The three point shooter is something unique to college basketball. In high school, the shooters who are good enough to make to the next level are very often skilled enough elsewhere to not spend all their time behind the arc. In the pros, anyone who good enough to shoot accurately and often from deep must also be athletic enough to create their own shot. Only in college does everything come together so a specialist can exist. Never before has Xavier had one of those specialists quite like Brad Redford.
Xavier's Director of Basketball Administration, Mario Mercurio, said that the Cintas Center never reacted to any stimulus quite like it did a Brad Redford three pointer. When Redford caught the ball anywhere on the offensive side of the half court line there would be a collective intake of breath that sounded like 10,000+ people all stopped in place for that second. It was often less than a second, really, because Redford's release was implausibly fast. When he made up his mind to shoot the ball often seemed to ricochet off his hands, more of a hockey wrister than a basketball shot. As Brad would start to rise, so would the noise, a crescendo of sound that would peak as the ball neared the rim. A miss, and an agonized exhaled groan would go through the building. But when Brad Redford connected, as he did 43% of the time, the sound was like nothing else Xavier has ever experienced.
Brad Redford didn't take long to announce his presence at Xavier. Brad scored in double figures six times his freshman year, including 15 in wins over Robert Morris and Fordham Instantly a weapon, Redford still had to contend with Tu Holloway, BJ Raymond, and Dante Jackson for playing time all year. While that battle for time kept Redford from accumulating much in the way of playing time (12.8 minutes per game) it didn't keep him from setting the Xavier record for three point shooting at an astonishing 46.5%.
Redford entered his second season again in battle for playing time. Jordan Crawford and Mark Lyons joined the squad, which left precious little of the ball to go around. Redford also battled a hip injury for much of the year but still provided offense when given a chance. 16 in a regular season tilt against Kansas St became Redford's new career high, but he only cracked double digits twice the rest of the year. That bit of a slump brought out another bit of information on Redford, he was perhaps as streaky as anyone Xavier has ever had. Redford followed a 10-16 tear by making on of his next six. A 6-8 stretch was followed by a 5-20, which was in turn followed by 9-14. As Redford went up and down, the crowd tended to get more and more keyed up for his next run. By virtue of his inconsistency, Redford burnished his legacy.
Then, disaster struck. In Midnight Madness before what was to be his junior year, Redford tore his ACL. When he returned for the 2011-2012 season, he was stepping back into a team that was clearly under the ownership of Holloway and Lyons. The junior guard managed only one game in double figures and averaged the fewest minutes (11.1 per game) of his career. The guard's three point percentage also plummeted to 34.1%. While the team battled back against Baylor in the Sweet 16, Redford played only one minute.
For Redford, though, his senior season held redemption. With Myles Davis ineligible, Mark Lyons transferred, and Dez Wells expelled, there was plenty of playing time to be had. Redford, noticeably more fit than he had been, capitalized. His 19 against FDU were a career high only until he poured in 21 on 7-8 from deep against George Washington on Sandy Hook day. Even bigger than that were his 14 against Kent State, especially in a six minute run in which he scored nine points and assisted on four more. Redford played well, if streakily, for the rest of the season and capped the year by scoring in double figures in five of Xavier's last six games.
Career Line: 5.2/.8/.5 on .424/.426/.857
Brad Redford was a lot more than just a career line at Xavier though. (Just for clarification, if you remove the year he played injured he shot 44.5% from deep). Redford was committed to his craft. Stories of him shooting at all hours of the morning and night were commonplace, as were pictures on Twitter of a lone person left on the floor when everyone else was done for the day. Redford worked just as hard in the games, constantly running his man off screens, out of bounds, around bigs, and anywhere else he could get. Not athletic compared to the guys he played with, Redford compensated by simply knowing how to play the game, often using just an inch of space to create the room he needed for his shot. It probably won't be hard to find someone who can score five points a game for the Musketeers again. What will never be found is another player that causes 10,000 people to inhale at once. Try to hear that excitement in your mind as long as you can, because Brad Redford's don't come along every day.