No one knows what it means, but it’s absurd. It gets the Xavier fans going.
“I think they know what it’s about but I don’t,” Zach Simons said.
Every time the Hawks hit a three pointer, the student section goes crazy chanting ‘Free Melons’. And that is a frequent occurrence as it’s happened 197 times this season.
“Once we hit the three, they just go insane so that’s one of the highlights,” Sam Burkart continued.
Head coach Matt Klarner wants his team to play at an up-tempo pace. They can play lock-down defense but their specialty is the run-and-gun, and it can be exhausting to watch – let alone play at that tempo.
“We play fast. We play aggressive, people love watching us play and these guys love to play that way. It works for us,” he said.
And the players enjoy it too. “We like to play up-and-down and fast. Sometimes a couple guys get tired but the guys off the bench give us a break and we just keep playing and having fun,” admitted junior Zach Simons.
The sign is something students stumbled across on the way to a game last year and it’s caught on. Now, the melon mantra is following a motivated Xavier team to the state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.
“The preseason projections or rankings just reminded us we had to come together as a team and that we had a lot of work to do,” Klarner said. The Hawks will face East Troy at 10:45 a.m. on Friday morning for a chance to go to the championship game the next day. “But the guys understood that part and they’ve put in that work and they’ve come together.”
“I think starting off as an underdog was probably the best thing to happen to us,” continued Simons. We knew that we were a good team and that we could win but we just had to prove to everyone else that we could also win.”
It’s their first trip to state since 2009 and they hope to bring back more than just their ‘Free Melons’ sign. A gold ball would be nice too.
“If anyone sees the sign and is missing it, please give us a call, we’d be happy to return it to you,” Klarner laughed off.