|Don't bring that weak stuff in here|
This is the third in our Farewell to the Seniors series. Both Andrew Taylor and the Three Headed Monster have already been covered, and we're moving on to the under-appreciated man, Jamel McLean.
Extremely successful transfers are fast becoming a trademark of the Xavier program. Drew Lavender, CJ Anderson, and Jordan Crawford have all arrived and contributed immensely within the last several years. Being a transfer isn't easy, basketball teams are usually very close knit and the challenge of leaving one psuedo-family is coupled with the challenge of being accepted into a new one. While the pressure eats some players alive (Lloyd Price) some rise to occasion and produce under pressure. This, then, is the story of Jamel McLean.
Career Averages (XU) 7.7/6.7/.8 blocks
Jamel McLean arrived for the 2008-2009 season as a transfer from the heralded basketball program at Tulsa. While at Tulsa McLean averaged 17 minutes and a pedestrian six and five against considerably lower levels of competition than he would face at Xavier. While this left some Musketeer fans confused about his use to the team, McLean quickly proved to be no slouch.
McLean's first season was spent coming off the bench behind CJ Anderson and Derrick Brown. It took very little time for McLean to demonstrate his worth, logging a double-double in his first game, a win over IPFW. McLean didn't reach those heights again but did demonstrate a knack for what would become his calling card, the offensive rebound. Despite never playing more than 23 minutes, Jamel grabbed at least one offensive board in 25 of the 31 games in which he appeared.
|Even ferocious Gophers can't stop McLean|
The next season McLean got a chance to crack the starting lineup. Working in conjunction with Kenny Frease and Jason Love, McLean was part of the spine of a team that made the Sweet Sixteen. McLean also managed an offensive rebound in all but one of Xavier's games that year, including a dominating seven against LSU in a win that established Xavier as a contender that winter.
McLean did much more than just hit the offensive glass though. Often called upon to make up for the defensive shortcomings of Frease, McLean also emerged as a force changing shots in the paint. Jamel's four blocks against Wake Forest were a season high but his hands were just as active against the dribble drive as he registered three steals in three separate games. McLean finished last season with four double-doubles and seemed destined to be a dominating presence in the 2010-11 campaign.
Then came the early November matchup against NKU. McLean was a perfect 4-4 from the floor when he took an elbow to the face that fractured one of his orbital bones. The capper to a catastrophic week, McLean's injury meant that Coach Chirs Mack and the Musketeers had lost three players in the span of five days. McLean, though, wasn't inclined to let that happen.
|Rec Specs look best when you're shredded|
Originally projected to miss four to six weeks and leave Xavier with just the untested Jeff Robinson and Jordan Latham combo to partner with Frease, McLean instead missed only one game. Showing all the timidity of The World's Most Interesting Man at a mixer, Jamel grabbed five offensive boards and double-doubled in his first game back against frequent victim IPFW. Wearing glasses to protect his eyes on all but free throws, McLean seemed even more aggressive in his pursuit of rebounds despite his injury.
This year Jamel posted another nine double-doubles and a career high 22 points. When the rest of the team struggled to find its groove at the start of the year, the tireless McLean collected second chance points, altered shots, grabbed rebounds, and generally got the very most out of his ability. His 10.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg were both career highs, as was his 54% from the field. Averaging 1.5 points per shot, McLean was a very effective scorer. McLean also posted a +13 PPR, with 6.2 good possessions a game.
Transfers have a hard row to hoe, Jamel McLean made the best of his though. A brilliantly gifted athlete, McLean changed game after game with his effort on the glass and in the paint. Farewell Jamel, you will be missed.
Three-Headed Monster (Joel) 3/22
Andrew Taylor (Brad) 3/24
Jamel McLean (Brad) 3/26
Dante Jackson (Joel) 3/28
Season Wrap-up (Brad) 3/31
Next Year (Joel) 4/1