There is no denying that the both team’s benches are huge facets of this ball game. And none of these guys are benchwarmers. They are all ballers and affect the game in big ways when called upon. Let’s take a look at how these second unit guys will influence the game.
St. Xavier Depth Chart
– #15 Nick Kitchen- 6’3″| 180 lbs.| Senior
– #5 Connor McKim- 6’2″| 162 lbs.| Junior
– #22 Billy Basham- 6’2″| 185 lbs. | Junior
-#4 Connor Knight- 6’0″| 171 lbs.| Junior
St. Xavier Overview
As I mentioned in the guards breakdown, McKim is a big time player and can take over at any time. Coach Klein toggles back and forth between Josh Rudy and McKim as starting point guards, so McKim is essentially the sixth man if he’s not starting. But the real sixth man, usually first off the bench, is senior forward Nick Kitchen. Able to play the 3 or the 4, Kitchen’s versatility gives the Tigers a much needed boost. Although it may not always be a visible impact, Kitchen is a true grinder who plays with grit and veteran savvy. He scraps in the low post so hard that you wouldn’t notice he’s undersized as a power forward.
Billy Basham is usually a big energy boost for the Tigers off the bench. Although his playing time fluctuates, Basham is a reliable cog in the Tiger offense and a huge defensive asset. A big time bonus that Basham can bring to the game is he can rip off a scoring streak in an instant. Set up by his intense defense, Basham’s offensive game is one to admire because he is extremely creative in the way he gets his points. Coach Klein may go to Basham early on in Friday night’s contest if he doesn’t like what he’s seeing from the usual rotation of forwards.
Third string court orchestrator Connor Knight doesn’t get the credit he deserves. While he doesn’t log big time minutes, Knight is an elite passer and dribbler who tries to mediate pressure and game flow when he is in the game.
Trinity Depth Chart
-#1 D’Angelo West | Senior | PG
-#10 Jay Murphy | Senior | PG/SG
-#20 Gabe Schmitt | Junior | SG
-#22 Isiah Knight | Junior | PG/SG
Trinity’s bench can be summarized by one word: dangerous. There are handful of guys at one or two positions, but there is firepower beginning the game on the pine for Trinity, and that does not bode well for St. X.
Trinity’s second unit starts with D’Angelo West. The lefty-swingman is that “heat-check” guy who can completely change games by himself, much like Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers and J.R. Smith for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
West loves to drive and finish inside, but he is a more-than capable outside shooter as well. He is a complete package on offense who averaged over 20 points per game last season playing in Mississippi. St. X needs to keep an eye out for number 1 in green and white when he enters the game. You could make a sound argument that Trinity’s best offensive player comes off the bench.
Senior Shamrock guard Jay Murphy is another lights-out shooter who can affect games with his distributing ability. Trinity’s offense often looks more smooth and fluid when Murphy checks in.
Murphy is another player who values his time on the court, evidenced by his demeanor.
“Coming off the bench is never seen generally seen as a good thing, but with the quality of players we have have, it’s remarkable I even get to play the minutes I do,” Murphy explained. “For me, being a part of this team and having a chance to help us win a state title is worth it.”
Again, a player who will be playing in college puts the team in front of himself. It doesn’t always seem like chemistry is a big thing with Trinity on the court, but when you talk to the guys, you realize why they are so good: They recognize their roles and don’t attempt to change them.
St. X also can’t forget about Gabe Schmitt. With all the senior-laden talent on this Shamrock team, this junior doesn’t get noticed a lot. But Schmitt can flat-out score, and if he is ignored, he could very well contribute a performance off the bench that dooms the Tigers.
Trinity has a lot of talent, so some of it gets pushed to the bench. Unfortunately for St. X, they won’t be guarding anyone of substantially less talent when the Shamrock subs come in, and that could spell trouble for the Tigers.