A Magic Season
The Xavier men’s basketball team’s remarkable rise to the top this season began, of all places, at the bottom. The amazing run that culminated in the most successful season in Xavier history started not on the mountain of past successes or even the level ground of a new season, but in a place much lower—the dark hole of mediocrity.
Eighteen games into the season, the team was shoulder-deep in a self-dug pit of nothingness. They had just been blown out by 21 points by George Washington University, a team they hadn’t lost to in three seasons. It was the team’s fourth loss in five games and what members of the team would later deem an embarrassment to the University. With the toughest stretch of the schedule ahead of them, the team—and the season—was in jeopardy of imploding.
And it sent senior guard Lionel Chalmers over the edge.
As the team stumbled into the locker room, Chalmers exploded. He kicked chairs. He punched lockers. He screamed and shouted.
“I just kind of went off,” he says. “I lost it a little bit.”
Facing the end of his college basketball career, he wasn’t going to allow himself to go out like this or break the tradition of winning the University was known for. He was the point guard. This was his team. He challenged everyone to step it up.