Xavier’s 2013-14 freshman playmakers

By: Nikhil Jelaji

Despite coming up short last season and missing the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time since 2005, the future looks bright for the Xavier Musketeers this year.

The 2013-14 season features a freshman class that looks to bring the Musketeers back to the NCAA tournament.

The new faces joining the Musketeers are Myles Davis, Brandon Randolph, Jalen Reynolds, Kamall Richards and walk-on Tim Stainbrook (brother of junior center Matt Stainbrook).

Davis and Reynolds are returning from academic ineligibility.

“It was the first time in a really long time that I had something taken away from me,” Davis said. “But focusing on academics really helped me grow as a person.” Davis spent his offseason working on his jump shot and getting back in shape.

This year will be quite different for both freshmen who show potential in the 2013-14 season. Davis, a 6-foot-2 guard from Plainfield, N.J., and Reynolds, a 6-foot-9 forward from Detroit, Mich., will finally give Xavier Nation a taste of their talent after sitting out last year.

Reynolds played at Brewster Academy with teammate Semaj Christon and helped lead his team to a 33-1 record and a prep school national championship.

Davis realizes that he is still a freshman on the team but still looks to bring some leadership.

Randolph, a 6-foot-1 guard from Inglewood, Calif., is ranked No. 84 recruit by CBSSports.com.

He was a standout member of the Pump N Run AAU team, and his goal this year is to be an All-American. Randolph won conference titles as a high school freshmen and junior and went to state his senior year. He also won the John Wooden Award.

Richards, a six-foot-three forward from Detroit, is ranked as a three-star recruit whose stock rose quickly by ESPN.com. Head coach Chris Mack believes in Richards’ size and ability to shoot and that he will be ready to play.

Tim Stainbrook is a freshman walk-on from Bay Village, Ohio. As a junior in high school, he helped lead Lakewood St. Edward to the Division I state final.

Xavier is currently predicted to finish seventh in the Big East. For Davis, that gives him and his teammates extra motivation for the season.

“It will give us a chance to prove who we really are to those who picked us so low,” Davis said. “I have never been to a school that has an amazing atmosphere like Xavier Nation.”