Basketball Gets Booked
Former Cincinnati Enquirer sports editor and Xavier beat reporter Michael Perry is writing a book on the rise of Xavier basketball, tracing the team’s ascension into one of the nation’s top programs back roughly 60 years. In Xavier Tales: Great Stories From Musketeer Basketball, he interviews more than 70 players, coaches and staff members from the most notable Musketeers to the unsung heroes.
Among the stories in the book:
• All-time leading scorer Byron Larkin didn’t think he was good enough to play for the Musketeers after pick-up games the summer before his freshman season and even told assistant coach Harry Krohn he changed his mind and was going to play football instead. “I’m sorry,” he told Krohn, “I made a mistake.”
• Lenny Brown, the school’s No. 5 all-time scorer, left Xavier two games into his freshman year, actually getting on a Greyhound bus and heading for home. Assistant coach Jeff Battle caught up with him in Columbus. “That’s a big moment in my life,” Brown says. “I can’t imagine if JB didn’t come and get me.”
• Many Xavier players packed only one change of clothes when the team left for the 1958 NIT. They ended up in New York for more than a week, winning the championship. “Based on the way we were playing, I felt that we weren’t going to be around too long,” says Hank Stein, who turned out to be the tournament’s MVP.
The book is scheduled to be released Sept. 30. Online pre-sale orders that use the discount code XAV generate funds for the Sister Rose Ann Fleming Endowment for Student-Athlete Academic Advising. The $25 book can be ordered at www.xaviertales.com.