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Requiem for Brandon Randolph

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Smiles were hard to come by for Brandon at X.
Smiles were hard to come by for Brandon at X.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

By the end, Brandon Randolph was retweeting mean things people had tweeted about him. Most of it seemed borne more of frustration than malice, but it was all largely thoughtless of the impact it might have on the target. Most of the retweets made little impression on me, but I do recall one that said the tweeter would gladly trade Brandon Randolph for a free swipe at the caf. Thinking back on the "food" my college cafeteria dished out, that tweet struck me as too mean.

Randolph came to Xavier with a decent amount of fanfare. He was a four-star, ESPN100 guard from California, living proof that Xavier's recruiting footprint was nationwide. Tu graduated as planned and Cheeks and Dez followed more spontaneously, leaving backcourt minutes there to be grabbed by anyone capable of seizing the opportunity. Perhaps this 6'2" combo guard Coach Mack described as "explosive" with potential to be a lockdown defender was the man to step into that gap.

As excited as we were to see the start of Brandon's career, I'm sure he was just as enthused. He would have had to be to travel 2,500 miles from California to a place where he would see snow for the first time in his life, right? I'm sure at some point he was harboring a not-too-fanciful hope that he was three or four good seasons at a good basketball program from finding a paycheck to play somewhere.

It never quite happened for Brandon, and I'm not sure why. Both of his seasons with Xavier started with him getting good minutes before slowly being relegated to bench time. For my part, I didn't see where his numbers were behind Larry Austin's on the court this year. Somewhere in practice or coaches meetings or any number of other things hidden from the general public was the information that decided Brandon's fate.

Now he's left with two seasons of eligibility and little else to show potential suitors. At an age where many - probably most - people are trying to figure out who they're going to be and where they'll fit in the world, Brandon also has to decide if it was his assessment of his own skill that was off or if Xavier just wasn't a good fit for him. Then he has to calibrate his new search accordingly, then make a decision quickly enough to enroll and be accepted in time to join the program this season.

I'm sure this can't be easy for him. Brandon Randolph was going to be the next in the line of great Xavier guards, right up until he wasn't. Fans of the program have 11 other guys and 2 empty scholarships to use to recover from that misstep; Randolph only has one career, and the decision he makes now will go a long way toward defining what he ends up making of it.