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Original Issue

Model Of Efficiency Xavier's David West isn't flashy, but he certainly gets the job done

David West is your father's basketball player. At 6'8", 232
pounds, Xavier's sophomore center hardly towers over the
competition, but he led the Atlantic 10 in rebounds last year,
and this season he was fourth in the nation (11.3 per game)
through Sunday. He doesn't have explosive speed, and he doesn't
jump out of the gym, but he leads the conference in shooting
(53.9%), averages a team-leading 17.8 points per game and is the
main reason the Musketeers were in second place in the
conference with a 10-3 record (19-5 overall). "I'm not the
flashiest guy, but I'm efficient," he says. "I'd rather be
efficient than anything else."

Efficiency is hard to calculate and harder to discern, which is
why most college recruiters failed to notice West until midway
through his postgraduate year at Hargrave Military Academy in
Chatham, Va. West moved into Hargrave's starting lineup that
season only because two players were kicked off the team, and
Xavier coach Skip Prosser didn't offer him a scholarship until a
Musketeer decided to transfer. Now West appears destined to join
Brian Grant, Tyrone Hill and James Posey on the list of Xavier
alumni who are succeeding in the NBA.

"You could make a case for David West as player of the year and
most improved player in our league," says St. Joseph's coach
Phil Martelli. "He's almost like a point center. A lot of big
guys will throw it only to the person who passed to them, but
David finds guys all over the floor."

West says he has always been a "pass-first guy," a by-product of
his days playing point guard before he underwent a six-inch
growth between his freshman and sophomore years at Teaneck
(N.J.) High. After West's family moved from Teaneck to Garner,
N.C., the summer before his junior year, he decided he was
through with organized basketball. The coach at Garner High
changed West's mind, but two seasons later West was still too
frail--at 6'8", 200 pounds--to be considered a big-time
prospect. He wisely decided to take a postgrad year to improve
his lot.

Asked what it was like to raise David, his mother, Harriett,
sighs and replies, "A challenge." When David was a child, he
would think nothing of climbing a neighborhood utility pole or
hanging from a tree limb by his feet. He remains a font of
frenetic energy. Scott Shepherd, Hargrave's coach during West's
time there, frequently had to order West to stop moving during
practices when Shepherd was speaking. West's teammate and
roommate at Xavier, 6-foot sophomore Lionel Chalmers, recalls
West "screaming and sweating" while coaching a meaningless game
at Prosser's youth camp last summer. "He has to be on the go all
the time," Chalmers says.

After Xavier lost by seven points at Duquesne last season,
Prosser walked into the locker room and found his freshman
delivering a wall-punching, locker-slamming tirade at his older
teammates. "I was stunned because I didn't know he had that in
him," Prosser says. Ever since then the Musketeers have known
what to do at the first sign of trouble: Go West.