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A year of high hopes for Xavier basketball

By sabrina Brown
On October 27, 2011

Each year, every school says, "This is it. This is our year," but for Xavier, this year may just be that year. The Musketeers are considered to be the midmajor school to watch meaning a Sweet Sixteen appearance, maybe even

an Elite Eight. This year, it could be the long sough-after Final Four for the Musketeers. A mid-major has made it to the final game two years in a row. With Xavier's returning players and strong new additions to the team, this could be the year. While inevitably one of the strongest points

for the Musketeers will be the return of senior point

guard Tu Holloway, Xavier added a slew of talent

to its roster this season. Perhaps the most vital of these additions is redshirt junior forward Travis Taylor.

Taylor transferred from Monomouth last year and will have two seasons of eligibility with the Musketeers. Taylor

fills a wide gap left by Jamel McLean in rebounding

and power on the frontcourt. Senior center Kenny Frease and Taylor will create a dynamic rebounding duo.

Unless, that is, Taylor's primary role becomes filling a

gap, no matter how temporary. Frease was only suspended for approximately one week, but it is clear that Mack will not be accepting any nonsense this season.

Frease was suspended from the team through Musketeer Madness, and returned for practice the following day.

While Frease's presence would be missed, this Frease situation could provide a unique opportunity for Taylor to take charge of Xavier's frontcourt. "I think Travis is a very tenacious player, a guy that plays extremely hard at both ends of the floor," head coach Chris Mack said.

Freshman small forward Dezmine Wells is expected to

be another vital addition for the Musketeers. Wells came to Xavier as a four star recruit ranked 48th by the ESPNU Top 100. Wells was ranked 12th in his position and second in his home state, North Carolina, directly behind his teammate, North Carolina's P.J. Hairston. Wells is in prime

athletic condition to fill the void left by Dante Jackson, playing with the same aggressive nature. Another player is

no stranger, but a player welcomed back with open arms.

A healthy Brad Redford as a guard will be one of the

biggest assets for the Musketeers in the 2011- 12 season.

In his freshman season, Redford had a three-point shooting percentage of 46.5, the highest in the Atlantic 10 for that year. Last season, a knee injury left redshirt junior

Redford on the bench for the entirety of the season. Known for his three-point shooting, this guard will be one of

Xavier's many backcourt players to watch. Wells and

Redford are vital additions to the tanlented backcourt

duo of Holloway and redshirt junior guard Mark Lyons. Lyons was Xavier's second highest scorer last season,

averaging 13.6 points per game. With its powerful guards and aggressive players in the paint, this may finally be Xavier's year.

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