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  1. Corey has certainly played a big role in landing key local players. There is no tactful way to say this, but I hope he gets on a serious diet to bring his weight down. I would hate to see that affect his life and career as a coach. Rick Majerus would probably still be with us today, if he had maintained a more reasonable weight. I would think it is also easier to preach to players about the academic and physical discipline required to be a division 1 player when you walk the talk, and especially in a case like Jimmy Bell, where weight control is a significant issue. That said, I am very happy having him on the Billiken coaching staff.
  2. I too have been impressed with the timing of his late game defensive changes. It has been obvious in some occasions where the opponent called an inbound play that couldn't be run against the changed defense. We should be even better this year at running different defences and modifying them with so many returning players. We have a lot of guys with high energy, good instincts and the athleticism to disrupt an opponent. I would love to see Thatch back up to speed and Hargrove can really be tough. He improved a lot last year as his understanding of the game improved. He shut down Daly to the point where it looked like he wanted to cry.
  3. You may well be correct with us pressing more in the early schedule. I was paying more attention to the performance of the plethora of new guys we had and not paying much attention to the style or system of play. I share your hope to see more of it this year, in part to get more players in the game. It will be interesting to see if Ford keeps his emphasis on defense first. Or if he might look at an opponents defensive weakness and try to exploit it. We have the ability to play big, play 4 guard, press and for the first time in a while score from the outside, depending on which players are on the floor. I am really looking forward to this season and hoping we play.
  4. If we ran a max intensity full court press fro wire to wire, it would gas even the most fit guards. It generally also results in more fouls. We have seen very little of that under Ford. In part, we have not had the depth, but I'm not convinced that it is his preference. Ford doesn't like giving up easy baskets and that is one of the consequences of a press. Our guard depth should definitively answer the question of how much Coach Ford will press when he has the depth to do so. My guess is that he will use it in desperate situations and try it on occasion, but bail on it, unless it produces immediate success. I would really like to see it employed against teams with weak ball handlers and teams who are thin when it comes to ball handlers.
  5. Power 5 schools and conferences are dominated by football. 2 of my daughters have graduated from the University of Florida. They attended shortly after the year UF, won national championships in football and basketball. There is no doubt UF liked winning a basketball title, but it LOVED winning football titles. Football stars like Tim Tebow are treated like God's, even after they graduate. There is no comparison of game day football to game day basketball. No matter how good a power 5 basketball team is, it is the ugly step sister to football. The only exception to that is Kentucky, but only because their football team has a terrible history in the SEC.
  6. Comparing Jett to Goodwin is a great example of the difficulty of comparing players that played on very different teams. Both players have/had strong inside games and weak outside games. A huge difference is that Jett played on teams with stretch big men who opened up the driving lanes that played to Jetts strengths, improving his scoring success. Goodwin would have done really well on that team too. Jett also learned how to finish his drives with buckets instead of fouls by his Sr. Year. Perkins and Jimerson should help open things up for Goodwin, though not to the level that Jett had. Goodwin's story is not fully written, he still has this year, God willing, to improve his FT and outside shooting.
  7. I want to wish Coach Ford a happy Father's day. From everything I have seen, he is a good and loving family man. Division 1 BB head coaching is a time intensive career. Coaches are well compensated, but that doesn't reduce the challenges of travel. Coach Ford is more than a father to his children, he is a father figure to the young men who play for him. Just based on the things that get published, we know he has the team over for holiday meals... He must also have a very understanding wife. I'm confident that he loves his players and does his best to guide them in the best direction in basketball and in life. To some of the young men that play for him, he is likely the best "dad" they have ever known. Happy Father's Day to coach Ford and to all of the dads on Team Blue.
  8. Why the A10? It's a basketball driven conference that gets 2 - 4 teams in the NCAA tournament every year. Its composed mostly of smaller schools in large metro areas, similar to SLU. That provides more press than a weaker regional conference. Recent additions to the A10 have made the conference stronger. The conference also weighs the regular season schedule so that the better teams play each other twice. I like the idea that a young team can improve through the course of a season, come together by tournament time and have a reasonable chance of playing in, like we did a year ago. At the same time, it takes a really good team to dominate the A10, which is our goal.
  9. This video shows how well grounded Larry Sr. and Jr. are. It is great to see Sr. did not let fame and fortune wreck his personal or family life. That is a rare quality today. I would love to see Jr. become a Billiken and help take us to new heights.
  10. I am happy to see this post from Jimmy. I was hoping to see that he was staying with his diet and strength conditioning while he is away from campus. I hope we get these guys back on campus soon, Jimmy can make significant improvements in his offensive game with practice and drills. You could see Jimmy recognizing the one on one coverage, and hesetate while thinking about what to do next. He just didn't have the repetitions to spin to the hoop for a layup, shot or dunk.
  11. Let's say we have a starting lineup of Bell, French, Perkins, Goodwin and Yuri. You can make a strong case for multiple players in the bench getting significant minutes. Especially if Jimerson and Thatch are 100%. I think minutes beyond Yuri and the 3 seniors will fluctuate a lot, based on matchups, fouls and how the team does when different players are on the floor. Last summer, I recall Ford saying that in the practice rotations, Jimerson's team usually won, no matter who his teammates were. I think Ford will be looking closely at the numbers. Matchups will play a bigger role this year, if for instance Jimerson comes in, but can't stay with his man on defense, out he goes and Thatch or Hargrove comes in. I think Ford will have a very quick hook this season. But when things are going our way, he will let them play. We are also in a position to apply more full court pressure, and rotate players to keep up the intensity. So if an opponent has trouble taking care of the ball, we will go after them. Ford has way more weapons on both sides of the ball. This is the first season in a while where opponents have to not just figure out how to score against our defense, but also how to stop our offense.
