Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 4:41 pm
By Jeff Goodman
A few hours after Cincinnati levied six-game suspensions to three players and a one-game penalty to one other, Xavier responded.
The Musketeers have suspended starters Dez Wells four games, Mark Lyons two games and Tu Holloway for one game. Walk-on Landen Amos also received a four-game suspension.
Xavier plays Oral Roberts next and then heads to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic, where the Musketeers open against Long Beach State.
Holloway and Cincinnati's Ge'Lawn Guyn began trash-talking with nine seconds left in the Xavier rout. Wells then pushed Guyn, triggering the brawl.
Yancy Gates decked Xavier big man Kenny Frease with a right hand, and his actions earned him a six-game suspension. Lyons was also seen on the video throwing, but not connecting, on punches. Amos retaliated and punched Gates.
Holloway did not throw a punch in the melee, but was scrutinized -- rightfully so -- for his comments in the post-game news conference, in which he failed to apologize for his and his teammates actions.
"We got a whole bunch of gangstas in the locker room," Holloway said. "Not thugs, but tough guys on the court."
Lyons was also on the podium and also didn't apologize.
Personally, I probably would have hit Holloway with another game for his comments. He and Lyons should have been apologetic for his remarks. They certainly didn't handle the entire situation well.
But Holloway didn't throw a punch.
Holloway sat on the podium on Sunday afternoon, along with Mack and athletic director Mike Bobinski, and apologized for his actions. He also tried to clarify his comments from the previous day.
"We'e not thugs, not doing things on the street," Holloway said. "We're just tough. That's what I meant by gangstas. Tough."
Posted on: December 10, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 4:55 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Chris Mack didn't see it coming.
"I've been a part of this rivalry and guys talk on both sides every year," Xavier's head coach told CBSSports.com. "This was as clean a game as I've seen. The only technical was for me arguing a goaltending call."
"I didn't see it escalating to that point," he added.
By that point, he meant the brawl that ensued with nine seconds left - one that included an array of punches thrown from both sides and one that left Kenny Frease on the ground with blood gushing from his eye, courtesy of a Yancy Gates right hand.
Mack said he will watch the tape later tonight, but was obviously disappointed - especially since the fracas overshadowed a terrific performance from his team.
"Both sides are at fault," he said. "It was terrible the way it ended."
Mack also said he regrets not pulling his starters - Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Kenny Frease - late with the game in hand.
"They were pressing at the end and there wasn't a dead ball," he said. "In hindsight, I should have called a timeout - but I didn't want to be that coach who calls a timeout, rubbing it in their face."
"But I wish I would have," Mack added.
Mack said he expects the A-10 to take action within the next day - as far as suspensions were concerned.
"I couldn't even begin to say who will or should get suspended," Mack said. "I need to watch the tape."
"But one thing I do know," he added. "Is that it takes away from the game and the rivalry -- and it shouldn't be like that."Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: November 4, 2011 5:02 pm
CBSSports.com national basketball writer Jeff Goodman had the script flipped on him recently, when he attended Xavier practice. Musketeers head coach Chris Mack had a few questions for Jeff, and few things to get off his chest.
Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 1:19 pm
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Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 10:38 am
By Jeff Goodman
Now that I've returned home and had an opportunity to catch my breathe from my Preseason Tour, I'll try and run through my thoughts from each practice I attended. I've already done so for North Carolina, Duke, Ohio State and Cincinnati:
Here are my thoughts and observations from Xavier (photo is of Mack's leg, which has a Shaq-style tattoo. Judge him for this beyond anything else):
1) Just love the chip on their shoulder that many of the guys carry around with them. It starts with Tu Holloway and goes to his backcourt mate, Mark "Cheeks" Lyons - and continues to a guy like Monmouth transfer Travis Taylor. This is a team full of guys who were passed over by the elite programs in America - and they are and have been on a mission to prove people wrong. Even though Holloway is on many Preseason All-American lists, he still feels as though people don't truly respect him for his abilities. "I think they put me on there because of my numbers and because they have to put someone on our team on there because we're supposed to be good," he said.
