Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We've Moved!

Big news! We are now the official voice of the college basketball fan on cincinnati.com! Check us out at

or through the sports tab on the main page.

This is a huge deal for us. I want to thank all our readers for helping make this happen. Any questions or comments can still be directed to crosstownshoutout@gmail.com or feel free to comment on our posts over on the Enquirer site.

One last thing. This site will remain active as an archive of our past posts and perhaps the occasional post thats "too hot for TV" LOL.  Thanks again

Dave & Deck

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Congrats to Mazza and Feeney

Two new additions were recently made to the Xavier men's basketball team for the 2009-2010 season. Junior Kevin Feeney is from Monticello, IL and checks in at 6-3 170. Fellow junior Johnny Mazza was a team manager last year. This year the local product from St. Xavier has a chance to get on the floor.

Stephen Duckett (a walk on for X the last two seasons) transferred to Division 2 Christian Brothers University in the offseason. Former walk on Joe Hughes was awarded with a scholarship for this season. Those changes to the roster gave need for walk on/practice players and Johnny and Kevin earned those roles.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dez Announces for XU

Dezmine Wells of Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, NC did announce for Xavier today. WoGCA also produced super prospect John Wall for the class of 2009. Playing with that kind of talent could only have been a good thing.

The 6-3 190 junior is currently rated #59 in his class according to Rivals.com. They also denote him as a four star prospect. He is the highest rated recruit to commit to X since Kenny Frease. Dezmine also held offers from Baylor,Illinois, Miami (FL), NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.

I must give 'mad props' to coach Mack and staff. Before their first game at Xavier they have reeled in 7 recruits, six of which are consensus top 150 players. Great job to say the least. Mack is clearly one of the best recruiters in the A10 and I think he is the best recruiter in 'our city'.

Besides winning, keeping Associate Head Coach Pat Kelsey and assistant coach Travis Steele may be Mack's toughest job. Young kids these days like to relate to their leaders, teachers, and coaches on a very personal level. The staff seem to do a great job of relating to their targets and more importantly identifying early on who the key players in a prospects recruitment are.

This Saturday XU will be hosting 'Musketeer Madness' for their fans. All four 2010 recruits will be in attendance along with Dee Davis. I am not really clear if Dezmine will join that group for the festivities. We should also see who the new walk ons are for this season.

Welcome to the Xavier family Dezmine!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BIg East Preseason rankings and awards

Big East Media day is in the books and the preseason awards and coaches poll are out. After what I heard on sports talk on the way home from work today I just need to get this off my chest. 


Sorry everybody. Thanks for your patience. Now, The awards for Deonta and Lance are nice.Any recognition in this league is great considering how east coast centric it tends to be. As far as being picked 7th I unlike know it all blowhard guy am ok with that. The host of the show Mo Egger seemed to have it in the proper perspective also. Blowhard guy said that anything less than a Sweet 16 appearance and Mick should be gone. Really? Seventh in the league all but guarantees UC a tournament appearance and I'll dance a jig on selection sunday if UC is announced. 

The other thing about overreacting to this is the fact that its a PRESEASON POLL! It has literally no meaning. Its done just so the media(it IS media day after all) has some way to rank everybody. Has a preseason poll ever ended up being accurate? the last few years UC has outperformed its ranking so if they do that again they will end up about where I hope they will. Don't get me wrong a Big East championship would be great I just don't think they are there yet. 

So I guess what I'm saying is who cares about this poll. Its almost basketball season!!!

Go Cats!!

John Calipari has the same initials as Jesus

And in Kentucky just as many believers I think.

Did you catch any of  that over the top production known as Big Blue Madness? Holy crap was that awesome! I'm serious. Could UK and Calipari have done anything else outside of a walking on water demonstration(which I'm starting to think he could pull off) to come off any better? That man could convince Israeli's and Muslims to come together AND recruit their kids. Heck I even started to wonder which "Cats" I love. Just....Wow. 

I have never been a fan of Calipari and I still think he wears red undies under his white suit to go along with his horns that prop up his halo. I will say this though. That man can speak. I half expected to start chanting "yes we can" before it was over. UK also hit it out of the park with the way the it was all packaged and presented. After it was over I started to wonder. Is there anything bigger in the state of Kentucky than Big Blue Madness?

 I came up with a list of 5 things.

1.The Kentucky Derby 
2.The 1st day of deer season
3.Rick Pitino's Ego
4.One word....Earnhardt
5. An NCAA Championship

If JC gets #5 he'll be the Savior. Of course once upon a time Tubby won one.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good News Coming?

There is a little buzz going around on the world wide web that Xavier will be getting good news later this week on the recruiting front. Class of 2011 target Dezmine Wells is reportedly the target getting ready to pull the trigger for the Musketeers.

IF TRUE Dez would be the second top 75 recruit for Chris Mack and staff in the class of 2011. He is currently rated #59 on Rivals.com with four star status. A 6-3 small forward/shooting guard he is receiving interest from the hometown NC State WolfPack, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee among others.

Our City = Joke

You can thump your chest all you want. The fact is when it comes to UC basketball it is settling nicely as the fourth best program in the state. AGAIN the desperation is clear. WHEN you win a game in the Big East tournament you will be taking a step in the right direction. WHEN you can put 10,000+ at 5/3 Arena the program will be taking a step in the right direction. WHEN you can advance to the postseason and win some games (CBI, NIT, NCAA) some momentum can be gained. WHEN the coach can have a press conference with fewer than one excuse the town may be coming back. WHEN the little catholic school across town has LESS television exposure than you, then maybe the UC basketball program could claim it's their city.

Until THEN it is your city because the institution bears the same name? Hardly. But I have beaten a dead horse. The reality is this: for them to even create a marketing campaign like this shows how far they have fallen. In terms of importance in this town UC basketball is at the back of the line. Reds, Bengals, UC Football, High School Football, and XU hoops are all out in front of Mick's merry band of ballers.

But hey, 'Born Ready' is here to take the city by storm. I can't wait for December 13th!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Damn right it's OUR CITY

I posted that video weeks ago and your just now commenting on it? I guess It took awhile for you to come up with your little rant. 

Your Damn right its Our City. Who else could stake that claim? The little program that could? The big fish in the small pond?

It took a collapse of colossal proportions in Clifton for you guys to get a sniff of the coverage in this town REGARDLESS of your programs success. The local sports talk station continues to try every year to make Xavier a topic with no success because nobody outside of Victory Pkwy cares. Every coach you hire leave to go to a bigger program partly because they will always be #2 in this city even when your team is better. 

Say whatever you want about records, success, postseason appearances, better halftime entertainment, weird blob guy mascot(actually he's pretty cool).....Whatever you've got you will never have this city. 

It Belongs to us. It Belongs to UC. Its well....OUR CITY!!!!!!

GO CATS!!!!!!!

"Our City" - Really? Is It?

As we countdown days and hours before college basketball teams around the country play their first exhibition games something has come to my attention. I couldn't help but notice the Cincinnati Bearcat basketball season ticket marketing campaign ingeniously titled "Our City".

To be frank: Really? It's your city? The team that averaged about 6,500 fans per night last season? Sorry UC marketers it is a far cry from your city. Television contracts and Cintas Center average attendance dictate it's not.

But I get it.

You have to start some where, some how to get the fan base back. I hear UC's athletic department is considering making folks who want to buy season tickets for football purchase season tickets for basketball. Trips to the College Basketball Invitational and late season swoons just doesn't cut it and neither will this silly little marketing campaign.

As a Xavier fan and alum I take it as a little condenscending. Same way as I took Mick Cronin's comments last year in regards to Syracuse and the A10 as a little condenscending. Taking it even further anything coming out of little Mick's mouth, is well, 'little'. Shut up and prove it on the court Bearcats. Until then quit posturing like your big time. You play in a big time conference for sure, but everything else hasn't added up since Nancy sent Bob Huggins packing. "Our City" is a joke, just like the 'Cats record in the Big East conference tournament.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bearcat Links week of 10/17

Stephenson still waiting for Clearance


Practice? We talkin bout practice?

Yes we are. And yes, I know that is way overused but who doesn't love that clip? Heck a quick search on youtube and you will find tons of videos using, making fun of, responding to, and even re-enacting this wonderful Iverson moment. 


Not much to say here just that this is a great day to me. It's better than when pitchers and catchers report(sorry crotchety old baseball guy). Its better than anything to do with Hockey, Pro basketball, Golf or any other sport for that matter and its only the first day of practice. The only "league" that even compares when it comes to sporting events that aren't actually sporting events is the NFL with its combine, draft, and camp activities that get more coverage than most major sports actual games. 

Very soon my beloved Bearcats will take the floor with a fresh start and more hope than any year since Mick took over. Regardless of the situation with "Born Ready" I think the Cas are poised to make a big leap up in the conference. Obviously he makes us better but the other additions look good and Gates should make a name for himself this year. More on all that later this month when I preview the Big East saving the Bearcats for last.

Man I can't wait. 

GO CATS!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hey NCAA! Practice starts friday

You all remember Adam H? How about John Riek? I know you've heard of Lance Stephenson. What do they all have in common you say? I'll tell you. All had issues getting eligible to play while waiting to play for UC. Some of this falls on Mick Cronin and I'll get to that later but for now I'd like to focus on the old guys in Indy. 

With practice starting this weekend The NCAA Clearinghouse has yet to determine whether or not Stephenson is eligible to play because of his so-called amateur status. Apparently if the kid got so much as a piece of bubble yum and a soda from his MTV documentary they'll declare he is the scourge of the earth and burn him at stake using hundred dollar bills as kindling since they make billions in revenue from TV contracts

TV that features none other than "amateur" kids playing basketball for what amounts to room and board plus a piece of paper in a frame that promises(sorta) they can make 50 grand a year instead of 20. 

