Xavier target CJ Fredrick and his Covington Catholic Colonels will tipoff regional play Wednesday night at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.
Fredrick returned to the court on Feb. 11 from an ankle injury that kept him out for six weeks. Now, with him back in the mix, the Colonels are not only the favorites to win the Ninth Region title but have a legitimate shot to compete for a state crown as well.
They're currently ranked sixth in the latest Kentucky state AP poll. Fredrick is averaging 20.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the season while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.
He immediately returned to form once recovered from his injury. He scored 21 points in his return, a loss to Paul Laurence Dunbar, and is averaging 18.8 points in the five games since he's been back.
"I'm trying to get back into a rhythm and I think I've done that," Fredrick said. "I'm getting my feet back defensively. I think I'm 100 percent back."
In terms of his recruitment, Fredrick has held true to his word that he gave at the beginning of the high school season and has pushed it aside while focusing on his team's goals. That hasn't slowed down the interest coming in from college coaches, though.
"I've put all that on the back-burner to focus on the tournament run," Fredrick said. "There's nothing really new from my perspective."
Most recently, he added an offer from Indiana University after head coach Tom Crean came to watch him play against Madison Central on Feb. 17. Assistant coach Rob Judson is the lead recruiter for Fredrick and former CovCath standout Jake Thelen is a graduate assistant for the Hoosiers.
"They've told me that they love the way that I play with energy always and how I score the ball," Fredrick said. "Just being a leader on the floor."
He added that head coach Chris Mack and assistant Travis Steele have kept in constant contact with him: "Yeah, we definitely keep in touch."
Fredrick currently holds offers from Iowa, Xavier and Indiana with interest from Butler and Cincinnati. He says he plans to get through the high school season and then start talking about a college decision "later."