By Jeff Goodman
A year ago, Xavier coach Chris Mack’s biggest issue was depth.
That should not be much of an issue this season, especially now that Mack has added another solid rotation guy -- maybe even a potential starter -- in Vanderbilt-transfer Andre Walker.
Sources told CBSSports.com that Walker chose Xavier over Northwestern, Wichita State and Marquette.
The 6-foot-7 forward has one year of eligibility remaining, and he will be able to play this season for the Musketeers because of the NCAA’s rule that allows players to transfer and play immediately if they graduate in four years, have a year of eligibility left and then pursue a different area of study that is not offered at their previous school.
At Vandy, Walker's career has been injury-riddled. He tore his ACL as a sophomore and played just three games. In his junior season, he started 31 games and averaged 6.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Last season he missed 19 games with an injury and averaged just 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds when he played.
He’ll join a Xavier team that is led by guard Tu Holloway but doesn’t have someone set at power forward. Walker will likely battle talented redshirt Justin Martin and Monmouth-transfer Travis Taylor for minutes.
What Walker, a Midwest native, can give Mack and the Musketeers, though, is a different look. He’s a skilled forward who can defend and also pass the ball.
Look for Xavier, with the backcourt of Holloway and Mark Lyons, to be the clear favorite to win the A-10. The Musketeers also have veteran Kenny Frease, a much-improved big man, and bring in Dez Wells, a talented and tenacious freshman.
One area of concern is who will slide into the slot vacated by forward Jamel McLean, who graduated. Walker will certainly help -- especially if he stays healthy.