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So he did, all this basically means that Crews could not develop talent even if it was present

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1 minute ago, moytoy12 said:

It was a free article so posting the Q&A part:

What is Saint Louis’ ceiling for this year? Will they build upon their conference tournament run from last year or take a step back after losing some key seniors? — Andy T.

Here at The Athletic, we strive to be conscious about our college basketball environment. Sometimes that means locally sourcing our Mailbag answers. So I called Saint Louis coach Travis Ford directly for the freshest replies.

You lost some key guys, but you do have some productive guys coming back, where this won’t be their first rodeo. What do you think you have to work with, in terms of what you lost and what you have to replace it?

The makeup of our team is just like total opposites, from last year to this year, as far as experienced to very inexperienced. With that said, with our inexperience, we do have three core guys that played very significant minutes last year that I would compete with any day of the week: Jordan Goodwin, Haassan French and Fred Thatch. These were high-minute guys last year. Jordan and Hasaan have started almost every game since their freshman year, so they’re old juniors. Played in the NCAA Tournament last year. And then Fred Thatch played some major, major minutes in big moments last year and made big plays for us. We think a lot of our success is going to come from those three guys. Not just their play and production, but their leadership. How well they lead these other seven new players we’re putting around him, as well as a couple guys that were hurt last year and didn’t play a lot.

We feel like we’ve improved our team. By the time we hit the NCAA Tournament last year, we were basically playing six, maybe seven guys, and didn’t go past seven. We feel like we’re a lot deeper. We’ve improved our shooting and scoring. We’ve improved our skill level.

When you look at those three core guys, what were the basketball-specific areas for each one to really hone this summer?

Jordan, obviously improving his perimeter shooting as well as his free-throw shooting. That’s the next step for him, and he’s worked very, very hard on it over the summer. Hasaan, obviously free throws, and continuing to expand his game. He’s probably our best one-on-one player off the dribble. His bread and butter is that he’s hard to stop around the rim, but we want to get him away from the rim and be able to take guys off the dribble a little bit. That’s an area we’ve worked on.

And Fred, I think, will make as big a jump as anybody in the country from his freshman year to his sophomore year, stat-wise and what we expect out of him. We’ve just been really impressed with him over the summer, how he’s made strides, how he’s worked on his shooting. We’re expecting him to be a double-digit scorer. Taking the next step as far as, all right, you were a role player last year, and now you’re a guy we’re going to count on to be the best defender in our league. We lose Javon Bess, who was defensive player of the year in the A-10. I think Fred Thatch could be just as good, as a sophomore, defensively, but also jump up and average 14, 15, 16 points a game.

You never know with new guys, but any of them stand out this summer as players who definitely can help you?

All of our freshmen are a little bit different. We have a true point guard in Yuri Collins, which we haven’t had since we’ve been here, that’s really stood out. Gibson Jimmerson is one of the elite shooters in the country coming out of prep school, who’s going to really play a lot of minutes for us, just because he’s 6-5, 6-6 and can really score and shoot it. It stands out on our team. It’s something we need. You got athleticism in D.J. Hargrove.

Probably the biggest surprise of the summer, in that he’s better than we anticipated — and I told him that — is Jimmy Bell. Six-10, 280. He’ll be a major player on our basketball team. Great hands, great feet. Physical presence. He knows he’s big and uses his strength. A guy who embraces who he is. We’ve just been impressed with how he knows how to play. He’s so big, but he moves well. He’s a problem down low. He is a problem. He knows how to score.

We’ve tried to address our needs. We obviously struggled in the past putting the ball in the hole. And we think we’ve improved ourselves in that area.

So what is the ceiling for you guys?

Whenever you add seven new players, it’s obviously about figuring everything out. It’s going to take time. We put together a very tough schedule. But we think, physically and talent-wise, we’re going to be able to compete in what I think will be the best A-10 in the past 10 years. It’s going to be a lot for our team because we’re so young. But if we can get that leadership from those three core guys, then we have a chance. But again, it’s just going to take a while. It’s not going to happen overnight with this team, where last year we got out of the gates on fire.

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Towel....

I don’t think Ford has ever been this positive about a group of players since he’s been here.  

I’m so ready for my 23-8 season prediction  to miss by 10 wins 😂

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Thanks @moytoy12 

I didn't want to quote your entire post.  It does bring to light an interesting issue, who will be the team leader?  Last year Bess and then later on Isabell took charge on the floor.  They set up the offense, and were the two 'go to guys' when we needed them to be.  No one was in the locker room, but I assume Bess had control in there.  We believe Isabell was more of a me first guy, and it paid off in the last half of the season, but was he that way in the locker room?