2) If you don't know it by now, I'm in love with Taylor already. He's 6-foot-7 and some change, 220 pounds and just goes hard every possession. He's relentless, brings a toughness to the table and I love the way he fights for position in the post. He'll be the ideal power forward for Chris Mack because he'll do a ton of the dirty work - and can finish in the paint.
3) Holloway may have averaged 20-plus points a year ago, but he'll show the country that he's actually a pass-first point guard. That's what he's always been, but a year ago Mack and the Musketeers needed him to be a scorer. This year, with the maturity of Lyons, the addition of Taylor and freshman Dez Wells and the return of Brad Redford, he won't have to score as much. He can make his teammates better - which is honestly what he does best. "It won't be me leading this team in scoring most games," Holloway said.
4) Xavier's season may depend on whether big man Kenny Frease - a monster down low and a potential pro - falls victim to the good old Knucklehead Rule. He has already been suspended (and since reinstated). Frease needs to get his act together - and keep it together - or else Xavier doesn't stand a chance of going deep into the NCAA tournament. The Musketeers don't have a true backup center, so the loss of Frease would be a crushing blow.
5) You won't find five more deadly "pure" shooters than Redford, who missed the season last year due to a knee injury. Redford is fairly one-dimensional as a perimeter shooter, but it's a dimension that Xavier could sorely utilize. Put Redford around Holloway, Lyons, Frease and Taylor and teams will have to pick their poison - and leaving Redford open from long distance wouldn't be a wise move. "He's the best shooter I've ever seen," Holloway said.
6) Xavier's non-conference slate is as much of a buzzsaw as any program in the entire country. I've ranked the Top 50 overall games of the season and the Musketeers are represented a half-dozen times - including five in the non-league slate. There are home games against Gonzaga and Cincinnati and road contests at Memphis, Vanderbilt and Butler.
7) Lyons has matured and if it continues Xavier's backcourt may be able to match up with just about anyone. "He was so wild when he got here," Holloway said of his backcourt mate. "But he's calmed down - and has slowed the game down. ... He's more talented than I am." Lyons said it's been an adjustment for him because Holloway has the ball in his hands much of the time - and prior to college, that was always Lyons' role. He worked on jump stops and pull-ups this summer so he can add the mid-range dimensional to his game - which has always been either a long jumper or going all the way to the rim - with authority.
8) I was one of the biggest critics of Justin Martin's attitude and body language back when he was in high school, but it appears as though he's made significant strides in that area. Martin is talented. He's long and can really shoot the ball. The year sitting out as a non-qualifying freshman last season may have been the best thing that could have happened to him.
9) Dee Davis will be a quality backup point guard who can come in and allow Holloway to stay fresh when it matters later in the year. Davis is a pure point guard from Indiana who doesn't back down - despite his small stature- and a guy who can really pass the ball.
10) With the added depth that he didn't have last year, Mack has been able to play Holloway and Lyons against one another in practice this year. A year ago, with virtually no backcourt depth, they always played with each other in practice. Now they get a chance to push one another in practice due to guys like Davis, Wells and Redford.
11) I'm not sure any team in America will feature a more potent trio of trash-talkers than Holloway, Lyons and Taylor. It'll be an issue that Mack need to address at some point, but there's also the school of thought that he doesn't want to reel them in too much and take away that swagger and toughness. "We're straight tough," Lyons said.
12) Holloway and Lyons will receive plenty of attention for their offensive performances this season, but both are guys who play both ends of the court - and can be all-league guys on the defensive end. Holloway is already terrific defensively while Lyons can be even better due to his athleticism.
13) Vanderbilt one-year transfer Andre Walker was a terrific pickup for Xavier. He's a low-maintenance guy who just knows how to play. I'm not sure he'll wind up starting over Taylor, but he'll play a good amount because he doesn't make mistakes and also makes his teammates better.
