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Postseason Awards

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Not this one, but you get the idea
It's the time of the year where the fans of all but four teams have been relegated to postseason awards and cheering vehemently against Kentucky. We've already written a recap of both how the season started and the masterful run that ended all too soon. Now comes the time to hand out some (imaginary) hardware. We'll go from the mundane to the whimsical in our attempt to to put one final cap on the 2010-2011 Xavier basketball season. 
MVP: Tu Holloway

Team MVP, Tu Holloway
This one should have been pretty easy to see coming. All Tu did this year was average 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists (20-5-5), record two triple-doubles, win countless third team All-American awards, and earn accolades for his defense and passing. Tu had the team's season high with 33 against Richmond and dished out 15 assists against La Salle. Holloway also moved to 26th on Xavier's all time scoring list with 1,238. Holloway was also a finalist for the Cousy Award. Oh, he wasn't? Their bad. It was an incredible year for the junior point guard and can only augur well for next season.

MIP: Kenny Frease

Mark Lyons also made a run in this category, but it was the big man from Massillon who improved the most for the Musketeers. Frease averaged 5-4-1 last year and in general looked nothing like an impact player. This year Big Kenny showed up carrying a bit less weight and something of a chip on his shoulder. Against Wake Forest he scored 22 to go with 14 rebounds and finally looked like a player who could change a game. Kenny finished the year with six double-doubles and a season high of 18 rebounds. The big man finally looked like a worthwhile player.

Most Resilient Player: Jamel McLean

Glasses and all, McLean was a monster
When McLean broke his face (there's really no other way to put it) in November things really did not look good for the Musketeers. Knowing that his team needed him, McLean returned so quickly that he only missed one game. To be back in two weeks when you were originally supposed to be out for six is one thing, to do it with a double-double and indefatigable effort on the glass is truly commendable. 

Best Game of the Year: La Salle Feb. 22nd

La Salle came into town just after the debacle against Fordham that required 26 points from Holloway to win it. Coach Mack tore into his team for two days of practice and it showed against La Salle. A 38-6 to start the game put things out of doubt early and the men in white never let up. Jeff Robinson scored 22, Mark Lyons had 15, Jay Canty had 10 and the regulars dominated. It was a good night.

Best Tweet/Dunk of the Year: Jeff Robinson (@Berry_Bonkers) Feb 23rd:

"BODY IN THE TRUNK AND LOCKED IT!!!" That was Robinson's take on what was surely the hardest finish of the year. I'm not sure exactly what that turn of phrase means, but I'm going to use contextual clues to determine it's a good thing. What an absolute hammer of a dunk.

Most Inconsistent Player: Jeff Robinson

22-1-0 in 27 minutes against La Salle, 1-5-1 in 19 minutes against Wofford. Think I'm just picking extremes to make a point? Robinson had 15-2-0 in 25 minutes against Iowa and 2-5-0 in 23 minutes against Seton Hall the next night. Robinson is unquestionably blessed with the kind of athleticism that few people have, he's even a relatively capable shooter. There is, however, something that keeps him from putting it all together and it can be infuriating to watch.

Best Moment of the Year: Dante Jackson comes off on Sr. Night

We all have players that catch our imagination or just seem to have that special something. For Joel, that was Dante Jackson. Apparently Dante was something of a favorite of everyone, because his exit on Sr. Night was a special moment in the Cintas Center. With the crowd standing, Dante took his own sweet time coming off and waved or pointed to every corner of the building. It was a fitting send off.

Most Entertaining Player: Brad Redford

If you've never been to Redford's Rundown you probably aren't sure how an injured player who never set foot on the court could be the most entertaining. If you have, you know how it's possible. My personal favorite is the trip that Joe Hughes and Redford went on to Sport Cuts.

Most In-Season Improvement: Mark Lyons

Mark Lyons spent the first part of the season trying shoot himself into a rhythm and failing pretty miserably. In 13 non-conference games, he was a miserable -30 in PPR. His 52 made buckets, 39 made free throws, and 38 assists came at the cost of 94 missed shots, 18 missed free throws, and 38 turnovers. Cheek was gobbling up possessions (19.5 per game) and not giving X much production for them (12.5 PPG, .356/.345/.684, 1:1 A/TO). After that, Lyons decided to start to get to the rim. The change was incredible, Lyons' scoring and percentages went up as X went 13-1 in the next 14 games. Lyons cut back on his possession use (18.7 per game) and increased his production (15.4 PPG, .487/.370/.762, 1.33:1 A/TO), and X took off.

Biggest Mystery: Why not Redshirt Griffin McKenzie?

Griffin is not generally a name associated with the heroic type, but XU recruit Griffin McKenzie was attempting to defend two young men he didn't even know when he was beaten unconscious. McKenzie suffered severe damage to his head and face but returned to Xavier intent on playing. In a fairy tale story he would have returned, made some clutch shots, and sparked the team with his energy. Instead, he sat. McKenzie played 42 minutes this year and averaged only 2.5 per game. A year of his eligibility was lost while he sat with the Three Headed Monster.

 Best Shot: Tu Holloway at Dayton

Home away from home
Dayton had trailed by as many as 12 in the second half but came storming back as the Musketeers grimly tried to hold on for the win. With 1:48 to go, the lead evaporated and it was every man for himself and all of UD arrayed against the boys in blue. With 42 seconds left and XU again desperately defending a one point lead over the NIT champs, Tu Holloway came through. Moving right off a ball screen he momentarily jabbed toward the basket before pulling up and launching cleanly into his shot. Of course, it fell. Tu smirked as he jogged back but he didn't say anything, the great ones never do.

So that caps our review of the season. If you missed any of our coverage of the departing seniors, or any of the parts of the season recap they are all listed below for your reading enjoyment.

Season Recap

Part One
Part Two
Three Headed Monster
Andrew Taylor
Jamel McLean
Dante Jackson