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The Unseen Athlete: women's practice players

By Caleb Childers
On November 1, 2012

While fans watch the women's basketball team on the floor of the Cintas Center defeating their opponents, most people do not see all of the people involved in their practices.
Specifically, the piece missing on game day are the practice players
who play with the team at every
single practice.
The women's basketball team has over ten male practice players that attend every practice and assist
the team in any way possible.
An average practice for them involves helping the team with conditioning, setting up the drills and participating in full court team scrimmages directed by head coach Amy Waugh.
All of the members of the practice team joined the squad by invitation only, but there are a few different ways that they became a part of the group.
Some of the members were invited after playing basketball relentlessly in O'Connor and displaying
their skills.
Other team members joined the squad by initially trying out for the men's basketball team and not making the cut.
A few days later they received a phone call asking if they would like to join the women's practice team, and many of them joined the team.
Freshman Kyle Schuler joined the squad after initially not making
the men's squad.
"I was a bit bummed when I found out that I didn't make the men's team but having this experience
has been great and I'm glad that I got the chance," Schuler said.
While being a practice player is not what some of the members had in mind when they tried out for the men's team, they are still an integral part of Xavier basketball.
Before each game, the women's team studies their opponent and uses the practice players to help prepare for their opponents style.
For instance, if their next opponent
has a dominating center that takes the majority of the shots, the practice team will use their biggest player and continuously feed him the ball during the team scrimmages. This element of practice prepares
the women's team for the games in a way that would not be possible without the help of the practice squad.
Being a part of the practice team is a major time commitment
for the guys involved, but there is still some flexibility
to the schedule.
Each team member is assigned
to certain practices on a week-by-week basis that fit their class schedule. Most practices are in the early afternoon,
but there are also early morning practices that the members are required to attend
from time to time.
Occasionally the guys on the practice team obtain some of the Nike gear that the women's
team has, but according to the guys, the biggest reward is their friendship with the women's
basketball team.
The members of the practice squad get to know the women's team in a way that regular students
do not. They see the fun, friendly side of the players that comes out during the long hours of practice and share a close bond with them. Although they are not seen during the games, and most people
do not know who they are, the practice team is an important part of Xavier's women's basketball program.
The experiences they have are unique to the program, and each member enjoys all of the work that they put in for Xavier basketball.

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