Xavier’s four-member recruiting class received a great deal of praise during the off-season and rightfully so. But with that class now being cut in half, the Musketeers will likely enter the 2012-13 season with just eight scholarship players (Chris Cantino?).
According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, both plan to remain in school despite the fact that they won’t be able to practice with the team or receive a scholarship.
This is just the latest development for a program that underwent a great deal of change this off-season.
Guards Tu Holloway (graduation), Mark Lyons (transferred to Arizona) and Dezmine Wells (expelled) are gone, as are front court contributors Kenny Frease and Andre Walker.
Also assistant coaches Rasheen Davis (Manhattan) and Kareem Richardson (Louisville) moved on to new positions.
The leading returning scorer for the Musketeers this season is forward Travis Taylor, who averaged just 4.5 points per game in 2011-12.
Add to this the fact that Butler and VCU join the Atlantic 10 with teams expected to make a run at an NCAA tournament berth and this has the look of a rough campaign for the Musketeers.
Freshmen Semaj Christion and James Farr will have every opportunity to earn significant playing time this season, and if Xavier is to have any chance of returning to the NCAA tournament (Xavier hasn’t missed the tournament since 2005) they’ll need to.
What will Chris Mack and his staff do to account for the heavy personnel losses? That’s going to be one of the most important questions in the Atlantic 10 this season.