Friday, July 23, 2004

West glad to see Miller take over


Former XU star initially upset at Matta's decision to leave

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

The Xavier coach might have changed, but the biggest camper at Xavier's summer basketball camp is still David West.

For the second consecutive year after earning National Player of the Year honors at Xavier in 2003, West made an appearance at Xavier's summer basketball camp.

The difference of course, Thursday, was the New Orleans Hornets forward was at the Sean Miller Basketball Camp, renamed after Thad Matta left July 7 to coach Ohio State.

West, who averaged 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in his rookie season, said he followed Xavier's coaching change as closely as he could, and was pleased to see Miller hired the day after Matta left.

"Looking at it from the outside, I'm more like a concerned alumni," West said.

"I didn't want them to bring someone entirely new in and have to start the process all over again. I'm really happy for (Miller) because he got an opportunity that he deserves."

Although initially he was upset to see Matta leave, West said after talking to his former coach, he understands the move.

"I spoke to him, and he said he felt like it was the right thing to do," West said.

"He felt like he was going to make that jump anyway and now was as good of a time as ever because Coach Miller is going to get the job here."

West's former teammate, Lionel Chalmers, also spoke to campers at Cintas Center Thursday and said he is close to signing a rookie contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We're in negotiations right now," said Chalmers, who was drafted with the 33rd pick by the Clippers.

"You need some veteran guys on the team, obviously, but the coach can take care of that. We're young, and we're running."

When Chalmers led Xavier to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season, the point guard worked closely with Miller in turning around Xavier's season after a 10-9 start, which is why he was glad to see Miller promoted to replace Matta.

"When I saw it come across the screen I was jumping up and down," Chalmers said. "Coach Miller is a great coach, and nobody deserves it over him. He has all the right tools to get it done."

E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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