By: Luke Feliciano ~Staff Writer~
Xavier fans have a lot to be excited about moving forward, as the Musketeers’ coaching staff has put together the nation’s fifth ranked recruiting class in 2017, according to ESPN.
Undoubtedly, Xavier’s top recruit is its most recent addition, four-star point guard Paul Scruggs. The addition of Scruggs marks Xavier’s highest rated recruit in program history as Scruggs is the 28th overall player in the ESPN Top 100 recruits of 2017.
Scruggs is a big bodied point guard with a height of 6’4” and is, according to scouting reports, an excellent defender and passer. His highlight tape also shows that he excels at getting to the rim, averaging nearly 20 points per game last season.
Originally from Indianapolis, Scruggs played at Southport High School but has now chosen to attend Prolific Prep Basketball Academy in Napa, Calif., for his senior season.
Naji Marshall is another ESPN top recruit for Xavier, ranked 85th overall. Hailing from the Washington, D.C., area, Marshall’s status as a recruit rose very rapidly in just one year, and he only received his first major offer in the summer before his junior season. Marshall is known to be a versatile player as a 6’6” small forward, gaining attention for his hardnosed attitude.
According to Scout.com, Marshall excels at getting to the basket and playmaking. Recruiting analysts say that if Marshall can develop his jump shot, he will reach an elite level.
Elias Harden is a four-star shooting guard from Atlanta, according to Scout.com. Scouts rave about Harden’s innate ability to shoot, and his lengthiness at 6’6” makes him a formidable marksman from behind the three point line. Harden is also known to be very fundamentally sound, as experts have praised his high basketball IQ.
Jared Ridder was the first recruit to commit to Xavier for the class of 2017. A 6’6” wing player from Springfield, Mo., Ridder was voted First Team All-State while averaging 20 points per game last season. He helped lead his team to the state championship game, eventually losing to a nationally ranked team.
Nevertheless, Ridder is a pure sharpshooter proven by his astonishing execution of 55 three-point field goals last year.
Perhaps Xavier’s most interesting recruit for the class of 2017 is the 6’10,” 285-pound physical specimen, Kentravious Jones. Jones is a three-star center from Macon, Ga., and his commitment was more unexpected in comparison to the rest of the pack. His pure size makes him a tantalizing prospect, and his highlight tape shows that he moves well for his size.
If the development of previous raw talent big men like Matt Stainbrook, Jalen Reynolds and James Farr works to the same merit with Jones, he can easily turn into a menace in the paint for opposing teams.
Overall, this is one of the best recruiting classes Xavier has ever had. In total, there are three fourstar recruits and two three-star recruits.
The 2017 class is very talented and impressive but also well rounded. It has players who each offer a unique aspect in terms of driving to the basket, shooting and defending. This strong 2017 class ensures that Xavier will continue to be competitive in the future.