Christon told ESPN's Jeff Goodman early Friday evening that he had made his decision to move on just 10 days after the Musketeers' loss to NC State in the NCAA tournament.
"It's been my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA," Christon told ESPN.com. "Xavier has been a great experience but now it's time for me to move onto a different chapter in my life for me and my family."
Christon later tweeted the following:
"I just want to thank Xavier nation,the coaches and my teammates ..this been the (best) 2years of my life .. LOVE XAVIER"
Christon is projected to go anywhere from the late first round to the middle of the second round according to most mock drafts. NBADraft.net currently has him going to the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 29th pick in the first round of its latest mock draft, while Draft Express has him going to the Nuggets as the 13th pick in the second round (43rd overall). Goodman called Christon a "fringe first-round pick, according to multiple NBA sources."
As a freshman, Christon led an undermanned team to a 17-14 record with an average of 15.2 points per game while dishing out 4.6 assists. This past year, after a move up to the Big East conference, Christon led the Musketeers to a 21-13 record and a 12 seed in the NCAA tournament with an average of 17.0 points per game and 4.2 assists.
His strengths are his elite speed, good size and body control that allow him to get into the lane, make plays and score. The question marks surrounding his draft stock revolve mainly around his lack of a left hand and his limited jump shot. Though he did raise his 3-point percentage to 38.8 percent from 25 percent as a freshman, he still only attempted 49 shots from beyond the arc as a sophomore, despite having most teams sag off of him into the lane on the defensive end.
The loss of Christon is a major blow to a Xavier roster that looks promising heading into the 2014-15 season. With a recruiting class that includes two high-level shooters in J.P. Macura and Trevon Bluiett on the wing, Christon's ability to get into the lane would have put defenses in a difficult situation, making them decide whether to sag in and help against one of the most difficult one-on-one match-ups in the nation or stay out on the young shooters.
Now, Dee Davis will steer the ship at the point position, with the Musketeers looking for production from Remy Abell, Brandon Randolph, Myles Davis, and Edmond Sumner, who will be joining him in the backcourt. Sumner, Abell and Randolph in particular now have a huge opportunity to earn more minutes in that backup point guard role.
The Musketeers' scoring distribution will also probably lean more heavily on the frontcourt now. The top scoring options on next year's team may very well be senior center Matt Stainbrook, senior forward Justin Martin and sophomore big man Jalen Reynolds.
Combined with the announcement that freshman Kamall Richards is transferring, which came earlier in the day on Friday, Christon's departure now brings the Musketeers' scholarship players down to the allotted number of 13.