With Semaj Christon entering the 2014 NBA Draft and Justin Martin deciding to transfer, Xavier’s leading returning scorer in 2014-15 will be senior big man Matt Stainbrook. A transfer from Western Michigan Stainbrook enjoyed a solid season in his Xavier debut, posting averages of 10.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
However Stainbrook wasn’t 100% during Xavier’s late-season run to the NCAA tournament, with a strained MCL in his left knee forcing him to miss one game and play in pain during the Musketeers’ final three games. So while the offseason offers players the opportunity to hone their skills, in the case of Stainbrook it will also give him the time needed to get healthy.
And in a story written by Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Stainbrook disclosed that he won’t need surgery on the ligament.
“I found out two weeks ago that I didn’t need to have surgery, which is a good thing. Based on rehab and stuff we’ve done, my MCL was tightening up on its own and I’ll be able to be OK in a couple weeks,” Stainbrook said.
Stainbrook was an important cog in the Xavier attack in 2013-14, and with the aforementioned departures he’ll once again be a key player for head coach Chris Mack. Xavier also lost forward Isaiah Philmore, and the hope is that their highly-regarded recruiting class will be able to handle the rigors of the Big East.
And considering how young Xavier will be (just four scholarship upperclassmen), leadership is another area in which experienced players such as Stainbrook and rising senior guard Dee Davis will be important for Xavier. If Stainbrook, who also aims to play at a weight between 250 and 255 pounds according to the story, can get back to full strength and build on his solid junior season the Musketeers will surely benefit.