It has been a rough couple weeks for the Xavier Musketeers.
On January 8, Xavier head coach Chris Mack announced that senior guard Myles Davis would be reinstated to the team after serving what amounted to a 15-game suspension for offseason legal issues.
Davis played three games for the Musketeers before announcing he was leaving the program on January 20.
Davis’ suspension caused Edmond Sumner to play most of the season at point guard instead of his natural position of shooting guard. Over time, Sumner grew more comfortable in the role, raising his assists per game from 3.6 last year to 5.0 this year, while not having a major uptick in turnovers per game. The sophomore guard was still excelling at scoring the ball — 15.0 points per game this season compared to 11.0 last season.
Sumner’s promising season came to an end on Sunday night against St. John’s, however. After being fouled going up for a layup, the Xavier guard landed awkwardly on his left leg and left the game. An MRI on Monday confirmed the fears of everyone: Sumner suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the rest of the season.
On the surface, this is obviously terrible news. Just two weeks after losing Maurice Watson for the season with a torn ACL, the Big East was dealt another blow to one of its best players. Just as it was tragic for Watson, it’s tragic for Sumner.
The Musketeers will have to adapt quickly to life without Sumner. They’re currently 15-6 while the NCAA Tournament field appears incredibly weak, so their postseason aspirations should be fine. However, things could go south quickly without a plan. Either Sumner or Davis have started at point guard for Xavier in 54 of its past 55 games. The one exception? Quentin Goodin on January 16 against Creighton while Sumner sat out the first few moments with an injured shoulder.
Goodin, presumably, will be thrust into the starting role beginning Wednesday night against Seton Hall. The four-star freshman point guard from Campbellsville, Kentucky has seen action in all 21 of Xavier’s games this season, averaging 3.5 points and 2.0 assists in just under 15 minutes per game. He’s coming off his best game of the season, scoring 16 points against St. John’s Sunday night.
Goodin isn’t Sumner. He’s three inches shorter, less of a rebounder, and will probably still be learning on the fly as he sees a rise in his minutes. Xavier doesn’t need Goodin to be Sumner, though. They need Goodin to be a quality point guard that doesn’t turn the ball over. They need Trevon Bluiett to continue his 18.5 points per game (second in the Big East). They need JP Macura to consistently make shots.
Perhaps most importantly, the Musketeers need to play smart basketball and avoid foul trouble, because their depth has taken a hit over the last couple weeks.