If the NCAA were smart they would know that Stephenson coming to UC to resurrect a once successful program is a great story and marketing gold. They would finish this type of business before the start of practice with time to spare so teams could put a better "product" on the court. I'm not suggesting they make an exception to the rule. I'm suggesting they change it. With Billions of dollars exchanging hands because of these games its about time the definition of "amateur" was redefined. 

The NCAA makes tons of money. The TV networks make tons of money. The Schools make tons of money.  Hell even guys like me make a little money from this game we all love. 

Using the term "amateur" to describe college basketball is laughable. Its a joke that the NCAA can sit back and take its time deciding a young mans future while its bank account grows by the minute from revenues gained on the backs of student-athletes. It's a joke but its not funny.

Getting Close . . .

We are getting close to the start of college basketball season with practices officially starting tomorrow. Obviously I am excited for what the new year will hold. Many questions abound for the team in Clifton and the one that sits in Evanston/Norwood. As we near the beginning of the 2009-2010 season here are a few things on my mind of the eve of first official practice:

- Jody Demling (Louisville Courier Journal) is reporting D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (DSR) will be coming to XU's practice Friday on an unofficial visit. Demling noted many thought he would be in Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria. DSR in late August skipped IU's elite camp to unofficially visit X, UC, Louisville and Kentucky. I take it as a positive the class of 2012 prospect is coming to Xavier on his own dime again to take in a practice. The 6-3 220 sophomore is considered a top 20 recruit in his class currently.

- Why does it take so long for the NCAA to reach decisions? Dana O'Neill of ESPN.com posted an article on 10/13 that the NCAA will not wrap up their investigation of Lance Stephenson until NEXT week. I know due diligence is very important in these situations - but come on! The article also references then they will make a determination on 'Born Ready' and see if any violations were commited. Let's all hope they have made a decision by the 'Cats first game. They are an NCAA team with Lance on the floor.

- In all the buzz about Stephenson's eligibility, I think Cash Wright and his importance to the overall success of UC is being overlooked. Again I ask Bearcat fans to temper their expectations for Cashmere. Big time college basketball requires an adjustment period for players not named Michael Beasley or Carmelo Anthony.

- Butler declined to have Xavier's game moved on 12/19 to Conseco Fieldhouse. Wooden Traditon organizers wanted the Bulldogs/Muskies to be one of two featured games that day. Event organizers conceded X was a big date on Butler's home schedule.

-Speaking of double headers on January 13th at Madison Square Garden Southwest Ohio squares off against NYC. In the first game St. John's takes on Cincinnati and then Dayton matches up with Fordham. Something tells me SW Ohio goes 2-0 that day. Also, sadly, there will be more Flyer fans than FU fans in the building.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Redford 2nd Best Shooter In Country

According to Jeff Goodman from FOX Sports.com; Brad Redford is the second best returning shooter in the country. 'Goody' put up a top 50 list and Redford trails only Rotnei Clarke from Arkansas. I say there is a good chance Brad shoots over 50% from trey range this year. I also think having more ballhandlers who like to dribble drive into the paint (Lyons, Crawford) will create more kickout opportunities for #12. IF he has improved his defense to the point of not being a liability Brad could see his minutes go up by 5-7 per night this season over last.

I think Mr. Goodman is a Xavier fan after all the positive press he has afforded X over the last few days. Hopefully the boys make good on all the hype concerning our backcourt. We are still young on the perimeter but talent is talent. Can't wait for the season to get started.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Goodman Likes Xavier's Backcourt

Jeff Goodman from FOX Sports recently rated XU's backcourt as the 17th best in the nation. Meaning? Nothing really considering Jordan Crawford and Mark Lyons have never played in a real game together yet. That is the duo Jeff feels will be there at season's end. Many more options for the Musketeers this year over last with Crawford, Lyons, Terrell Holloway, Brad Redford, Dante' Jackson, and Brian Walsh to share the ball.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic - A Cincy pro sports fan story

Ever wonder what its like to cheer without apprehension? Feel the need to qualify the accomplishments of your favorite teams?How about given up? You ever just say "I can't take this anymore!" and quit watching for a while only to come back and throw your arms up when Pittsburgh gets sent home hanging their heads. 

You have? 

Me too fellow Reds and Bengals fans. You are welcome here and you are not alone. 

I have been struggling with this issue my entire adult life. I have these visions of Eric Davis, Jose Rijo, Boomer Esiason, and Ickey Woods bouncing around in my head reminding me of the good times but the memories are getting clouded. Fuzzy are the memories of my brother hanging out of our neighbors sunroof with a broom after the Reds Swept the A's in the World Series. Hazy would describe the pictures in my head of Ickey doing the shuffle and Boomer leading MY Bengals to the playoffs. 

Slowly but surely as I get older and the losing seasons continue to pile on top of each other I find that my head is stuffed with sub .500 seasons, favorite players that become malcontents after they realize this is the status quo in the Queen City. I actually don't have hard feelings towards Corey Dillon or Adam Dunn. Why would they want to be here? Hell I don't most of the time. 

The latest Bengals "resurgence" is what brought all this out. I'm not sure what to think right now. One part of me says "Hell yeah! The Jungle is back baby!" but the other side says "Put on the brakes dumbass. Mike Brown still owns this team". So here I am. 


Cautiously optimistic once again. Biting my nails in between cheers. Oh well. 

Two weeks till basketball practice. GO CATS!!!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Notre Dame Stadium

I had my first opportunity to take in Notre Dame Stadium this past weekend. A lifelong buddy of mine is a huge Irish fan and I was able to come across a couple tickets through a work connection. Needless to say my friend was estatic about the news. Myself I am not a huge college football fan but I do follow it while waiting for the NFL to take the stage on Sunday. I usually follow the Texas Longhorns (born in TX), tOSU Buckeyes, and the Bearcats a little bit. My first college football game ever was UC/Miami last season. The atmosphere was delightful for that one and I was looking forward to see what all the hype was about in South Bend.

The road trip up was uneventful outside of a meeting with the Indiana State Police. The main drag from Indy to South Bend is US-31 and the speed limit is 60. $140- greenbacks later and I understand that.

We had lodgings in Elkhart. Most places in and around South Bend want you to stay for two nights. Best Western did not and the lodgings were comfortable. We enjoyed the food and the bar at the local Applebees for the evening. My compadre was in awe of all the Notre Dame 'love' in the air and on the walls. The only downer for him was the guy decked out in Michigan gear sitting at the bar.

Saturday game day we headed down to the campus around 9 AM. We parked in Mulligans on Edison Road. Across the way was the famous Linebacker Inn. The weather was wet and chilly with periods of rain and sun. The slow stroll around campus was great. They have parking right up against the stadium that is tailgate city. Seeing the band come through in the AM in front of the library and through the rest of campus was very cool. Some guys jumped in the pool in front of Touchdown Jesus in an attempt to get the band to take notice. No dice on that. The ND Band is pure class.

We returned to Mulligans and sat at the bar around 10:30 AM. There we stayed until an hour before kickoff. We met people from Dayton, Toledo, Allentown, PA, Elmira, NY, and a young Washington couple who were attending grad school at Michigan. Most of these folks were there each and every week. When they found out we were from Cincy the appreciation for Kyle Rudolph was apparent. Of course this sparked conversations about the GCL hotbed and inevitably Gerry Faust. I couldn't help but notice in Mulligans there was no room for Gerry's photo amongst all the Lou Holtz memorabilia. Lou is a legend there right along with Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy no doubt about that. We also met some Steelers and Packers fans which was great for chest thumping purposes until the talk of Superbowl's came about which then led to discussions of Joe Montana of course. They played the Notre Dame fight song just about every hour, it seemed like every 15 minutes to me. I can also officially declare I am no fan of Jameson's Whiskey but of course I am not Irish. All in all I appreciated the camraderie and shared brotherhood at Mulligans more than I enjoyed the facilities on campus. The bartenders derrier probably inched my decision to Mulligans for the record.

Once we got in Notre Dame Stadium and took a stroll around the first thing I noticed was the bench seats. The entire game day experience is paired down from the NFL sensory overload events I am used too. The lights at the top of the stadium didn't seem nearly sufficient enough. No video replay board. No luxury box seats, just an old school media press box. Their National Championship displays and All American wall is classic however. Seeing the band come into the stadium is something to take in also. Seeing the players rush onto the field gets the blood flowing. The student interaction between interludes was great as well. The fist pump simulating the Fighting Irish logo is a little goofy to me but hey whatever. What was really cool was seeing the pushups the students do after touchdowns in the crowd. Television doesn't do that justice. We were in section 133 just above the students and that was awesome to behold.

The game started with Washington going right down the field and scoring. There were way more Washington fans than I would have ever anticipated. Their band was in the house also. Hearing the bands and the percussion is a huge part of the college football atmosphere. Notre Dame answered with a field goal. End of first quarter.

About the start of the second quarter is when I let my buddy know he wasn't training for a MMA fight. Shortly after the second field goal I took several solid blows to the back and chest. He lets his emotions take over some time. The Irish went up 9-7 and then Claussen had a bone head play that led to Washington scoring a touchdown on defense. Golden Tate got that touchdown back in less than two minutes of game time to vault ND back on top. He finished the game with an amazing 244 receiving yards. However the Irish defense isn't as stout as some of the legends of the past and they allowed Washington to inch ahead on a field goal as the half expired. The rain really started to come down at this point. It was hot chocolate time at the half.

Returning to a cold wet wooden bench wasn't a highlight I will remember. Notre Dame recaptured the lead on a field goal. At this point it was becoming apparent whoever had the ball last was going to win. This is also about the time the rain really started to come down and the wind was a little cooler. Chris Polk was getting increasingly difficult for Irish defenders to bring down and they went ahead 24-19 on a Jake Locker touchdown pass. The third quarter ended and I discovered no more hot chocolate.

