Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Cintas Center big hit with recruits

First seven preps sign with XU

        Perhaps Cintas Center's biggest benefit isn't yet apparent. That's the quality of recruits Xavier may now be able to attract.

        “The hardest thing is to sell a kid to come here (for a visit),” XU assistant Mark Schmidt said. “But once he's here, it's, "Oh my. I didn't know it was this good.'

        “That's what you want to get across: We play big-time basketball in a big-time facility.”

        Back in the fall, XU filled its three open scholarships with its first three official visits, and that class has been ranked among the top 20 nationally by a few recruiting services. (It has since had another scholarship open with Khalil Nixon's departure.)

        XU's women similarly signed the first four recruits to visit. In both cases, this was before games had been played in Cintas Center.

        “They talk about the arena when they're on ESPN,” said XU signee Keith Jackson, a Purcell Marian senior. “It brings a lot of attention to Xavier.

        “I think a lot of the (interested recruits) are the top local kids. Instead of just looking at UC, now they're looking at Xavier, because this arena puts Xavier in the spotlight, too.”


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