Friday, February 08, 2002

XU recruit suffers torn knee ligament

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Three days after verbally committing to play basketball at Xavier, Greensburg (Ind.) High junior Robert Barker tore an anterior cruciate ligament in a game Saturday at Lawrenceburg. The next day, XU coaches were calling to reassure Barker and his coach, Keith Hipskind.

        “They stepped right to the plate and said, "You've committed to us, and we've committed to you,'” said Hipskind. “They were extremely supportive and very classy. That speaks volumes.”

        Barker, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, will have the surgery in two weeks and is expected to play his senior season at Greensburg, Hipskind said. Barker represents XU's first recruit in the freshman class of 2003-04. Xavier already has filled its five scholarships for next season and has two more available for Barker's class.

        Barker led Greensburg in scoring (24.1 points a game), rebounds (6.0), assists (2.5) and blocks (1.7) in the Class AAA team's 11-4 start. He shot 47 percent, including 35.2 percent from 3-point range.

        He made an unofficial visit to XU last month. XU was the first school to offer a scholarship; Hipskind said Stanford and Purdue were the others showing the most interest.

        “Robert is very close to his family, and being an hour away here in Greensburg enables them to see his (XU) games,” Hipskind said. “He really liked Xavier's whole package and didn't see a need to string people along before he announced this.”


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