Tag:Kenny Frease
Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 11:25 am

Xavier's Frease extends olive branch to Gates

By Jeff Goodman

Give Kenny Frease credit. 

Xavier's big man, who took the hardest hit in the Musketeers brawl with Cincinnati last Saturday, extended the olive branch to Yancy Gates - the guy who sent him to the floor with a vicious right-hand. 

It came via a text message. 

“I just wanted to let him know that…I mean, I saw a lot of the stuff coming out about how the police and stuff were looking into it and I just wanted him to know that anything that was coming from that wasn’t from my end. I never wanted to press charges against him,” Frease told Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer Wednesday. 

“People make mistakes in the heat of battle," he continued. "I’ve made mistakes in my life in emotional situations. I don’t think that’s a reason…especially in a basketball game. Obviously there’s no room for that in a basketball game. But to pursue somebody criminally for something that happens in something that’s that competititve – it seemed immature to me. And I didn’t want him to be punished for something for his whole life because of something that he did in a game that is that emotional.”

Frease got clocked by Gates, then was stomped on by Chiekh Mbodj while he was down on the ground. Both Gates and Mbodj received six-game suspensions for their actions. Frease received seven stitches near his left eye. 

There was speculation that prosecutors might seek criminal charges from the fight, but Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said on Wednesday that would not be the case - and praised Frease for his stance. Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski told CBSSports.com he was impressed by Frease's actions. 

"I think it was extremely mature on his part," Bobinski said. "I admire it quite honestly. It was a good move on his part." 

Frease told the newspaper that Gates thanked him for reaching out and also apologized. 

“I think that you can really feel that both sides of the situation know that that’s not what either of our universities are about or NCAA sports are about," Frease told the Enquirer. "This sort of puts a bad name on athletes." 

“I think people being able to move past it quickly is something that we need to be able to do, just to protect the names of our schools. They’re both great universities. I think that once we can move past it, everybody can sort of remember the things that made our universities great and not just what happened this weekend.”

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 10, 2011 3:13 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 3:54 pm

Xavier rout over Cincinnati marred by brawl

By Jeff Goodman

The Xavier-Cincinnati rivalry is as fierce as any in college basketball. Yes, right there with Duke-North Carolina and Kentucky-Louisville.

With just nine seconds left, a full-fledged brawl ensued.

Musketeers Player of the Year candidate Tu Holloway and Cincinnati's Ge'Lawn Guyn began jawing. Xavier freshman Dez Wells pushed Guyn, Yancy Gates threw the ball at Holloway -- and all hell broke loose. Seconds later, Xavier big man Kenny Frease was sent to the canvas, courtesy of a haymaker from fellow heavyweight Gates. While he was on the floor, Cincinnati's Cheikh Mbodj stomped on Frease.

Frease walked off the court with blood gushing from his left eye and later tweeted: "Scored whenever I wanted and never got scored on... Got punched and I'm still standing like a man." 

This was ugly - and warrants numerous suspensions. My guess is Holloway and Guyn will get a game or two, but it should be Gates and Mbodj who receive the harshest penalties for their actions. Wells will also likely get hit since his push may have triggered the melee. 

"It's unfortunate what happened," Xavier junior guard Mark Lyons said after the game, which was called with nine seconds left. "Obviously, this is a heated rivalry. But we regret what happened and didn't want it to end that way."

One question that both coaches need to answer: Why were most of the starters still in the game, which was a 23-point margin, with just nine seconds left?

Holloway, Lyons and Frease were all in the game for Xavier while Gates and Dion Dixon were still in for Cincinnati.

"I'm friendly with a few of their players," Lyons said. "It was more the new guys, they were talking a lot of trash to Tu. ... It's unfortunate, but we wanted to protect each other. When they are throwing punches, it's hard not to do anything." 

These two programs hate one another. They sit just a few miles away in Cincinnati and there's a history of altercations over the years. Frease, in fact, head-butted Gates a few years back. 

The brawl overshadowed a convincing victory for an Xavier team that is ranked eighth in the country. A year ago, Cincinnati pounded the Musketeers at Fifth Third Arena.

This season both teams were ranked in the Top 20 entering the season, but the Bearcats lost twice entering Saturday's Crosstown Shootout - to Presbyterian and Marshall. Xavier, which put together one of the most difficult non-conference slates in the country, improved to 8-0 and has knocked off Vanderbilt, Purdue, Butler and now Cincinnati.

"I feel like this was a huge win for us," Lyons said.

Maybe, but it was costly. For both sides.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 10:38 am

Preseason Tour: Thoughts from Xavier

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 24, 2011 10:58 am

Xavier reinstates Kenny Frease

By Matt Norlander

Chalk this up as one of the more curious finite suspensions.

Less than two weeks ago, Chris Mack suspended his big man, Kenny Frease, from the Xavier basketball team. It was indefinite. Some thought he'd be sitting for at least three or four weeks. (Frease is a bit of a screw-up, from what I hear, and this was an early wake-up call for him.)

Yet he's already back with the team and stands to start in X's first game next month. Quietly, Mack reinstated Frease to the squad over the weekend. So Frease's only real punishment was exclusion from Xavier's Musketeer Madness festivities on Saturday night.

Now, the man who averaged nearly 12 points and more than seven rebounds last season is back with the team, which coincidentally has one of the toughest schedules in the country. Perhaps Frease has learned his lesson very quickly -- or maybe Mack knows he needs every set of hands and feet possible to get Xavier on the stronger side of .500 in the non-conference.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 10:13 am

Frease won't participate in Musketeer Madness

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 14, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 6:11 pm

Kansas takes hardest hit with busy day of news

By Jeff Goodman

Midnight Madness is here.

So is the college hoops news.

- Kansas took the hardest hit of the day when it was announced that freshman Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor are ineligible this season and have been deemed "partial qualifiers."

This is a significant blow to a Kansas team that has already been questioned for its lack of "Kansas talent."

There's Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and a bunch of unproven guys.

- A source told CBSSports.com that Arizona State's heralded freshman point guard Jahii Carson won't be in uniform for the Sun Devils first practice - as he waits for an NCAA ruling.

- Ole Miss received the word - per a source - that South Carolina transfer Murphy Holloway has been cleared to play this season by the NCAA.

- DePaul's Macari Brooks won't be eligible to play this season due to academics, per a source.

- Xavier announced that Chris Mack has suspended senior big man Kenny Frease for "not handling his daily responsibilities on and off the playing floor that we expect from every one of our players here at Xavier."

- Washington's Scott Suggs will miss 2-3 months due to a broken foot. The Huskies have enough to sustain the loss, but it will certainly hurt Lorenzo Romar's depth.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com