Sunday, December 7, 2003

Big men remain questions

Musketeers are in need of more consistent play from Caudle, Myles

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Three weeks into the season, the biggest question at Xavier University still revolves around its biggest players.

How reliable are Xavier's big men going to be game to game?

Will Caudle showed a glimpse of what he could provide last week when he scored a career-high 18 points against Indiana.

Anthony Myles' effort has come and gone in spurts during the first five games. The same goes for Caudle, who had nearly played himself out of the starting lineup before the Indiana game.

After stepping up as a go-to-guy against Indiana, Caudle realizes he could be a key player for Xavier if he continues to produce, starting with Tuesday's game at Miami.

"I need to communicate with my teammates more," Caudle said. "Let them know. When Romain (Sato) is hot, we get him the ball. When I'm hot, I need to get the ball. I'm an unselfish player. I don't care about points, but that night (against Indiana), I wanted the ball bad."

MYLES INJURY: Myles' injury to a finger on his shooting hand is slowly healing, but the 6-foot-9 senior said it's still bothering him and has caused him problems holding on to the ball and shooting.

"My injuries have kind of been affecting the way I've played," Myles said. "They've really been getting to me a little bit more. I'm a little bit worried about the way things have been going. I've got to come and play hard and forget about the small things and worry about the big picture."

He has been watching from the bench in Xavier's last two games, averaging just 16 minutes against Ball State and Indiana.

"It was a wake up call," Myles said.

GETTING STARTED: Freshman Robert Barker has begun light practicing as he finishes his rehab from knee surgery. Coaches are holding him out of full contact practice for now, and his redshirt status will likely remain undetermined well into the season.

"We're taking it as slow as possible," said Xavier coach Thad Matta, who added that there's no need to try to hurry Barker's return.

GETTING OPEN: He has made more 3-pointers than anyone on the team and shoots the highest percentage from 3-point range, but sophomore point guard Dedrick Finn is third on the team in attempts from long range.

It's obvious Xavier would benefit from Finn firing up a few more shots. He's making 52.6 percent of his 3s and 45.5 percent of his overall field-goal attempts.

"If I'm open, my teammates find me," Finn said. "Not taking bad shots is my focus. Sometimes I think I should shoot more, but I don't want to force anything. If there's an opportunity where I should shoot more, maybe I'll take that when it comes."



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