Xavier University’s ability to rebound from missing the big dance in 2012 will depend heavily upon their sophomore guard Semaj Christon (pronounced Seh-MAH-jey KRISTEN). After an outstanding freshman year where he lead Xavier in scoring, was named Atlantic-10 Freshman of the year and garnered inclusion on the All American Freshman list Christon is being mentioned as a potential 1st round pick in the 2014 NBA draft should he decide to leave Xavier after the season.
The Cincinnati native and Winton Woods graduate came to Xavier as a 3 star recruit following a year at basketball powerhouse Brewster Academy Prep School where he was teammates with fellow Musketeer Jalen Reynolds as well as Division 1 standouts Aaron Thomas (Florida State), Mitch McGary (Michigan) and T.J. Warren (N.C. State). Brewster tallied a 33-1 record and national championship during Christon’s lone season at Brewster.
The 6’ 3” guard spent time at both the point and shooting guard during his freshman year demonstrating versatility on both ends of the court. As XU’s leading scorer with 15.2 PPG, he also tallied 4.63 assists per game, 1.5 Steals per game to go with 3.6 turnovers per game. Christon’s strong performance this past season has resulted in being given exceptional opportunities to both improve his game and increase his profile among NBA scouts. He has been invited and has participated in three of the most high profile training gatherings for high school and collegiate cagers: The Nike Basketball Point Guard Skills Academy, The LeBron James Skills Academy and the CP3 Elite Guard Camp. In participating in these camps Christon will attempt to improve his stroke from the field to better his field goal percentage of 44%, scoring mostly at the rim while only connecting on 7 three points on 28 attempts. As Xavier will rely even more heavily upon Christon’s production in 2013-2014 he will need to improve upon his 67% free throw accuracy to keep the ball in his hands at the end of tight ball games. Xavier will benefit from the steady play of Dee Davis in the backcourt with Christon to form one of the premiere tandems as they begin their initial season in the Big East.
Xavier should improve significantly during the 2013-2014 season with Christon’s summer of concentration on his basketball skills and additional opportunity to further develop chemistry with Davis.
If Xavier can continue its tradition of developing frontcourt players such as NBA players Brian Grant, Tyrone Hill, Aaron Williams, Derek Strong and David West there is potential success with a pair of 6’ 9” forwards: Sophomore James Farr and incoming freshman Reynolds as well as Western Michigan transfer 6’ 10” center Matt Stainbrook.
The future looks bright for Christon and Xavier as they compete in the newly reformed Big East Conference with proven mid-major NCAA Tournament team Butler as well a perennial tournament teams-Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall and Providence. The arch of their success would seem to be contingent upon the continued development of Semaj Christon and the young Musketeers.
Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America
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