Sunday, October 31, 1999

Chalmers so good, it's bad for XU

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Some nights, Xavier coach Skip Prosser can't help but shake his head in frustration.

        Freshman Lionel Chalmers is good. Better than the coaches expected. And, of course, he is unable to play this season after being declared ineligible by the NCAA just before classes at XU started.

        “All in all, I've been very pleased,” Prosser said. “He has tremendous natural skills. I think he's got a chance to be an excellent, excellent player. When I think about it, it's as sad as can be. So I force myself not to think about what might have been.”

        Chalmers was slated to back up junior point guard Maurice McAfee. He followed all the directions he received as a senior at Albany (N.Y.) High and never considered that he might not be academically eligible. But there was miscommunication between Albany and Bishop Gibbons High School, where Chalmers had previously attended.

        “The worst part about it is he is really relatively blameless,” Prosser said. “He and his parents listened to bad advice from people who were misinformed, and now it's costing the kid greatly.”

        “I just want to put that behind me,” Chalmers said Saturday. “It's in the past. It's over with, and there's nothing I can do about it.

        “It's been hard, but the guys have made it better for me. I don't think about it anymore. It was tough in the beginning, but now I'm starting to get over it.”

        Xavier appealed the NCAA ruling and got Chalmers declared a partial qualifier, which allows him to be on scholarship and practice with the team.

        What's been so frustrating for Xavier is that Chalmers has been impressive from the first day of practice, rarely looking like a freshman.

        He is quick, handles the ball with great ease and has been one of the top 3-point shooters. During a scrimmage last week, he was the second-leading scorer with 16 points. Paired with McAfee, the two made for a potent combination.

        "I can play with anybody,” Chalmers said. “I just want to get ready for next year. I'm gonna give Moe a hard time so he can do the best that he can.

        “I just want to help the team out. If I can't do it on the court, I might as well do it in practice. There will be ups and downs. I just have to come out and work hard every day.”

        Chalmers will continue learning the system and distributing the ball more, but there is no question he would have contributed this season.

        “Theoretically he knows that the best thing for him to do this year is to concentrate on making sure he's doing well academically and gets better every day in practice, but when the carrot's not at the end of the stick, it's tough,” Prosser said.


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- Chalmers so good, it's bad for XU

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