  12. No 2 players are exactly alike and I have not seen a lot of video of him and I am not confident in the statistics that I have seen on him. But off hand, the player he reminds me the most of is Hargrove. At first glance, he appears to be a quick and athletic player, ideally suited to play the wing. We will have to see what his actual height and weight are when he gets here. He looks like an excellent fast break kind of player, who will be able to play a menacing defense. Beyond that, I think we will have to wait and see.
  13. That is an awesome clip, and the man could play the game and will always be a hero in my eyes. I still recall listening to the Loyola Chicago game where Bonner put the team on his back, set a Billiken single game scoring record of 45 points Just for fun, I am pasting in an article form the Chicago Tribune about the game: ST. LOUIS, BONNER BOMB LOYOLA IN OT Bill JaussCHICAGO TRIBUNE Quite simply, Anthony Bonner turned into Superman for 8 incredible minutes of action Thursday night at the Rosemont Horizon. And after his school-record 45 points had triggered St. Louis to its 102-86 overtime victory over Loyola, the Billikens` 6-foot-8-inch, 215-pound senior explained why his magical transformation had occurred. ''That`s what happens when you come to Michael Jordan`s town,'' said Bonner. ''You get the fever!'' It was white-hot fever. And Loyola had no Kryptonite to stop him. Bonner hit 19 of 30 shots from the floor and all seven free throws he tried. He pulled down 20 rebounds. He made 5 assists and 4 steals. He scored 45 points and committed only one turnover in 45 minutes. But those numbers only begin to explain Bonner`s performance in the final 7 minutes of regulation play and in the first minute of overtime. In that furious stretch, Bonner scored 24 consecutive Billiken points. Starting when St. Louis trailed 75-65, Bonner hit his team`s last 19 points in regulation time, forcing overtime with a three-point play that tied it 84-84. Then Bonner scored St. Louis` first five points in overtime, earning the Billikens` an 89-85 lead. Finally, he relaxed an watched his mates run up the score. The victory gave St. Louis a 17-9 record overall, 9-4 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. Loyola is 6-20, 3-10. ''Never in 18 years of coaching have I seen a performance like that,'' said Loyola coach Will Rey. ''He`s the greatest competitor I`ve seen. He wanted the ball, and he got it. I`m his biggest fan.'' ''Loyola knew we were going to Bonner,'' said St. Louis coach Rich Grawer. ''The crowd knew it. Loyola double-teamed him. Still he scored.'' Bonner popped jumpers from the key. He whirled left or right and drove for layups. ''I knew I wanted to take over,'' said Bonner. ''Keir Rogers and Keith Gailes were lighting it up for them. We were behind.'' His Jordanesque splurge, Bonner explained, was a matter of taking advantage of mismatches. ''Rogers (6-4, 180) is a great defensive man, but a lot shorter and smaller,'' said Bonner. ''I could shoot the jumper over him, or if he favored me left or right, I was confident I could go the other way. When they put a bigger man on me, he was a lot slower. It was really no contest. I`d take it to the basket.'' Bonner`s show spoiled noteworthy performances by several Ramblers. Rogers hit 8 of 11 shots, three from three-point range, and scored 30 before he fouled out. Gailes had three three-pointers among his 23 points. Freshman Brian Wolf scored 16 and knocked down two of his three three-pointers in a run that gave Loyola a 71-58 lead. Rob Mizera, 6-6 walk-on, battled Bonner as tough as he could. And 5-9 Donny Sobczak went 9 for 10 from the foul line and hit a season-high 11 points.
  14. Duncan sounds like the opportunistic, physical kind of player who excels in Team Blue. Coach Ford likes these kinds of players and the physical brand of basketball we play, lets them shine.
  15. This may be the worse year ever, to come out of school early and try to go pro. There is greater uncertainty in the non NBA leagues, who knows what international teams and leagues will do. There would likely be a lot of already graduated players and unemployed pros looking at whatever opportunities are available. It is a good year to finish your degree and improve your pro resume. Could an injury happen, sure. A career ending injury could also occur in the first or second year of a non NBA play, and the player may wish he had finished his last year of free education and had that degree in his pocket. I don't know what the family education history is for Goodwin or French, but many division 1 players are the first ones in their families to get college degrees. That is a great accomplishment. Goodwin and French both also have the opportunity to put their names way up in the record books. Some day, 60 year old French could be at a Billiken game and say to his grandson; Do you know who holds the all time record for blocked shots? Or better yet better yet, be at a Billiken game with his grandson where he is called out on the floor and recognized as the all time career leader in blocked shots. Its one thing to be a lottery pick, but there are bigger things than chasing B league money. When I reflect on my life, it isn't the money that I count among my greatest accomplishments. This season also has great potential to be something special. French and Goodwin are positioned to have big seasons, the team is more talented and balanced, and defenses won't be able to just key on them like they have in the past. They came to SLU, to turn around this program and lay the foundation for Team Blue. This year, they can finish what they started.
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