Men's Basketball Team Held Its Annual Awards Banquet Tonight
April 15, 2013
CINCINNATI - Xavier University held its annual men's basketball awards banquet tonight at the James and Caroline Duff Banquet Center at Cintas Center, honoring a Musketeer squad that finished 17-14 in its final of 18 seasons as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Fourth-year head coach Chris Mack passed out numerous awards, including a trophy for freshman Semaj Christon for being named to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-America Team. Xavier also honored a number of players who earned All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors, including Christon for being named as Xavier’s first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Year in addition to being named to the A-10 Second Team and the A-10 All-Rookie Team. Senior Travis Taylor was recognized for earning a spot on the A-10 Third Team and being named as Xavier’s first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Most Improved Player award winner.
Christon led XU in scoring (eighth overall and first among A-10 freshmen at 15.2 ppg.) and scored in double figures in 19 straight games to end the season. Christon was the first Xavier freshman to average double figures in scoring and the first XU freshman to lead the team in scoring since Stanley Burrell scored a team-high 12.7 ppg. in the 2004-05 season. Christon led XU in assists (fifth overall and was second among A-10 freshmen at 4.6 apg.) and steals (10th overall in A-10 at 1.5 spg.). Christon is the first Xavier freshman to lead the team in assists since Dedrick Finn at 4.3 apg. in the 2002-03 season. Christon finished second on XU’s all-time freshman scoring list with 456 points. His 139 assists left him tied for the most assists ever by an XU freshman.
The first special award of the night was the Ernest A. Staak Memorial Award, which went to graduate student Brad Redford. The Staak Award goes annually to the player who best exemplifies the life of former XU head coach and athletic director Bob Staak's father, including Ernest Staak's unselfish dedication and love of the game of basketball. Redford ranked first in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 3-point shooting percentage at 44.6 percent (66-of-148). Redford also led the Atlantic 10 Conference in 3-point percentage as a freshman (school-record 46.5 percent in the 2008-09 season) and was second in the A-10 at 42.5 percent as a sophomore in the 2009-10 season.
Junior Erik Stenger earned the Connie Brown Award, which is given annually to the team's most inspirational player.
Senior Travis Taylor won the Gordon E. Nead Award, which is given annually to the team's most improved player. Taylor was also the A-10’s Most Improved Player award winner and the A-10’s rebound leader at 9.0 rpg. 2003 National Player of the Year and two-time NBA All-Star David West (now with the Indiana Pacers) is the only other XU player who ever won an Atlantic 10 rebounding title. Taylor, XU’s second-leading scorer at 11.9 ppg., finished his collegiate career with 1,345 career points, including 812 at Monmouth and 533 points at Xavier. Taylor received a painted ball commemorating his entry into the 1,000 Point Club for his collegiate career. Taylor and fellow seniors Brad Redford and Jeff Robinson made their senior speeches as well.
Junior Isaiah Philmore took home the Lew Hirt Society Coach’s Award, which is given annually to the player the coaching staff feels stood out in some significant way during the season.
The final special award given tonight was the George E. "Skip" Prosser Award, which was presented to freshman Semaj Christon. The award is presented annually to the player who exemplifies the qualities that Coach Prosser admired. Like Coach Prosser, Christon showed great toughness, an untiring work ethic, a burning competitive spirit, and he never backed down from a challenge.