- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let it never be said that Xavier is a mid-major.
Sure, the Musketeers aren't part of a high-major, traditional big-six conference, and many in the Atlantic-10 still spend far below the Red Line's mid/high-major cutoff point. But Xavier plays in a $45 million arena, has a Nike apparel contract, has been to three consecutive Sweet 16s and is recruiting the sort of players most often destined for elite programs.
The recruiting bit has been going on for a while -- Xavier has landed impressive players before this weekend, of course -- but perhaps the program's biggest recruiting haul in recent years came in the past three days. On Saturday, Xavier landed a top-30 junior prospect in D'Vauntes Smith Rivera, the No. 29-ranked player in the 2012 class*. Rivera also considered Georgetown, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Miami and Indiana, a handful of conventional "elites" if ever there one.
Then, less than 24 hours later, Xavier got a commitment from the No. 4-ranked center and No. 27-overall prospect Michael Chandler.
Two days, two big-time 2011 recruits, and one big-time class rankings bump. As of today, Xavier's 2011 class is ranked No. 10 overall by ESPNU's recruiting analysts.
Personally, you guys, it's just so great to see a small program land this kind of talent. It gives hope to the rest of the little guys out there -- work hard, follow your dreams, insert a dash of pluck and you too can notch top-30 talent and build top-ten recruiting classes!
OK, ha, not so much. The modern Xavier isn't a small program. It isn't a plucky underdog. The casual college basketball fan might not realize it yet, but it rings as true as ever today: Xavier is elite. There are only so many times one can say this before it starts to become repetitive. But even if it still needs saying, it has the benefit of being true.
(*Update: Correction: Chris Mack landed Dezmine Wells, the No. 8-ranked small forward in the country and No. 45-ranked player overall in the class 0f 2011, last year, and not Thursday, as I mistakenly read on our recruiting page and wrote above before editing. Thanks to everyone for noticing the error, which I regret. Mondays, you know?)
Let it never be said that Xavier is a mid-major.Sure, the Musketeers aren't part of a high-major, traditional big-six conference, and many in the Atlantic-10 still spend far below the Red Line's mid/high-major cutoff point.