Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons | Former Xavier standout David West recently announced his retirement from professional basketball. He played at Xavier from 1999-2003.
Determination, a great work ethic and a hard worker. These characteristics epitomize what a Xavier student (and anyone else for that matter) should strive to be, whether it is in a sports context or outside of athletics.
David West embraced those characteristics, and it culminated in him getting his No. 30 jersey retired by Xavier, an honor that only four players have ever received.
Last week, the former Xavier forward announced his retirement from basketball.
West first came to Xavier as a freshman in 1999, and his impact on the court was almost immediate. He averaged 11.7 points and 9.1 boards per game that year.
By time he was a senior, West was considered a solid first-round pick for the NBA draft, putting up 20.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He had the attention of many scouts.
He had a season that was full of accolades, including the AP National Player of the Year award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy award. Additionally, he was a three-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (back when Xavier was in the Atlantic Division).
After finishing college, he was selected 18th overall by the New Orleans Hornets in a star-studded 2003 NBA Draft.
To date, West is one of 19 Xavier players to step onto the court in an NBA game.
He reached the pinnacle of his career with the Hornets, mentoring a young Chris Paul. Paul frequently said that he would not want to play with any power forward other than West because he was such a great team player.
In the eight years that he spent with the Hornets he had two all-star appearances and led the team to four playoff appearances, including a second-round run.
West was also the all-time leading scorer for the Hornets until he was surpassed in February 2018 by Anthony Davis.
In 2011, he moved on to a Pacers team that made the Eastern Conference finals twice and lost to LeBron James and the Heat on both occasions.
In 2015 he moved to the San Antonio Spurs, where he teamed up with seasoned veterans such as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker and a young star in Kawhi Leonard.
He arrived at Golden State for what would hopefully result in a championship. During those final years he had accepted a much smaller position on the bench but took it with good spirits, putting up 6.8 points per game in his final season.
He went on to not only win one ring but a second the following season.
During the 2017-18 season he was the fifth oldest player in the league, trailing only Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Jason Terry.
West visited the campus of Xavier five years before his retirement.
“It’s the place where people come and get an education, but ultimately you can come to be a part of a great family,” he said in a video released on YouTube in 2013.
In the same video he said, “From my experience I would just say that this environment is catered around your development as a student.”
To further show how great of an experience Xavier was for him, he got a tattoo of an “X” logo on his arm with a corresponding message that reads, “my life, my way.”
On Aug. 30 — one day after West’s 38th birthday and almost 20 years after stepping on the court for the first time at Xavier — he had effectively announced his retirement from the NBA.
West received praise from both the NBA and Xavier community alike. He played 19 years total between college and pro basketball.
While his career may be done, the imprint that he left on the Xavier community is one that will never go away.
He may very well be the greatest athlete that Xavier has ever produced, but what is more important is the positive characteristics that he brought to the school and to the culture.
By: Andrew Zerman | Guest Writer