Who will take over the leadership role in the locker room and on the floor?  Who will be the go to guy?  Choice 1 is Goodwin.  He seems to be vocal enough to be recognized as a leader, but he isn't (based on last year's stats) the guy I want to have the ball in crunch time.  French?  Will he be on the floor at crunch time, when we have the ball with 20 seconds left?   So who is it going to be?  It may take time for this chemistry to develop.

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3 minutes ago, HoosierPal said:

Thanks @moytoy12 

I didn't want to quote your entire post.  It does bring to light an interesting issue, who will be the team leader?  Last year Bess and then later on Isabell took charge on the floor.  They set up the offense, and were the two 'go to guys' when we needed them to be.  No one was in the locker room, but I assume Bess had control in there.  We believe Isabell was more of a me first guy, and it paid off in the last half of the season, but was he that way in the locker room?

Who will take over the leadership role in the locker room and on the floor?  Who will be the go to guy?  Choice 1 is Goodwin.  He seems to be vocal enough to be recognized as a leader, but he isn't (based on last year's stats) the guy I want to have the ball in crunch time.  So who is it going to be?  It may take time for this chemistry to develop.

It doesn;t have to be one guy - I doubt it was last year, to be frank. That main core led last year, and the three will lead this year.

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12 minutes ago, HoosierPal said:

Thanks @moytoy12 

I didn't want to quote your entire post.  It does bring to light an interesting issue, who will be the team leader?  Last year Bess and then later on Isabell took charge on the floor.  They set up the offense, and were the two 'go to guys' when we needed them to be.  No one was in the locker room, but I assume Bess had control in there.  We believe Isabell was more of a me first guy, and it paid off in the last half of the season, but was he that way in the locker room?

Who will take over the leadership role in the locker room and on the floor?  Who will be the go to guy?  Choice 1 is Goodwin.  He seems to be vocal enough to be recognized as a leader, but he isn't (based on last year's stats) the guy I want to have the ball in crunch time.  French?  Will he be on the floor at crunch time, when we have the ball with 20 seconds left?   So who is it going to be?  It may take time for this chemistry to develop.

from a production stand point i agree with the above.  

but from a true leader it was always bess's team imo.   and that is the aspect of bess that will be hardest to replace.   someone will score isabell's points and even bess's points, but to find the glue guy that the guys can look to to hold the team together that is what needs to emerge.   some guys will think they are being that guy, but it is all in presentation and the reception by those they are trying to lead.   for all we know, that true leader might be one of the freshmen.   or of course it might be one of the three returnees that ford is putting out there.   

but for my money, that might be the most important "position" yet to be determined.   

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If thatch scores 14-16 points a game he’s going to be all league 

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5 minutes ago, RiseAndGrind said:

If thatch scores 14-16 points a game he’s going to be all league 

just looking in billiken history, the number of sophomore 14-16 ppg scorers are very few.    this is another gotta see it to believe it.   hope coach ford is right!

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7 minutes ago, billiken_roy said:

just looking in billiken history, the number of sophomore 14-16 ppg scorers are very few.    this is another gotta see it to believe it.   hope coach ford is right!

Agreed. I was just saying if Coach is right - Fred is going to have a hell of a year 

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26 minutes ago, HoosierPal said:

Thanks @moytoy12 

I didn't want to quote your entire post.  It does bring to light an interesting issue, who will be the team leader?  Last year Bess and then later on Isabell took charge on the floor.  They set up the offense, and were the two 'go to guys' when we needed them to be.  No one was in the locker room, but I assume Bess had control in there.  We believe Isabell was more of a me first guy, and it paid off in the last half of the season, but was he that way in the locker room?

Who will take over the leadership role in the locker room and on the floor?  Who will be the go to guy?  Choice 1 is Goodwin.  He seems to be vocal enough to be recognized as a leader, but he isn't (based on last year's stats) the guy I want to have the ball in crunch time.  French?  Will he be on the floor at crunch time, when we have the ball with 20 seconds left?   So who is it going to be?  It may take time for this chemistry to develop.

Goodwin is the leader.  We won't have a go to guy.  You'll see 3-4 guys averaging about the same amount of points.  I think Perkins will eventually become that guy before he graduates based on his athleticism and skillset. 

Long term, Jimerson is a go-to guy from central casting.  He can create space, his range is in the gym and you can't foul him.   He's Perkins successor, IMO.

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4 minutes ago, billiken_roy said:

just looking in billiken history, the number of sophomore 14-16 ppg scorers are very few.    this is another gotta see it to believe it.   hope coach ford is right!

