Chris Mack and his staff added another piece to its 2016 roster on Wednesday when they added a commitment from three-star big man Eddie Ekiyor.
Ekiyor joins 6-foot-4 guard Quentin Goodin (rated 68 in the 2016 class) and 6-foot-7 big man Tyrique Jones. The addition of Ekiyor also continues the trend of upgrading the team's overall size and athleticism as the Musketeers continue their voyage into the Big East conference. Ekiyor will join the Musketeers midway through the 2015 season, but plans are for him to redshirt for half the season and then start playing as a freshman in 2016.
Ekiyor has legit size at 6-foot-9, 227 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and a body that should naturally be able to bulk up. He also has the athleticism to play above the rim on both ends.
Ekiyor isn't a dynamic scorer or exactly what you'd call a skilled offensive player. However, he does understand how to play on the offensive end and is a good passer. Most of his points come on catch and dunk situations where his court awareness and understanding of how to set up low on the baseline to make himself available for driving teammates helps boosts his productivity. He also finds scoring opportunities by playing with a consistently high-motor when working on the offensive glass. When he gets the ball around the basket, he's always aggressive in looking to take off and dunk on opponents with authority.
Ekiyor is already a plus defender with the potential to be excellent. He has legit size, strength and athleticism; and most importantly he's bought into playing hard on both ends already. He takes his individual match-ups personally, and he doesn't take plays off. Recently, Chris Mack's packline defensive system has thrived with mobile big men that can defend ball screens out on the perimeter and recover to the lane to protect the rim and rebound - Ekiyor certainly fits that mold.
With Jones and Ekiyor, Xavier has added a whole lot of toughness with its 2016 recruiting class. Both of those players understand their role as energy guys who play physical and do the dirty work on both ends for their team, and they take pride in performing those roles. Also because of this playing style and their physical strength, both have the potential to push for early playing time which should make for ultra-competitive practices with RaShid Gaston, Sean O'Mara, Kaiser Gates and Makinde London also in the mix for post minutes. While their skill-set's may be redundant in many ways, having Jones and Ekiyor in the same frontcourt should upgrade the unit's size, athleticism and defense significantly.
This could be the end of the Musketeers' 2016 class, but that doesn't mean the staff is quite done recruiting. There is still likely another open scholarship spot that the coaches can fill if they choose to, so they'll continue to work their relationships and keep their options open.