Wednesday afternoon the Musketeers added another skilled prospect when Makinde London committed to Coach Mack and his staff.
London oozes upside and potential. At nearly 6-10, he can really handle it and shoot it, with range all the way out to the 3-point line. In fact, that's his game. He's a face-up forward that likes to knock down the jumper, but he can take defenders off of the dribble as well.
With 2013 international prospect Aleks Vezenkov deciding to turn pro after originally committing to Xavier, it certainly opened up the door and created the need for a prospect like London. He should be a nice complement playing alongside any of the other Xavier big men, such as Jalen Reynolds, as he'll space the floor and help give the post players more operating room on the block. Also, adding another shooter that has legitimate size into the lineup gives Mack so many possibilities with his lineups. Thinking of being able to pair shooters like Myles Davis and J.P. Macura with a face-up four in London who can also shoot would make life really difficult on a defense trying to extend and cover out to the perimeter on all of those guys.
The perimeter-oriented forward will give Xavier a weapon they don't currently have, and one they really haven't had since Derrick Brown. While he's maybe not quite as explosive as Brown, he is bigger and longer. He's a smooth athlete that excels in transition, and can even bring the ball up the floor himself after grabbing a rebound to start a break.
He's definitely going to need to add weight as he currently only tips the scales at about 200 pounds. Adding strength will aid his development defensively in a huge way. He does a nice job of blocking or altering shots already, and the post defense will come with time in Xavier's system. London is a solid rebounder in his area, and he certainly has the tools to develop this aspect of his game even more.
After his freshman year, London was a guard that stood just 6-foot-1, which is where he developed his ball skills. In his sophomore year he started growing, and he really hasn't stopped since. Now pushing 6-10, London still possesses the guard-like skills, and is now learning how to use his size to his advantage. He'll have to continue to develop his postgame, including things like rebounding and defending in the post, but the potential is off the charts for the four-star forward.
Adding London to the mix gives Xavier three commitments in the class of 2014 now, with Edmond Sumner and JP Macura already in the fold. All three of these guys are known as scorers. After last year saw the Musketeers score just 65.2 points per game, expect the offense to pick up in a big way heading into the future of Xavier basketball.