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Basketball Recruiting

Recruiting Class Preview: Xavier's sneaky good 2022 class

February 10, 2022

it’s now nearly four years since Travis Steele has taken over as the head man at Xavier.

He’s yet to reach the NCAA tournament, but, has risen the Musketeers to higher prominence in the Big East, especially this season.

Steele has Xavier currently ranked amongst the Top-25 and was rated as high as No. 17 in the country at one point this season. This team has real NCAA tournament hopes and has evidently been Steele’s best season since becoming the head man.

For this program, Steele not only has brought them on an upwards track since becoming the head man on the court but, off the court he’s also had some huge recruiting successes. For me, none of those recruiting successes could match the recruiting class he was able to lure in this cycle.

You start with Kam Craft, aka ‘The sharpshooter’ – was Steele’s first commitment of this very talented 2022 group lured in by Travis Steele, Jonas Hayes, Dante Jackson, and Danny Peters.

Craft is a 6-foot-6, 180-pound shooting guard from Buffalo Grove, IL. He’s currently attending The Skill Factory, a program known for being very strong on the development side. Craft most recently had a game last night, one in which he finished with 32 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. He shot 5/8 from three-point land, which brings me to my next point:

How many shooters are as consistent and lethal as Craft?

Not many.

But Craft is more than just a shooter. Outside of his knockdown shooting, Craft is just a problem overall on the offensive end. He spaces the floor extremely well and his movement off the ball makes his team even more effective. In addition, he can score on all levels and isn’t just a deep-ball threat, also gets to the rim very well.

Although, I'll be watching that three-pointer’s made record at Xavier which is currently held by Trevon Bluiett, who hit nine threes in a game in 2017.

Just nearly two weeks after Craft pledged, he was joined by one of America’s most underrated players, Dematha’s Tyrell Ward. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound G/F is a multi-positional threat who is just an absolute gamer, and a primetime prospect for Xavier.

Ward is fresh off of a 27-point outing for Dematha, one in which he shot 10/20 from the field. Ward was a prospect I first watched two years ago. His shot-making wasn’t fully there yet but man, seeing him now you can tell how much he was able to work on that aspect of his game. He’s become a shooting threat but is also a dynamic athlete who you can’t let near the rim.

In addition, Ward’s ability to create space and shoot off the dribble is very impressive. His quick release makes it very hard for defenders to even flinch when guarding Ward.

On the defensive end, he’s just as effective. Is very good at reading screens and also his movement on the defensive end both on and off the ball. Ward has proven to be quick on switches as well and has proven himself worthy as a two-way threat.

Point blank, I’m high on Ward’s game and have been for quite some time. What a grab for not only Xavier but the Big East as well.

Lastly, might be the hidden gem of this three-man class: Desmond Claude.

The 6-foot-6, 190-pound guard out of Putnam Science Academy in Conn. burst onto the scene late in his high school career. I’ll start by saying this, Claude has legit size and I most recently saw him in December and that confirmed my take on his size at the guard spot.

Claude will be a very nice fit for the Musketeers for multiple reasons. His High-IQ is going to get him very far in this game, he’s able to make very unique reads and has exceptional court vision. His ability to be that it-factor on the offensive end also makes him very effective: the ability to make certain reads and involve teammates if he isn’t scoring or vice versa, if they need him to get to the rack and score, he’s going to do it.

He was the final pledge in this talented Xavier class and pledged his commitment to Steele and Co. here during the new year, Jan. 20th. I believe he will play his role and develop very nicely under Xavier for multiple years.

My closer is simple, this is a sneaky good class in the 2022 recruiting ranks. Three Top-100 guys who I believe will have drastic impacts on the Xavier program. If you’re Travis Steele you have to be super excited to bring these men on campus come summertime. 

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