Saturday, May 01, 1999

XU recruits must contribute immediately




BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In years past, Xavier might have been more inclined to recruit a basketball player unable to contribute right away but with potential to develop.

        That's no longer possible, Skip Prosser said.

        “We don't have time to wait,” said the Xavier coach. “Maybe you can do that with a big guy.

        “But we're trying to compete with the top teams in our league and we're trying to compete with our neighbors (the University of Cincinnati), who are going to be one of the top teams in the country, so we don't have the luxury of on-the-job training. Guys are going xto have to step in and play.”

        The Musketeers completed their recruiting last week with the signing of 6-foot-9 junior college center Marcus Mason.

        As he did a year ago, Prosser talked about each member of this class as having the potential to play in his rookie season.

        Xavier got major contributions from freshmen Kevin Frey, Lloyd Price and Aaron Turner. It will again need new guys to play as XU tries to replace veteran starters Gary Lumpkin, Lenny Brown and James Posey.

        “Even though we lost three excellent players, there's probably overall more experience returning,” Prosser said. “Having said that, I obviously have no problem starting freshmen or a first-year player. If one of these guys steps up and grabs it, that's fine, too.”

        Mason (Santa Monica College) will battle for the center spot with Reggie Butler, Obi Harris and maybe Turner. Incoming freshman David West (Hargrave Military Academy) will challenge for time at power forward with Turner and Frey.

        The inside game will again be a big question mark.

        Xavier got spoiled in

        1996-97 when Torraye Braggs arrived from San Jose (Calif.) City College, stepped in as the starting center and anchored that spot for two years. He was tough, physical and smart.

        Replacing him has not been easy.

        “That would be your goal, to get somebody every year like that,” Prosser said. “I think guys like Torraye Braggs and Pete Mickeal (at Cincinnati) are more the exception than the rule.

        “We didn't know Torraye was going to be like that when we signed him. He got off the plane with a basketball in his hand and wanted to get right to the gym. Two years later, he had a degree, two NCAA Tournament appearances and was drafted by the NBA.”

        Newcomer Lionel Chalmers (Albany, N.Y.) will start out backing up Maurice McAfee at point guard, while freshman David Young (New Castle, Pa.) competes for playing time at shooting guard with Alvin Brown, Darnell Williams and possibly Lloyd Price.

        Price, Williams and Brandon McIntosh (Roger Bacon) will play on the wing, at shooting guard and small forward. Frey also could play small forward.

        “I think it's a group that's very athletic, it's a group with good speed and quickness,” Prosser said. “I can't wait until we start practicing, just to put them all in the mix and find out who plays the hardest, who's the most hard-nosed and skilled. And we're looking forward to getting faster and being able to deliver more pressure offensively or defensively.”

        Prosser on his newcomers:

        • Chalmers and Young: “We got two guys who can play the way we like to play. They're athletic, they can score, and they're gym rats. They love to play.”

        • West: “Right now he's more of a post, but we think he has the skill level to step out on the perimeter and (also) be effective at the front of press.”

        • Mason: “Marcus can run a little bit. He's got big shoulders and he can get even bigger and stronger. He's another guy who loves to play.”

       



Xavier Stories
- XU recruits must contribute immediately
What recruiting 'experts' say about Xavier
Globetrotters will get serious against all-stars