Xavier changed philosophy in the Big East and Paul Scruggs is a perfect example

Paul Scruggs is the latest guard commitment for Xavier, and he typifies what Chris Mack and his staff have looked for since getting into the Big East.

There is no question that Xavier University had a lot of success both on the court and on the recruiting trail before getting to the Big East. Under the guidance of Thad Matta, Sean Miller, and Chris Mack the Musketeers were fixtures in the NCAA Tournament, and even seemed to advance to the second weekend on a fairly regular basis.

However after their first season in the Big East, Mack noticed his team had a problem. While Xavier had survived, and even thrived, using smaller backcourts featuring players like Drew Lavender, Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, and Stanley Burrell in the past, physically the Musketeers struggled to matchup with the bigger and more physical guards they played on a game in and game out basis in the Big East.


With that in mind, Xavier underwent a shift in recruiting philosophy. A school that once was fine playing with two guards right around 6-feet tall in the backcourt decided they needed to focus on bigger guards with more athleticism if they wanted to be a true contender for a league title.

That has never been more evident than today now that the Musketeers have added the commitment of No. 31 overall prospect Paul Scruggs.

Scruggs is a combo guard who is known for his physical and athletic nature. At around 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, Scruggs is the type of guard who play anywhere in the backcourt and provides a physical presence on both the offensive and defensive end.

This combined with the fact that Xavier added 6-foot-4 and 190 pound point guard Quentin Goodin in the 2016 class, and the Musketeers are now set up to have one of the biggest and most athletic backcourts in the country over the next few season.

Scruggs and Goodin are both tremendously physical and athletic guards who can slide between the point and shooting guard positions.

It doesn’t end there though. Xavier is going to have a lot of size all over their backcourt. J.P. Macura will be a senior next season at 6-foot-5, and fellow 2017 commitments Elias Harden and Naji Marshall are 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6 respectively.

A few years ago Xavier was running out lineups consistently with three players under 6-foot-3. Now the Musketeers won’t have anybody on the roster shorter than 6-foot-4.

Time will tell if this allows Xavier to come home with their first league title and consistently challenge Villanova at the top of the conference, but there is no doubt Mack and his staff saw a need for a change and went out and got big physical guards to matchup with the rest of the Big East. 

Scout Hoops Top Stories