If you are an Ohio baseball fan, chances are this week didn't go the way you wanted it to. While Joel and I (and the Stainbrook brothers) both support our hometown Cleveland Indians, our basketball allegiance has brought us into the sphere of a great deal of Reds fans. Over the last two nights, neither fan base has been terribly happy with the way their team went out. While the Reds will probably always remember Cueto dropping the ball under the merciless Pittsburgh crowd, Indians fans witnessed a nearly historic amount of baserunners failing to score.
So baseball is over, and it is over rather cruelly. An entire summer swept has been aside in two nights of offensive ineptitude. That chill in the air this morning should remind you, though, that better things are on the way. After a season of ups and downs last year, Xavier basketball is reloaded and now packed with talent. Myles Davis steps into the shoes of gunner Brad Redford, but brings with him some other offensive abilities. Matt Stainbrook has dropped a good deal of weight and looks ready to improve on a career that has already seen him score at will on Duke and dominate games when fit. Waiting in the wings are a host of new players with Jalen Reynolds, Brandon Randolph, and Kamall Richards all looking good money to be productive.
That's hardly it either. Isaiah Philmore came into his own as the season progressed last year and is certainly looking to erase the memory of the last shot of the 2012-13 campaign. Justin Martin started well before a concussion seemed to sap some of his drive, but his talent was, finally, displayed on multiple occasions. James Farr and Erik Stenger both played bit roles last year and will again deepen a bench that Coach Mack may finally be able to trust.
And then, of course, there's Semaj Christon. Xavier hasn't seen a freshman like him since David West walked the campus. Christon has spent a summer shooting and it is very tempting to imagine what some range might do for a guard who scored 15 a game while only shooting 25% from deep. With the floor spread and other offensive threats available, it's possible Christon absolutely blows up this year. Already a player who seems to thrive on the large moments, Christon now gets the Big East and Madison Square Garden to try create more Semajic.
So, yes, Ohio baseball has come to its usual disappointing end. Not with a bang, but a whimper went both our beloved Indians and your beloved Reds. Take a moment out of your mourning though, to look toward basketball season. Because this year isn't last year, and Xavier is back in the hunt.