Sports

West and Posey set to make return to Xavier

By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~

The Xavier community is eagerly awaiting David West’s homecoming next month.

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Posey graduated from Xavier University in 1999.

With tickets going on sale this week, now is the moment to explore West’s career, including his impact on Xavier, so that fans may appropriately prepare for Cintas Center’s mid-October headliner. In his freshman year (1999-2000), the product of Garner, N.C. began his lengthy list of accomplishments by leading the Atlantic-10 in rebounding on his way to being named to the conference’s all-rookie team.

Unfortunately, these efforts ended with a second round loss in the NIT. In his sophomore year, West appeared in the elite form that would soon be characteristic of the three-time A-10 Player of the Year after leading his team in scoring, blocks and ranking fourth nationally in rebounding.

Punctuating his stellar efforts all season long, West recorded just the fifth 20-20 game in the history of the A-10 during his 26-point and 21-rebound frenzy against George Washington. In the final season of the Skip Prosser era (Xavier men’s basketball head coach, 1994-2001), West led the Musketeers to the NCAA tournament after a two year hiatus, where the team was knocked out in the first round by the six seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

To go along with changes during head coach Thad Matta’s inaugural Xavier season, West’s on-court ownership carried the team to its first NCAA tournament victory in five years. West dominated the conference by taking home both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors at the end of the season. West cemented himself in Xavier history by recording the school’s first triple-double in a win over Long Island University that included 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

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Xavier grad David West (left) will return to Cintas Center this fall for the first time, since graduating from Xavier.

The 2002-03 season may arguably be known as the year that West made the infamous jump into elite status in terms of his college basketball career. While West’s senior season did not end with the postseason success that many Musketeer faithful had envisioned (a 64-77 loss to no. 6 Maryland), his performance throughout the season placed the school on national headlines. West scored in double digits every single game of his senior season — including a 47-point escapade that crushed conference and I-75 nemesis Datyon Flyers— to combine with his keen ability to rebound and block shots en route to becoming Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year.

At the end of his illustrious Xavier career, West held the school record for blocks (228), double-doubles (68), free-throws made (662) and free-throws attempted (874). His jersey hangs in the Cintas

Center rafters for all to see every game. The number 30 will always be hanging in the arena to honor the legend. Xavier nation officially had to let West go when he was drafted 18th by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003. Since the beginning of his NBA career, West made the Western Conference All-Star team in 2008 and 2009 while also making the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past two seasons as a member of the Indiana Pacers.

West not only put up superstar caliber statistics, but he layed the groundwork for basketball excellence that leads students to wait in line outside Cintas for hours before tip-off during November and through to March. In addition to West, James Posey will be returning to Xavier as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Posey was a key component to Prosser’s squad that won the A-10 championship in 1998.

Posey’s scoring and rebounding continually forced opposing coaches to plan their defenses around him. It was his defense that caught the eyes of NBA executives, ultimately leading him to get picked 18th to the Denver Nuggets in the 1999 draft.

Throughout his playing career, Posey was a key contributor to championship teams, including the Miami Heat in 2006 and the Boston Celtics in 2008. His experience gained by bouncing around the league and working for various organizations earned him his current position on the Cavaliers’ coaching staff.