DRtg found itself behind the 100.0 mark at 98.4, which followed suit with a pretty stout defense that Xavier trotted out last season.
If there was anything that Sumner struggled with last year it was his efficiency. Sumner posted a TS% and eFG% of 51.6 and 44.6 percent in those respective categories, which was a bit of an eyesore. If he can follow in the footsteps of the man he replaced though, he’ll be quite alright. Dee Davis’ freshman season saw the Musketeer point guard shoot a TS% and eFG% of 43.2 and 42.5 percent respectively. In his sophomore year, those totals made big leaps. Davis finished the 2012-13 season with marks of 53.7 and 49.2 percent in the respective categories. So, should he follow the blueprint, then we will see a more efficient edition of Edmond Sumner next year.
One should shudder to think of what that could mean for Xavier’s oppositions next year.
As Team 95 looks to make their mark on the 2016 season, so does Sumner. Major implications lie ahead for the Detroit native as he looks to lead X to another high finish in the Big East, perhaps some better luck in New York at the Big East Tournament and more importantly another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Not only will the point guard for the X-Men be looking for team success, some individual success could come his way if the breaks bounce the right way.
Sumner is likely to be a preseason selection for the All-Big East Team. Whether he makes the first team is up to the voters, but he should find himself on the list amongst a crowded field of talented guards. But the buck doesn’t stop there.
Top-level play from the Xavier point guard could not only lead to postseason accolades and honors, it could lead way to pro prospects as well. He may need to bulk up from his 170-pound frame but at 6’5, Sumner has the height to make NBA scouts look his way. If he plays his tail off - and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t - then more eyes may fall on the city of Cincinnati this coming winter and next spring. Doubly so with Trevon Bluiett who made the effort to at least tread into the NBA waters this past offseason before eventually deciding to come back to Cincy.
Edmond Sumner made the freshman Fosbury flop look easy in the 2015-16 campaign. What’s he got next for his sophomore campaign? Time will tell, but it could be as big of as plash as we saw a year ago, if not better.