Earlier today we followed up on reports that Eddie Ekiyor had committed to play for Xavier. Ekiyor is a somewhat raw big who can play the game above the rim and run the floor. Currently, he calls to mind Travis Taylor. That's not the whole story with Ekiyor, though. Off the court, he's facing problems that may serve to slow his arrival at Xavier.
On August 10th of this year, Ekiyor was driving in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada when he struck a cyclist. The cyclist was an off duty police officer who, according to some reports, suffered a broken back. The officer was in serious but not life threatening condition in the hospital the last time stories were updated. Ekiyor would only have known that by reading the papers though, because he fled the scene of the accident.
Another police officer near the scene of the accident saw Ekiyor's vehicle leaving the scene and called it in. The forward was arrested at his home for "failing to remain at the scene and criminal negligence causing bodily harm." At this point there is no publicly available report as to the adjudication of the case. Ekiyor had a court date set August 25th for his first appearance on the case.
Obviously, this isn't good news. Leaving the scene of an accident or crime isn't a light charge. Thankfully, the officer seems likely to recover. It's tempting to pile on to Ekiyor for simply leaving the area, which everyone knows better than to do, but hopefully it was a moment of panic as opposed to evidence of a deep seated character flaw. Until a couple more years have passed, it will be hard to know. What matters at this point is that Coach Mack apparently trusts the young man enough to bring him on campus.
And therein lies the crux of the issue. Has Chris Mack done enough to merit some benefit of the doubt on this one? I'd be inclined to believe he has. He handled the Dez Wells charade well, he recognized that Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons didn't need punished for some press conference comments while also cracking down on players that threw punches. In all the discipline of the team has not been an issue with this coaching staff. This represents a whole new level of issue though: a player who has actually been charged with a crime. Time will tell whether this is a young man who is dealing with a moment of indiscretion or Tom Crean level recruiting blunder.