Friday, July 29, 2011

The Big Move

We know this is how you reacted at first, but we're still here
For the last six months you've been able to come here to the Examiner for your daily(ish) Xavier news, presented with a slant we hope you can't find just anywhere in the mainstream. Well, today, that ends. Unlike this March for our Musketeers though, this story has a happy ending. SBNation, the premier name in online sports coverage, has asked us to come on board to cover Xavier for them. We gratefully accepted, and can now be found at Banners on the Parkway. The new platform is excellent for commenting and provides a top of the line experience for all. Please, come join us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Semaj Christon Commits

Christon will fit right in with Xavier's backcourt
When the first sentence ESPN can come up with on a high school recruit includes the gem "not only a good athlete but is very athletic," you have to wonder if there is anything else worth mentioning. With Semaj Christon, you don't have to wonder long. The 6-2 Winton Woods point committed to Xavier for 2012 late today, and he brings with him something akin to the entire package.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Love Basketball

On February 19, 2011, this happened. Utah State and St. Mary's were playing a Bracket Buster game on ESPN in the middle of the worst month of the year. It was a relatively ordinary game of basketball, with St. Mary's up at the half before Utah State came back with a 25-7 run to take control of the game. was gracious enough to carry the game, so I was watching it muted as I got ready to call it a night.

Then St. Mary's started to make it a game. They buried back-to-back threes with 2:45 left to cut the game from twelve to six and get the gym bouncing. With the press on and Utah State threatening to decompensate, Jardine trailed the broken press, caught a pass coming through the middle, and flushed it on St. Mary's entire roster and effectively end the possibility of a come back.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jalen Reynolds moves back

Reynolds in HS last year
2011 commit Jalen Reynolds has apparently pushed his arrival at Xavier back a year, according to Brian Snow of Reynolds, who had bounced around all through high school, appears intent on attending Brewster Academy this year. The 6-9, 210 pound power forward had figured to battle Travis Taylor and Andre Walker for minutes at the four.

While the move to Brewster will undoubtedly further sharpen Reynolds' already impressive game (he was rated a 91 by ESPN) and allow him to bulk up his lanky frame, it will also re-open his recruitment. According to NCAA rules the letter of intent that Reynolds signed for Xavier became moot when he failed to enroll and receive financial aid this year. Reynolds rather famously promised "I'm going to get Xavier to the Final Four." Whether that is still the plan now remains to be seen.

UPDATE: Reynolds can now be contacted by any competing school. For him to sign with a different school he would take a one year loss of eligibility penalty or have Xavier release from his current letter of intent. If he does choose to go elsewhere and XU does not release him, he won't suit up until 2013.

Tu Holloway in a bubble and other news

This would've killed Tu's street cred
Back in June Tu Holloway was invited to tryout for the USA Men's Junior National Team (or World University Games team, depending on which you prefer). At the time I was of two minds about it: one one side, exposure for Xavier is never a bad thing, on the other, Tu Holloway getting hurt is always a bad thing. While a bubble for him seemed unlikely, risking him in pointless games didn't sit well.

Fear no longer though, because Tu has decided to remain in Cincinnati rather than tryout for the chance to go to China. According to Coach Chris Mack, Tu is focused on spending time with his teammates and finishing summer classes. The fact that Tu has already been away for Deron Williams' camp in Chicago and LeBron James' camp in Akron probably factored into the point guard's decision to spend the next month and a half here at home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm Glad I'm Not Sim Bhullar

I fly coach (when I fly at all), and I sometimes feel cramped at 6'3". Sim Bhullar has more than a foot and at least 100 pounds, on me, so I can't imagine how he must feel getting on a plane. Anthony Bennett, a teammate of Sim's, on CIA Bounce, tweeted this photo of Sim on a plane (I think). I envy the fact that he's going to play for X, that he's going to get to go to college for free because he's a good ballplayer, and that he'll probably get paid to play some day. I don't envy the fact that he's going to have to squeeze into everything made for normal-sized people for the rest of his life. If his tenure at X was going to overlap with Big Kenny's, they may have to charter two planes.

NCAA Adds Charge Circle, Slides Toward Death of Good Basketball

You've probably heard by now if you follow college basketball at all during the summer, but the NCAA has voted to follow the NBA's lead and put the little charge half-circle underneath the basket. Most of us who love the college game have a knee-jerk rejection of anything to make it more like the NBA, but that's not the only reason to take a closer look at this. In fact, the NCAA didn't really cite "becoming more like the NBA" as a motivating factor in this rule change.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Xavier Adds Commitment From Myles Davis

Davis has been dropping bombs since he was a little fella.
Word came out late last night that Xavier has added a verbal commitment from 2012 guard Myles Davis. In addition to bringing a tidal wave of jazz references into play for the next three or four years, Davis brings plenty to the table as a player. Davis is well-known among those who care about such things as an incredible shooter. He has the ability to knockdown jump shots from well beyond the three-point arc, and - along with Justin Martin and Brad Redford - will give Xavier at least three sensational shooters as soon as he sets foot on campus.

Davis was originally a 2011 recruit, but he spent a year at Notre Dame Prep to round out his game and allow his body to fill out. Reports say that Davis has really improved his ball management and midrange game in the prep year, which should serve him well during his time at X. The Recruit Scoop reports that Davis felt like X was "a home away from home for me because of the coaching staff and environment." It also probably doesn't hurt that Coach Mack personally followed him throughout the Hoop Group Elite Camp and the Nike Peach Jam.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Dante Jackson Day!