We have had only 10 sophomores average 14 or more ppg.  So yeah, that is a big leap.  (Clags, Boushka, Gray, Highmark, Mitchell, Burden, Liddell, Douglass, Lisch and Wiley)---Bonner was ''only' 13.8 ppg. That's tall cotton for Thatch to get to.  I'm hoping he gets there.

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11 minutes ago, billiken_roy said:

just looking in billiken history, the number of sophomore 14-16 ppg scorers are very few.    this is another gotta see it to believe it.   hope coach ford is right!

If you go back and look at Coach Ford's predictions for players he loves going back to Oklahoma State, you'll see a number of, uh, enthusiastic predictions.  I think the most important thing to take from coach's words is that Fred is going to play near 30 minutes a game.  He loves him some Fred Thatch.  And I'm a pretty big fan too.

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1 hour ago, moytoy12 said:

I

The makeup of our team is just like total opposites, from last year to this year, as far as experienced to very inexperienced. With that said, with our inexperience, we do have three core guys that played very significant minutes last year that I would compete with any day of the week: Jordan Goodwin, Haassan French and Fred Thatch. These were high-minute guys last year. Jordan and Hasaan have started almost every game since their freshman year, so they’re old juniors. Played in the NCAA Tournament last year. And then Fred Thatch played some major, major minutes in big moments last year and made big plays for us. We think a lot of our success is going to come from those three guys. Not just their play and production, but their leadership. How well they lead these other seven new players we’re putting around him, as well as a couple guys that were hurt last year and didn’t play a lot.

We feel like we’ve improved our team. By the time we hit the NCAA Tournament last year, we were basically playing six, maybe seven guys, and didn’t go past seven. We feel like we’re a lot deeper. We’ve improved our shooting and scoring. We’ve improved our skill level.

 

Who the hell is this Ford guy?  Obviously, he does not read this Board!!   Then again, what does he know?  Probably some hack drunk on Blue Koolaid!!

And I do wonder how common it is to have an equal or better team record if, in the off-season, you improve your team, you become deeper, you improve your shooting and scoring which had been a problem and you increase you skill level?   Or when that happens, do you usually drop in the league standings, hope for a .500 record and just looking forward to it being a "fun" and "interesting" growth year? 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

Who the hell is this Ford guy?  Obviously, he does not read this Board!!   Then again, what does he know?  Probably some hack drunk on Blue Koolaid!!

And I do wonder how common it is to have an equal or better team record if, in the off-season, you improve your team, you become deeper, you improve your shooting and scoring which had been a problem and you increase you skill level?   Or when that happens, do you usually drop in the league standings, hope for a .500 record and just looking forward to it being a "fun" and "interesting" growth year? 

 

 

I believe some is coach speak, but a majority of it is authentic enthusiasm.  At the same time, we can have much better parts; yet, have a worse record because of a number of factors (e.g. better conference, delay in cohesiveness, tougher non-conf schedule, etc.).  

The only thing i'm confident of is that we will be much more fun to watch this year. 

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6 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

Who the hell is this Ford guy?  Obviously, he does not read this Board!!   Then again, what does he know?  Probably some hack drunk on Blue Koolaid!!

And I do wonder how common it is to have an equal or better team record if, in the off-season, you improve your team, you become deeper, you improve your shooting and scoring which had been a problem and you increase you skill level?   Or when that happens, do you usually drop in the league standings, hope for a .500 record and just looking forward to it being a "fun" and "interesting" growth year? 

 

 

You can if the OOC schedule is tougher and the conference is improved.  VCU will be a preseason top 25 team and Dayton and Davidson won't be that far behind.

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what i take away from coach ford's enthusiastic talk is he knows he has potential on his hands.   beyond that, i will wait to see it play out.   we all know there are a lot of potholes on the billiken roads that have to be navigated.  always seems like we have more potholes than anyone else.  

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I want to make 2 points:

1. The leader of the team will surely emerge during the season, and it will be the team not us and not Ford that will choose him. Whoever it turns out to be God Bless and all the best.

2. Ford is NOT a guy that  will ever sit on his behind after he gets to 0.500. If we are going to compete, we are going to compete and this is the coach to get us there.

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29 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

Who the hell is this Ford guy?  Obviously, he does not read this Board!!   Then again, what does he know?  Probably some hack drunk on Blue Koolaid!!

And I do wonder how common it is to have an equal or better team record if, in the off-season, you improve your team, you become deeper, you improve your shooting and scoring which had been a problem and you increase you skill level?   Or when that happens, do you usually drop in the league standings, hope for a .500 record and just looking forward to it being a "fun" and "interesting" growth year? 

