The cover ofXavier's 1957 media guide featured a picture of smiling, 5' 7" seniorcaptain Jimmy Boothe beneath a headline asking smallest all-america ever?Boothe never received the honor, but 50 years later another 5' 7" Musketeersenior is an All-America candidate. Last year, in his first season at Xavierafter transferring from Oklahoma, Drew Lavender emerged as one of the nation'ssavviest point guards, dishing out 50¬†assists against just eight turnoversduring a nine-game winning streak in February and early March. He also hadeight assists and three steals as Xavier extended top-seeded Ohio State in theNCAA tournament before losing 78-71 in overtime. "When he really came onand felt comfortable is when we really took off," says fourth-year coachSean Miller.
This is an article from the Nov. 19, 2007 issue
Lavender hadshown promise at Oklahoma, where he earned All-Big¬†12 honorable mention.However, after seeing his production drop, he decided to move closer to hishometown of Columbus and to a significantly smaller school.
It took some timefor Lavender to become acclimated, but he found his groove in January, when, hesays, "I started doing what I do best--distribute the ball." Lavenderled Xavier to a tie for the Atlantic¬†10 regular-season title, setting aconference best in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.86 to 1). "We expect him topick up right where he left off," says Miller.
The Musketeersneed that to happen because this season they tackle a tough nonconferenceschedule. Xavier also lost three key seniors from last season--forwards JustinDoellman, Justin Cage and Brandon Cole. However, with a senior nucleus ofLavender, guard Stanley Burrell and forward Josh Duncan, and the addition ofhigh-scoring junior transfer C.J. Anderson, the Muskies are banking on theirseason's lasting at least one weekend longer. "It was tough sitting thereand thinking, Man, we're about to go to the Sweet¬†16, and then boom, havethat taken away," Burrell says of last year's loss to the Buckeyes, inwhich Xavier led by nine with 2:54 to go in regulation. "If we get in aposition like that again, we want to finish it." Expect Lavender to steerthem toward that destination.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
|PG||Drew Lavender [RETURNING STARTER]||5'7"||Sr.||11.2 ppg||2.4 rpg|
|SG||Stanley Burrell [RETURNING STARTER]||6'3"||Sr.||12.4 ppg||2.4 apg|
|SF||C.J. Anderson [*2005-06 STATS WITH MANHATTAN]||6'6"||Jr.||18.8 ppg||9.4 rpg|
|PF||Derrick Brown||6'8"||Soph.||6.3 ppg||4.1 rpg|
|PF||Josh Duncan [RETURNING STARTER]||6'9"||Sr.||9.3 ppg||3.4 rpg|
|G-F||B.J. Raymond||6'6"||Jr.||4.1 ppg||2.1 rpg|
Nov. 10 SoutheastMissouri State
Nov. 13 at Miami(Ohio)
Nov. 20 CoppinState
Nov. 23-24Chicago Invitational (vs. Kent State; plus Indiana, Illinois State)
Dec. 15 atArizona State
Dec. 28 DelawareState
Dec. 31 KansasState
Jan. 6 atAuburn
The Muskies facetheir most daunting nonconference schedule in decades. In addition to theirannual date with crosstown rival Cincinnati, Xavier meets the reigning ACCchamp (Virginia) and a Sweet¬†16 team (Tennessee), and has a possibleChicago Invitational showdown with Indiana.
Coach Sean Miller(4th year)
Atlantic 10record 13-3 (T-1st)
NCAA tournament2nd round
Instant access tothe latest and best Musketeers stories, stats and fan blogs from across theWeb, selected by SI's editors.