By the start of the fourth quarter the rain eased a bit. Both teams traded field goals to inch the score to 27-22. That set up some late game heroics for our guy Rudolph for a second week in a row. His twelve yard catch from Claussen pushed ND ahead 28-27. Joe Hughes tagged on a two point conversion. Around this time I am thinking the four and half hour ride back to Cincy will be enjoyable due to the heat and my friend being happy with a victory. About a minute later in game time I was having second thoughts. Washington went right down the field and thanks to another goal line stand by the Irish, Washington had to settle for a field goal and tied the game up at 30 all.

Notre Dame got the ball first in OT and scored in short order with Joe Hughes going in on a one yard run. Washington was unable to make it happen on their turn and the game ended with a jarring hit on a Huskie receiver by two Irish safeties. 37-30! Notre Dame wins in overtime!

Just a great experience overall. We plan on returning next season. Plenty of scalpers around on game day. We discovered many more things we can do and places to go before game day during our time there on Saturday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

NCAA gets it wrong again

I just finished reading an article by Mike Decourcy(one of the smartest and best in the buisness of bball writing btw) on new rules pertaining to National Letters of Intent. Once again the old guys got it wrong.

The days of kids going to Kentucky or Notre Dame because of the lore and history of the program are long gone. We live in an age where playing for a coach who can get you to the pro's is #1 on most kids lists. Hell, history and Lore aren't even #2. National exposure, being THE GUY, staying close to home, getting away from home, Hottest girls, and many other factors seem to be more important than banners from 1962.

Kentucky is a prime example. Do you think the Uber class was coming to Wildcat country if Billy Boozer was still in charge? I don't think so. Do you think OJ Mayo went to USC for tradition? Nope, sandy beaches, being the guy, and size of Media market all factored in ahead of anything else.

Speaking of Kentucky, Coach Cal was able to jump ship with no problem and no governing body telling him where he could go or how to do it. He even brought along his Memphis recruits using the NLI exceptions that are now against the rules. Bob Huggins recruited his only class for K-state before he even had the job.

Kids need more rules but Coaches don't? All the banners being taken down around the country over the last few years tell me otherwise.

Good, bad, or otherwise the players should be able to make choices for themselves. Choices that could, after all directly affect the career path they take for the rest of their lives.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Marquis Teague

Marquis Teague( younger brother of Wake Forest Standout Jeff Teague) was on campus this past weekend for an unofficial visit. Hopefully he felt the Big Time atmosphere with the football game going on. He should be on his way to Louisville next.

XU Television Schedule Set

With the announcement yesterday from FOX Sports OHIO Xavier's television schedule is set. All games EXCEPT the Sacred Heart game will be televised. If you have the Time Warner sports package you will be able to catch all networks XU will be on.

From Henry Ford, Senior Vice President & General Manager, FOX Sports OHIO: "FOX Sports OHIO is proud to be the television home of Xavier basketball. Both regionally and nationally, Xavier basketball has become synonymous with excellence."

I couldn't agree more Mr. Ford and thanks for the great coverage your station provides.

Monday, September 28, 2009

X- Gonzaga Ink Deal

Tom Eiser (XU Sports Information Director) is confirming a home/home series with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Muskies travel out to Washington for the first one next season. As good as the 2009-2010 schedule looks, 2010-2011 is even better. I like getting Wake Forest and Florida at home. I also like Xavier playing in season tournaments that feature teams like UCONN and North Carolina.

Can't wait for the season to start. I have decided to write previews of each A10 team in the order they finished last season. That way I don't embarass myself with 'predictions' on where they finish up in March 2010.

Any one else see what Nancy Zimpher did to the Binghamton Bearcats? Does she not like the 'Bearcat' nickname? Actually I think Kevin Broadus has a reputation for renegade recruits. Tiki Mayben getting busted for selling crack cocaine just tore the lid off of everything. Shortly after the Mayben arrest Broadus let 6 other players go (including Rutgers transfer Corey Chandler) without citing a reason. I guess Kev wants to show Nancy he has seen the error of his ways. Too funny and ironic to pass up without commenting on.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Basketball Season is Almost Here

Hopping around the web today and realized that Midnight Madness and the beginning of practice is just three weeks from today. I can't believe it. This also means that my Big East previews are soon to come. I will have to stop obsessing so much about fantasy football and get to work!

09-10 Bearcat Basketball Commercial

I just watched this and I'm ready for the season now! I'm calling it now top 5 in the Big East and a tournament run. 

Thats right Deck. Our City!!

This year on the Parkway, Victory is Ours!!

Just playin. Sorta.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bearcat Links n Stuff

Born Ready  likes it out of the limelight.

More Love for Stephenson. This time from Andy Katz. 

I know it was announced over a week ago but I'm a slacker so.....Here's the Schedule

Another schedule. This time for the Caravan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Previews, Jakarr Sampson

I have noticed the annual preview magazines (Athlons, Lindy's, Sporting News, ect) are starting to hit the newsstands. Don't waste your money my friends. If you do not need pretty pictures and want in depth analysis be patient and get yourself a Blue Ribbon Yearbook. Chris Dortch and his team do an excellent job of giving in depth previews of all 341 division 1 basketball teams. It takes a little longer to produce but to a hoops junkie like me it is well worth the wait.

Also I will be doing the A10 previews once official practice kicks off in mid-October. I am hopeful my colleague will do the same for the BEAST. Ours will not be nearly as in depth but give some perspective we hope. For the record my predictions were off by a country mile last year.

Finally Jakarr Sampson was on campus for a visit this past weekend. The highly sought after 2011 prospect has the Cincinnati Bearcats high atop his leader board as well. Michigan State is reportedly in the mix for the Akron star and Izzo has done well recruiting Ohio. Usually guys who are interested in both X and UC will kill two birds with one stone but that wasn't the case with Jakarr this weekend. With the 2010 class secure Xavier's staff now has plenty of time to focus on some 'high major' players in the 2011 class. Dezmine Wells, Robert Goff, and Durand Johnson are some other targets the staff is monitoring.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rivals.com Updated Team Rankings

Rivals.com has updated their 2010 team recruiting rankings. With four top 150 level prospects in the eyes of Rivals, XU lands at #14 in the top 20. UD follows closely behind at #15. In the end that is splitting hairs. I am glad to see two Atlantic 10 teams make the rivals.com rankings. I imagine when it is all said and done it will be hard to hold onto those spots as teams are still filling out their classes. There is plenty of talented players left out there which will cause the rankings for teams to shift accordingly.

However it does affirm that Xavier and Dayton did good jobs piecing together their 2010 classes. The Flyers are still holding onto one scholarship which they may roll forward to 2011 if no 'big' that entices them is available. These rankings are hard to crack for teams (like UC) that have only one or two spots available.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fantasy Football

Sorry for the lack of posts here recently. A little bit of quiet before the storm and a whole lot of fantasy football are the reasons I guess.

Just so everybody knows I handed my boy Dave his hat the first game of the ffl season. The final was 94-62. Would make a nice score for the Crosstown Game this year I think. . .

Unlike the Crosstown Shootout there will be a rubber match between Dave and I a little later this year. I think I pound him again but you never know. How many times will Drew Brees throw for six touchdowns in a game?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Prep Stars Player Evaluations

Just received my Prepstars Recruiters Handbook 'Exclusive 2009' edition. There are a couple player updates from them I thought I would share. Again Brick Oettinger and Rob Harrington do a great job and you should check them out at Prepstars.com. I like getting another perspective on future players outside of Rivals and ESPN/Scouts Inc.

They evaluated JORDAN LATHAM at the Peach Jam Classic and this is what they had to say: "Competing with Baltimore Elite and battling Meyers Leonard and others, the 6-8 C/BF at Baltimore(MD)City College is a workhorse who dazzles less and hustles more. The biggest knock on Latham is that he lacks the lift or touch to finish consistently in traffic, but that's just one side of the story. Even without the benefit of great low post offense, he works extremely hard for rebounding position and is a very physical defender as well. He isn't a total non-factor offensively, either, as he runs the court hard and does make some short jump hooks. But it's his brute mentality that can take more skilled opponents out of the game mentally, and that's exactly what he'll bring in college." They rate him at the 97th best prospect in the 2010 class currently. I like the sound of his overall game and him and Frease serving as low post enforcers in the 2010-2011 should give us the size, length, and overall nastiness to stay at a high level.

Their scouting capsule on JAY CANTY detailed the following: "This highly aggressive swingman enhanced his national status over the spring and summer, and he recently gave a verbal commitment to Xavier. Our concern with him is his shot selection and overall decision making, as he tries a lot of difficult, unneccessary shots (and hits of few of them), and he also has a tendency to try to force difficult passes through traffic, sometimes resulting in turnovers. To his credit, he has upgraded his jump shot accuracy and range (now 20 feet), his driving is relentless, he rebounds very well for his height, and his athleticism is well above average, though not quite in the elite category. Additionally, his effort on defense is fine and his hustle is constant on both ends. We see him as a good mid major plus prospect for the Musketeers."

I hope the next issue I receive will have scouting capsules listed for both Justin Martin and Griffin McKenzie. Again a great value if you want a second or third opinion on future prospects.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

McKenzie a Muskie

Griffin has announced his decision this afternoon to attend Xavier. The #115th rated prospect in the class of 2010 according to Rivals will further bolster the front line when he arrives on campus. He suffered a back injury last high school season that kept him under wraps a bit as far as scouts go. The Mack-Kelsey GCL connects paid off in a big way on this one. Griffin had a terrific summer and boasted a very impressive offer list. Officially his last four were Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and X.

