Since I know all of you live and die with what I have to say, I figured I'd share my grades for each player, Ford, and the team for the season. In all seriousness, I just hope to get some good discussion on how this season went and not clog up the recruiting threads with the same discussion. My grades will be too harsh for some but definitely interested in seeing how others would grade
Javon Bess: A... Bess was our MVP this season. He lost his legs a little bit during a 5 or 6 game stretch there in February and I'm sure he was a battling a way more serious injury than we'll ever know. Great defender, great leader, most consistent scorer. He does down as an all-time favorite for me and probably my favorite non 4 year Billiken.
Tramaine Isabell: B...The first 3 or 4 months of the season were really disappointing but he turned it on at the biggest moments. I know there was a transition period for him to find his game/role and some of that falls on Ford, but if he had played better earlier in the year, I think we could have been looking at a better seed and a more winnable first round game.
DJ Foreman: C+...Another guy who really picked up his game down the stretch in my opinion. He was a huge factor in our late season run and I don't think he gets a lot of credit for it. I do think there were times this season where he was really bad out there and a lot of times where we were better with him on the bench. But he stepped up in big moments.
Dion Wiley: C-...Not totally fair to grade him as he battled injuries all season. Disappointing would be my grade because he couldn't stay healthy. He had an explosion game against SJU and hit a massive 3 against Davidson even though we lost the game. He also made some big plays against St Bonaventure in the A10 championship. I thought he was going to be the key to the season and I do think he played a factor in some of the big moments. But he just couldn't stay healthy and Ford didn't seem to trust his defense either
Jordan Goodwin: B-...This will probably be the controversial one. Goodwin fills the stat sheet and is an incredibly unique and valuable player. I actually think he's the best rebounder I've seen (big men included). He needs to be able to score in more ways though. 26% from 3 and 51% from the line will just absolutely not cut it. I know he will put in the effort there this offseason, but I will admit I expected a bigger jump from last season to this year. I wish he would play as bulked up as he did last year. I do think Ford needs to have an offense that fits more to Goodwin's strengths though. Defensively, he is really interesting. He is a total pest for opposing players as he forces turnovers, is physical with you, etc. But he also got burned way too easily on too many occasions. He's the type of guy whose grade seems harsh because he has the potential to be one of the best guys to ever go through the A10, but instead he didn't make an all-league team.
Hasahn French: B+... I thought he had a really good season. He was a target of a lot of opposing defenses all year and especially after Gordon bailed. He needs to get better at passing out of the post and recognizing/finding the open man. His free throws keep this from being an A for me. He absolutely has to be able to at least shoot 50% from the line but we really need something closer to 60%. I know Ford has made comments on how maybe it's mental or how there's only so much work you can do at this age, but I just don't buy anyone only shooting 35% from the line if they practice enough reps
Fred Thatch: B+...Really good freshman season in my opinion. He showed the potential of being a better defender than Bess by the time he's a senior. He also shows the leadership abilities that we really need. His offense has a long way to go. His shot looks decent, but it doesn't go in. He's a little out of control on his drives as well, but overall I can't complain about what he brought as a freshman
KC Hankton: D+...There's a lot of talk about him as a shooter, but he did only shoot 28% from 3. I think he has potential as a stretch 4 and he seems like a decent athlete. His grade seems harsh and it probably is. But in my opinion, his role this season was to come in and make some 3's and he just didn't do that.
Demarius Jacobs: D+...Couldn't stay healthy. Not a ton else to say. I thought he looked good in the game where he got hurt (SJU I think?) that kept him out basically the rest of the season. I thought he was starting to turn it around. We needed more from him this season though. He's still a high ceiling guy in my opinion.
Ingvi Gudmundsson: Inc...Came to campus late, adjusted to a new culture, had his appendix taken out, jacked a 27 foot 3. Memorable guy but didn't do much
Carteare Gordon: D-...I want to fail him but I thought he looked great out there. He helped us win games this season. He was always a risk and I do wish it had worked out
Travis Ford: B...I think he deserves an A for what he did with the team in the last month of the season. I think he deserves a C or a D for the rest of the season. But the team played well when it mattered. I still question his X's and O's. I don't think he ran an offense that fits his personnel. I see a lot of the same things Oklahoma St fans complained about. But he is an incredible motivator. I want to run through a wall for him every time I hear him talk. He also has not been dealt a fair hand at SLU. I think those excuses are over after this year so next year will be really interesting. He knew what he was getting into with Gordon so I don't give him a pass there but the administration hasn't helped Ford much. But I said all year, despite the injuries, despite S2, despite other issues, that THIS team was underachieving. We had the talent. We finally played to that level in March. Ford deserves credit for turning it around but deserves criticism that it took until March
Overall: B...It's hard to complain about a tournament berth. The only things keeping this from being a better grade for me are that 1) if we had figured it out sooner, we wouldn't have gotten a 13 seed and a brutal matchup against VT 2) free throw shooting and 3) despite the great run late in the season, we were still a wide open 3 by the Bonnies away from not even being in the NIT.
billikenfan05: C+...He did a great job with the podcast but he was too positive for parts of this season. I miss the 05 who lived and died on every possession
Taj79: B...Not enough couch threads down the stretch although I thought his Goodwin and French threads were totally fair and good message board discussion. Too many got mad at him because he held people accountable. They should watch Scott Van Pelt's segment the other day
Pistol: A+...The recruiting detail he provides is second to none
SLUSignGuy: A+...Best message board in the country