Xavier walk-on goes from fan to teammate
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Xavier Musketeers made program history in their final game of the season at the Cintas Center Wednesday night, and Matt Singleton's senior night was probably little different than he envisioned four years ago.
"Going from being a really dedicated fan as part of the band, I really didn't see those guys as real people. That sounds really bad to say, but you kinda see them on a whole other level as like celebrities. And now being part of the team, I can't really do that because I have to be a good teammate and try to help my teammates prepare for success," Singleton said.
The walk-on went from drum sets to running sets on the court. A former first team all-conference player at Garret High School in Indiana, Singleton spent three years in the Xavier pep band as a drummer.
"Out of the four years I've been here, he's been the best drum set player that we've had. It was something that all of us told him he should go do it. It was a once in a lifetime experience," said Cody Beldon, Singleton's friend and president of the pep band.
"We need size and the average person walking around at Xavier generally is not 6'5, 6'7," Xavier head coach Chris Mack explained.
Not only was that guy walking around campus, but he had been walking around the Muskies' house all along.
"I don't know if there was a specific point I decided I wanted to try out for a walk-on spot. I'd say it kind of accumulated over my sophomore and junior year," Singleton added.
'Quiet' is a word everyone uses to describe him. Singleton never even brought up that he, in a way, actually already shared the court with his current teammates.
"The way I found out, it was like some old video, 'A Day in the Life of a Xavier Manager,' and they just happened to show a clip of him playing the drums in the band. I had to rewind it for a second. I was like, that was definitely Matt," Xavier senior forward Sean O'Mara said while laughing.
"Everyone sees them on TV. They're gonna get the gear. They get to go on road trips, but they don't see those guys getting to practice everyday thirty minutes early, staying late, learning the other teams' plays, holding the pad, getting beat up by Tyrique Jones," Mack said.
We've seen fans go insane for walk-ons in college basketball. But it's a little different when you have an entire pep band in your corner.
"It's hard to miss. They're so loud, it's crazy. They've been super supportive. They're awesome," Singleton added.
"The expectations are laid out, so they understand. This isn't 'Rudy', you're not gonna be out there on senior night scoring the winning basket. And Matt never had any preconceived ideas that's what the role would be," Mack said.
He was on the floor, though, as the buzzer sounded and Xavier's claimed its first-ever Big East regular season title-- a perfect final note for the walk-on drummer.