My friends I am going to have a celebatory drink or two this evening. Coach Mack is exceeding expectations on the recruiting front. Four top 150 rated recruits: Martin (83), McKenzie (115), Latham (121), and Canty (130) is very impressive for a rookie head coach. Mack knows how to 'sell' the Xavier program as he has seen it from every level. I need to go back and look at the old coach's first recruiting class in '05-'06 but I am certain it doesn't compare to this one as far as potential.

All four players will help on the front line. In 2010 Frease will be a junior, McLean a senior, and Robinson a sophomore so there is plenty of playing time to be had. Canty and Martin reportedly have academic hurdles but no such worries with Latham and McKenzie. IF Canty and Martin are not eligible both players are worth waiting on - see Mark Lyons for this season.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Griffin McKenzie Decision Soon

Griffin McKenzie is holding a press conference tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon at Moeller High School to announce his collegiate decision. He completed an official visit to Wake Forest this past weekend and cancelled his trip to Vanderbilt this coming weekend. Suffice to say Vandy has been eliminated. Northwestern may have an outside shot but most think it will come down to X and Wake Forest. Let's hope he puts on the blue/white hat with the "X" on it tomorrow around three o'clock. It would be great to keep another GCL kid local. I am not going to get into why a kid should go to X over Wake Forest but I really, really like our chances.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Justin Jackson to UC

Power forward Justin Jackson has made the oral pledge to the Cincinnati Bearcats. The 6-8 220 pound Jackson is prepping at Montverde Academy in Florida. Jackson is rated as a three star prospect and #140 overall according to Rivals.com. He has been described as a high energy player. He chose the 'Cats over Missouri.

Mick Cronin has stayed involved with Brandon Mobley and according to Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier Journal; UC is in his final 3. On paper Cincinnati has one scholarship left. If Mobley pops for the 'Cats they would find room for near super wing Jelan Kendrick if he would want to matriculate to Clifton as well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Justin Martin to Xavier

Chris Mack added a third piece to his 2010 recruiting class Sunday afternoon. Justin Martin from Indianapolis Lawrence North High School made his pledge to the Musketeers. The one time Louisville commit is rated #83 overall by Rivals.com in the 2010 class and boasts 4 stars. He fits the need at the '3' spot very well. He is long and his shooting is exceptional. His relationship with Travis Steele certainly helped seal the deal for Xavier. He joins a class that boasts two other top 150 Rivals players in Jay Canty and Jordan Latham. Welcome to Victory Parkway Justin!

Justin became Mack's second player from Lawrence North HS (Jeff Robinson as well) and Indy is a good place to have a recruiting pipeline set up. Mack has now added his third top 150 level player and this class is starting to stack up favorable against X's 2008 class in terms of pre college rankings.

Hot rumors are Xavier is after one more player for the 2010 class and that is Griffin McKenzie out of Moeller HS. The PF/C recruit recently joined Rivals 150 for 2010 off his strong play earlier this summer. Griff landed at #115 when Rivals updated their rankings and just completed his first official visit to Northwestern. He will take officials in the coming weeks to Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Xavier is his fourth 'finalist' and the one he obviously knows the most about. IF Mack and staff can get Griffin on board they will have done an excellent job on the recruiting trail this summer. I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am with the job Mack has done in that regard thus far.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cincinnati 2009-2010 Season Outlook

The Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team had a very interesting off season. First we seen the departures of Mike Williams and Alvin Mitchell from the team. Williams was not granted a sixth year by the NCAA due to his medical injuries. The UC fans I know are glad Mitchell is not part of the 2009-2010 roster. George Jackson was added to the staff. Coach Jackson will certainly bring strong recruiting acumen to this city and great experience working with Louis Orr at Seton Hall and most recently Bowling Green. John Riek was returning, then he wasn't, instead landing in Starkville, MS. However the BIGGEST news of the offseason was the addition of "Born Ready" Lance Stephenson.

Lance joins a three man recruiting class including Sean Kilpatrick and Jaquon Parker. Redshirt transfers Eddie Tyree (Thomas More) and Ibrahima Thomas (Oklahoma State) also join the returnees. And we finally get a chance to see Cash Wright play the '1' for UC in addition to all the other newcomers. Mick Cronin has done a great job on the recruiting trail in assembling this year's Bearcat team.

Here's a quick look at the roster:

1 Cashmere Wright 6-0 175 Redshirt Fr.: As noted above Cash will finally get a chance to display his talents. After suffering his knee injury last year very early in the season you know he is itching to get out there. Bearcat fans need to temper expectations for Cash, considering he not only is coming off injury but will be a freshmen at the hardest position on the floor. Judging by what I saw in the Deveroes Summer League he is a first class point guard prospect and will help the team sooner rather than later. He has long arms which assist in deflections and steals. Nice halfcourt moves in Cash's aresenal as well give him plenty of ability to score from the point guard spot. He will need to continue to add strength to survive the rigors of the Big East Conference.

2 Eddie Tyree 5-10 175 Redshirt Jr.: First year player in UC program sat out last year as a transfer from Thomas More College. He is a walk on who had moderate success on the NCAA D3 level.

3 Dion Dixon 6-3 195 So.: Dion proved himself a nice scoring option for UC off the bench last season. Dixon averaged 7.3 ppg but has improvement to make in his three point shooting (30%). Still Dion is a strong guard with plenty of scoring tools. With the additions of Kilpatrick, Stephenson, Parker, and Wright minutes may be even harder to come by for Dion this year but he has tons of potential to develop.

5 Deonta Vaughn 6-1 190 Sr.: Vaughn has been Mr. Everything for the Bearcats his first three seasons. Last year he poured in 15.3 ppg, played 36 minutes a night, dished out close to five dimes a game, and snagged four rebounds each time out to boot. He finally has plenty of pieces and options around him to pull opposing defenses off of him. It should be a big year for Deonta again. Last season he garnered all Big East honors for his efforts. No doubt his goal is to make the NCAA tournament and he will certainly do everything he can to make that happen.

10 Alex Eppensteiner 6-3 210 Fr.: I do not know much about Alex. He is from Cincinnati and from Elder high school. He is listed on the roster already so he must be an 'invited' walk on.

11 Larry Davis 6-3 195 Jr.: It seems like Larry has been around longer than two seasons. He started 25 games last year and his key proficiency is three point shooting. He nailed them at a 35% clip last year helping him score 6.8 ppg. Larry essentially split time with Dixon at the off guard position last year. Davis will have to work even harder this year to garner over twenty minutes a night.

15 Darnell Wilks 6-7 205 Jr.: Darnell is the type of player who would thrive in an uptempo get up and down the floor style of play. The trouble is the Big East isn't that type of league. The conference is a grind it out style of play for the most part. He averaged 8.4 mpg and 2.1 ppg in '08-'09 season. I will say this about Darnell: he was always one of the first players there at the Deveroes Summer League this year. With the improved wing depth on the team Wilks will have to do even more in practice to be on the floor.

22 Rashad Bishop 6-6 225 Jr.: Bishop started 29 games for Mick last season. He played a point forward role at times for the 'Cats. Averaging 5.4 ppg he also contributed 2.5 assists a game. His shooting was awful, both from distance and at the charity stripe, 26% and 52% respectively. That will need to improve if he is going to continue to be in the starting line up. His defense is solid and he possesses good size for the '3'.

23 Sean Kilpatrick 6-4 215 Fr.: Dubbed "Killa" by Jamal Walker in Deveroes Summer League for his ability to drain it from deep and it get to the rack off the bounce. Sean comes in with a reputation of being a very streaky scorer. ESPN's scouting report claims he has good, but not outstanding quickness. Their scouts also note he has questionable shot selection. I will say I was impressed with his ability in the DSL and can see him taking time away from others depending on his defense and improvement of shot selection.

30 Anthony McClain 7-0 255 Jr.: "Biggie" had trouble staying on the floor last year. He even had trouble getting on the floor at times. He played in 24 games and averaged under 7 minutes a night. Not something you would expect to see for a prospect that was once wooed by most of the powers in the Big East conference. He didn't stand out to me in summer league, but that style of play is usually not good to true post players. He needs to learn to use his tremendous frame to his advantage. Initiate contact, maintain it, and power his way to the offensive bucket for starters. A little more strength in his lower trunk would benefit Anthony in a big way. He doesn't appear to play the game with very much intensity.

32 Ibrahima Thomas 6-11 230 Jr.: Transfer from Oklahoma State will join the team after the first quarter is over at UC. He is more of a power forward than a true center and can get up and down the floor in a hurry. He was a starter for the Cowboys who fell out of favor with new coach Travis Ford. His length and ability will be a boon to the 'Cats once the Big East season rolls around.

33 Lance Stephenson 6-5 210 Fr.: If "Born Ready" is "NCAA Ready" watch out. He is an elite level prospect that is hard to guard. Rated as a top 15 player prospect by all scouting services in his class many predict he will be one season and done in Clifton. He is a scorer of the highest class. Very aggressive on the offensive end and he will use his strength to overcome smaller players. He will use his handle and deep shooting range to take taller players to school. Defense is most likely an afterthought to Lance right now. Mick and staff will make that a priority this fall without question with Lance. Just having Lance on the floor makes the Bearcats legitimate NCAA tournament contenders.

34 Yancy Gates 6-9 260 So.: Yancy is a "man child" to say the least. His rookie campaign yielded stats of 10.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and a team leading 32 blocks. The Withrow High School grad also made 17 starts. The number of starts should go up. IF Yancy plays hard all the time he has a chance to make a whole lot of money playing this game. As big as Stephenson, Vaughn, and Wright are to the team Gates could hold the key to how well they do in the Big East.

42 Steve Toyloy 6-8 255 Sr.: Steve is a very serviceable post player. His stats from last season are not gaudy (3.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg) but he has the requisite size and grit to do battle in the post in the Big East. I see him starting alongside Yancy at the beginning of the season.

