Sporting events, education and lifelong friends define Joe’s Xavier experience
by joe clark, outgoing sports editor
Everyone has different reasons for choosing a college. Some may be better than others, but I had one main factor on my mind when deciding where to go to school: college basketball. I wanted to go to a school that had a high-level basketball atmosphere and could at least compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Of all the schools I was looking at, Xavier by far had the best basketball tradition. They had a history of recent success, coming off an Elite Eight appearance and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before my first year. Despite being by far the furthest school from home I looked at, I made a decision that the atmosphere and basketball were worth it.
Well, here I sit four years later, and I saw a grand total of zero NCAA Tournament games Xavier was a part of during my time. The NIT Championship win was fun to watch, though. However, this isn’t entirely about basketball, because what I’ve learned is that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, however, is the people we meet along the way. Walking out of the Big East Tournament loss to Butler this year, knowing Xavier’s NCAA Tournament hopes were over was soul-crushing. But then, I looked around, saw two of my best friends in the world standing next to me and realized that’s what college is all about. Not to devalue the education I got from Xavier, but I’ve learned college is really all about making lifelong friends (and getting better at Jeopardy!).
Obviously, it would’ve been nice to see a Xavier NCAA Tournament game. But, I don’t think I would trade that for any of the memories I’ve made with my friends the last four years. From buffalo chicken dip being the sole reason the Steelers started 11-0 in 2020 to the early morning (and late night) trips to Lawrenceburg and “The Rock” to watching the Dave finale over and over again and too many more to count, the memories with the boys are what I’ll take away most from my experience at Xavier. People have asked me a few times if I’d trade the NIT run for an NCAA Tournament appearance that resulted in a first round loss. If you asked me that question four years ago, it would’ve been a resounding yes. Looking back on it now though, I got to experience five more games with my best friends and go out on a high note. That’s an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Thanks to Xavier I got a great education, saw a lot of great sporting events and lived in an awesome city. Going to school 13 hours away from home and my high school friends and family was daunting, and truthfully I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust. But thanks to my friends, I found a new family.