Redshirts ready to step up

By: David Woeltz ~Staff Writer~

Newswire file photo | London rises for a slam during last year’s exhibition.

When Cintas Center opens its doors for college basketball in a few weeks, some familiar faces will be looking to make their first contributions to the Musketeers. Edmond Sumner and Makinde London both sat out last year, but they will be able to add to Xavier’s depth and contribute immediately. Sumner and London were both part of the 2014 recruiting class, which was the deepest and most talented class signed by head coach Chris Mack in his tenure. Sumner was sidelined with tendinitis in his knees after playing only one game, and London was redshirted.

The former four-star recruit Sumner may make the biggest splash for the Musketeers, who are faced with the difficulty of replacing Dee Davis at point guard. Sumner will likely compete for the starting point guard position with fellow second-year player Larry Austin Jr., although junior shooting guard Myles Davis may be tasked with the role as well.

Sumner is not only healthy, but he gained 25 pounds in the offseason. At 6-foot-6 and 183 pounds his size can cause matchup problems for opposing guards, something Xavier didn’t have with Dee Davis last year.

In addition to his size, Sumner is one of the quickest players on Xavier’s roster, and his development will be key for Xavier’s success.

“While he’s going to have his challenges, being slow-footed isn’t one of them, and that’s a blessing. He’s really, really gifted in keeping the ball in front of him,” Mack said.

Makinde London is a 6-foot- 10 forward who adds to Xavier’s depth at the forward position. Coach Mack will have a good depth problem if London can play meaningful minutes behind Jalen Reynolds and James Farr. Similar to Farr, London is a stretch forward and has the ability to knock down long jumpers. London entered the 3-point contest at Musketeer Madness and showed he has a good touch from beyond the arc. London’s role with the 2015-16 team is uncertain, but with his size and shooting ability he is an intriguing player.

For Xavier women’s basketball, Imani Partlow will be eligible after she redshirted last year. Partlow is a 6-foot-1 forward from Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati. The redshirt freshman saw action in the Musketeer’s four exhibition games in Canada this summer and demonstrated her ability to be a double-double threat. While the Musketeers return last year’s leading scorer Briana Glover at the forward position, Partlow will give head coach Brian Neal another option off the bench.