The Quest for an Alley-Oop

I’ve been debating whether to publish any posts this year.  But after constant flip-flopping, I was charged $16.99 in late October for this URL and the choice was made for me.

I’m going to do this, at least, once.

 

So, welcome to the first Billibuckets post of the 2017-2018 basketball season.  Let’s go ahead and jump right into passing judgment on pseudo-adults without any skills in actual journalism.

 

What can I expect from the 2017-2018 Billiken Basketball squad?

First, you should expect nothing.  Last year, the Billikens wrapped up a relatively successful (emphasis on relatively) season after being just a bit better than the worst 75 or so D1 programs.  Don’t expect them to finish in a certain standing in the A10; don’t expect them to make some type of post-season tournament; don’t expect them to be over/under some erroneous win count you’ve come up based on the value-add of transfers who wear compression sleeves on their left calf.  Set your expectations low and hope that the team looks vastly different than the one from last year.

“We’re going to play fast, aggressive, energetic basketball.  It’s going to be basketball you want to watch”  – Travis Ford, misquoted, from some time last year.

I sure hope so.  Travis Ford’s best teams have all had something in common with each other:  Fast Tempo and top-of-the-league Free Throw Rate.   In his best seasons at UMass, he ranked 29th (2007) and 4th (2008) in adjusted tempo.  Those ranks are typically reserved for perennial bottom feeders who think a key to the game is more possessions (ie. The Citadel or Greenville College), but Ford had more of a system than just run-and-gun.  It’s run-and-get-the-hell-to-the-free-throw-line.  It’s likely why we saw such little post-play in the Harris-Stowe exhibition (more on this later).  Ford has found success by pushing a fast, drive-and-take-contact style of basketball.  Now that we have a guard who can do both of those things in Goodwin, I’m hoping he returns to what has made him win in the past.

 

Who are these players and who are going to play?

One of the big questions this off-season has been trying to speculate who will get playing time with the influx of new talent.  Let’s take a look at each player:

Aaron Hines,  AKA The Guy That Doesn’t Deserve the Hate:  Aaron Hines will always hold a special place in my heart, all walk-ons do. But, as much as we relied on him last year to take space up on the court, we won’t need that this year.  Aaron Hines is just slightly better than a Grandy Glaze, or Jake Barnett.  And slightly worse than an Austin McBroom (HOLLYWOOOOOD).  He’ll likely only see playing time as a Point Guard, and my guess is he’s 3rd or below on that depth chart.  We have too many bodies this year to justify playing a PG who has a career shooting percentage of 28%.  I still love you, Aaron Hines, please dunk the basketball during Warm-Ups for me.

Adonys Henriques, AKA The Guy That Took Roby’s Spot:  Of all the transfers eligible to play this year, Henriquez has generated the most buzz.  This is a guy who was actually good in a higher quality conference before transferring to SLU (from UCF).  At this point though, that’s all he is: buzz. We didn’t get to see him play in the exhibition, but if he’s able to shoot like Ford talks about, get ready for some raindrops.  He also has remarkable discipline on defense, committing just 1.2 fouls/per 40 minutes and a strong Free Throw pct (73%).

Davell Roby, AKA The Self Proclaimed Leader:  Roby will get a lot of undeserved hate from me this year.  But the moral of the story is that I don’t think Roby is good enough to have the same role that he had last year, and I’m worried about him being able to let that go.  He was the guy last year.  He shot a high clip from three land and was the only one on the court who I trusted with the ball in his hands.  His minutes and usage rate were the highest on the team and he earned that trust from his coach.  And, for that reason, Roby has also earned the right to start this year as a senior.  His 3PT shooting and FT% are enough to keep him on the court, but only so long he checks his ego at the check-in table (get it?).  There were too many ill-advised shots against an NAIA opponent from your senior leader who looked more like a guy trying to keep up with the rest of his teammate’s stat sheets.  He’s also the best on-ball defender on the team.  See? I can be nice.

DJ Foreman, AKA The Continuous Work in Progress:  Not to say that this guy is Agbeko 2.0, but he looked a hell of a lot like that on Saturday night.  His travels weren’t nearly as blatant as Reggie’s used to be, but he still had 3 in only 12 minute of play.  On the flip-side though, he also had 8 rebounds in only 12 minutes of play.  His movement without the ball was less graceful that some of the guys he’ll be competing against for playing time, but it’s really hard to make any judgment on the big men at this point.  Their usage in the Harris-Stowe exhibition was essentially non-existent.  I don’t think Foreman will be a starter and his minutes will likely decreased over the next couple of years, but if he’s only a great rebounder – i’ll take it.

