High School Basketball

Ridge View senior an inspiration to school, basketball team ... and a local celebrity

Xavier Major brings inspiration to Ridge View basketball team

Xavier Major, who is autistic, is member of Ridge View's boys basketball team. Major scored in two games last week including at sold-out Bojangles' Bash against Lower Richland.
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Xavier Major, who is autistic, is member of Ridge View's boys basketball team. Major scored in two games last week including at sold-out Bojangles' Bash against Lower Richland.

Sellout crowds poured into Ridge View High School last weekend for the final two days of the Bojangles’ Bash high school basketball showcase.

Fans were treated to some of the top teams in the country, including Oak Hill (Va.) and Huntington Prep (WV) and some of the top future stars such as Cole Anthony. While the fans roared over various dunks and highlight-type plays, no moment created more noise than a pair of Xavier Major’s baskets for Ridge View late in Saturday’s 85-47 win over Lower Richland.

Major, who has autism, entered the game with three minutes left. The 6-foot-6 senior known as X to his teammates scored a pair of layups, much to the delight of the crowd. Major’s teammates mobbed him on the court and after the game as he went sprinting down the hallway to the team’s locker room.

“I shoot the ball very good,” Major said. “All the boys were happy for me and the crowd was yelling for me.”

It was the second time in less than a week Major scored in a game. He also had a basket against Spring Valley a few days earlier and got the same type of reaction from the crowd and his teammates.

Major has become quite a celebrity since Saturday’s game. Local TV crews have aired stories about him and his layup on the House of Highlights Instagram page has more than 2 million views.

“He is going to keep telling people,” Ridge View coach Yerrick Stoneman joked. “This best part is how his teammates got around him and hugged him. … I got a little excited myself, hair on my back started standing up and got the cold chills. I am excited for him and his family. They have been waiting on it for a long time. X is a great young man so any time anything positive can come out of something, especially for someone like a great young man like X is. I’m happy for him.”

“It is special and something he will always remember,” Ridge View guard Walyn Napper said.

Major loves the game of basketball. His favorite player is Golden State Warriors’ guard Steph Curry and he wore a Curry No. 30 jersey to school Monday. He jokes that he can shoot as well as the two-time NBA MVP.

Two years ago, Major played for the Blazers’ B Team in Stoneman’s first season and scored 16 points that year. Last season, he didn’t play because he didn’t get his physical in on time, but he watched from the stands as the Blazers won their first state title.

He was going to make sure that wouldn’t happen again this year and emailed Stoneman on numerous occasions.

Stoneman has Major in his basketball class each morning and says he is usually one of the first kids picked when they play.

“He is 6-6 and can get some rebounds. We as a coaching staff have been working so he develops some additional skills to make him a little bit better basketball player,” Stoneman said.

Major usually only suits up for home games and is unlikely to see action unless the game is a blowout. But that doesn’t matter to him or his teammates, who love having him on the team. Napper said Major keeps them in line when they are goofing around.

Major’s energy is infectious. He walked onto the court Monday, saying, ‘Come, on, let’s go!” He led the team in the breakdown following a team meeting.

During the practice, he worked with the other Ridge View big men throwing passes. When it was his turn, he made his layups and had a couple dunks, letting out a big yell and flexing his muscles on the last one.

“I see him as an extension of the team, no different than anyone else,” Stoneman said. “I think basketball helps him and he feels a part of something. He is one of the first ones out of the hallways when change of classes, always giving high fives, hugs. He is a personable person and the love he has for basketball.”