This year’s Hall of Fame Induction Class at Xavier University includes a pair of men’s basketball players who led Xavier to championship success, Dexter L. Bailey (’84) and Joshua D. Duncan (’08). Abigail M. Bessler (’17) was a standout on the volleyball court, Jay J.M. Johnson (’05) made a major impact in baseball, while Michael A. Zennedjian Jr. (’12) made his mark in the pool.
Four of the five inductees at the Feb. 15 ceremony at the at Cintas Center have local high school ties: Bailey (Summit Country Day in Cincinnati), Bessler (St. Henry in Erlanger, Ky.), Duncan (Moeller in Cincinnati) and Johnson (Dixie Heights in Fort Mitchell, Ky.). Zennedjian is from Farmington Hills, Mich.
Dexter “Skywalker” Bailey lettered four years in basketball and is a member of the 1,000 Point Club. Bailey, one of the most popular XU players of the Eighties, weaved his 6-foot-4 frame into and around much taller players. Then he exploded off his feet, thinking dunk first and ask questions later.
Bailey was more than just a quick jumper. His reverse dunks turned on the crowd. His rebounding turned on the coaches. Bailey, a three-time team rebounding champion, stands 15th on the XU all-time rebounding list with 730. Bailey also recorded 1,139 points, good for No. 38 on the XU all-time list.
He made an immediate impact on the Musketeers as a freshman and helped XU to an 8-3 record and first place finish in the MCC regular season race, XU’s first MCC title. After that 12-16 season, the Musketeers slipped to 8-20 before rebounding in the 1982-83 season. That year saw Bailey average 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, helping Xavier to a 22-8 record, an MCC Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1960-61 season. Bailey earned AP and UPI Second Team All-MCC honors.
The following year, Xavier won seven out of the final eight games of the season and qualified for the NIT where XU defeated both Ohio State and Nebraska in front of capacity crowds at the Cincinnati Gardens. XU came close in the Quarterfinals, losing 63-62 to eventual champion Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Bailey chose Xavier over Ohio State, a groundbreaking recruit for the growth of the program. Bailey was the top player in Cincinnati and, according to many, the top recruit in the state. After graduating from Xavier, he was drafted in the 10th round of the 1984 NBA Draft by Denver.
He is the son of William Bailey of Cincinnati Madisonville.