Sunday, May 12, 2013
Xavier lands sleeper 2014 PG
By Dave Telep
The Xavier Musketeers scored a big, fat commitment on Sunday from a promising 2014 point guard nicknamed “Skinny.” Three-star prospect Edmond Sumner (Detroit/Detroit Country Day), a 6-foot-2, 160-pound junior, pledged to Chris Mack’s program over UMass.
The Musketeers targeted Sumner last summer and locked in on him well before he hit the 150-pound mark.
“They’ve been on me from the get-go,” Sumner said. “I’m their main priority. I don’t want to wait and go somewhere where I’m like their third option. They were the first ones to call me during last year’s summer. It just feels right.”
Sumner has been very good through the first three sessions of the Nike EYBL while playing the point guard for The Family. Sumner’s biggest strength is his toughness, which is unique considering he’s one of the thinnest guys on the circuit. Regardless, he has little regard for his body and frequently mixes it up while tangling with players who outweigh him. His opponents may be heavier, but there’s no chance they’re tougher.
“One of the things that’s great about ‘Skinny’ is that he’s a leader,” The Family coach Arnett Jordan said. “When he comes in, he shoots it well enough to play the 2-guard even though he’s a point. That ability to play multiple positions is going to help him, and he’s not a selfish player.”
In evaluating basketball prospects, the goal is to learn something every day, but more importantly to learn from mistakes. One of the common mistakes that comes back to haunt evaluators is dismissing the players with under-developed bodies. It’s a lesson learned by NBA evaluators (see Stephen Curry) as well as scouts and college coaches (see C.J. McCollum).
When you find a player with toughness, smarts and drive, the prudent move is to do the homework on him, vet his work ethic, and trust the college strength and conditioning coaches to do their jobs.
Not all skinny kids get physically strong or put on a lot of weight. Tayshaun Prince and Kevin Durant had issues putting on weight in college. Ditto for Willie Barton. Yet their basketball ability shone through. “Skinny” is basketball strong, even if he’s yet to discover the weight room at his high school.
“We were actually talking at dinner about weightlifting,” Jordan said. “Country Day just built a beautiful practice facility. I said, ‘Skinny, have you ever seen the inside of it?’ He said he’s lifting and I asked him how much? One plate? Two plates? He said on a good day he gets a plate and a half. I told him I wanted to see that.”
The moral of this story is that Xavier landed a good player. He’s a prospect who will sneak onto some top-100 lists. If I’m betting, the educated guess here is that his best basketball is ahead of him.