DEREK L. STRONG ('90)--1998 Inductee-- three-year basketball letterman. Member of 1,000-Point Club.
"D" Strong made a significant impact on the Xavier program from day one. His emergence as a quality center allowed teammate Tyrone Hill the opportunity to move to his more natural position of power forward. Strong quietly and unselfishly helped the Musketeers enjoy tremendous success. He scored, rebounded, defended, passed and set picks for Hill and others. His part of the high-low offense helped Hill enjoy a great deal of added success under the basket.
Strong, who was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft, has battled back from a series of knee injuries played with the Orlando Magic and L.A. Clippers.
Strong, a three-year starter, helped Xavier average 25 wins per season during his career as a Musketeer. Strong combined with Hill for a "twin tower" combination in those three seasons. Xavier compiled a 75-21 (.781) record during Strong's three seasons, including three NCAA Tournament berths, two MCC Tournament Championships, two MCC Regular Season Championships and XU's first-ever berth in the NCAA "Sweet 16." XU recorded its best two seasons record-wise when Strong was a senior (28-5 in 1989-90) and a sophomore (26-4 in 1987-88).
As a sophomore, Strong helped the team to 26 wins (then a school record) and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, the Musketeers had the misfortune of drawing eventual national champion Kansas in the first round. Strong finished his junior year with another NCAA Tournament berth, although the Musketeers again drew the eventual national champion (Michigan) in the first round. XU did have control of that game late in the second half before a series of Glen Rice three-pointers bailed out the Wolverines.
Strong saved his best for last as he helped the Musketeers to a school record 28 victories in his senior season, arguably the most successful season in Xavier history. He scored in double figures 25 times that season, including a 24-point, 24-rebound effort against Loyola Marymount, and was a clutch free throw shooter, ranking first on the team and fifth in the MCC at .839 (177-211). In the 1990 MCC Championship, Strong collected 46 points and 31 rebounds in three games, including 40 points and 22 rebounds in the semifinals and finals, on his was to an All-Tournament Team selection.
Xavier made the NCAA Tournament for the third time in Strong's three seasons at Xavier, defeating Kanas State and Georgetown en route to the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16." Xavier was in control against Texas at halftime in the Midwest Region Semifinal in Dallas but went cold in the second half. The Longhorns denied the Musketeers a spot in the Elite Eight. Strong did keep the momentum going, averaging 21.0 points and 12.3 rebounds in the three games. He tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Kansas State, 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Georgetown, and 27 points and 14 rebounds against Texas.
He received 1990 Honorable Mention All-Mideast (Basketball Times) honors and showed that he could play against some of Division I's best big men versus Georgetown in 1990 and versus Michigan in 1989 (18 points and 10 rebounds).
Strong ranks ninth in Xavier history in career rebounding (805) and 24th in career scoring (1,291).
STRONG'S XAVIER CAREER BASKETBALL STATS
STRONG'S SINGLE GAME CAREER HIGHS:
Points - 30 vs. Detroit (2-20-89); Rebounds - 24 vs. Loyola Marymount (1-2-90); Assists - 4 vs. Huntington (11-28-87) and vs. Texas in NCAA Tourney (3-22-90); Blocked Shots - 3 at Loyola (2-13-88), vs. Detroit (2-20-89) and vs. Loyola Marymount (1-2-90) and vs. Butler at the MCC Tourney (3-8-90); Steals - 4 at Missouri in Dodge NIT (11-20-88).