Part of the Dante Jackson Day parade.
In America, you have to rise above the baseline level of accepted social behavior to have your accomplishments immortalized with your own day. Martin Luther King, Jr, for instance led the civil rights movement and ultimately gave his life for it; he is rewarded with his own holiday. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both US Presidents during war time and were born pretty close to each other; Congress split the difference (roughly) between their birthdays and called it Presidents' Day. Christ rose from the dead of his own volition; he gets Easter. And today, in Greenfield, OH, Dante Jackson Day was celebrated.

Here at XE, we've been pretty unabashed about our love for Dante. Whether it was breaking down his stats when he was struggling, sending him out with a tearful farewell post, or simply never tiring of the process, the influence of and affection for Dante Jackson has never been far from our hearts. Apparently his hometown of Greenfield also feels the same way about him. While attending Greenfield-McClain High School, Jackson labored to earn that affections and adulation of his peers, and did so to great affect.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jordan Crawford, OSU, and Breaking the Rules

That's gotta be worth, like, thirty tattoos.
Living in Columbus, I'm inundated on a daily basis with news regarding the massive violations committed by Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor, and the Ohio State football program. If you've been under a rock for the past six months, just know that pretty much everyone in charge of the whole program was culpable at some level for a lot of violations of the rules, and Tressel, Pryor, and a few others took a beating. The NCAA hasn't handed down their sentence yet, but it's probably not going to be pretty.

Callers to the radio shows continue to debate if it was worth it or not. The argument goes that, despite the upcoming sanctions lingering over the program, that no amount of future punishment removes those moments from the fans' collective memories. Players play to win, fans watch to see the team win, and a retroactive forfeit of a game does not change the fact that you got enjoy, say, a Rose Bowl win while it was happening.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bobinski Named Chair of Tournament Committee

Xavier AD Mike Bobinski has been named chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee for the 2012-13 season. Assuming he is approved by the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, Bobinski's term as chair will begin in September 2012. Bobinski has been on the Committee since 2008. During that time, X has enjoyed the best run of tournament success in the program's history. That's probably just coincidence though, especially considering the draw Bobinski's peers (Bobinski himself can't be part of any X-related discussion) gave the Muskies last year.

The All Star Game and the waiting game

The face of a man who knows excitement
Tonight baseball played its annual midseason exhibition game. Called the All-Star Game by some, this game was neither All (several players dropped out) nor Star (everyone look, it's Joel Hanrahan!). While I'm sure you are now wondering what the baseball Midseason Not Classic has to do with Xavier, bear with me. You see, this exercise in futility made me wonder how long it will be until Xavier takes the court again. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mega March Madness: Final Thoughts

Mega March Madness Series:
The Tournament

As promised, that's about it for Mega March Madness. The tournament was originally constructed as an exercise in looking ahead to where the continued expansion of the NCAA tournament is taking us. While I believe there is validity is the ideas put forth, I also recognize that the NCAA itself is probably heading in a different direction than the one we examined. I've banged up some final thoughts on MMM and have placed the below. They alternate between strengths and weaknesses inherent in the format, beginning with a strength. I'm sure you've thought of other pros and cons; feel free to point them out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Know Your Non-conference Opponent: Miami (OH)

More racially sensitive than their last mascot.
One of Xavier's traditions during Chris Mack's young tenure as head coach has been to begin the season 8-5 with at least a couple of completely inexplicable losses thrown in. Last year, X fit the bill by heading to Miami of Ohio to face a mediocre team whose best win to that point was at home against IUPUI. The Muskies somehow contrived to lose that game by eleven. This year, the Red Hawks come to Cintas, and X should be geared up for a measure of revenge.

Charlie Coles seems like he has been at Miami forever, but he's actually "only" been there for fifteen years. He has had some good years - including a Sweet 16 run with Wally Szczerbiak - but times have gotten a little lean for him of late. One thing Cole's teams never are is in a hurry. Last year they averaged around 64 possessions per game, good for 281st in the nation. This stultifying pace is far and away the fastest they've been since Ken Pomeroy started tracking such things back in 2003. Beyond that, Miami has struggled to find a consistent identity as a team. Their offense has lingered between 100th and 150th, and their defense has been anywhere from 48th to 246th in the country. Shooting, assisting, rebounding, and ball security numbers have all experienced similar fluctuations in recent years.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

At least they were tall.
Remember last season? What about what your were thinking about the team last year at this time? It's hard to go back that far and not have your view tainted by what you know now, but I recall having lowered expectations. Our best post player and our best perimeter scorer had departed, and it wasn't entirely clear who would be replacing their production. Then Redford and Martin were lost for the year and the question became more about who would play at all rather than who would star. Of course, Tu, Cheek, McLean, and Big Kenny all stepped into larger roles, and Dante and A-Tay spackled in the cracks with a little help from Jeff Robinson.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Xavier adds Walker

I hope this isn't his normal shot
Vanderbilt forward Andre Walker joined this year's Xavier roster via transfer last week. Walker isn't exactly a world-beater at the power forward position, but he adds a great deal of depth. Walker is athletic, a good defender, and can pass very well out of the post. Seen by most of the Vanderbilt press and message boards as a "glue guy," Walker will get a chance to play minutes alongside Frease in the same role Jamel McLean filled. With Justin Martin and Brad Redford spotting up outside, Walker's 2.6 assists per game figure to go up significantly. The 3/3/2.6 line the Andre put up last year seems underwhelming, but his recovery from ACL surgery is progressing and his size and athleticism will slot well into the unsettled four position at Xavier.