Xavier lands JUCO commitment

Xavier has landed a new piece for the 2012 class in JUCO forward Chris Cantino. Read what his former prep school coach has to say about Chris as a player and a person.

Chris Cantino from Palm Beach Community College has made the call for Xavier.

Cantino's former coach at Rise Academy prep school tweeted out the commitment Tuesday afternoon moments after it was announced that Xavier's only returning starter, Dez Wells was expelled from the school.

According to his former coach at Rise Academy, Sam Rines, Cantino is a true swingman with good size and a competitive nature.

"Chris is a very versatile three/four. He's 6-7 with a long wingspan," Rines said. "He was a Big East kid coming out of high school, but he didn't qualify because he didn't have enough core credits. His recruitment was all over the place."

Cantino will be eligible to play immediately, and has an opportunity to earn early minutes at the three with the departure of Wells.

"He's a legitimate three. He's more like an NBA three though because of his size. In the college game, a lot of teams play four guards," Rines said. "He can defend a guard or a forward. He's a traditional swingman that can hit the three and handle on the perimeter."

Rines continued.

"He's very, very hard to guard. In the Atlantic-10, he's going to cause a lot of mismatch problems because the bigs won't be able to guard him and neither will the guards. He can score over 6-10 guys with his length, and he's skilled enough to handle it and score against guards."

Cantino saw his recruitment drop off a little after he ended up having to attend prep school because he didn't have enough core credits. He attended prep school and then ended up at Palm Beach community college where he was forced to play under the basket more because of his size.

The combination of playing a little out of position and struggling with diabetes "slowed him" down, and likely his recruitment as well, according to Rines.

"He's a diabetic, but that's not really the problem," he said. "He was slowed down for a few years because he had trouble controlling it at times. He needs to be around people that understand what he's dealing with, and he's also gotten a lot better about controlling it, such as watching what he eats."

This summer Cantino played really well in a summer league back home, getting the opportunity to move back out to the perimeter more.

"He averaged about 20 and 12 all summer, and was able to get his perimeter game back which he didn't get the chance to do at Palm Beach," Rines said. "They needed him inside more, and he did what he was asked. He's not a knockdown shooter, but he's going to shoot 35 percent from the perimeter and he's going to take good shots. He's not going to turn the ball over, and he's going to rack up assists and rebounds. He can really fill the stat sheet. He's a great team player."

Cantino's experience, being three years removed from high school, will certainly give him an edge on a young Xavier roster.

"A lot of people underestimate Chris because there's this stigma on JUCO kids for whatever reason right now, but I think he'll bring a lot of leadership and a lot of competitiveness to Xavier, and have the chance to do great things," Rines said. "I've had over 100 professional players come through my program and I'd put Chris in the top 10 or 15, just because he's so competitive. I think he'll have the chance to make some money coming out of Xavier in two years, whether it be overseas or maybe he'll get a look in the draft."

Xavier still has one more available scholarship, so Cantino might not be the last JUCO name that pops up on the radar, though they have a very limited time to get another player enrolled for this season.

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