Xavier Bolsters Future with Big Week

With the addition of Edmond Sumner, Aleksandar Vezenkov and Remy Abell last week, the coaching staff solidified the future of Xavier basketball heading into the Big East.

It was a banner week at the Cintas Center, as the coaching staff landed three new prospects to help solidify the future of the program.

First they landed a commitment from Detroit guard Edmond Sumner, then they received a letter of intent from Aleksandar Vezenkov, and Friday evening they finished the week by getting word that Indiana transfer Remy Abell would be coming to Xavier. Sumner is a 2014 recruit and Abell is a transfer that will have to sit out a year before having two years of eligibility left starting in 2014-15, leaving Vezenkov as the only one who will be able to play next season.

All three of these players will raise the skill level and basketball IQ of the Musketeers' program. They each bring different skill-sets, and help bolster the overall talent and depth of the program going forward into the Big East.

Vezenkov is quite possibly the most intriguing addition, simply because he's the prospect we know the least about, plus he could give Xavier something that they really haven't had in a while - a stretch four. Intel acquired by MusketeerReport tells us that Vezenkov is a skilled shooter and passer, who will do most of his damage as a face-up jump-shooter. He runs the floor well, and is a good athlete, at least by "European standards." He also reportedly has a knack for offensive rebounding.

The addition of Vezenkov could be very important to the offensive flow of the Musketeers. He will help in the ball-screen offense by being able to pick-and-pop, he will open up lanes for X's talented drivers (Christon, Randolph and Sumner), and he will help keep the defense spaced out. It's also interesting to note that Vezenkov provides a nice contrast to the other bigs Xavier will have in the program. Isaiah Philmore is more of a thick, bruising forward, Jalen Reynolds is a long freak athlete that will operate around the rim, and in 2014 Melvin Swift will give them another freak athlete that plays in transition and dunks.

Sumner figures to be the point guard of the future, whether he gets to spend a year with Semaj Christon or not. The Detroit native has great feel and understands how to involve his teammates, but he can also be a lead scorer with the ability to put the ball in the hole from all three levels. He can knockdown shots from the outside, but also has the shake and athleticism to break defenders down and get into the lane to make plays.

The addition of Abell to go with Sumner in 2014 is really interesting, as it gives Xavier's staff another versatile guard that can help at any spot they really need, plus he'll already have three years in a college program under his belt by the time Sumner gets there, and should be a great role model for the younger guard.

Abell's intangibles that he brings may be as important as his skills on the court. He's played for two seasons in a winning program with good leaders, such as Victor Oladipo and Jordy Hulls, and he's a tough kid. He'll be the top defender in the program upon his arrival, and will likely remind Xavier fans of former guards like Stanley Burrell and Dante Jackson. His impact on the team's work ethic, attitude and mentality towards winning will be big.

The impact of this week will be felt in the program for the next handful of years, and will help set the tone for the Big East era of Xavier basketball. In just a week's time, they added a face-up skilled forward that will give them a unique offensive piece that they previously didn't have, they added a potential point guard of the future with huge upside, and they added a utility guard that will help set the tone in the locker room and on defense, while providing versatility and leadership.

With all of this momentum, the staff is hoping to reel in two more pieces for the 2014 class to go with Sumner, Swift and Abell. Adding one more big-time play-making wing would be huge, and the staff has clearly made Justin Bibbs the top priority there. Bibbs would fit in perfectly with this group, giving them ultimate versatility and good size, plus he can also help keep the floor spaced. In the post, they are also looking to add a true center, with a handful of guys on the wishlist.


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