WRITTEN BY: Joe Clark, Sports Editor
Xavier men’s basketball held an intrasquad Blue vs. White scrimmage on Saturday at Cintas Center. Team Blue, composed mostly of the projected starters, won 68-52 with the help of Nate Johnson and Dieonte Miles in the first half. Team White hung around and played pretty well, however, with a standout performance from Adam Kunkel and solid showings across the board.
Xavier’s offense is fun again
With a five-out offense that complements all the shooters on Xavier’s roster, it will be a serious threat from beyond the arc this season. Kunkel (who may have to sit-out this year as a transfer) was the star from deep, knocking down six triples for Team White. KyKy Tandy also knocked down a few from beyond the arc, and Paul Scruggs connected on both of his attempts from deep. This year’s new offense is definitely a nice change of pace, literally and figuratively, from Xavier’s last two seasons.
Depth is not a concern
Even with freshman and possible starter Colby Jones sidelined with a minor foot injury, Xavier appears to be nine deep this season. A lot of that will hinge on whether or not Ben Stanley and Kunkel get waivers to play (Stanley has a much stronger case than Kunkel), but Team White proved that Xavier’s bench won’t be too much of a concern.
Freshmen looked impressive
Dwon Odom looked really good as a facilitator (he had six assists by my count), and CJ Wilcher was impressive on defense and played well on offense. He knocked down two threes and rebounded really well. Odom is likely to be the first guard off the bench, and while his shot isn’t quite there yet, he’s definitely going to be someone to watch this year due to explosiveness and skill as a point guard.
Freemantle will be hard to stop
Zach Freemantle just might be Xavier’s best player this year. He was fantastic on both ends of the floor, leading both teams in rebounds and finishing second behind Tandy in points. He handled the ball well and even knocked down a three. He was also efficient, only missing two shots by my count. He’s going to get a lot of looks in the new offense, and if he can shoot from three the way he did to close the season last year, he’s going to be really hard to cover.
Xavier’s season will begin on Nov. 25 with the Xavier Invitational. The Musketeers will take on Oakland, Bradley and Toledo on three consecutive days, all with a noon start. Big East play begins on Dec. 12, with Xavier taking on the Providence Friars at Alumni Hall, which is where Providence will be playing all home games until 2021 as Dunkin’ Donuts Center, their usual home arena, is unavailable.