Travis Steele was officially introduced as Xavier’s new head coach today. After coaching at Xavier for 10 seasons (1 under Sean Miller, 9 under Chris Mack), he will finally get his opportunity to lead the program into uncharted territory.
The 36 year old is the 18th head coach in program history, and Steele revealed plenty about his plan moving forward for the program. So what should Xavier fans expect now that Steele is in charge?
Very little change in the offense or defense
As Steele noted in his press conference, he was largely responsible for the offense Xavier ran over the last few years. So, offensively, not much will change due to this.
However, he did note that the defense would be more aggressive. Steele said he wanted the defense to feed more into the offense, which means forcing more turnovers.
As a result, defense may become a bigger priority next season. As Steele said, “I think this can be the best defensive team in Xavier history.”
Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting
Steele called recruiting the lifeblood of the program, and talked about a five hour radius around campus of which he would like to take hold.
He did say there are players outside that radius, players like Elias Harden, Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall, that Xavier will target, but the radius would be a major piece.
Steele has a history as a great recruiter, being the primary recruiter for players such as Trevon Bluiett and Paul Scruggs. He has deep Indiana recruiting ties that date back to his days as a high school and AAU coach. Coaching at Indiana strengthened this base, as with his role in the program.
He even said he would be out recruiting tomorrow, and that it would be a major piece in elevating the program into completing the “final 2%” Xavier had yet to achieve.
Time to get over the hump
According to AD Greg Christopher, Steele spoke a lot about reaching the “final 2%” in his interview, and it resonated with him.
Steele elaborated on this, saying Xavier had a great history, but it still had things it needed to accomplish, such as a Final Four and a National Championship.
With this in mind, Steele appears to be ready to take on whatever challenges come his way in order to get Xavier there
There’s still things to be worked out
Steele admitted he wasn’t perfect, as no coach, but mentioned a couple specific things he needed to improve on now that he is the head coach.
Time management was one of those things. He mentioned how detailed Mack was, having every second of practice planned. Steele even joked Mack probably already had July 2nd planned out.
He also mentioned Miller gave him some advice regarding this, saying he needed to prioritize everything to help make time management easier.
The other item Steele mentioned improving upon was his social media presence. Mack was well-known for his Twitter presence, and Steele said he wanted to use it in multiple ways.
One way was for people to get to know his family, as well as himself, the way Mack did. The other was to help in recruiting, as he believes it’s a great tool to help reach recruits and sell the Xavier brand.
With Steele in charge, Xavier looks likely to build on its success, and Xavier fans should be excited for the days ahead.