14) I'm admittedly a fan of Mack and his brash, forthcoming attitude off the court. However, I'm also a believer of his as a coach - despite the fact that he's just a couple years into his tenure. However, this will be a major challenge for Mack with high expectations, a brutal schedule and some high-maintenance personalities on his roster.
15) I'm sticking with my prediction from a few weeks ago that this Xavier team will go to the Final Four - especially after seeing them in practice. "We want to do something no one else in school history has done," Lyons said. "Final Four. My teammates say Final Four - I say championship." Bold, but I like it.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 10:13 am
By Jeff Goodman
Xavier's suspended big man Kenny Frease will not participate in Musketeer Madness tomorrow, but could be reinstated soon.
"Kenny didn't do anything egregious," Xavier coach Chris Mack told CBSSports.com. "If he does what he needs to, he'll rejoin us sooner rather than later."
Mack suspended the senior earlier this month for "not fulfilling all the responsibilities of a Xavier basketball player."
While the rest of his teammates practice, Frease has been in the weight room or doing conditioning.
Frease averaged 11.7 points and 7.1 rebounds last season and his maturity - or lack thereof - could be critical to the team's success this season.
"Kenny has proven he's a formidable center," Mack said. "He's big and is as tough to deal with as just about any player in the country at his position."
Xavier needs Frease and it's clear from talking to Mack and team leader Tu Holloway that there's frustration regarding the big man's recent lack of commitment.
"He needs to change his behavior and habits to reflect what we want at Xavier," Mack said. "He won't play on Saturday and then we'll re-evaluate his status."
Posted on: October 20, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 10:46 am
By Jeff Goodman
CINCINNATI - No one knows Travis Taylor.
OK, maybe that's a stretch. However, Xavier's junior forward - sat out last season after transferring from Monmouth - is a complete mystery.
Sure, there were other schools that went after the 6-foot-7, 220-pound New Jersey native when he opted to take his 17.8 points and 7.6 boards out of the Northeast Conference.
Boston College, Temple, Miami and Arizona State were just a few.
But transfers - just like high school seniors who wait out their recruitment - are almost always recruited at a higher level than should be the case.
He's literally become the "X" factor for Chris Mack and the Musketeers.
Already regarded as a program built on toughness and guys with a chip on their shoulder, Taylor could be the poster child for Xavier basketball.
He didn't start playing organized basketball until his junior year of high school. Taylor had a bunch of Division 2 offers before Monmouth came in late.
I'd be surprised if Taylor doesn't start at power forward from Day One for Mack. His game is awkward, but he's a big-time athlete who possesses a relentless work ethic on the court.
"I'm a gnat around the rim," Taylor said of his game. "I just never stop."
"He's going to make a real impact," said Xavier star guard Tu Holloway. "He brings a warrior mentality - which is something we need."
"Since I've been here, we haven't had anyone like him up front," added Mark Lyons, Holloway's backcourt mate.
Taylor, who shed the dreadlocks he sported while at Monmouth, said he isn't concerned about winning a starting spot on a team that has no shortage of depth and talent. That what matters to him is winning.
Xavier could do plenty of that with the veteran backcourt of Holloway and Lyons, freshman Dez Wells, Taylor and big man Kenny Frease (as long as he gets his act together).
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 3:49 pm
By Matt Norlander
So Goodman's doing this prep-school tour in the middle of September because Goodman gets enjoyment out of that sort of thing. The good part about it is he continues to simulataneously forge and damage relationships by crossing paths with all these coaches, who fly to the prep schools to get a chance at landing these kids one day.
Goodman has no bigger frenemy than Xavier coach Chris Mack. The two got some alone time today in the Notre Dame Prep gym, and from there Goodman decided to take video of Mack shooting around -- even dunking, at the tender age of 41. So, here's the video. And, Jeff, next time you want to hold the iPhone horizontally so the video is captured in widescreen. What. A. N00b.
I'm also calling for video of Goodman vs. Mack in a game of one-on-one. The time for that has most definitely come.