It was in 1991 when the nickname â€œFab Fiveâ€ was established for five freshman at the University of Michigan who revolutionized what it meant to be a collegiate student-athlete. You remember the guys: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. These young men were inconic for a generation of basketball fans and are often considered the greatest class ever recruited.
Twenty-four years later, the Fab Five has been reincarnated with five senior golfers at St. Xavier High School. The senior starters consist of Michael Sass, Drew Kiehl, Allen Hamilton, Billy Basham and Matt Liston. Each will be going to play golf next season in college. These five led St. X to the 2014 State Championship, and this year, helped earn a nearly unblemished record. In the words of UK commit Matt Liston, this five just may be as historic as Michiganâ€™s Fab Five.
â€œHonestly, we could be considered one of the greatest high school teams of all time in my opinion. Down the road in our future, if somebody could get us all on one team, that would be a great team. We all have different games, and we all have different styles. But at the end of the day, we are really competitive players with really similar scores. It is just a great team.â€
The uniqueness of this bunch is that they have known each other for quite some time. Drew, Michael and Matt all went to grade school together. Billy and Allen then joined the crew in eighth grade when all five started to play golf together.
Michael Sass, who is considered the â€œblack mambaâ€of the group, is headed to the College of Charleston next year. He loves the camaraderie with the other four guys.
â€œI have been close with everybody for a long time. Weâ€™ve all been pretty close since high school started. We play together all the time, on weekends and everything.â€
With five guys who are so very close, there is normally one out of the bunch who is the comedian. The five agreed that Billy Basham is that guy. Considering the pressure and intensity that comes from striving for success, someone with a bit of humor is certainly needed to relieve some tension. Basham is currently deciding between Eastern Kentucky University, UofL and Coastal Carolina. â€œI am just outgoing I guess,â€ he says. â€œI try to make everybody laugh to ease the tension. When we are out on the course and someone is having a bad day, I can try and cheer them up by making them laugh and get them relaxed so that they can start to play good golf.â€
Each player is sound in golf, having particular skills that are stronger than others. This has led to the program breaking numerous records with the hope being to break more this season. Drew Kiehl, who is considering Furman or Miami of Ohio as his college options, claims that, â€œEvery tournament we go into, we are looking to break more records and believe we will set even bigger records than we did last year. We should have no problem doing so if we just trust our games. That legacy will put a huge mark on St. X golf and bring more kids from grade school wanting to come to St. X because of that type of mentality and legacy we left at the school.â€
He also argues that, â€œGolf at St. X should be more of a factor. Students here need to know how good we are. We are going to a level that St. X has never seen before. To have five guys this strong is pretty special, and I think St. X needs to know more about that.â€
Allen Hamilton, who also will be attending UK, is considered the â€œsmart guyâ€ out of the group and similarly relishes his experience playing with his teammates. â€œJust to play with these four guys is really awesome,â€ he says. â€œIt has made me so much better as a golfer by being a part of this team.â€
If someone inquired about the Fab Five of St. X in years to come, Drew Kiehl would leave them with this quote. â€œWe have a lot of swag. As a team, we are confident and believe in the capabilities we have on and off the golf course. We stay cool, calm and collected under pressure, and we just get the job done. It will be hard to break us up no matter how old we get.â€