ESPN 100 SF Trevon Bluiett made a verbal commitment to Xavier on Friday, simultaneously ending what has been a long and complicated recruiting process, and giving Musketeers’ coach Chris Mack a major addition to his frontline.
Why he committed: When it was all said and done, the opportunity to stay close to home and step right into immediate minutes was too much for Bluiett to pass up on. Distance was a big factor in his decommitment from UCLA, where his former high school coach Ed Schilling is now one of Steve Alford’s assistants. Since that point, Butler Michigan State and Memphis to a somewhat lesser extent, made pushes for Bluiett, but it has been Xavier in the driver’s seat. Recent on-campus visits sealed the deal for Xavier.
What he brings: Bluiett is an elite level shot-maker, who drills deep threes and pull-ups with equal ease. But more than that, he’s a true scorer, with plenty of mismatch potential. He understands how to come off screens away from the ball, utilizes his thick lower body to create space, and is very poised and crafty when operating in the mid-range area. While he might not be a blow-by driver, he’s capable of getting himself into the lane and is also a good passer off the bounce. He’s going to bring even more versatility, because he’ll be capable of seeing time at either forward position, allowing Mack the flexibility to go with a bigger lineup with him at the three, or go with a smaller, quicker group with him as a floor-spacing four.
How he fits: First and foremost, he’s going to be capable of stepping right in and making an immediate contribution for Xavier with his ability to stretch defenses and put points on the board. In the not too distant future, he should be poised to become a focal point for this team for the foreseeable future. What makes his commitment all the more important is that, as a slightly undersized and not totally explosive perimeter forward, Bluiett is likely to spend three or four years in the college ranks before playing his way to the next level. That type of longevity is rare of guys with this much talent, and so when it is all said and done there might not be many players anywhere in the 2014 class that have quite as impactful a total college career.
Who he reminds us of: I’m going to stick with the comparison that Paul Biancardi made upon Bluiett’s initial commitment to UCLA -- he’s reminiscent of a poor man’s Paul Pierce in that he’s a relatively stocky wing who isn’t truly explosive but athletic enough to complement his physical strength and advanced skill set in order to make him the versatile scorer and total offensive player that he is.
How the class is shaping up: This is just the punctuation mark that Mack was looking for to complete a deep and talented 2014 recruiting class. Bluiett joins Makinde London and Edmond Sumner as the third ESPN 100 prospect to commit to Xavier and fills the only void in the group as an accomplished wing scorer. Combine that with London and Sean O’Mara, another six-foot-nine big man, along with a pair of skilled guards in Sumner and J.P. Macura, and Mack and his staff have now put together a class that not only fills all five positions on the floor but has the ability to protect the rim on the defensive end, and stretch opposing defenses out with a trio of 3-point shooters. Combine that with the fact that this group will get to grow and blossom together from day one, and this is a five-man unit that no one in the Big East will want to play in a couple of years.