Wednesday, November 22, 2000

West injures ankle; will join Price on bench

Butler may get start vs. EKU

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Xavier Musketeers must hope their season doesn't turn along with their ankles.

        A second ankle sprain in six days has robbed XU (1-0) of both its preseason all-Atlantic 10 players. Sophomore center David West, who was hurt Tuesday in practice, is expected to join junior forward Lloyd Price on the sidelines for XU's home game tonight against Eastern Kentucky (1-0).

        “It's disconcerting, but ... we have to just deal with the adversity,” coach Skip Prosser said.

        West sprained his right ankle and was taken for X-rays, which were negative. Price's left ankle, sprained last Thursday, still hasn't healed enough for him to play.

        Senior Reggie Butler should start in West's place. Lionel Chalmers, who started Saturday against Miami, will again fill Price's spot in the starting lineup.

        Butler started seven games his sophomore year and six last year. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds last year.

        “If Dave can't go, I'm ready,” Butler said. “This is just part of the game. We hope we get those guys back as soon as possible.”

        XU's next three opponents - EKU, Samford and Louisiana-Monroe - should be beatable even without West and Price. But the Muskies will need them back Dec. 2 at Wisconsin.

        FORD REBUILDING: Travis Ford looks at Xavier and sees himself - seven years ago, pressing and trapping and running at Kentucky.

        “It looks like the way we played at Kentucky,” the first-year EKU coach said of XU. “It's the same press. It's the way I want to get my program to play.”

        Prosser got some of his schemes from time spent with Jim O'Brien, an assistant at UK during some of Rick Pitino's tenure there in the 1990s.

        “That was the genesis of the press we use now,” Prosser said.

        Ford, 30, is the latest Pitino protege to become a head coach. The 5-foot-10 point guard played three seasons at UK and was twice a first team all-Southeastern Conference pick, and also a two-time SEC Tournament MVP.

        He holds the single-sea son school record for most 3-pointers (101) and is tied with Kyle Macy for the top free-throw season in UK history (.912). He set UK's single-game assist record of 15 against EKU in 1993.

        Ford wrote a book, Big Blue Dream, about his UK experiences. In 1996, he played a supporting role in the film The 6th Man, a comedy starring Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison about a basketball team that is helped by the ghost of a former player.

        He became a coach in 1997 at Campbellsville (Ky.) University, an NAIA school. He went 67-31 in three seasons, including a 28-3 mark two years ago.

        “I always knew I wanted to be a coach,” Ford said. “Basketball is in my blood. Basketball is what I know.”

        EKU has suffered seven straight losing seasons, with just nine total victories in Scott Perry's last two years. All but two Colonels left when optional activities such as study halls and weightlifting under Perry became mandatory under Ford.

        “I very much anticipated that,” Ford said.

        His team suffered a blow last week when freshman guard Ben Rushing, who led the team with a 17-point average in two exhibitions, tore two knee ligaments and was lost for the season. EKU beat Urbana, an NAIA school, 73-47 in its opener.
       Xavier vs. E. Kentucky
       • When: 7:30 p.m. today
       • Where: Cintas Center (10,250)
       • Records: XU 1-0, EKU 1-0
       • TV: Ch. 64
       • Radio: WLW-AM (700)
       • Tickets: Sold out.


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