Wednesday, December 06, 2000

Xavier Notebook

Sato up after Wisconsin downer

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Eight days ago, Romain Sato had 17 points and 16 rebounds against Samford, and Xavier fans started making Michael Jordan comparisons. Then came Wisconsin. And a reality check.

        Sato took just three shots Saturday, missing them all, and looked very much like a freshman. Which he is.

        “It's like, "Now I'm just a freshman,'” Sato said. “I never played a game like that. It's like I learn in practice, and then I have to learn again in the game.”

        Sato rallied Tuesday, scoring 16 points. But in just his second year of organized basketball, he surely will have more growing pains.

        XU coach Skip Prosser said Sato hasn't learned how to read defenses well.

        “He's never had to before,” Prosser said. “He's talented, but he just doesn't have a grasp of the importance of setting guys up, reading screens, watching the defender.

        “Wisconsin took things away from him, and he was not experienced enough to counter those things.”

        Sato is averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, both second on the team. He leads XU in 3-point shooting (.385) and 3-pointers made (15).

        Having glimpsed his promise, Prosser wants Sato to seek perfection.

        “I'm sure he was frustrated Saturday, and he should have been,” Prosser said. “But hopefully he channels that frustration, like: "OK, what they've been telling me about how to read screens and things like that — if I do those things, then I'll get open. Then I'll be less frustrated.'”

        FREY FLIES: Kevin Frey tied for high-scoring honors Tuesday with 19 points, but his defense meant more. He held San Francisco star Darrell Tucker to nine points, 11 fewer than his average.

        “Kevin was really disappointed with the way he played at Wisconsin, and he took guarding Tucker as a challenge,” Prosser said.


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