By Luke Servello
The transfer portal has become a key piece of the college basketball landscape, especially in recent years as rule changes have allowed players to immediately become eligible upon transfer.
Xavier was impacted by transfers out this offseason, with Jason Carter, C.J. Wilcher and Daniel Ramsey all leaving the program.
However, Xavier also brought two transfers into the program in former Iowa big man Jack Nunge and former Indiana wing Jerome Hunter.
Nunge brings a towering presence to this Xavier team, listed at seven feet and 245 pounds. Nunge averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last year for the Hawkeyes.
Nunge will bring size and toughness to this Xavier squad and will most likely see minutes at both power forward and center.
He played behind Luka Garza at Iowa — one of the best players in the country last season, and still made his presence felt.
Against Ohio State on Feb. 4, Nunge put up 19 points and six rebounds, as well as 19 points, a career-high 11 rebounds, and six assists in a win against Michigan State.
Nunge suffered a knee injury towards the end of last season, but he’s fully cleared and will be ready to go when the Musketeers take on Niagara on Nov. 9.
With Zach Freemantle out at least one month to start this season, Nunge will be an important piece and will likely start. When Freemantle returns, Nunge could remain the starter at center or become a valuable option off the bench.
Xavier’s other transfer is forward Jerome Hunter, who spent the last two seasons at Indiana.
Hunter averaged 6.3 points and three rebounds per game while playing 19.6 minutes per game. Hunter is a wing who will likely see minutes at shooting guard, small forward and power forward for Xavier this season.
His versatility will be a major plus for the Musketeers, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him slot in as the starting power forward with Nunge starting at center while Freemantle is out.
He also provides valuable depth behind Colby Jones and Nate Johnson on the wing, and his defensive versatility will allow the Musketeers to experiment with different lineups early in the season. The improved depth provided by Nunge and Hunter will be important for Xavier early on.
Nunge and Hunter are both big-time additions for this Xavier roster. It’s likely that both will see significant minutes.