Andover Central alum reflects on freshman season with Drexel basketball
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Coming off of his first season of college basketball and his first NCAA tournament appearance, Andover Central alum Xavier Bell is taking some much needed rest and recovery following this strenuous year.
“I knew coming into it, I’d face a lot of adversity. At the time, I didn’t know how much I would face,” said Xavier Bell.
Bell graduated from Andover Central in 2020 and just wrapped up his first season playing division one basketball at Drexel University in Philadelphia, hundreds of miles away from any family.
“Just learning the new way of how to live out there and trying to adapt to that new lifestyle, it was definitely challenging being away from home for the first time,” said Bell.
“There were a lot of calls where we were facetiming him,” said Xavier’s father Wayne Bell. “Everyone was really trying to keep him upbeat. Trying to make sure he was OK mentally, it’s pretty challenging. So that was the most concerning time.”
Wayne Bell said he’s proud of how his son has endured the isolation brought on by the pandemic.
“There was a period of time that they had a COVID case or scare on the team and they had to quarantine for like two weeks. And that was difficult because the kids were isolated, I couldn’t go out to see him, he didn’t have anyone with him there, any family,” said Wayne Bell.
Bell worked his way into the starting lineup halfway through the season and helped Drexel advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years.
“It was a lot. Just leading up to a game, there was a lot that it took to go into that,” said Bell. “We had to stay away from people, we had to watch what we do every day, it was a lot. You don’t get to interact with fans or your family. Just knowing that it’s just basketball at the end of the day.”
“The journey has been amazing. I remember, I coached him in YMCA ball and he threw the ball all over the basket, all over the backboard,” said Wayne Bell.
“I definitely faced some hardships but that’s kind of what made my whole season special to me,” said Bell.
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