Friday, November 5, 2004
The point is still left to be made
By Dustin Dow Enquirer staff writer
The competition to replace injured Xavier point guard Dedrick Finn is fierce.
One season of junior-college ball has helped Dupree Lucas (left) adjust to the speed of Division I basketball.
The Enquirer/STEVEN M. HERPPICH
Finn, who sprained his left knee last week in practice, might miss the Nov. 19 opener against Oakland. For now, three newcomers - Churchill Odia, Dupree Lucas and Stanley Burrell - are taking a crash course in the point guard role. If one emerges as a natural, it could pay dividends for the Musketeers down the road and allow Finn to play frequently at shooting guard, where he's more effective.
"As (Odia) blossoms and Dupree Lucas continues to learn, I think that flexibility will become more apparent where Dedrick can play both positions," Xavier coach Sean Miller said.
With that in mind, there are three first-year players to look for at point guard now, next week and well into the season.
Freshman, 6 feet 6, 205 pounds
Style points: Playmaking point guard whose presence will enable Xavier to play a fast-paced brand of basketball. Creates plays and can make the outside shot.
The advantage: Size. Odia can see over the top of pressure defenses and create his own defensive advantage.
The disadvantage: Didn't play his senior year of high school; he has the most to learn, especially defensively.
Coach's observation: "Churchill has made rapid improvement defensively since Day 1, when people would just get by him. ... He's putting forth the effort to make himself a better defender." - Xavier assistant Monte Mathis
The bottom line: Was recruited to be the point guard at Xavier. The only question is how soon it goes into effect.
Sophomore, 6-2, 175
Style points: Won't overwhelm anybody with talent but is a model of reliability and a stingy defender.
The advantage: Understands college-level defensive philosophies. With a young team, Miller's greatest concern is on the defensive end, and Lucas provides reassuring consistency there.
The disadvantage: Size. Physically smaller than most opponents and susceptible to full-court presses and half-court traps.
Coach's observation: "He's extremely quick. On offense he makes easy plays. He runs the team and takes care of the ball. ... It's a long season with injuries and things that have already set us back. And he gives us a lot more flexibility." - Miller
The bottom line: Season of junior college helps; he's already accustomed to the pace of college basketball.
Freshman, 6-3, 200
Style points: An explosive scorer, which probably makes him a better shooting guard than a point guard.
The advantage: A lot like
Lionel Chalmers. Capable of making plays off the dribble, can easily slide over to the point.
The disadvantage: Un-
bridled style also leads to mistakes, which is why he's likely to stay at shooting guard.
Coach's observation: "I
think eventually Stanley will be able to play the point, but I think right now, because of our team's needs . . . we've really tried to keep him almost as our emergency point guard."
The bottom line: Will play a lot, but not at point guard. He's a high-impact player at shooting guard and possibly less dangerous there as well.
Cowboys again a team on the run
Young Palmer isn't alone
Broncos' Lynch tastes a little of what Denver does to foes
OHIO PREP SPORTS
Elder says pressure on Colerain
QBs Carey, Goodman will control matchup
Bottom line: These two teams are nearly identical
Weekend Preview: Ohio Top Games At A Glance
Cougars eyeing field hockey title
Locals should make run at titles
Mercy advances to 1st regional championship game since 2000
Lions take out SUA
Prep results, schedules
KENTUCKY PREP SPORTS
Playoffs haven't been kind to 10-0 Cougars
Game-tested Bluebirds primed for another run at a state title
Weekend Preview: Kentucky Top Games At A Glance
State champ may not run
Seniors had a big hand in turnaround
The point is still left to be made
It's all in a day's work
Mother of OSU guard is killed in accident
Enough points to go around
UK freshman Woodyard a bright spot
Night 'Hawks? Not at Miami
Crew chief Eury there when Earnhardt needs him
Bobcats score first but fall in home debut vs. Wizards
Singh two strokes off lead
Sports today on TV, radio
Return to Xavier front page...