44 Jaquon Parker 6-3 210 Fr.: I did not get a chance to see Jaquon play this summer as he arrived on campus late. The Suffolk, VA native originally committed to Old Dominion but received serious interest from Virginia and Georgetown when announcing he would not reclassify to 2010 class. I have read he has a strong basketball IQ and is capable of playing all three perimeter positions. Most scouting services remark he has the makeup of a solid defender.

This should be the year the Bearcats return to the NCAA tournament. If they can avoid the late season swoons that have plagued them the last two years they will be in great shape. In a supposed down year in the Big East the opportunity is there. The roster finally boasts depth at every position and talented depth at that. Anything less than the NCAA will make life hard on Mick Cronin.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canty Chooses Xavier

Jay Canty from Jamestown, NC became the second piece to Xavier's 2010 recruiting class on Sunday evening. The small forward is currently rated #124 on Rivals.com top 150 ratings for his class. He joins Jordan Latham (#112) from Baltimore, MD in making the pledge to Xavier. The staff is continuing to recruit at a very high level. Jay originally made a verbal to High Point but backed off of that as he started to blow up on the recruiting trail. I watched with interest when Jay played in the AAU National Tournament in Orlando in late July. He played very well for his team (CP3 All Stars) against some terrific competition. Welcome to Xavier Jay. You made a great choice.

I feel the staff has two more scholarships to award for this class. On paper it appears just one but a couple scenarios could play out opening the fourth. If that is the case I would love to add Griffin McKenzie from Moeller and Justin Martin from Lawrence North in Indianapolis. Griffin seems to be down to X, Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt. J-Mart had X high on his list before his commit to Louisville. I have a strong feeling that McKenzie will end up at Xavier. Justin has supposed academic issues to work out which could delay his final decision until spring. Both receive high marks in regards to shooting the basketball which I put a premium on. Many Xavier fans (such as myself) are also wondering how things with JD Weatherspoon will settle. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Xavier 2009-2010 Season Outlook

With summer league ball winding down it is a good time to focus on the Musketeers season outlook for next season. Of course the old coach packed up and headed out west for new challenges and opportunities. Derrick Brown also headed off to the NBA and I would argue that loss is just as big as losing the coach. In turn once again Xavier will be breaking in a rookie head coach but this one has seen XU from every level. Coach Mack is receiving his first coaching gig at a place known to develop them. Chris also made excellent choices in selecting his first staff. Pat Kelsey (XU '98) was named associate head coach after turning down the opportunity to replace Shaka Smart on the Florida Gator staff. Orlando 'Bino' Ranson has strong connections in the Baltimore area which is a hotbed for talent. Young Travis Steele brings energy and high basketball IQ to the staff. Not to be overlooked with Steele is all the connections he has in the Hoosier state with high school and AAU coaches. I think this staff will continue to recruit at a high level. There is no doubt they will work hard at it as witnessed by Jeff Goodman's recent blog post. He made mention that Mack had been on the road for 18 of the 20 evaluation days in this July period.

On to the roster:

#3 Brian Walsh 6-4 195 (R)Fr - Brian played in 8 games last year in a very limited role before shutting it down due to injury. He received a medical redshirt and will be considered a freshmen for this season. The western Pennsylvania native is largely an unknown to Xavier fans. He came in with a reputation as a good defender with a nice jumpshot. His development will certainly be a key component to how Xavier does this season. Brian's best opportunity for playing time may come at the small forward spot this year.

#10 Mark Lyons 6-1 185 (R)Fr - "Cheeks" is a high riser and potential impact player for the Muskies this season. He seems to have the skill set to produce points in bunches. He attacks the basket and is very good off the bounce. Lyons can play the point position but I like him better at the "2". He will certainly see minutes at both spots this year. I expect him to have typical freshmen ups and downs but he may be fill the 6th man scorer's role for X. Expectedly how well he plays defense will ultimately determine the amount of minutes he receives.

#12 Brad Redford 6-0 170 So - Brad appears to have added a few pounds of muscle this summer. He looked stronger handling the ball in the two summer league games I watched him in. He was the only freshmen to play in all 35 games last season. He averaged 5.1 ppg in 08-09. Of his 123 field goal attempts, 114 were from behind the arc. Redford hit those at .46% clip. Don't expect those numbers to deviate much this season. His role on the team is clearly defined. Unlike others however I feel Brad can develop into more than a poor man's JJ Redick. It will be hard for him to get much time at point due to other guards on the roster who play there. But as witnessed last year he forces defensive game plans to be altered. He (like Lyons) has the potential to be the first guy off the bench.

#13 Stephen Duckett 6-4 190 Jr - Duckett is a walk on who appeared in 11 games last year. This will be his third season as part of the team and should be valuable to the team as a practice player.

#15 Andy Taylor 6-8 205 Jr - The "Sheriff" battled some injury issues last year and only appeared in 9 games. I wouldn't expect him to play on a regular basis this year barring injury to other frontcourt players. Taylor certainly shows flashes of talent and is a hard worker but not an A10 level player.

#21 Jeff Robinson 6-9 210 Fr - Jeff is the newest member to the roster. He is from Lawrence North high school which is a powerhouse in Indianapolis. They produce talent year after year. Certainly Robinson did not put up great numbers in high school but he played with some of the best talent in the '09 and '10 classes. At the alumni steak fry this year Coach Mack said there was urgency to sign a big man after Derrick Brown stayed in the draft. Purdue backed off his pledge citing academic issues but the truth is Jeff was overrecruited. Heading into his senior season he held offers from Illinois, Butler, and Purdue so the talent is there. I saw him play once this summer and he looked closer to 6-8 200 to me and very timid. However I was impressed by how active he was on the boards and how he ran the floor.

#22 Jamel McLean 6-8 235 Jr - Hard to believe a guy who averaged 4.4 points the previous season will play such a huge role for the Musketeers. That's exactly what Jamel will need to do if Xavier is to continue expected success. He is a live wire and very active body in the low post and around the glass. McLean needs to continue to work on his low post moves. He is very quick and can draw plenty 'and one' calls from officials. BUT he needs to improve the awful .46% from the free throw line as he will be on the floor in many end game situations this season. Or at least you would like to have him out there at the end of games. He played in all 35 games but seemed to hit a wall halfway through before bouncing back in the end. Jamel has plenty of talent and with an improved free throw shot could be a most improved player in the league candidate for the A10 next season.

#25 Dante' Jackson 6-5 205 Jr - Leader. Winner. These are words that come to my mind when thinking of Jackson. I would never say Jackson has the best skill set out there but he is versatile and has a knack for hitting big shots. He also seems to step up in the big games. Refer to the first halves of the Shootout and second game against UD in 08-09. I feel he will not see nearly as much time at the point this season but that experience certainly did not hurt him. Jackson received 22 starts in 35 contests and played around 27 minutes a night. He fills the role of defensive stopper so he should be on the floor even more this season. My best guess is he will start at the '3' spot but that will be determined in fall practices. He is Xavier's second leading returning scorer at 6.6 ppg.

#31 Jason Love 6-9 255 Sr - "Big Lovely" is the lone senior on the roster. He inches out Jackson as the leading returning scorer at 6.7 ppg. Jason started all 35 contests last year. By his own admission he said he played heavier weight wise later in the year which affected his productivity. Seeing him around campus this summer he appears much trimmer. Expect him to be on the floor at times with Kenny Frease this year at the '4' spot depending on matchups and foul issues. Love was the leading rebounder on the team at 5.9 per game and he snatched 84 offensive caroms. It would be beneficial to him and the team if he developed another post move or two for his arsenal.

#32 Kenny Frease 7-0 265 So - Kenny brought some moxy and toughness to the roster last year and should do the same this season. He did not have the impact many thought he would have on the offensive end of the floor in his first season. Frease averaged 5.4 ppg in 34 contests. His size and length made a difference on the defensive end of the floor. His first half in the Sweet 16 game he more than held his own against DeJuan Blair. If he can have more games like that he will assuredly average more than the 14 minutes a night he got last year. He clearly needs to refine his low block moves and improve his free throw shooting from .49%. Ken has a nice touch on his face up jumper so I am hopeful his charity shooting will come around. Frease had a couple "Laimbeer" moments last year against Gates from UC and Olmos from Temple. But I like some nastiness in my seven footers and X won both of those games. I suspect Kenny is another year away from putting it all together at this level but when he does watch out.

#33 Joe Hughes 6-6 200 Jr - Joe is another walk on who has been on the team for three years. He appeared in 11 games last year and averaged 0.6 ppg. To me Hughes could play on scholarship at a low major school but he serves his role well at XU.

#52 Terrell Holloway 6-0 185 So - Terrell had a lot of pressure on him last year as the only true point guard eligible to play. He did lead all freshmen in scoring at 5.5 ppg. He received 13 starts in his 33 appearances and missed some time due to injury. It was revealed Terrell and his family were at odds with the old coach over perceived mistreatment. Hopefully the change at the top will allow "Tutu" to further blossom. Holloway was a big reason XU won two of their more notable non conference victories last season against Memphis and Missouri. With some experience and more options at the lead guard role Terrell has a chance to take a big step up with his productivity and role on the team.

#55 Jordan Crawford 6-4 195 (R)So - Jordan will make his long awaited debut for Xavier this season. Crawford averaged 9.7 ppg on a loaded Indiana roster in 2007-2008. Everybody has heard (if not seen) about the dunk against Lebron. Crawford commented it wasn't that big of a deal (and it wasn't) and he wished people would talk more about his overall play at the camp. I saw him go off in a couple games this summer. He should be the guy who gets his number called when X has to have a bucket. I hope Jordan is ready to be the "man" because that role is open on this team with the loss of Anderson, Brown, and Raymond. I believe the talk of one season and done is very premature but if that happens Xavier will have had a great year.

