St. Louis Eagles wing Xavier Sneed has been a top priority in the 2016 for Xavier’s coaching staff for a while now. Saturday the Musketeers reaffirmed that commitment to landing Sneed, as head coach Chris Mack and assistant Travis Steele were courtside for both of his games in Hampton, Virginia at the Boo Williams Sportsplex. Steele also watched him on Friday night before Mack arrived in town.
Saturday afternoon Sneed told MusketeerReport that he is planning on cutting his school list down in July, and then he wants to have a final decision in time for the early signing period in November. He also said that while his recruitment is still wide open, Xavier is one of the schools he’s been hearing from the most along with Illinois, Kansas State, Creighton, Minnesota and Missouri.
“I’m looking for a school with good academics,” he said, noting that he’s interested in Engineering or Business Management. “I’m also interested in schools that can produce NBA ballplayers.”
Sneed started off the event with a strong Friday night performance in front of Travis Steele. He was 4-of-5 from the field and hit his first three 3-point attempts of the game to finish with 11 points in an 81-63 win over Boo Williams.
In two games on Saturday in front of both Steele and Chris Mack, Sneed didn't do much offensively. He was 1-for-5 from the field (0-2 3PT) with two points in an early 78-67 loss to New York Lightning, and 0-for-2 from the field (both threes) with two points in a late 81-57 win over Southern Stampede.
There have been two things working against his offensive production this weekend – First, he plays with one of the best players in the entire country in Jayson Tatum, who at times can (rightfully) dominate the action and the ball as he did in the early game on Saturday when he scored 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Second, because all three games have been decided by double-digits, Sneed hasn’t actually played as much as you would expect this weekend, particularly in the two wins.
Even still, he’s shown off the physical tools and skill-set that makes him one of Xavier’s top priorities in the 2016 class. In short, he’s everything Xavier’s roster is currently lacking.
He’s a long wing, a great athlete and a tremendous defender. His lateral quickness and competitiveness on the defensive end makes him especially attractive for the Musketeers, who have racked up skilled offensive players in the program but were overmatched at times athletically in the Big East this season.
“My defense and my toughness are my biggest strengths,” he said. “I love playing defense, and I think that separates me from a lot of other athletes out here.”
While Sneed was a standout on the football field for Hazelwood Central High School (offers from Iowa and Vanderbilt), he's decided that he will forego his final season on the gridiron next year to focus on his basketball career.
Xavier's staff wasn't messing around on Saturday.
As Mack and Steele had the chance to get another good look at the kids they've been hearing about and recruiting throughout the high school season, they weren't hesitant to extend scholarship offers.
Saturday they extended offers to three kids on the same Team Final AAU team based out of Philly.
Carr is a quick point guard with good size for the position that can make tough shots with deep range. He's developed, both in terms of his size and his game, at a rapid pace over the last 18 months. He could definitely use some extra bulk, but at least for now his lack of strength isn’t holding him back much in any aspect of his game. He’s been ridiculously productive so far, averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists so far during the first EYBL session. He also gained an offer from Indiana on Saturday night. Other schools that have offered include Maryland, Temple, Penn State, La Salle, George Washington and Rhode Island.
Stevens is a tough and athletic forward that plays with reckless abandon in the paint. He’s a great rebounder at either end of the court that goes and gets the ball out of his area. On offense, he needs to improve his shot but he’s hard to guard one-on-one when he’s attacking the rim. What makes his lack of size less of an issue is his versatility on the defensive end. He moves well laterally and is more than capable of defending wings on the perimeter. He currently holds offers from Indiana, Villanova, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, Temple, Penn State, Rhode Island and East Carolina in addition to Xavier.
Painter is a center with legit size that has shown the ability to make an impact on both ends of the court through the first two days in Hampton. Offensively, he has good touch around the basket that he combines with enough strength to power through contact. He’s also shown the ability to step out and hit face-up jumpers from the mid-range (and even the perimeter) with a smooth stroke. While he’s not a freak by any means, the best part about Painter’s athleticism is that he jumps pretty well and gets off the floor quickly. This allows him to block and change shots, as well as impact the offensive glass with tip-dunks or out of area rebounds. He’s averaging 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game so far this weekend. In addition to Xavier, he holds offers from La Salle, Penn State, George Washington, George Mason, Lehigh, Boston and other low-major schools.