Xavier has some extra motivation to win the Atlantic 10 tournament this weekend, and they have the conference's head coaches to thank.
At a pre-tournament news conference
Monday in Atlantic City. N.J., senior Stanley Burrell lashed out at the conference's coaches for not putting a single player from the regular-season champion Musketeers (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) on the all-conference first team.
"This league is pathetic," Burrell said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We went 14-2, top 10 in the nation. Forget first team, Josh [Duncan] is probably the player of the year. You've got the best team and nobody on the first-team all-conference team? It's ridiculous. You talk about not having motivation? We got plenty now. I'm really looking forward to Atlantic City now."
The league's coaches vote on its all-conference team and honors, and they made Xavier's Sean Miller coach of the year, Burrell its top defender; and Duncan sixth man of the year.
But the only other Xavier player honored was Drew Lavender, who was named to the second team with Duncan. Burrell was named to the third team.
Burrell thinks the coaches valued individual statistics above team accomplishments when they cast their ballots, noting that role players such as B.J. Raymond, Derrick Brown, C.J. Anderson or Jason Love didn't merit as much as a third-team vote.
"Put Derrick [Brown] in place of [Fordham's] Bryant Dunston," Burrell said, according to the Enquirer. "You don't leave C.J. [Anderson] out. You don't leave guys out who just won a championship. Those guys could easily go to other teams and easily be getting 14, 15, 16 points a game. They decided to be here and play team ball. And they get left out for that? For being unselfish? It's not right, man. I don't care what I got. That defensive player of the year? That's my team's award."
Miller theorized that the Musketeers' team balance contributed to a split ballot, with a number of players getting votes but none with overwhelming support.
"Stan is a motivated guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve," Miller said of Burrell's outburst."I'm sure that what he's feeling right now is nothing but something that will hopefully catapult him into having a good conference tournament."
Now, the Musketeers can't say they lack motivation to secure the A-10's automatic bid.
"Honestly, it's what we needed," Raymond said. "Thank you to whoever chose the teams."