Monday, July 08, 2002

Musketeers' recruiting needs alters coaches' focus

NCAA '5 and 8' rule means Xavier can't sign seniors-to-be

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The nature of Xavier's basketball recruiting has changed dramatically in 14 months.

        In May 2001, new coach Thad Matta still needed to hire three assistants and then begin anew on the recruiting trail, with a full load of five scholarships to give immediately. Now he hasn't only distributed those grants-in-aid but gotten commitments from three more players, changing the emphasis of this summer recruiting season — a two-week period beginning today — to the high school class of 2004.

        “Last year, it was certainly a more hectic time,” XU associate head coach Sean Miller said. “Now for us, to be able to see younger players is invaluable.

        “The dynamics of recruiting have changed for everybody, not just Xavier. Everybody has moved their recruiting calendar up.”

        Here's why Xavier is essentially done looking at seniors-to-be:

        They've gotten commitments from two members of the class of 2003, Greensburg (Ind.) guard Robert Barker and Ryle forward Justin Doellman. The “5 and 8” rule, in which schools can't sign more than five players in one class or eight in any two-year span, means XU could give only one more scholarship. And unless a Musketeer leaves the program, XU wouldn't have that scholarship to give anyway.

        The Musketeers could conceivably secure a commitment from a player that could attend prep school for a year or walk on for his first XU season.

        The other commitment Matta has landed is from a junior-to-be: shooting guard Darryl Garrett of Detroit (Mich.) Denby. XU already is eyeing other juniors, including Garrett's Denby teammates, Rico Harris and Wallace Hall (both guards), and La Salle's Justin Orr, a 6-foot-6 forward.

Robert Barker* 6-5 G Greensburg (Ind.)
Stanley Burrell 6-2 G Indianapolis Ben Davis
Justin Cage 6-6 F Indianapolis Pike
Justin Doellman* 6-8 F Ryle
Brandon Foust 6-6 F Columbus Brookhaven
Reggie Harwell 6-6 G Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph
Austin Montgomery 6-5 F Indianapolis Perry Meridian
Ross Neltner 6-8 F Highlands
Monty St. Clair 6-9 F Roger Bacon
Kyle Visser 6-9 F Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
(*verbally committed)

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