NEW YORK --- The BIG EAST Conference coaches picked Xavier to finish third in the 2019-20 BIG EAST Conference regular season race, while also honoring a pair of junior Musketeers with preseason accolades. The BIG EAST announced the preseason poll and honorees today as part of BIG EAST Basketball Media Day at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Xavier, which finished tied for third in the BIG EAST last season at 9-9 in Travis Steele’s first season as head coach, was selected to finish alone in third this season behind preseason favorite Seton Hall and defending champion Villanova. All three teams have been named in numerous preseason top 20 national polls.
Two junior returning starters earned preseason accolades. Junior Naji Marshall was selected by league coaches to the 2019-20 preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. Junior Paul Scruggs was selected 2019-20 honorable mention All-BIG EAST. Marshall, a 2018-19 Second Team All-BIG EAST selection, led Xavier in scoring at 14.7 ppg. (12thin the BIG EAST) and was second in rebounding at 7.2 rpg. (eighth in the BIG EAST). Scruggs, a 2019 All-BIG EAST Tournament selection, was second on the team in scoring at 12.3 ppg. and was the only Musketeer to start every game in the 2018-19 season.
Xavier returns four starters total from last year’s team that finished 19-16 and made the second round of the NIT, including seniors Quentin Goodin and Tyrique Jones. Goodin led Xavier in assists for the third straight season, ranking third in the BIG EAST Conference at 4.8 apg., and Jones led XU in rebounding at 7.7 rpg., which ranked fourth in the BIG EAST.
In addition to the four returning starters, Xavier boasts a five-member freshman recruiting class that is ranked by most experts among the top 20 in the country. XU also welcomes a pair of graduate transfers,Jason Carter from Ohio and Bryce Moore from Western Michigan, who are expected to play key roles this season.