Publish Date: 11/14/2019
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Xavier University men’s basketball head coach Travis Steele announced that he has received signed National Letters of Intent from three of the top prep players in the nation, giving Xavier one of the top 10 recruiting classes in the country. The latest 247sports rankings have this Xavier class ranked No. 9 in the country. All three of the members of this recruiting class are ranked as 4-star recruits by 247sport and Rivals: 6-5, 195-pound guard Colby Jones from Mountain Brook, Ala., 6-1, 180-pound guard Dwon Odom from Buford, Ga., and 6-5, 195-pound guard C.J. Wilcher from Plainfield, N.J.
“We are really excited to add these three young men to our program,” said Steele. “They are all tremendous kids, tremendous students, and obviously very good basketball players. They’ve all won at a very high level, which is really important to me. It shows that they value winning and they have been around winning, which usually leads to winning in college.”
Jones earned a 4-star ranking from Rivals and 247sports, checking in at No. 105 and No. 111 respectively in the overall prospect rankings. Jones, a 2019 Class 7A Third Team All-State selection as a junior, averaged 14 ppg, 5 rpg. and 3 apg. while leading Mountain Brook High School to the 2019 Alabama Class 7A State Championship. The 2019 EYBL Breakout Player of the Year earned 2018 Class 6A Second Team All-State and 2018Second Team All-Birmingham honors as a sophomore.
“Colby is like a swiss-army knife,” said Steele. “I don’t know what position he is because he can play 1-3. He’s a guy that is a tremendous defender, can really rebound for a guard, can score and make plays. He’s skilled and he’s a terrific decision-maker with the ball with an ability to make guys better. He is strong and has good size and length.”
“Colby is the No. 1 ranked player in Alabama,” said his high school coach at Mountain Brook High School, Bucky McMillan. “We finished as the No. 5 team in the country last season, handing IMG Academy its only loss of the year. Last season was Colby’s first with us and a lot of our success was the result of his unselfishness. He could easily have scored 24 or 25 points a game, but he was more focused on what he could do to make the team a winner. He has an all-around game. Colby is such a smart player but most of all he’s a winner with great mental toughness. Colby is that rare student-athlete that was recruited by Ivy League schools and Power Five schools, including a lot of SEC teams. He found a perfect fit at Xavier that filled what he wanted at a high level both academically and athletically.”
Odom earned 4-star rankings from 247sports, Rivals and ESPN, checking in at No. 40, No. 49 and No. 69 respectively in the overall prospect rankings. Odom averaged 21.8 points, 7.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game while shooting 68 percent from the field as a junior, leading his St. Francis High School team to the 2018-19 Georgia Class A Private School State Championship. He scored a game-high 28 points to go with seven assists in the championship game, including 17 points in the decisive fourth quarter. Odom garnered plenty of honors as a junior, including 2019 AJC Class A Player of the Year and 2019 North Fulton Player of the Year as well as the 2019 NBPA Top 100 Rondey Rogers Courage Award winner. Basketball was not the only state championship that Odom won as a junior as he won the 2019 Georgia State Triple Jump title as a member of the St. Francis track team. Odom led his hoops team to a 2017-18 Georgia Class A Private School State Runner-up finish as a sophomore while earning MaxPreps Class A Region 6 Player of the Year honors.
“Dwon is a leader first and foremost, who is a great fit at the point guard position,” said Steele. “When you watch Dwon play, the first thing that catches your eye is his athleticism, how strong he is and how tough he is, but I love the fact that you can always hear him. Dwon brings energy and leadership. He is a winner.”
Odom already holds the St. Francis all-time assist record (660) heading into his senior year and ranks third all-time in scoring (1,720 points), second all-time in steals (215 and only 10 away from tying all-time leader Kobi Simmons) and sixth all-time in rebounds (535).
“Dwon is the true definition of a winner,” said his high school coach at St. Francis High School, Drew Catlett. “Dwon is very athletic and very competitive but above all he is a team-first guy. Stats never tell the whole story but it’s impressive that we’ve been 80-14 over his first three years and he is already the school’s all-time assists leader and is among the best in school history in rebounds, steals and points. He could challenge Kobi Simmons school scoring record before he graduates but I know he’d rather win a state championship this season. He is a blue-collar player who comes to work every day to do what is necessary to be successful and that impacts the entire team.”
Wilcher earned 4-star rankings from ESPN, 247sports and Rivals, checking in at No. 77, No. 116 and No. 120 respectively in the overall prospect rankings. Wilcher led St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark to a state championship his sophomore year and a state runner-up finish in his junior year. In the 2018 state championship game, Wilcher scored 28 points, including five 3-pointers. He averaged 15 ppg. in EYBL and Under Armour Association competition this past year.
“C.J. is the best shooter that I’ve seen in the class of 2020 in the entire country,” said Steele. “C.J. can make shots from all over the floor, whether in the post, off the catch or off the dribble. He also really knows how to play and he knows how to use his body. He sees things on the floor and can make his teammates better. He is a great shooter, but he is a lot more than that. He’s a scorer and I think he will bring a different dimension on the offensive end.”
“C.J. is an elite level shot maker,” said his high school coach at Roselle Catholic High School, Dave Boff. “He is as good a shot maker at this level as I have ever seen. He has the ability to hit difficult shots on a regular basis. One thing he doesn’t get as much credit for is that he is a very good passer. He can feed the post and find the open guys in other spots on the court. He works hard on all aspects of his game and is a great leader for us on and off the court.”