Clearly this will be a transistion year for the Musketeers. The nonconference schedule is designed to get this team in the NCAA tournament. Games on the road against Wake Forest, Kansas State, Butler, and Florida will be tremendous challenges. Also Xavier will get quality comp in the Old Spice Classic that features Alabama, Baylor, Creighton, Florida St., Marquette and Michigan. Finally home games against LSU and Cincinnati should present opportunities for quality wins. In conference Richmond, LaSalle, Dayton, Charlotte, and Temple all should be tough. I remember the last coach was 17-12 his first year at XU. My hope is Mack will keep the losses under double digits with his first squad.

There are several keys to Xavier returning to the NCAA tournament in 2009-2010. First and foremost Mack's coaching ability. Secondly, and not to be overlooked, is how much improvement happens with the sophomore class. Redford, Holloway, Frease, and Crawford will all need to have impact roles on this team. Also on paper we don't return much scoring statistically but there is plenty of scoring ability on this team. If the Muskies can fare well out of conference it should be a huge lift once conference play starts in terms of confidence. I cannot wait for the second weekend of November to arrive and see how the season plays out over the course of next winter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Latham - AAU Showcase

I had a chance to watch Baltimore Elite take on Team Final yesterday on ESPNU. The game was broadcast from Orlando, FL at the Milk House and it is a part of the AAU national tournament there. In the second game I witnessed the CP3 All Stars take on All Ohio Red. Of course those teams feature X targets Jay Canty and JD Weatherspoon respectively.

In terms of watching the actual games ESPN overproduced the show. During gameplay they had a segment called Katz's Korner featuring Andy Katz interviewing three D1 coaches at a time on current developments in the game, their programs, and recruiting in general. While it was interesting to hear the coaches thoughts it made it very difficult to watch the games. The most interesting of those segments to me was when Brian Gregory, Mick Cronin, and Mike Jarvis were on. Katz point blank asked why UD and UC do not meet every year. Gregory was very PC about it while Mickey said they were working on it next year. By the interview you can tell Mick is banking on Lance Stephenson suiting up next year for the 'Cats. He cringed every time Katz mentioned that UD is the top program in Ohio this year. I must admit I cringed too.

All four of the above mentioned AAU teams are loaded with high level talent. Mike Gilchrist is largely considered the best overall player in the 2011 class for Team Final. They ran over Will Barton and Baltimore Elite. There were no less than 7 players from Baltimore area who went to the NBA Top 100 camp so you know this team was loaded. However the kids from Philadelphia and New Jersey area were too much this game.

In regards to Jordan Latham; his frame is bigger than I expected. He showed flashes in this game of his passing ability and mainly played close to the rim. Which if your 6-9 225 is a good idea. Again these teams are loaded and it is hard for individual players to stand out. To give you an idea Tyreek Duren was the game mvp and he is a 6-0 point guard out of Neumann-Goretti in Philadelphia. His current school list included the likes of CAA schools and St. Bonaventure. After a nineteen point outburst and overall solid play for Team Final expect his stock to rise. In the other games, Jay Canty impressed me. He seemed slight of frame but was very active driving and crashing the glass. I saw one nice dunk by JD but when he was in the game it was 'Katz's Korner' on center stage.

There will be more action today at 5 PM on ESPNU. I believe the championship games are today. Even though it is annoying as hell with all the coach interview interruptions (show the games ESPN!) I will be tuning in again to see other potential X targets. Also the Reds have lost 6 straight so there is not a whole lot else to pay attention to on the Cincy sports scene.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seen the 'Dunk'

Numerous websites now have video footage (from a cell phone) up of Jordan Crawford's infamous dunk on LeBron James. It can certainly be termed a 'banger' on the King's head. The slow moving fellas in the paint up at Dayton need to beware. I was right in my mind regarding it outliving the hype of not seeing it; but still damn proud to have Jordan on my favorite team.

I have seen Jordan play in the DSL a few times this year with 'Cheeks' and I must say I am believing the hype. With Lyons, McLean, and Crawford getting up and down the court next year with Tutu getting them the ball you can expect some highlights. When does the season start again?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crosstown Date

Circle it on your calendar boys Dec. 13 @ Cintas Center(ever notice the display of janitors uni's? I think they belonged to Dedrick Finn. HAAA!) It is also the 1st game Ibrahima Thomas, Big fella transfer from Ok St. will be eligible. Prediction? With no tape on the big man he will dominate on the D side while he is on the floor. Okay just kidding but it sounded good right?

In all seriousness I think with two local guys running the teams this could get back to the level of nasty from years past. I really hope it does. There is nothing like the Crosstown Shootout when bad blood is involved. Don't get me wrong I want hands shook at the end and respect to be shown. I just want a HARDFOUGHT game played. No pregame handshakes or hugs for guys you know from summer league.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crosstown Date Set

Sunday December 13th will be the date of the 2009 version of the Crosstown Shootout. I can't say I am real excited about the day. Almost certainly ESPN has something to do with this. Saturday the 12th would seem to be the better date as college football regular season is wrapped up and bowl play is not started in earnest by then. Whatever I guess. My beloved Bengals play on that day at 1 PM so I will be curious as to the time of the Shootout.

With the date being set and the Deveroes Summer League regular season winding down it is getting time to do a 'summer preview' of both teams for next season. There is always plenty of promise and question each and every offseason. Both sides have plenty of questions. First off XU will have a new coach who is unproven as the lead guy. UC fans have to be curious as to what the final roster will look like heading into the season. They do know the Oklahoma State transfer Thomas will be eligible on 12/13 which is good because they are going to need all the help they can get to walk out of the Cintas Center with a victory. <;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation - XU Steak Fry

I have been on vacation since this weekend and apologize for lack of updates and other information. I went to Saugatuck, MI with my wife and 22 month old son. Six hours is about all a little guy can handle in the car which made our destination great. This was my first trip to Michigan and seeing the sunset on Oval Beach over Lake Michigan is a pleasant memory I will carry for awhile. Also had the chance to stop by Notre Dame's campus on the way back. South Bend as a city was a little disappointing but the Irish are the main attraction. Beautiful campus the Irish have by the way.

While I was taking it easy, Griffen McKenzie was racking up the offers with Vanderbilt and the Ohio State University being the latest to his list. Many Xavier fans want to compare Griff to Justin Doellman but their games are very different. McKenzie is more of a '5' and has mixed it up down low on the summer circuit. His lower back injury kept him under the radar last season as he did not play until mid January. He is making up for it in a big way. Obviously would love to have this kid and I am hopeful a decision comes soon. IF he wants to leave town look for Wake, Northwestern, or Vandy to have a real shot at him.

If we land Griffen (who will be a four star prospect by the end of July) JD Weatherspoon will be on the outside looking in. X is looking for one more frontcourt player with the 2010 class and a wing. Right now JD projects as an undersized '4'. I would be suprised if it wasn't X or tOSU. Let's hope JD makes a decision soon. I would say the top wing targets for this class include Jamail Jones and Justin Martin.

Speaking of 2010 prospects while I was away my print copy of PrepStars Recruiters Handbook showed up. Their pre July camp rankings had Jordan Latham at #92. After reading their write up on him at the NBA Players Camp he will fall from that spot. Apparently Jordan tried to do many things he is not capable of. However they go on to say with polish on his hook and jump shot he will be a high level player in college basketball. Latham is 6'8" and could help at the center position based on his rebounding prowess and strength. Other sites (including rivals.com) say that he played very, very well at the Peach Jam down in Georgia.

I did return home last night to enjoy my first Alumni Steak Fry on XU's campus. The meal was very, very good to a country boy like me. The highlights of course were hearing the coaches speak. Before I get into the men's basketball highlights let me just say coach Kevin McGuff and his staff have raised the bar very high for our women's program. Ta'shia Phillips brought home gold from the World University Games in Serbia earlier this summer, Amber Harris is returning to form, and the schedule is killer once again. They may reach a final four before the men do.

I was glad I had the opportunity to hear Coach Mack speak. He is direct and to the point, which I appreciate. When asked what the biggest question/surprise for next season will be he deadpanned "My coaching." He gave the updates on the staff and current players which was all expectedly positive. Hearing the opportunities Pat Kelsey passed up to be at X were tremendous. Pat passed on them before he decided to join Chris at X which says even more to me. Kelsey had a firm offer to join Billy Donovan's staff at Florida after Shaka Smart was named the VCU head coach. He also could have been a D1 coach (I am guessing High Point in North Carolina) but passed on that as well.

Of course someone brought up the infamous Jordan Crawford dunk over Lebron. Coach said he hasn't seen it but heard 'a little bit about it'. He went on to say being able to do that on one of the best of the best in the game today would put the rest of the A10 on notice. That is not exactly what Mack said (he asked that stay under the tent) but he left no doubt in my mind he expects to compete at a very high level. He gave some schedule updates: we open at home against Youngstown State, road games at Butler, Wake Forest, Kansas State and Florida. Other home highlights include LSU and Cincinnati. We also will participate in the Old Spice Classic at Disney World around Thanksgiving that will feature Alabama, Creighton, Michigan, and Marquette. Concerning conference play he remarked Richmond will be a contender and that Temple will be tough. He made mention that we get the Owls on the road for our single contest this year and that is always a tough one to win up there. He also feels the team 'up north' will be 'pretty good'. To be honest he had plenty of zingers for the Flyers program; including a line about 'offseason championships'. Sorry Dave he did not bash your beloved Bearcats at all. Overall I am excited that we have two Xavier guys leading our program. Clearly Mack will have some on the job training with the schedule we have set up in the non conference but we all expect (including him) that our strong basketball tradition will carry on.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Derrick Brown, ect.

