Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Xavier must improve inside game


Muskies get first exhibition test tonight

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Last season, Xavier set school records for 3-point field goals and 3-point attempts. That's not necessarily a good thing.

        “We were too perimeter conscious,” coach Skip Prosser said. “We shot too many 3s. Part of that was a function of inexperience inside and a lot of experience outside. The synergy between the post and the perimeter wasn't good and it's still not where we want it to be. That's something we have to improve upon.”

        The development of Xavier's inside game is crucial this season, starting with tonight's exhibition opener against B.C. Honved of Hungary (7, Gardens).

        There are six scholarship big men on XU's roster. Only two can start. Only three or four will play much.

        The center and power forward positions are almost interchangeable in Xavier's system. There is little difference between the two offensively. Defensively, it's a matter of matchups.

        A look at the candidates:

        • Aaron Turner (6-foot-7, So.): The experience from last season alone — he started 12 games — makes Turner a possible starter. The only reason he might not is if Prosser decides he'd like a bigger body in the middle and some firepower off the bench (see Posey, James). Turner could provide that spark with his aggressiveness and toughness.

        “Aaron brings it every day,” assistant coach Mark Schmidt said. “If there's one guy on the team that plays hard all the time, it's him.”

        • Kevin Frey (6-8, So.): One of the steadiest performers in preseason, Frey has shown more confidence in his shot and a better understanding of where to be on the court. Whether he plays power forward or center, he should show more versatility than last season, taking more outside shots. The key for XU, though, is that he rebounds.

        • David West (6-8, Fr.): One of the most pleasant surprises of the preseason, West will get a chance to contribute right away. He may not start yet but could find himself in the lineup before it's over.

        “He's as talented as we thought,” Schmidt said. “He's picking up things quicker than we anticipated, which is a positive for him. He's opened our eyes.”

        Said Prosser: “He's athletic, he's got some balance, he's got some very good hands and long arms. When we recruited him, we felt he had a chance to contribute as a freshman and I haven't changed my tune.”

        • Reggie Butler (6-10, Jr.): He has an edge because of his experience and may get a chance to start early. This is Butler's fourth year. He knows where to be. He knows how to position himself.

        And he has become a better player with his back to the basket. The one thing Butler still lacks is the kind of quickness Xavier prefers. Sometimes his understanding of the system helps him make up for that; sometimes not.

        “Reggie has his good times, and he has his bad times,” Schmidt said. “Once he gets in position, he's really effective.”

        • Marcus Mason (6-10, Jr.): The junior college transfer is improving. He is a big body with some athleticism, but he has had a harder time picking up the plays. He played much better in the team's second intrasquad scrimmage than in the first and also had some good moments in the third. Mason's junior college team played a lot of zone defense; XU doesn't.

        “Marcus has, at times, shown flashes,” Prosser said.

        • Obi Harris (6-10, Sr.): There are times Harris looks no better than a year ago. When he plays aggressively, he can be an effective shot blocker. But he has not gotten much stronger. Unless he steps up his play in the next few weeks, he may not be much of a factor this season. “Obi has been inconsistent,” Prosser said.

        “Obi at times is active, Obi at times is unactive,” Schmidt said. “He needs to be more active all the time.”

        The combination of inside players that end up on the court will depend on how Xavier is playing at the time. Frey and Turner still head the class.

        “If the game is uptempo and we're in pressing mode, Aaron and Kevin could play together,” Prosser said. “If the game slows down and we're not running, we may be better off playing one of those guys at a time.

        “We're looking for three and a half, four guys to separate themselves from the pack. We need rebounds and points, productivity.”

B.C. HONVED at XU
        • When: 7 p.m. today

        • Where: Cincinnati Gardens

        • Tickets: $5

        • What to watch: Xavier probably will start Maurice McAfee, Darnell Williams, Lloyd Price, Aaron Turner and Reggie Butler ... B.C. Honved has lost to UC (107-49) and Miami (88-58).

       



Xavier Stories
- Xavier must improve inside game
Xavier to sign player this week

Reds-Griffey deal unlikely
Pokey looks like Gold Glove winner
Reds interested in Lewis
UC's Martin shoots for stars
KU's Williams at UC practice
Signing period starts today
Bengals painted into corner
Big changes necessary for Bengals to succeed
Bengals sellout unlikely
Athlete of the Century: .5 Thanks, Thorpe
Summit CD to get shot at soccertitle
Bad 1st half dooms East in soccer semis
Bellevue boss wants state title before retiring
Ohio girls volleyball tournament
UK expects to sign 6-9 Southall today

SEASON IN STORIES