Whenever you add seven new players, it’s obviously about figuring everything out. It’s going to take time. We put together a very tough schedule. But we think, physically and talent-wise, we’re going to be able to compete in what I think will be the best A-10 in the past 10 years. It’s going to be a lot for our team because we’re so young. But if we can get that leadership from those three core guys, then we have a chance. But again, it’s just going to take a while. It’s not going to happen overnight with this team, where last year we got out of the gates on fire.

I agree.  He must not read this board.  He clearly should know that every player is going to play up to their four year potential on day one and mesh perfectly together.  We're headed for a title baby.  Don't be such a downer Ford.  😁

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28 minutes ago, moytoy12 said:

I believe some is coach speak, but a majority of it is authentic enthusiasm.  At the same time, we can have much better parts; yet, have a worse record because of a number of factors (e.g. better conference, delay in cohesiveness, tougher non-conf schedule, etc.).  

The only thing i'm confident of is that we will be much more fun to watch this year. 

Totally agree.  That's the toughest part about having to try to combat this over optimism.  I'm extremely excited about these guys.  I just don't want to submarine them by saddling the team with expectations that are too high.  But, my excitement for watching a group develop over a few seasons hasn't been higher.

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53 minutes ago, cgeldmacher said:

Whenever you add seven new players, it’s obviously about figuring everything out. It’s going to take time. We put together a very tough schedule. But we think, physically and talent-wise, we’re going to be able to compete in what I think will be the best A-10 in the past 10 years. It’s going to be a lot for our team because we’re so young. But if we can get that leadership from those three core guys, then we have a chance. But again, it’s just going to take a while. It’s not going to happen overnight with this team, where last year we got out of the gates on fire.

I agree.  He must not read this board.  He clearly should know that every player is going to play up to their four year potential on day one and mesh perfectly together.  We're headed for a title baby.  Don't be such a downer Ford.  😁

How well our guys play up to our hopes/expectations and as a unit, and how soon the mesh, is all fair an legitimate topics of debate. Subjective.  I get it.   No right or wrong answers.   We all must wait and see.

But cgeldmacher, you need to admit that we are not as young and inexperienced as you make our team out to be.   Quite possibly Weaver has a horrible year -- but he is not young with no prior experience.   Same with Perkins - he could be terrible this year -- but he is not young and not without post-high school experience.   And Goodwin, French and Thatch each might not take that next step we all want them to take - but they are not young and are not inexperienced either.  Why you and others act like we are going to be lining up 5 kids fresh out of high school and say - now go win the A10 is beyond me.  

 

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13 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

How well our guys play up to our hopes/expectations and as a unit, and how soon the mesh, is all fair an legitimate topics of debate. Subjective.  I get it.   No right or wrong answers.   We all must wait and see.

But cgeldmacher, you need to admit that we are not as young and inexperienced as you make our team out to be.   Quite possibly Weaver has a horrible year -- but he is not young with no prior experience.   Same with Perkins - he could be terrible this year -- but he is not young and not without post-high school experience.   And Goodwin, French and Thatch each might not take that next step we all want them to take - but they are not young and are not inexperienced either.  Why you and others act like we are going to be lining up 5 kids fresh out of high school and say - now go win the A10 is beyond me.  

 

and Jimerson, and Bell had a year of Prep School ball...

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55 minutes ago, Clock_Tower said:

How well our guys play up to our hopes/expectations and as a unit, and how soon the mesh, is all fair an legitimate topics of debate. Subjective.  I get it.   No right or wrong answers.   We all must wait and see.

But cgeldmacher, you need to admit that we are not as young and inexperienced as you make our team out to be.   Quite possibly Weaver has a horrible year -- but he is not young with no prior experience.   Same with Perkins - he could be terrible this year -- but he is not young and not without post-high school experience.   And Goodwin, French and Thatch each might not take that next step we all want them to take - but they are not young and are not inexperienced either.  Why you and others act like we are going to be lining up 5 kids fresh out of high school and say - now go win the A10 is beyond me.  

 

I haven’t given up on Hankton and Jacobs they have one year in.  There are 6 players with college experience and a Juco junior.

A starting line up of French, Perkins, Hankton, Goodwin, and Jacobs does not scare me if Jacobs and Hankton become the players we thought the were when they signed.  My expectations is that Perkins, Jacobs and Hankton would be our shooters.  This is not what I think our starting line up will look like I think Hargrove will start and I cannot wait.

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-fwiw, CBSsports has a top 25 with VCU at #18 and David at #23 

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