Xavier players leave their mark on XU
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 16:02
Saturday's game against Charlotte marks the beginning of the end for three Xavier men's basketball players.
Saturday will be the last regular season home game center Kenny Frease, point guard Tu Holloway and forward Andre Walker will ever play. For these two seniors and graduate student, their collegiate
basketball careers are coming to an end.
"Obviously Tu and Kenny are in a different catergory than Andre. He's only been here one year, but Andre's been a guy that's really fit in well. I think he's been a guy that's learned, and at the same time he's leant a lot of experience on the floor. It's been a different dynamic. He's a great kid, and he's been through a lot of personal hardship. I'm glad we've had this year together where he's felt a part of Xavier basketball. I hope we can go out the right way with him," head coach Chris Mack said.
"[For] Tu and Kenny, this season hasn't been ended, the final
chapter hasn't been written. They've won three league championships, and they've been to three NCAA tournaments.
They've been on the end of it where they were learning and they were followers, and they've gotten to the point now where they've been instrumental cogs in what we've been about and what we've done. I'm hopeful we can go out the right way with those three guys," Mack said.
For Holloway, a career as a collegiate
All-American and record-breaking Xavier player will be ending.
For Frease, this will mark the end of a collegiate career full of hardwork and tremendous growth. For Walker, this ends a career of a "glue guy" who overcame many personal struggles. Regardless of their personal paths, their time as collegiate athletes is coming to a close.
"I'll miss the easiness of college
life. I feel like there's this whole big abyss, you don't even know what's going to happen," Frease said.
Holloway and Frease began their time in college together and will finish it the same way.
Tu Holloway began his career at Xavier as freshman Terrell Holloway averaging
5.5 points in his 21.5 minutes per game. Now, Tu Holloway is an All-American and the 2010-11 A-10 Player of the Year.
Holloway leads Xavier in scoring with 16.4 points and 5.6 assists per game and averages
36.5 minutes per game.
"I came in with Tu and he's always been a really hard worker and someone I've been able to look to see what it takes to be a great player," Frease said. "He's always helped me out, whether it's giving me the confidence after having a bad game or whatever it is. I came in with him, and it's been cool to evolve over these past four years with him."
Frease began his collegiate career
averaging only .1 point less than Holloway in his average of 14.6 minutes per game.
The center now averages six rebounds
and nine points in his 23.3 minutes per game.
"It's been a different experience
[playing with Kenny and Tu]. It was weird, coming from a place where you knew the guys for three or four years to being thrust in this position where you play a lot and you play with these new guys. It was good though," Walker said. "They both have crazy personalities,
in a good way. They're both funny, genuine people. They're very competitive, and it's just fun to be around them."
While Frease and Holloway are known as two of Xavier's more comedic players, Walker is known by fans as a quiet and stoic role player.
"If you ask the guys, they actually think I'm pretty funny.
You've just got to get to know me," Walker said.
Walker, Frease's frontcourt-mate, began his collegiate career at Vanderbilt University as #24, averaging 2.4 points and two rebounds per game in his average 11.2 minutes
per game as a freshman.
"They're very smart basketball players. We're fortunate to not have dumb big guys. They're really smart, and they help us out. They actually complement each other. Kenny's the big finisher, and Dre's a power forward that likes to pass the ball, almost like a point forward,"
Walker now averages 5.8 rebounds,
5.5 points and 1.9 assists in his 28.2 minutes per game as #54 for the Musketeers. The forward
chose to change his number for his junior season in honor of his mother, who passed away at the age of 54.
"I haven't known Andre for a long time, but he really came into Xavier and had one goal in mind and that goal was to be a great teammate and do whatever it takes to win. I think that's what he's done," Frease said. "He's a really
unselfish kid, and he knows the game of basketball better than most people. He's really fun to play with."
For Walker, one of his favorite memories while at Xavier was beating
his prior teammates
in a thrilling overtime victory at Vanderbilt this season.
"It was just the way the game turned out. It looked like we were going to lose for a second, and then for us to pull that out and get to see all the guys that I grew up in college
with was just a great experience,"
Both Frease and Walker stated college
games as some of best experiences
of their collegiate career, namely Dayton, Cincinnati, along with Tennessee and Kentucky for Walker while at Vanderbilt.
Frease and Holloway found Xavier's community
atmosphere and winning tradition
to be some of the best parts of their four years as Musketeers.
"I just like being on campus, especially
when it's nice outside and seeing everyone walking around. Over four years, you meet a lot of people and become friends with a lot of people, and it's a really small place, so you're going to see people you know every day. I think that's been really cool," Frease said.
"It was good that we won a lot of games, so that was the main part. We won, and that made everything