Derrick Brown has reportedly signed a two year guaranteed contract with Charlotte. No terms were disclosed. I say good for him. Show the world what you can do. I saw that DB and Josh Duncan are both playing summer league ball together for the Jazz's team. Charlotte does not field a summer league team. I heard mention that their 'summer league' team actually plays during the winter. Take it for what it's worth.

Mike Dyer from the Cincinnati Enquirer had a story up on Griffin McKenzie from Moeller picking up offers from XU, UC, Wake and Tennessee to go along with a litany of mid major offers. I know most schools were in a "wait and see" mode with Griffin and obviously a few liked what they saw at the adidas Take 5ive classic at UC early this week. He is a face up "4" but also has shown a willingness to get in the paint and do the dirty work. I know he attended a team camp at XU last year but not sure of his current level of interest in the Muskies. Both area schools have had their share of prospects come out of Moeller: Xavier with Duncan and Byron Larkin, UC with Bobby Brannen. Should be an interesting recruitment to follow.

Jordan Crawford is still getting all kinds of 'shine' off his dunk. I don't even want to see it now. It would never do the hype justice. Proud as can be for Jordan; it was great to hear "Jordan Crawford, Xavier sophomore" on the sport talk shows yesterday over and over. I would like to think the fotogs signed a waiver before filming at the camp that stated the film was property of Nike. IF NOT then I have real issues with what went down. Not that it matters what my issues are. For the record Lebron is the ONLY player I would pay to see in a NBA game.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Crawfords Dunk on Lebron

Hey Lebron, You look more like a punk now that everybody knows you had Nike confiscate the tapes of this dunk than you would have if you just left it out there for the world to see.

You get dunked on by a college baller its news for a few days and goes away.

You make it so no one gets to see it because its at your function and now your a toolbox with a big ego. That will stick longer than Crawfords crotch did to your face.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Strength Coach , ect.

Xavier has welcomed a new strength coach on board and to the family. His name is Matt Jennings and he is being hired away from High Point in North Carolina. Before his stint there he worked at South Carolina (focusing on basketball and soccer) and before that he was at Wake Forest with the same responsibilities. He has a connection with Coach Mack and Coach Kelsey from their Wake Forest days. In the late '90's he was on staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Best of luck to Matt in developing the talent at Xavier physically.

Also I have read numerous blogs and message boards today glorifying Jordan Crawford's throw down over King Lebron James yesterday at his skills camp in Cleveland. Mr. Crawford (aka the 'Green Mamba') excited onlookers with his 'man up' dunk on James. Jared Sullinger (#3 rated player in 2010 class) put it up on his facebook page. When Gary Parrish and Adam Zagoria make mention of something like this it tells me Jordan help put his name out there nationally as well. Xavier fans will be lucky if they get to enjoy this talent on the floor the next two seasons.

Dee Davis has played well at the take 5 classic up at UC. Jerry Meyer from Rivals.com noted he is 'a steal' for the Musketeers. Let's hope so. Hopefully he can help convince some of the other great talent in Indiana they need to come down to the Queen City to play their college ball. Again if you get the chance take in some of the action up in Clifton. I believe tomorrow may be the last day of the tournament.

Speaking of the Lebron James camp I know Jamail Jones will be there. There will be far less kids than at the adidas tournament but I think the quality of play will be much greater. If I had my choice I would take Jones over Weatherspoon but I think there is room for both on the Musketeers roster. If Mack and staff don't land either of those guys I would imagine they would target Jay Canty, Jordan Manuel, and Griffin McKenzie to add to their team. The level of recruiting is staying at a high level for the Musketeers and this staff.

Monday, July 6, 2009

adidas Take 5 Classic - Other Notes

If you get the opportunity you should check out the adidas Take 5 Classic going on at UC's campus the next few days. It is one of the premiere events during the July evaluation period. I stopped by today in hopes of getting a glance at Jay Canty (XU target) around lunchtime. There are 3 different age groups playing in this tournament from all over the country. It is a great treat if you are into basketball. Just seeing the coaches is almost worth the $15.00. And the conversations you can have with the AAU coaches, college assistants and parents of some of the players you see is great. There is serious basketball being played and I counted no less than five games going on at once on Ed Jucker court.

In case you missed it Lance Stephenson is official to the UC Bearcats. Some of the faithful are ready to hang the final four banner for next season. In all seriousness he is a tremendous talent on the basketball floor. Paired up with Yancey Gates (who is attending the Lebron James Camp as a counselor this week) on the inside and a proven commodity like Vaughn on the perimeter the Bearcats could make some noise in the always tough Big East. My perspective (with the blue colored glasses off) is Lance has hurdles to clear, the biggest being his amateur status questions the NCAA will ask. My biggest question is will he be at the Deveroes Summer League this weekend?

I also hope to see Jeff Robinson in action at the DSL. School will be entering the second summer session on Victory Parkway and if Mr. Robinson is on campus there is a chance he will play. I will have a summer preview up on the Musketeers soon and would like to see him before that is written.

The Dayton Flyers are starting to assemble a nice recruiting haul for 2010. It started with Daytonian Juwan Staten, now rated #41 by Rivals.com, a superb point guard prospect who is going to prep at Oak Hill Academy this fall. Then Ralph Hill, a wing forward out of Columbus, currently underrated by many made the pledge to Brian Gregory. Then this week 6-1 shooting guard Jesse Berry made a verbal to the Flyers. The three star Lafayette, IN product was also picking up interest from the Bearcats among many others. BG and staff will have two more spots to offer for the class of 2010 and look for them to be in business for top 100 Brandon Spearman and of course every Flyer Fanatic Fantasy Adreian Payne. If they can land those last two watch out A10.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jeff Robinson to X Official

Xavier received some front line help for the 2009-2010 season today. Jeff Robinson, a 6-9 210 power forward out of Indianapolis, will be a Musketeer next season. Jeff was recently released from his LOI from Purdue and became available. Many thought he was headed to a junior college but obviously that was not the case. He originally gave his pledge to PU in February 2008 and signed last November. He also held offers from Illinois and Butler at that time. Rivals ranks him as a three star prospect and #40 power forward overall in this class.

Jeff has been termed 'soft' by some recruiting analysts. He played on an absolutely loaded Lawrence North squad (Stephen Van Tresse, Dominique Ferguson, Justin Martin among others) and did not put up very impressive numbers. This will be a nice test for Mack and staff and Jeff has potential for significant minutes if he can play hard and with desire. Jeff adds much needed insurance to our front line for next season and is a pure '4', meaning he will not see anytime at center. When he signed with Purdue originally Matt Painter commented he was one of the top rebounding big men in the NBA Top 100 camp in the summer of '08. So obviously he can go to 'war' with some talented big men on the glass. The story was Jeff needed a summer school credit (which he received) but the Boilers decided to move on. Reading in between the lines PU oversigned for this class and did not expect Jeff to be eligible this season.

Congrats to Jeff and his family on making a fine choice in his college destination.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lance Stephenson spends weekend in Cincy

The Cincinnati Bearcats have become major players in the recruitment of Lance Stephenson. According to multiple sources the Bearcats could land Stephenson as early as Tuesday. The 6-5 shooting guard is a five star prospect out of NYC. He also comes with five star baggage if he does sign on to spend one year in Clifton. His sexual assault case is to be resolved tomorrow (Monday) and will presumably be a favorable decision for Lance. Others are involved but landing Stephenson for next season will grab major headlines for the Bearcats. They are recent to the Lance sweepstakes which has been one of the stranger recruitments out there this spring due to the legal wranglings. The young man wanted to wait until his name was cleared before committing which is noble, however it caused many schools to back away or put Lance on the backburner. He is a consensus top 15 player on the court and many feel he will only spend one season in college due to pro aspirations. Stay tuned to this one as (again) there have been numerous twists and turns with Stephenson already.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Derrick Brown to Bobcats

Derrick Brown went #40 in the second round to Charlotte during the NBA Draft Thursday night. As disappointing as it was for me to see him fall out of the first round, it had to be truly humbling for DB #5. He has no guaranteed spot and will have to work hard to make the Bobcats roster. IF he doesn't do that expect to see him play for a high level Euro team making 300-400K per season. I am not in the camp that says he made a 'mistake'. With the way talent is evaluated in the NBA and the drafting of foreign players and keeping them overseas for more development; he may not of even been drafted at all in 2010.

I hope he makes it. The question I will always have is if he didn't sign with an agent and went where he did, would he have come back? Who knows but you can't hold onto yesterday too long. Best of luck again Derrick and I will update your progress in the fall to see where you do eventually end up playing for pay.

A couple quick recruiting notes:

-XU has a real chance for small forward Jamail Jones. The entire SEC is taking a look at this kid and indications are when the new rivals rankings come out he will move even higher than his current #75 ranking. He was at X's elite camp last weekend and made a very positive impression. Jamail seems to favor Marquette and Xavier right now and I like the fact that MU already has three small forwards for the 2010 class. A long way to go on this guy but it would be great to land him. Mack and Kelsey have solid recruiting connections in the south.

-Internet 'buzz' has JD Weatherspoon making a decision this weekend. All indications are it is down to X and tOSU. I will be mildly surprised if he chooses the Musketeers as he is a Columbus kid but we shall see.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Darwin 'Dee' Davis

Dee Davis became Xavier's first committed recruit for the class of 2011. He is a rising junior and some predict he will be a top 75-100 level player when the 2011 rankings come out. He had confirmed offers from Purdue and Ohio. He was receiving interest from a host of Big 10 schools and Jody Demling reports Tennessee and Cincinnati were having early interest as well. He is a sub 6' lead guard who has emerged as a potential top 15 point guard in his class according to ESPN.

