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City's Latham picks Xavier again

When Sean Miller left Xavier for Arizona, City center Jordan Latham was left in a bit of a bind.

City's Latham picks Xavier again

The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder loved everything about the Atlantic 10 school. But Latham was excited about playing for Miller and he had developed a special relationship with Musketeers assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson, who also left Cincinnati for Tucson.

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Latham opened his recruitment after Miller's departure but kept Xavier high on a list of schools that also included Marquette, Virginia Tech, Texas and Pittsburgh, among others. Earlier this week, Latham decided Xavier was still the best fit for him.

"I made [my commitment Wednesday] night," Latham said. "It just came down to the school situation, where I was going to find the best fit and coaching staff. Everything was in place. Everything stayed perfect with Xavier, so it was a done deal after that."

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Latham said he was comfortable with new Musketeers coach Chris Mack, who served as an assistant under Miller. He also grew close to new assistant Orlando "Bino" Ranson. Ranson, a Baltimore native who coached at St. Frances earlier this decade, recruited Latham when he was an assistant at James Madison.

"He's recruited a lot of kids from here when he was at James Madison, when he was at [Marist], and now that he's at Xavier he's recruiting [Baltimore] real hard," Latham said. "Since he went there, it was an easy choice for me now. I had someone there to take care of me. He replaced Coach Book's spot. ... We talk on a daily basis. I call him all the time. We just talk about basketball and life. Plus, he's from Baltimore. That made everything better."

Latham sprained his MCL during his first AAU tournament this spring with Nike Baltimore Elite. He's close to full strength now and gearing up for the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., which runs from June 17-21.

Latham will be one of six Baltimore natives attending the NBPA camp. Latham hopes he and Ranson can convince a few more Charm City natives to join them at Xavier.

"I think it's going to be an opportunity to get more kids from Baltimore ... to Cincinnati and make the Atlantic 10 better," Latham said.

Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / January 18, 2008

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