International basketball prospect Sasa Ciani has committed to Xavier in the class of 2023, he told ESPN on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-10, 20-year old center brings significant international experience with the Slovenian national team, playing for their junior teams at five FIBA events and making his debut for the senior national team in February as part of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers. He averaged 12.3 points and 8.6 rebounds at the FIBA U20 European Championship in July.
Ciani’s commitment could prove to be important as Xavier has lost two experienced projected frontcourt starters in seniors Jerome Hunter and Zach Freemantle to injuries this offseason. Both are currently out indefinitely and could potentially miss the entire season.
To counter that, coach Sean Miller has reeled in a trio of European frontcourt players over the past two months, starting with 6-7 Lithuanian forward Gytis Nemeiksa, who turns 22 next week, and followed by 6-10 Lazar Djokovic, a 19-year-old Serbian forward. Ciani will occupy the Musketeers’ last scholarship.
Coming off an NCAA tournament Sweet 16 appearance in his first season back at the helm for Xavier, Miller has gone back to his international recruiting roots, an area he excelled in at Arizona with the likes of Lauri Markkanen, Benn Mathurin and Azuolas Tubelis, among others.
If Freemantle and Hunter are indeed out for the season, Xavier will need to replace its top six scorers from last season, returning just one rotational player in sophomore Desmond Claude. The Musketeers’ season tips Nov. 6 with a home game against Robert Morris.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.