Kurth's Success Stems from Mother's Support

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 02/27 2014 06:46PM

Updated 02/27 2014 11:23PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) When Lafayette's Xavier Kurth thinks about end-of-the-year goals for the Irish basketball team, he goes back to the program's state semifinal appearance in 2011.

"It was a rush, such a rush," Xavier said. "I want to feel that again before I graduate."

Kurth's playing a big role for Lafayette averaging 17.6 points and six rebounds per game as they reach for that mark again. But the burden to produce doesn't weigh him down, because he takes comfort in a quick glance to the crowd before each game.

"When tip off comes, I always look out to her and give her a little wink and she gives me one back. It makes me feel like I'm ready for the game once I see her."

Xavier and his mom Precious -- a 1991 Lafayette graduate -- have been inseparable over the years, and she's pushed him to be his best.

"She's always been my role model," Xavier said. "I just look up to her a lot, and whenever I see her I try to make her as proud as possible."

While Precious won't take credit for Xavier's performance on the court -- "I don't have a bit of athleticism in my body," she said. Precious has motivated Xavier to earn a 3.8 GPA in the classroom, and to work as the Lafayette Student Council President.

"It's really about hard work and determination, and being focused, and seeing something through to the very end," Precious said. "He has done that with basketball, his academics, his character, his integrity."

The road for Precious hasn't always been smooth. Working as the principal at Robidoux Middle School and a single mother, she's always had family to lean on.

"There have been lots of times where I said I don't know how to do this. And the answer was always Janice Kurth, Xav's grandma, my mom. She has been a huge influence in both my life and Xavier's."

For all of the sacrifices his mom's made for him, Xavier's looking to make it all payoff as his basketball career takes him to Northwest next season.

"The full ride scholarship was great because I felt like as much as she's done for me, I can finally repay her for something with her not having to pay for college," Xavier said.

Once Xavier takes the floor in Maryville next year for the Bearcats, he'll scan the crowd for his mom to keep tradition alive. But until then, they'll enjoy his final months at Lafayette.

"It's a little emotional, but it's been a good ride," Precious said. "Xav has had some great opportunities and some great experiences and I'm glad that he's going to walk away with happy memories."

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