Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Xavier loses recruit to Prosser

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Skip Prosser called recruiting against Xavier “a twist of irony.” For XU fans, losing a recruit to the school that took its coach was a twist of the knife.

        Prosser, the new Wake Forest coach, claimed a narrow victory Monday for the services of Lithuanian native Vytas Danelius.

        The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Indianapolis Park Tudor, who on April 10 backed off an oral commitment to Wake when coach Dave Odom took the South Carolina job, ultimately chose it over XU, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

        “We mostly don't talk (to recruits) about who we're recruiting against,” Prosser said of competing with XU. “We mostly talk about what we have to offer.

        “One thing he was thrilled with (about XU) was the Cintas Center; I know that. But the things he liked at Wake when he first com mitted ... all those things are still in place.”

        Those things: strong academics, a smaller school, and the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wake junior forward Darius Songaila, another Lithuanian native, is friends with Danelius.

        XU was a latecomer to this race. Prosser saw Danelius play in early April at the Indiana North-South all-star game. Once Odom left Wake and Danelius re-opened his recruitment, Prosser began selling XU. Then when Prosser took the Wake job, new XU coach Thad Matta took over the chase.

        “It was a difficult decision for him,” Park Tudor coach Ed Kelley said. “Xavier made it tough. He really enjoyed Xavier.”

        Danelius averaged 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks this season, shooting 70.2 percent.


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