Xavier Welcomes Back Miller and Other Notes
Andy Mac Williams,
Sean Miller's Re-Introduction Day as Xavier head basketball coach went well Friday. Miller scored a hat trick to steal a hockey phrase. First there was a the Joseph Club meet and greet. It was old home week with Joe and Byron and Brad Redford. Steve Wolfe returned from Florida. Former players dating back to the 1980's showed up (Stan Kimbrough, Tom Compton, Eric Knopp, Justin Doellman, Drew Lavender, C.J. Anderson, Johnny Mazza, Gary Massa, and many more). Sean and Amy Miller circulated easily and renewed old acquaintances. I had a chance to reconnect with Sean. He was relaxed and excited about his 2nd time around at XU.
The public welcome was staged on the Cintas court. I'm bad about crowd estimates, but I'd guess 1500 to 2000 attended. Miller's improved exponentially as a speaker since he first became Muskie head coach in 2004
He joked about brother Archie who just took the Rhode Island head coaching job. He reflected on his first Xavier stint-recognizing Sister Rose Ann for her impact and Father Hoff for his leadership and vision.
He labeled his 2007-2008 NCAA Elite 8 team as his favorite-sighting their closeness and competitive nature and their attitude-playing with toughness and a chip on their shoulders.
Miller took a playful jab at current assistant Dante Jackson for his inability to go left. He talked about Arizona and his recruiting approach-OKG-signing our kind of guys. Players who would fit Xavier academically and personally and could compete at the high BIG EAST level.
Miller said he tweaked his approach 3 years ago-not just chasing the recruiting ratings but placing more emphasis on evaluation and fit. IMHO it's led to more Global players.
Sean described this job as a new beginning. He's changed and learned and mellowed since leaving XU in 2009 and Xavier has changed with a higher bar now in BIG EAST not A-10.
Miller acknowledged the current players and staff for their re-set after Travis's removal and their players. Sean described this job as a new beginning. He's changed and learned and mellowed since leaving XU in 2009 and Xavier has changed with a higher bar now in BIG EAST not A-10.
Miller acknowledged the current players and staff for their re-set after Travis's removal and their from hoops had re-energized him and he was determined to take Xavier Basketball to the highest level.
The man and the message make sense. This should be a fun ride. Miller handled himself well with the media later so the long day proved a productive launch to the next chapter of Muskie Hoops.
Kam Craft (6-5 Shooting Guard from Chicago-#62 2022 player nationally) has re-committed to XU after talking with Miller. Sean plans in-person meetings with Tyrell Ward(6-7 Small Forward-Baltimore-#36 recruit nationally) and 6-4 PG Desmond Claude-New Haven, Conn. shortly.
Miller had a positive meeting with the current players (TEAM 100) Friday morning. The players attended Sean's Welcome at Cintas. Chances are good that a number of current basketball staff will be retained by Miller. Continuity is a good thing in these coaching transitions with quality people involved and valuable familiarity with the new coach.
TEAM 100 in NIT:
Players take Saturday off-then practice Sunday and Monday in Cincy-flying charter Monday to NYC. NIT Semifinal Games are Tuesday at MSG. XU plays St. Bonaventure in 1st Game(7 PM- ESPN). We'll post a complete Scout on St Bonnies Monday.
The other NIT Semi features Washington State (PAC 12) vs Texas A&M(SEC) Tuesday(9:30-ESPN2).
One (of 6) BIG EAST teams remains in NCAA. Villanova plays Houston Saturday in Elite 8(6:09-TBS). Arkansas meets Duke in the late game Saturday(8:49-TBS). Providence lost Friday 66-61 to Kansas in NCAA Sweet 16.
The overriding principle in putting this new Xavier team together is focusing on the players and getting to know them. Miller says it's a ton of work.
He can't screw in a light bulb or repair a roof, but he can coach and build a basketball team and he loves the process although he's less wild and crazy than he used to be.