It's an odd time for a year in review, in that we are now two weeks into the new year. I'd like to get that admission out of the way right up front.
Still, 2012 was such a tumultuous year that it seemed to merit just one more look back. Rather than try to decide what I thought were the key moments in all that, I let you decide. Below are the top 15 Banners on the Parkway articles from 2012. This is 2012 as the masses saw it. This is what generated the most hits and the longest pageviews. This is as organic a review as you can get. This is 2012 in Xavier basketball.
Pertinent quote: "Make no mistake, this is a ban. Xavier students who do not attend a mandatory "reflection session" will not be allowed to attend another Xavier game this year. You can couch it in whatever terms you like, Xavier University has just suspended its very own fanbase."
Looking back: This never happened because of the massive outcry in just about every possible outlet. It was, as was most of the year, just another PR disaster.
Pertinent quote: "When Wells was completely exonerated of all possible charges on Tuesday, it immediately became clear that Xavier was once again in a position of having to manage a public relations nightmare. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters wasn't shy, saying that the expulsion of Wells was 'an injustice' and 'fundamentally unfair.'"
Looking back: This was just the recap of a story that had been making news for the last part of the summer.
Pertinent quote: "With his departure, the Muskies return zero starters from last year's squad. Coach Mack has brought in a talented class this year, but now they are going to be facing a massive task without Wells on the team."
Looking back: The expulsion turned out just to be the tip of the iceberg in this situation.
Pertinent quote: "Tu scored seven points after that, but Baylor executed from the line. Xavier had finally gone a bridge too far, a deficit too large. In Atlanta, on the cusp of the Elite Eight, the season was over."
Looking back: Reading this again is just a reminder of how many times Xavier got close in this game but couldn't quite seal the deal.
Pertinent quote: "Cantino is a 6'7" forward who averaged 12.0/8.9/1.0 on .454/.071/.609 shooting last year at Palm Beach State (CC) last season. As a JuCo transfer, Cantino will be eligible to play immediately for Xavier."
Looking back: Or, you know, he won't.
Pertinent quote: "Who is wagging the dog here? More ominously, it seems like these allegations against Wells only arose because Xavier University went looking for them. A school with a formerly spotless record was hammered July 23rd when the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights set in place strict new guidelines for the university after alleging Title IX non compliance. In short, Xavier was accused of discrimination against women. While that came from one case, the school removed several high-ranking faculty for their parts in hiding multiple sexual assault and rape cases. Barely a week later, Xavier went after a young man with no record, expelled him, and then failed to provide evidence "It wasn't even close. We would never take anything like this to court. It just wouldn't happen," said Joe Deters."
Looking back: What an incredible mess this was. Not long after Wells was expelled, Hamilton Co Prosecutor Joe Deters took several opportunities to go after the Xavier administration.
Pertinent quote: "All of the incoming freshman can play ball, but it's always hard to project the transition to the college game, even for the most talented of newcomers. Dez Wells is now Xavier's top returning scorer (9.8 PPG); hopefully he's ready to take on a starring role this fall."
Looking back: The departure of Lyons is probably the biggest reason Xavier lost some of those disasters in December.
Pertinent quote: "Stainbrook is a space eater. According to ESPN, Stainbrook weighs 15 more pounds than Kenny Frease, despite being three inches shorter. That size translates into the ability to do some serious damage on the glass (and at a buffet). Over a third of Stainbrook's rebounds were of the offensive variety this year, and his 11.6% offensive rebound rate placed him 171st in the nation."
Looking back: Stainbrook has since dropped 30 pounds and added a smashing bowtie. It's difficult to become a fan favorite before you even play, but Matt has managed it.
Pertinent quote: "He's also got a bloodless belief in his own ability, as exhibited by the countless clutch shots and free throws he knocked down for Xavier. Holloway's ceiling may not be as high as Sidney's or Drummond's, but it's sure the he'll do everything in his power to reach it."
Looking back: Tu is currently a teammate of Lionel Chalmers on Aliaga Petkim in Turkey. Where Chalmers is is impressing (15.2 points per game), Holloway is managing only 5.5/1.5/1.6 on a pretty poor shooting line.
Pertinent quote: "If the Irish are able to score and keep X from breaking out on offense, it's going to take a lot of late-game magic for the Musketeers to survive and advance. Either way, this is a very evenly-matched game promises to deliver a gut-churning two hours for fans on both sides."
Looking back: Xavier fell behind with 4:21 to play in the first half and didn't reclaim the lead until there was only 3:21 to play. With 24 seconds to go, Tu Holloway won the game over the despairing fingertips of Jack Cooley.
Pertinent quote: "Mark Lyons has both his proponents and his detractors. Some people say that the junior swingman shoots, runs, and talks too much. His defenders say he brings defensive tenacity, fearlessness, and swagger to the table. What everyone can agree is that Lyons has been a large part of the Xavier offense for the last two years. With his tenure at Xavier now suddenly a thing of the past, there is a large hole for Coach Chris Mack to fill at both ends of the floor."
Looking back: Replacing Lyons was going to a big ask no matter how things went. With Xavier having been in plenty of close games just begging for a killer, Lyons would've been a huge asset.
Pertinent quote: "It was apparently "try on your uniform" day at Xavier, because both Semaj Christon and James Farr took advantage of the opportunity to give their Twitter followers an early look at the future of Xavier's team."
Looking back: There's nothing like Twitter and Instagram for keeping up with this generation of college ball players.
Pertinent quote: "To keep moving forward, the conference has to add teams that will continually challenge for at-large consideration while pushing the other teams in the league to improve or get left behind. VCU does that. George Mason does not."
Looking back: VCU has been a huge add for the Atlantic 10. The Rams are probably already a lock for an at large bid already.
Pertinent quote: "General consensus is that Davis is going to hand over the reins to Christon at some point in time, but Dee has the skills to make a spirited defense of his position. If he's holding his own physically against older players, knocking down open shots, and running the court with aplomb, he'll be Xavier's guy."
Looking back: Davis has been a bit up and down this year, but his 9.5 points and 3.7 assists and poise running the point have been vital for this team.
Pertinent quote: "The way I see it, six things happened this season that were mostly outside of the control of the basketball program. They are: The three seniors graduated. Griffin McKenzie transferred. Oriakhi chose not to join Xavier. Wells was expelled. Davis was ruled a non-qualifier. Reynolds was ruled a non-qualifier.
Along with those things, the basketball program made the following moves: Allowed (or encouraged) the transfer of Mark Lyons. Used a 2012-2013 scholarship on Matt Stainbrook. Used a 2012-2013 scholarship on Chris Cantino (pending his addition to the roster)."
Looking back: Partial blame falls on the decision makers, partial blame falls on the winds of fortune. After this article, Erik Stenger was awarded a scholarship to bring the total to nine.