Sometimes the internet can take you down some odd rabbit holes. In researching why this Xavier team has struggled so much in getting rolling from deep, I stumbled across another team that also struggled from behind the arc. This team also never got going from deep, relied heavily on one sharpshooting guard, and was loaded with the talent that would eventually go on a deep run. That team was Skip Prosser’s last, the 2000-01 Xavier Musketeers.
The 2000-01 Musketeers were playing a slightly different game from today’s Xavier squad. For starters, that team was shooting from a three point that had yet to move back twice and was still the same one that a high schooler would shoot from now. That team shot 30.3%, 1% better than this year’s squad, against an Atlantic 10 schedule as well. The teams in the A10 that year managed to be ranked nationally a grand total of seven times. None were ranked at the end of the year, only Xavier and conference champ St. Joe’s were ranked in multiple weeks.
The roots of Xavier’s first Elite Eight team were there in Skip’s boys. Lionel Chalmers and Romain Sato were the starting guards. In Chalmers and David West, the team had two players who would go on to play in the NBA. Sato was also drafted by the Spurs but never appeared. Kevin Frey, Mo Mcafee, Alvin Brown, and Lloyd Price filled out a roster laced with names familiar to Xavier fans. Price and Sato were both top 100 recruits and a fourth player would go on to be drafted in the NBA but not appear. (And huge Xavier fan credit if you know who that was).
Those names may have been familiar, but they didn’t shoot themselves into immortality that year. Sato led the team with a perfectly reasonable 37.4% mark from behind the arc as a freshman. Romain took exactly six threes per game and far and away led the team for volume. That fourth player who was drafted into the NBA from the 2001 squad? That would be David Young and he was second on the team in three point shooting at 32.3%. Lionel Chalmers was the only other player to make more than 30% of his three point attempts, and he only shot 30.2%.
After that, it was grim. Mcafee hoisted nearly five threes a game despite making just 26.5%, Kevin Frey took at least two pops a game and made 25.8%, and Lloyd Price, who never did really find his shooting stroke, made just 25%. After those six, no one made a three. Alvin Brown tried three that didn’t go, West missed one, and James Baronas missed his only attempt. But for the sharpshooting of Sato, the roster that Skip Prosser put together was actually far worse than this year’s team. Without Romain, the Musketeers shot 27.3% behind the arc that season. That is, in one word, awful.
What does this tell us about this year’s team? Not much of anything, really. It is a reminder that things are never quite as bad as they seem and have likely been this bad before. It’s also a reminder that David Young existed. More than any of that, it’s a fun look back into Xavier’s history. Now back to your coverage of the season in progress.