Andy Mac: Xavier TEAM 100 News - Injury, Scheduling, Big East Updates
By Andy Mac Williams, 4/17/2021

Travis Steele has promoted Jonas Hayes to Associate Head Coach. Well deserved for one of the top recruiters and BIG MAN position coaches in NCAA. HUGE positive personality. FUN to be around. Vital cog in TEAM 100's development working w/ Power Forwards and Centers(Zach Freemantle, Jack Nunge, Ben Stanley, Dieonte Miles, Cesare Edwards). Travis is sorting through many options to replace both assistant coach Ben Johnson(now Minnesota head man) and admin assistant Matthew Graves (now Indiana State assistant coach). Interest is high for both jobs. Candidates are many. Expect May hires?

Injury Update:

Super Senior Guard Nate Johnson should be full go for practice in one month after rehabbing lower leg injury he initially sustained at Gardner-Webb. XU was 1-4 without Nate down the stretch. He shot 45% from "3"-80% FT-11.4PPG-4.2 Rebounds- 2 assists-1+ steals while playing on one healthy leg. High water mark 25 points-7 made "3s"-6 boards vs Oklahoma(NCAA team-Big 12).

Ben Stanley is ahead of schedule recovering from knee injury sustained in early Jan. Expect a mid-Summer return to practice for hard working Hampton transfer Ben Stanley.

Xavier has flexibility to add up to 3 more players through transfer portal and/or 2021 April recruiting window. Consider the TEAM 100 roster set though w/ 12 players unless something very special materializes.

Scheduling News:

Muskies will play in Preseason NIT at Barclay Center in Brooklyn Nov. 24 and 26 at Thanksgiving. Other teams: Virginia Tech (ACC-NCAA #10 Seed), Memphis (AAC-NIT Champ) and Iowa State (Big 12-rebuilding under new coach T. J. Otzelberger). Pairings will be announced later. Muskies stand a good chance of playing both Va. Tech and Memphis. Both would be NET Quad One games on a neutral court. X gets another home game out of this w/ NIT aiding in delivering the opponent.

Skip Prosser Classic game vs Wake Forest looks like a "GO" at Cintas w/ agreement of the date pending. XU will resume play in Gavitt Games vs Big Ten after COVID pause last November. Muskies are owed 3 games over next 3 seasons w/ 2 at Cintas (Xavier 2-1 in Series so far w/ wins at Michigan and Wisconsin and home loss to Wisc)

BIG EAST-Big 12 Challenge continues. Muskies own wins at TCU and home vs Oklahoma. Rotation would suggest a road game for XU in December? How about at West Virginia? Hello, Huggs!! Travis is expecting a full COVID free off-season - GREAT for rising Sophomores Dwon Odom and Colby Jones. IMHO the best Xavier players make the largest improvement between Freshman and Sophomore years. Odom and Jones fall into that top tier of Muskie talent and should leap forward after strong Frosh seasons.

Kyky Tandy and Dieonte Miles were robbed of a full summer by COVID. This is their "RE-DO". Tandy has 3 years of eligibility and Miles has 4 after developmental red shirt and COVID bonus year granted by NCAA. Dieonte does not turn 20 until this August. BIGS often blossom later than guards and wings in 3rd or 4th season (examples-James Farr-Kenny Frease-Sean O'Mara-Jalen Reynolds-Aaron Williams-Larry Sykes). It's Miles' time to fit into the rotation and a prime project for Jonas Hayes.


All 11 coaches in place w/ Marquette hiring Shaka Smart and De Paul picking Tony Stubblefield. Smart seemingly has a strong core returning w/ DJ Carton, Dawson Garcia(barring NBA departure) and Justin Lewis. Smart had added a couple already from transfer portal. Stubblefield was Dana Altman's righthand man at Oregon for years after time under Cronin at UC. He's 51 and a great hire for new DePaul AD Peavy from Kentucky. Cupboard seems bare for Blue Demons. Super Senior PG Charlie Moore just entered the transfer portal along w/ just about the entire roster. BIG JOB to rebuild!!

Villanova gets Super Seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels back. Cole Swider transfers to Syracuse to share 3 point shots w/ Buddy Boeheim and play low in the Orange zone defense. Coach Wright has a loaded roster w/ 4 good frosh plus 4 returning starters. BIG Jerimiah Robinson-Earl is leaning toward the NBA(Why not w/ his skill set?) so Jay needs to find a rim protector-rebounder-post scorer. 2016 Champs had Daniel Ochefu at the back. 2018 Champs had Omari Spellman inside. Wright has options(Eric Dixon, Frosh Trey Patterson, other Frosh BIG etc).

Recent BIG EAST portal action. Super Senior BIG/enforcer/ shot blocker/ Theo John leaves Marquette for DUKE. Coach K looking to rattle some ACC cages. Georgetown lands EKU mobile BIG Tre King (6-9,225) who played so well at Xavier (25 points-13 rebounds in wild 99-96 Muskie OT win). Louie Orr is behind this acquisition. Hoyas lost 6-10 load Quadas Wahab to Maryland.

PC forward Greg Gantt goes to NC State. Under appreciated Super Senior PG Shavar Reynolds stays in Jersey going to Monmouth.

That BIG EAST transfer portal overview is coming! The puck and players are moving FAST and Furious!! Almost 1400 are in transfer mode. Many will return to home base finding the grass not that green on the other side of the hill. Some will drop down to D-2 or D-3 or NAIA. Xavier looks to be a good shape re roster and transfers.

C. J. Wilcher to Nebraska hurts but that could be a package deal w/ brother Simeon?? C.J. should be a solid Big Ten 2 guard-wing. Travis showed the power of good relationships and honesty w/ players bringing back Super Senior Guards Paul Scruggs and Nate Johnson and welcoming back Kyky Tandy. He filled a size-toughness-rebounding void w/ Iowa transfer Jack Nunge who he knew well from his Indiana connections. Retaining and rewarding Jonas Hayes is a huge stabilizing force re internal team chemistry and development and external talent recruitment.

New University of Cincinnati Coach:

Quick word on UC hiring Wes Miller! IMHO-excellent choice! UNCG was his baby-top to bottom! Retaining PG Mike Saunders is a HUGE 1st step. West Coaster Tari Eason announced his transfer to LSU.

Kicking that other school's butt (Xavier) may be a challenge, Coach Miller, but that's what rivalries are all about! Grit-competition-a little bile and healthy trash talk! Muskie Nation welcomes you to a GREAT CITY and NCAA's BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL Rivalry (not your Tarheels vs the Dukies). See you at Cintas in December! Good luck the other 364 days of the year. AND Remember!! UC, Number ?? in the Country! Number Two in their own City!!

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