This morning, while most of us were wither soundly asleep or slogging through the coffee fueled doldrums of our morning routine, the Xavier Musketeers basketball team was participating in the annual tradition of the Xavier Mile, a test of the team's physical fitness as a whole, and mental discipline and diligence as individuals. While former fan favorite Brad Redford's record of 4:53 was not touched, several Musketeers impressed with their performances at the track today, one of which being the player with the best time, walk-on junior Kevin Coker. While Coker has only played 10 minutes in his first two seasons as a Muskie, it speaks volumes about his commitment to improving as an individual and helping the team that he turned cracked the top 8 for the first time this year and outpaced the pack with a time of 5:29.
Next up was Brandon Randolph, a player who showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman last season. He was only 5 seconds off Coker's pace at 5:34, 5 seconds better than his own mark last season, and we will hope that this is a harbinger of a season where it all comes together for young Brandon.
A trio of freshmen from Xavier's bumper crop this year were next, rounding out the top 5. Larry Austin Jr. (5:34), Makinde London (5:36), and Trevon Bluiett (5:37) all showed they can hang with the upperclassmen in the mile test, and will be looking to prove their basketball chops as well in the upcoming season.
Overall, the signs of an offseason spent preparing to not only survive, but contend in the Big East are manifesting themselves in the preseason buildup thus far for X. A successful trip to Brazil has been followed by the team passing their physical benchmark before games begin. With scarcely two months before Northwood University comes to town for the season opener, it is time to get excited about this edition of the Musketeers.