Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Myles now Muskies' center of attention

Must take more prominent role with West departed

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

This is the chance Anthony Myles waited for, not so patiently, all of last season while he played sidekick to David West's starring role.

Xavier's Anthony Myles (right) will take up where David West (center) left off.
(Jeff Swinger/file photo)
| ZOOM |
Myles, a 6-foot-9 senior, is the only returning post starter for Xavier University entering this season, and as such, has more responsibility than last season, when he developed a reputation as a crafty offensive rebounder, but little else.

West is in the NBA, leaving the bulk of low-post scoring and key defensive assignments to Myles.

"The question on Anthony was, were you playing off Dave (West)," said Xavier coach Thad Matta. "That's been a big question I've been asked. Can Anthony Myles get it done without David there? I think that's great motivation for Anthony to come out and establish himself as the player we think that he is."

Myles will be the focal point for Xavier in the post, a role he was accustomed to playing in high school and junior college. Last year, he complemented West, grabbing rebounds and scoring in occasional bursts; now, he's eager to break out on his own.

"Everybody just looks upon me as an offensive rebounder," Myles said. "A lot of people don't give us respect that we have an inside player. That's me. Everybody says, 'What about the inside? The backcourt is our only option to score.'

"I don't feel bad about it. It's more of a thing where everybody is kind of nervous about our team this year. A lot of people think Dave (West) was the only focus of this team last year. It was everybody. That's why I work every day. Lost weight, got faster. It's more of wanting to surprise everybody."

Myles surprised Xavier coaches last season as a junior college transfer from Olney (Ill.) College when he earned a starting spot next to West by the second game. He went on to lead the Atlantic 10 in offensive rebounding.

But without West, Xavier is looking for a defensive stopper and great offensive finisher, two abilities Myles has yet to consistently demonstrate.

But then, until now, he really wasn't expected to, either. Myles averaged 10.2 points per game.

"This year, I'm working on patience," Myles said. "Now that it's my last year, it's more of wanting to put everything out on the line. Coach is looking for a lot out of me and expecting a lot out of me."

• ATLANTIC 10: Atlantic 10 presidents will conduct a conference call Nov. 4 to discuss the potential additions of Charlotte and Saint Louis. The call is scheduled the same day that the Big East presidents are meeting in New York and are expected to vote to invite Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and DePaul. Such a move would leave Charlotte and Saint Louis as the only two basketball-only schools remaining in Conference USA. A-10 commissioner Linda Bruno said the league is "reviewing membership issues."


E-mail ddow@enquirer.com

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