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Published: Wednesday, 12/28/2011

Freshman makes impact at Wooster

Bowling Green H.S. grad is starting for basketball team

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Xavier Brown, a Bowling Green High School graduate, has played as a combo guard, and more recently works mostly in a point guard role for the College of Wooster. Xavier Brown, a Bowling Green High School graduate, has played as a combo guard, and more recently works mostly in a point guard role for the College of Wooster.
WOOSTER ATHLETICS Enlarge

WOOSTER, Ohio -- For the first time in his athletic career, Xavier Brown is a full-time basketball player. The results of that commitment have been impressive, to say the least.

Brown, who used to divide his seasons between soccer, cross country, and basketball at Bowling Green High School, made his focus singular when he decided to play on the next level at the College of Wooster. Training, conditioning, weight work, and gym time all zeroed in on becoming the best basketball player he could be for his freshman season.

A third of the way through that campaign, the Fighting Scots are 7-2, and Brown has started every game. He leads Wooster in scoring at 15.6 points per game and plays a team-high 28 minutes per game.

"I've been around the ball all of the time, I've been in the gym and worked on my ball-handling and put up a lot of shots," Brown said recently after stepping off a flight from Puerto Rico where Wooster won both games in a holiday tournament.

"I felt like I had a really good off-season in terms of lifting weights and getting stronger, plus working hard at improving my overall game."

Brown, who scored 980 career points for the Bobcats and helped them win the Northern Lakes League championship in his senior season, did not go to Wooster expecting to start. The Scots returned eight lettermen from last year's team that won a seventh-straight league title and advanced to the NCAA Division III national championship game.

"I felt like I could come in and make some kind of contribution, but I didn't worry about anything beyond that," Brown said. "I knew this was a great program so I'd have to earn every minute I got, but that was fine with me."

Von Graffin, Brown's high school coach at Bowling Green, said the former first team All-NLL pick considered a number of colleges before settling on Wooster.

"He had a lot of Division II programs looking at him, but he really found a good place to play and a place where he really makes the team better," Graffin said. "They were excited to get him, and they thought he'd work hard for a place in the lineup, and he has. Xavier's not only starting, he's making a big impact."

Brown (5-11, 180) has played as a combo guard, and more recently works mostly in a point guard role for the Scots.

"Our roles are really still evolving, but I've been handling the ball a lot and trying to get everyone involved," Brown said.

"He's in attack mode all of the time," Graffin said. "Xavier is not only thinking about trying to score, but he's getting other guys the ball in position to score. It's amazing the success he's had, just starting out as a freshman."

Brown, who is considering majoring in business economics with a minor in music, said one of the primary reasons he chose Wooster was because the bar is set so high there, with those seven-straight league titles and the fact the Scots have the NCAA's highest winning percentage in the 2000s at 85.2 percent.

"I loved that winning tradition and the very high expectations at Wooster. That was one of the big draws for me," Brown said. "I knew they had national acclaim and made it all the way to the championship game last year. I figured why not come here and try to help the team go one step further this season."

Contact Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @MattMarkey



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