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A strong comeback for Xavier's Griffin McKenzie

By Sabrina Brown
On November 1, 2011

Sophomore forward Griffin McKenzie's college basketball career has been anything but ordinary.

The summer before McKenzie would begin his career at Xavier, he was badly beaten at a party following

a Tim McGraw concert.

The six-foot nine forward was beaten severely enough that he was required to have his jaw wired shut, undergo reconstructive surgery

and lost his four front teeth.

No one was sure if McKenzie would even be fit to play his freshman

year.

After losing 25 pounds before, McKenzie decided not to sit out for the 2010-11 season.

McKenzie played for only 42 minutes last season, averaging 2.5 minutes per game.

Now 240 pounds, McKenzie gained 30 pounds from his previous

season weight.

"Having a full offseason helped me a lot. Being able to play basketball

and workout with the guys helped a lot," McKenzie said.

McKenzie is the only true sophomore returning to Xavier's team this year, as teammates Jay Canty and Jordan Latham both elected to transfer at the close of last season.

McKenzie says that his decision

to stay was based on a number

of factors.

While McKenzie saw little playing time last season, he never wavered in his decision to remain at Xavier.

"I felt totally comfortable here at Xavier. I've never thought twice [about my decision]," McKenzie said. McKenzie, a finance major, said that Xavier's academics, specifically

the Williams College of Business, strongly influenced his decision to become a Musketeer, as well as to return for his sophomore

year.

A native of Cincinnati and graduate of Moeller High School, McKenzie enjoys having his family

close by.

"I have the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends frequently, which is an opportunity

many players don't get," McKenzie said.

At Musketeer Madness, McKenzie had many members

of his family and friends in attendance.

This Cincinnati native states that he has always been a Xavier fan.

"I've never been a fan of the University of Cincinnati basketball

program. I've always been a Xavier fan. [When I was choosing a school] I kept coming back to Xavier," McKenzie said.

This year, Xavier fans can expect

to see much more of a healthy, court-ready Griffin McKenzie.


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