I know alot can happen between this point and when the student athlete signs his letter of intent but I have a great feeling that this kid will be on campus for the 2011-2012 campaign. He is the first recruit the new regime has landed outside of Miller connections and to get one at that high of a level boasts well for Mack and staff. Travis Steele was the lead recruiter on this one. Getting a kid out of Bloomington, Indiana is no easy task. IU already has a highly touted point signed for that class so that could have been a reason no offer was forthcoming from them.

I really started to feel good about Dee after I read he had been on campus several times unofficially for visits and played several pick up games with current players. X clearly made him and landing a point guard a priority for this class. Further good news is he plays on an AAU team (Indiana Elite) that is chock full of XU targets and high major players. Austin Etherington, Jeremiah Davis, and Justin Gant are all on Xavier's radar currently.

Let's hope we get another one soon from the 2010 class to go along with Jordan Latham. I was anticipating seeing some new offers out of the elite camp from this weekend. Who knows we may be receiving some more great news in the next day or two.

Monday, June 22, 2009

DSL Day 1, NBA Draft, Other Stuff

I did get to see some action on the first day of the Deveroes Summer League. I was there in time for the first game between McCluskey Chevrolet (NKU) and Superior Cars.com. Dante' Jackson and Deonta Vaughn were teammates on the Superior team. Vaughn led the scoring with 21 on 6-16 shooting and Jackson added 17 points on 5-12 and chipped in 5 steals. It was a close game with Superior winning 72-69 in the end. I still think 'athlete' when I see Dante' play as opposed to more of a skilled basketball player. He is a pure winner however making two big steals and converts for his team late in the game. I have seen Dante' hit some big shots in his career starting in the 2007 Ohio/Kentucky All Star game. I have no doubt he will be the team leader next season and that will be a good thing for Coach Mack. Vaughn added four assists and played a very solid game overall for the winners.

I only stayed for the first half of the next game between Camp's Collision and Clovernook Health Care. There were alot more players involved in this one. Looking at the box; Camps won 74-61. Of interest on the Camps team was former X player Johnny Wolf. He played with former UC recruit Danny McElroy who had a very strong first half and finished 7-10 overall from the field for the game. He will be a solid addition for Bowling Green next season. Brian Walsh and Jamel McLean played for Camps as well and both had their moments. I am excited to learn more about Brian's game over this summer. He saw limited time last season before being redshirted. Clovernook featured Brad Redford, Terrell Holloway, and Darnell Wilks. All had pedestrian games and Brad missed all his three point attempts in the first half but finished with 8 points overall. Holloway was very aggressive but it did not translate into a pretty stat line. Wilks went 1-4 overall and I didn't see anything noteworthy from him in the first half. However he is my favorite to win the new Deveroes Slam Dunk contest this season.

The NBA draft is this Thursday and I am excited to see where Derrick Brown ends up. The speculation is rampant as is the case with all major league sports drafts days before they happen. I am not a big fan of the NBA overall but the draft is always cool to watch. My hope is Derrick has a James Posey type career and he is of course the former Musketeer that DB #5 gets compared to the most. I would like to see him end up with the Celtics but who knows. The Cavs would be nice also.

Xavier also held an 'Elite Camp' this weekend and their were several blue chip recruits in attendance. It will be interesting to see what develops on the recruiting front out of that. My hope is X can land one more player before the July evaluation period.

New uniforms are in store for the Musketeers next year. I am a big fan of 'simple' because I like the classic look the best. I am not saying I want to go back to the boxer shorts but I would like to stay away from Marquette and Oregon type ensembles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deveroes Summer League

The DSL kicks off this Sunday at Noon. It will be back at Woodward High School and I am doing my best to get there to see some action. Being that it is Father's Day I may have to take my 21 month old son along so I don't think my stay will be that long depending on his mood. Of course there are no new Xavier recruits but it will be nice to see Brian Walsh and Mark Lyons play some I hope. Also do not count on Jason Love or Jordan Crawford to be there anytime soon. Crawford will be in Deron Williams camp with a hopeful invite to Lebron's camp in early July. Love is back east working at a 'big man' camp and reportedly excited about the possibility of seeing some time at the '4' next season.

I am curious to see Thomas, Kilpatrick, and Parker play this summer as they are new guys for the dark side (UC). They will most likely be playing on the SLATS team with two returning Bearcats from last season. Also Miami-OH has a nice class coming in and it is always nice to see what Charlie has assembled for the Redhawks. Being that they are a Division 2 school, the NKU Norse can have all their guys play on the same team, usually McCluskey Chevrolet. I have noticed the last couple of seasons the UD Flyers on the current roster stay away. I am not sure if Gregory would rather have them play in the summer leagues in C-Bus but it is a little disappointing not to see the Flyers out there.

Finally I would LOVE to see the Elite Camp down at XU on Sunday. However it is closed to the public but I am expecting some decisions to be made by the staff and potential recruits. I would not be surprised to see a commit to the X men late Sunday evening or early Monday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cronin Extended

The University of Cincinnati has extended basketball coach Mick Cronin's contract through 2014. Obviously done for recruiting purposes but AD Mike Thomas mentioned Mick has gotten the team to improve each year in the overall win column. He does not receive any financial increase over what his current deal is.

With this extension it appears to recruits UC is committed to Cronin for the long haul. As a Xavier fan I am glad to see him sign up for another two years. The wars between him and Mack should be great.

Best of Luck Derrick

It is now OFFICIAL that Derrick Brown will not be returning to Victory Parkway for next season. Per Chris Mack via twitter this was confirmed. He reportedly has been doing well in his workouts for various teams. This gives me a reason to watch the NBA draft. 'Haters' are already flocking to message boards and websites to pull Mr. Brown down but it looks like he is in fact going to be a first round draft choice.

I have been thinking the last few weeks that he was going to stay in anyway. The so called 'experts' say the class of 2010 will have more talent to pick from so this is a good time for Derrick to go. What's the chances he ends up in New Orleans?

Now that this is official I feel safe in saying the roster is 95% set for the Musketeers next year. In the coming weeks (and maybe after a few Deveroes Summer League games) I will have a summer preview up of the Musketeers and maybe the Bearcats and RedHawks as well.

Best of luck again Derrick and thanks for all the memories. You will always be one of my all time favorite Xavier players. You represented the team and the school very well during your time here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Matt Pilgrim

Matt Pilgrim's scholarship at Kentucky was not renewed for this upcoming season. He was obviously recruited over by the rat known as John Calipari at UK. It happens. Now he is most likely NOT to return as a walk on I would think for 2009-2010 season. Matt joined the Wildcat program after transferring from Hampton University. Pilgrim was rather ordinary during his time playing for the Pirates. However all last season they were reports out of UK's practices that Pilgrim was developing into a warrior going against Patrick Patterson.

My hope would be the NCAA would grant Matt a waiver to play wherever he chose for next season. I wouldn't bet a quarter that they would because after all we are talking about the NCAA. You know the organization that 'cares' so much about the 'kids'.

Matt is a native Cincinnatian. He attended Withrow High School and has played a few games in the Deveroes Summer League. He is 6-8 235 pounds of man who can rebound. IF he could secure that waiver he would be a very, very welcome addition to the Xavier team in my opinion. I also think the good folks over on 'Bearcat News' are hinting about him being a "summer suprise". Wherever Matt ends up I wish him nothing but the best as I enjoyed watching him and his brother Mike playing the game of basketball. Again the NCAA has a chance to do the right thing by this young man. John Calipari is still a rat.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

He's Back

Finally some good news today for the Xavier Musketeers basketball team. Jordan Latham has renewed his commitment to XU yesterday evening. He becomes coach Mack's first official recruit as coach of the Musketeers. Latham is a Baltimore native. Congrats to Jordan, Bino Ranson, and Chris Mack for sealing this deal. According to rivals.com he is a four star forward prospect and rated #81 overall in the class of 2010. Prepstars rates him higher in their Spring 2009 edition at #53. Those rankings may go up or down depending on how he does in the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp later this month. He is described as physical forward who finishes around the rim. He will make a terrific front line addition to go with Frease and McLean in the 2010-2011 season. Shannon Russell's blog indicates schools such as Boston College and Cincinnati had interest in him. ESPN's recruiting site had other schools listed such as Marquette, Virginia Tech and Arizona expressing interest. From what I have read he seemed set on Xavier and the hiring of Bino Ranson only helped seal the deal.

A couple of quick notes about some other players Xavier has been mentioned with recently:

- Noel Johnson never made it to campus as reported widely earlier this week. The indication is XU cancelled the visit. Not really clear on why. Perhaps Justin Martin (#54 by Prepstars) is nearing a decision? J-Mart fits that 6-6/6-7 wing scorer Mack has alluded to wanting previously.

-Jake O'Brien decided to stay at Boston University. Part of me thinks Jake wanted to feel the recruiting process all over as he was hurt his senior year of high school. I don't like to discredit prospects like many do after they commit elsewhere. He would have been a fine addition as a four who can hit the long range shot.

-JD Weatherspoon is going to take several visits coming up. I think X remains near the top of his list but ACC schools are starting to wade in. He may be tempted to stay in his hometown and play with several of his current AAU team mates for Thad Matta's Buckeyes. Some programs are probably questioning JD's skill development and where he will play position wise at the next level. There is no doubt he has 'high major' athleticism.

-Brandon Spearman is a backcourt player out of Chicago the Musketeers have picked up interest from. It has been some time since the Muskies had a player on the roster from the Chicagoland era. Kevin Frey maybe? Hopefully Spearman turns out a little better than Kenny Harvey if he dons the X uni.

-Jay Canty a talented wing from North Carolina is also strongly considering X due to ties with Pat Kelsey. Most of the high majors seem to be in 'expressing interest' mode with him likely due to his innaccurate jumper.