By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Xavier center Anthony Myles admits he was out-hustled, outpaced and just didn't put up the same effort as Maryland's big men in last season's NCAA Tournament loss.
So he spent this summer strengthening his lower body, losing weight and getting in better shape. He is still listed at 245 pounds, last year's playing weight, but Myles said he has lost close to 15 pounds.
"Last year I noticed, most of the games, when it came to the (second half) I was kind of out of gas, not able to perform up to the level that I wanted to," Myles said. "I think it's more of me personally being able to last to the end. Losing weight and getting into the best condition and strength that I can, then I'll be able to do that."
KNEE PROBLEMS: Freshman Robert Barker underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, successfully removing thickened synovial tissue. His timetable for returning is questionable at this point and will be dictated by the rehab progress. It is possible that he could redshirt this season given that Xavier has a deep bench and is strong at guard.
Barker originally injured the knee, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, his junior season in high school and had problems with it last season as well.
Brian Thornton, who is ineligible to play this season per transfer guidelines, is scheduled to undergo surgery at the end of October to repair the patella tendon in his left knee.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Xavier wasted no time getting practice started, going full go at midnight Friday, then hard again Saturday afternoon. In the first two practices, a new team leader is emerging in Lionel Chalmers.
It is perfectly logical that Chalmers would take those leadership reins from the departed David West. The two were best friends on the team, and Chalmers brings back the most experience of any player on the roster. There are three seniors, Chalmers, Romain Sato and Myles, but only Chalmers has been at Xavier five years and only Chalmers comes across with a vocal personality.
"This is his fifth year, and he's really done a good job throughout the entire fall of being a leader," Matta said. "Coaching the young guys, he obviously has the most experience on this team."
SHOOTING EARLY: Junior Keith Jackson showed up more than one hour early for practice Saturday afternoon to get in extra shots, something he said he did all summer.
"That's what I did," Jackson said. "Shooting constantly. I wasn't worried about hand placement or anything like that. I was just getting repetitions."
IF THE RING FITS: Players from last season's team received their 2003 Atlantic 10 West Division championship rings Friday night.
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