Friday, 13 March 2009

Chris Kallan's Article on X's Will Silver

By Chris Kallan

Five-foot-nine guard Will Silver hopes St. Francis Xavier hoops teammate and Christian (T-Bear) Upshaw lives a long and happy life.

And tells the tale of what happened at that Montreal summer tourney approximately five years ago a little more frequently.

“T-Bear saw the only dunk of my life and nobody else seems to believe me,” said the 21-year-old Silver. “Maybe the net was a few inches shorter or something, but it still counts. I definitely need him to get the word out a bit better.”

Eighth-seeded St. F.X. faces the top-seeded Carleton Ravens in Friday’s late quarterfinal (8 p.m., EST) at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

Silver probably won’t throw down any two-handed jams this weekend, but his role with the wildcard X-Men has expanded as of late. With fifth-year all-star Tyler Richards out of the line-up, Silver started both Atlantic playoff games last weekend and averaged 10.5 points, 5.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals for the runner-up X-Men. He also registered the league’s only regular season triple-double with a 14-point (including four three-pointers) 10-rebound, 10-assist outing versus Acadia last month.

St. F.X. head coach Steve Konchalski prefers Silver coming off the bench because of the spark he provides, but likes the ball movement and high basketball IQ when paired with Upshaw in the backcourt.

“Will has tremendous heart and his work ethic and intensity is a motivating factor for his teammates,” said Konchalski. “He loves the game and his enthusiasm and positive attitude makes him a bigger factor every year.”

Silver, Upshaw and Richards – all of Halifax – won multiple provincial high school championships while members of the St. Pat’s Irish. Cracking the St. Pat’s roster, as well as St. F.X., was not an automatic for Silver.

“Tyler and T-Bear will push you and push you to get better every single day,” said Silver, who managed to finish in the top six in three different league categories (assists-per-turnover ratio, 1.6; steals, 2.3 per game; assists, 4.0 average) despite playing slightly over 24 minutes per game this season. “If you don’t get better, you get worse.”

Upshaw might be one of the most athletic and gifted players to ever wear a St. F.X. uniform, but he’s thrilled Silver is on the same side. Except for some of those loathsome practice drills.

“Defensively, he’s an absolute monster and I HATE playing against him because he’s such a pest,” said Upshaw. “He never gives up and he’s always in your face. His hands are always whacking at the ball and doing whatever to disrupt you. Offensively, he distributes the ball really well and makes defences react. It’s special to have a guy like that on your team.”

The X-Men missed qualifying for nationals the last two years, but this year represents the school’s seventh trip to the big dance in the last decade. Silver was among the hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians who took in Canada’s version of March Madness in Halifax between 1984 and 2007. St. F.X. captured its inaugural national crown in 1993 and claimed back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001.

“X was always there at nationals and I loved the tradition, the history, the crowds, the support ... it’s a huge deal to the student body and alumni,” said Silver. “I wanted to be part of it.”

No comments: