The Point of the Musketeer’s Sword

by Andrew Force | January 1st, 2009

In the words of DMX, “X is gonna to give it ya!”

The Musketeers are sliced through November competition like D’Artagnan’s rapier through a tunic. The two stumbling blocks were apparent characters from the Wars of the Roses, a Duke and a Butler.

The follow up to the 2008 Elite 8 appearance might break the glass ceiling Xavier fans and players suffer from. Perpetually a darkhorse, truthfully Xavier deserves mention as one of the best private school programs in college basketball.

When Drew Lavender graduated, X could have taken a step back nationally. For an Atlantic 10 team with a small enrollment to make the Elite 8 appearance twice in the last five years boggles the mind. For that type of success to become a tradition is downright frightful to power conference teams angling for their own Elite 8 spot.

The point guard options appeared marginal. Dante Jackson, the frontrunner for the starting PG position months ago, is unreliable with the ball. His turnovers thus far are too high because Jackson waffles under pressure.

Not completely flawed DJ does play exceptional defense. Through anticipation and intensity he caused the Jackson 5, a five second inbounds violation. He bounced, waved his arms and plain denied the pass…a quiet moment that spoke loudly about his drive.

Xavier has some nice options on the wing. At times DJ overlooks or never sees the prudent pass. Almost as an afterthought Jackson will put up an ill-advised shot.

Terrell Holloway was committed to Indiana, likely one of the players Kelvin Sampson made illegal phone calls to. When Sampson resigned under extreme pressure to do so, Holloway asked to be released from his scholarship. He was and subsequently signed with Xavier.

“He gives us that additional ball handler,” obvserved Coach Sean Miller. “As we move down our schedule, to me one of our best lineups will be when he is in there.”

The former point guard himself; Miller likes Holloway for a good reason. Holloway slashes well, can finish in the lane, and has crystal ball vision. The rare but invaluable trait of predicting people’s movements lies deep within Holloway’s game.

Within minutes of stepping onto the floor Holloway completed his youtube highlight reel.

First he lofted a serene, seemingly effortless eight-foot floater. Next, knocking the ball out of the opponents’ hand near midcourt, Holloway teetered over the sidelines like a wobbly gymnast on the balance beam.

In an instant he regained his balance, continued his dribble and zipped a 55-foot pass to a cutting teammate.

“On that particular play he did about three to four things that just made everybody look good. That is what good PGs do,” said Miller.

Holloway can be great eventually. Ordinarily he would be given time to grow, to mature. For Xavier the time is now. B.J. Raymond, C.J. Anderson, and perhaps Derrick Brown are outgoing players. Those are the three leading Musketeer scorers.

The junior Brown sees how integral Holloway is to the wings taking flight. “Having T back is also a big plus for us because we know what he can do on the court,” said Brown.

Musketeer fans want Holloway’s promise and potential to reach proven briskly. If it does this year, then Xavier can go from Elite 8 darkhorse to favorite.

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