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He's Back!

How many A10 titles?
When Jordan Crawford left for the NBA last year there was no chance at the last-minute pardon, no hope that he would change his mind, it was clear he was gone. Over the last three weeks, Xavier fans have experienced something else entirely. With Tu Holloway, the decision was not so obviously cut and dried. Opinion and guesswork drifted around the internet until, around 9pm tonight, Coach Mack tweeted that Tu would be making his announcement at midnight via his Twitter account. Then, at 12:01 ET, came this "@ it must feel good to have 3 A10 titles and 2 1st round picks in your 1st 3 years.."

For what that meant, read on. 

The first implication of that somewhat cryptic tweet is as clear as any of it. Tu Holloway is returning to Xavier for his senior season. After averaging 20/5/5 as a junior, Tu still decided his game needed some refining on the college level. This is undoubtedly good for the team and will have an impact in any number of ways.

Free shooters: Both Justin Martin and Brad Redford can flat shoot the ball. Mark Lyons sometimes can, and sometimes really can't. No matter who it is spotting up outside though, they can count on the slashing ability of Holloway to open space for them on the wings. Even better, they can count on their point guard to make the right decision to get them the ball. Even in Holloway's 33 point demolition of Richmond and his 26 point game against Fordham he found the time for seven and 11 assists, respectively.

Time for Davis/Lyons to develop: Had Holloway left for the NBA, either Mark Lyons or Dee Davis would have taken the lion's share of the minutes at the one. Holloway himself is a great example of what happens to even the most talented of freshmen when they get stuck at the point, it's hard to imagine Davis would fare much better. Lyons took care of the ball better in the second half of the year, but isn't a true one guard. Both players will now settle into roles better suited for them (Davis as a backup and Lyons as a two guard) and should excel there.

Continuity: Remember Dante Jackson as a point guard? Remember Lionel Chalmers? Part of the key behind Chalmers' success was three straight years averaging over 30 minutes as the point guard of the team. Continuity at the key offensive position lets every player on the floor react instinctively rather than spend time trying to read the movements of a player in an unfamiliar position. Now that awkward phase won't take place on the court this year. As an added benefit, Dee Davis will begin the same process that Holloway did three years ago.

A chance at greatness: This Xavier team played a phenomenal stretch of basketball last year. Going 15-1 in the A10 and beating the eventual national runner-up is nothing to sneeze at. While the losses of Jamel McLean and Dante Jackson will hurt, the return of Tu Holloway gives Xavier an absolutely loaded squad for the 2011-2012 season. Justin Martin can score the ball in a variety of ways, Travis Taylor brings toughness inside, Brad Redford will return to stretch defenses, and Dez Wells is rumored to be the truth. Add that to Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease and Jeff Robinson and this team could do some serious, serious damage come next March.