Saturday, March 27, 1999

Xavier faces big losses, big questions


Williams, McAfee looked to as leaders

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEW YORK — Xavier loses 60 percent of its points and its top three scorers from this season, its best rebounder the past three years (James Posey), its top assist guy the past four years (Gary Lumpkin) and two of its better defensive players (Lenny Brown and Posey).

        With that said, coach Skip Prosser's goal for next season: getting back to the NCAA Tournament.

'99-'00 ROSTER
  Xavier's expected roster of scholarship players for the 1999-2000 season:
  Alvin Brown - 6-3 - G - SO.
  Reggie Butler - 6- 10 - C - Jr.
  Lionel Chalmers - 6- 0 - G - Fr.
  Kevin Frey - 6- 8 - F - So.
  Obi Harris - 6- 10 - C - Sr.
  Maurice McAfee - 6- 0 - G - Jr.
  Brandon McIntosh - 6- 5 - G- F - Fr.
  Lloyd Price - 6- 5 - G- F - So.
  Aaron Turner - 6- 7 - C- F - So.
  David West - 6- 8 - F - Fr.
  Darnell Williams - 6- 5 - G- F - Sr.
  David Young - 6- 5 - G - Fr.
        “I think they'll come back with some hunger,” Prosser said of his returning players. “Obviously it will be a big challenge, losing three of the top 12 scorers in the history of the school. But I'm anxious to see how other guys are going to respond when they get the opportunity to play. And they're going to get that opportunity.”

        Here are some key questions concerning the 1999-2000 season:

        1. How will Darnell Williams return from his knee injury?

        The senior wing player, injured last June, was XU's leading scorer a year ago and was sorely missed this season. Prosser and Williams admit to being nervous about his return from major knee surgery.

        “You never how guys are going to come back from a traumatic injury like that,” Prosser said. “... He should be a real leader of this team. His mental acceptance and dealing with that role will define our team next year.”

        “I really worry about what level I'll come back at, but I think I'll be fine because I've got a couple months to get ready,” Williams said.

        2. Is Maurice McAfee ready to assume control of the Musketeers?

        All indications are that the sophomore point guard is eager for such a role. He was Xavier's most improved player and outplayed Lumpkin the last few weeks of the regular season.

        “The biggest thing is he has to take ownership of the team, lead the team and be looked on as the leader by the team,” Prosser said. “The mental part of his development along those lines, in my opinion, will be as important as the physical part.”

        3. Will Lloyd Price develop an outside shot?

        The freshman standout proved he can be one of the most exciting players on the court, but working in the weight room to get stronger and improving his jump shot are paramount to Xavier being successful next season.

        4. What about the inside game?

        “I'd like for Obi (Harris) and Reggie (Butler) to step up and claim positions,” Prosser said. “Aaron (Turner) has come a long way, Kevin (Frey) has come a long way; it's important they come a little bit longer.”

        It's also important that Xavier find a big guy with its remaining available scholarship.

        5. Will any of the new guys help right away?

        Just like this season, there is no choice.

        Shooting guard David Young (New Castle, Pa.) has gotten rave reviews for his final prep season and should be able to add some offensive punch. Point guard Lionel Chalmers (Albany, N.Y.) will have to play as the only backup to McAfee. If David West (Hargrave Military Academy) can rebound and finish plays inside, he can help the frontline.