Elliot Welmer, AKA “Oh yea, I remember that guy from last year!”: Welmer is hurt for, I think, the entirety of non-conference play.  I’m too lazy to look into it because I forgot how long it takes to write this crap and I’m getting burned out and I still have like 7 players to go through.  He’ll be a good piece to stretch the floor and he shoots well.  It’ll be interesting to see if, and how, he fits into this offense when he’s healthy (hint: he’s never healthy).

Hasahn French, AKA Holy Shit: I didn’t know basketball players could look small wearing XXL clothing, but holy hell.  French, who was a top 100 recruit this year, will see a lot of playing time in his first year and is going to pop at least 3 basketballs.  I have a feeling a lot of opponent’s game plan is going to center around avoiding Mr. French at the glass.  He doesn’t look incredible polished and will need to work on his discipline, positioning, and confidence, but I have a feeling that will all come pretty quickly.  Against Harris-Stowe, French got the start but didn’t see much of the ball on the offensive end.  But again, that seemed to be more by scheme than anything else.  Ford had the team mostly in a motion offense, but I have to think that a pick-and-roll with Goodwin/French would be pretty effective at times.  Most importantly, French is the only reason I have any hope that I might see that elusive Alley-Oop.

Jack Roboin, AKA Senior Night:  Walk-on from Lake Land Community College.  We will cheer for him when he gets to play in the final 30 seconds of Senior Night in 2019.

Jalen Johnson, AKA Jalen Johnson:  I get the sense that Jalen wouldn’t want a nickname.  He seems like a nice boy who calls his mother after every game to thank her for raising him and tell her he’ll do better next time after dropping 17 points and 8 rebounds.  I like Jalen Johnson a lot and I think he is going to be one of the best players on the team this year.  He’s a guy that is always super-focused.  When he makes a mistake, it’s because he tried really hard at the wrong thing.  He was a big part of last year’s team and I think he’ll continue to be a huge piece of this team moving forward.  Jalen works especially well when he isn’t the focus of the offense and the play can come to him, and that is just what he is going to be on this team.  Expect a fun battle between Johnson and Henriquez on who can toss up more threes, I’m putting both of them at over 140 attempts this year.

Javon Bess, AKA Mr. Minutes: Javon Bess comes to our program by way of Michigan State and Tom Izzo.  He played all but 2 minutes against Harris-Stowe and the argument could be made that he was the best player on the court.  Bess was aggressive on the drive, drawing contact and getting to the line frequently (HEY WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THAT EARLIER).  He only shot 5 for 15 overall and 3 for 9 on the line, but I don’t think that is indicative of what we can expect throughout the season.  He’ll see a lot of time because he can play effectively as a off-ball guard or forward.  Ford calls him a “stat guy” because he quietly puts up solid game numbers, but I think he’ll be a lot more than that by the end of the year.

Jermaine Bishop, AKA The kid that’s not really part of the cool kids but sits with them at lunch and they’re not big enough jerks to tell him to go away but they also don’t invite him over to Ricky’s house to check out Ricky’s parents’ new waterbed: Jermaine Bishop took a medical redshirt last year after playing in the team’s first 9 games.  He spent the remainder of the year dressed in the black sweatsuit alongside all the other highly touted transfers.  Don’t be fooled though, he was associated in clothing only, not in hype.  Bishop will likely start the season as a backup to Goodwin at PG, the position he controlled when he was healthy and before everyone on the team wasn’t terrible.  Bishop does, however,  bring some valuable skills to this Billiken team, most notably his assist rate and free throw shooting abilities.  Bishop ranked 6th and 5th in the A10 in both Assist Rate and Free Throw percentage, respectively.  Surprisingly enough, he also has the 10th highest average GameScore across his BOLD (Billikens of the Last Decade) teammates.  That will be the first and last time I use that lame reference.  The top 5 are Dwayne Evans, Kwamaine Mitchel, Brian Conklin, Jordair Jett, and Mike McCall.  That is to say, Bishop has value, but it’s not the type of value that might increase his playing time.

Jordan Goodwin, AKA Mr. Billiken:  Jordan Goodwin has a legit chance at being one of the best players to put on a Billiken uniform.  As a consensus top 60 recruit and top 10 SG, he’s got both the mental makeup and skill to carry his team and his career to a better basketball future.  The only thing I enjoyed more than Goodwin’s one-handed NBA dunk against Harris-Stowe, was watching him conduct his teammates with the ball in his hands.  He only went 5 for 14 from the field and shot one lonely free throw, but his skill on the offensive side was obvious. He will, however, not be our team’s leading defender.  As polished as Goodwin is, he’s closer to a Junior year Jordair Jett than a ballhander with quick feet, and his defense against Harris-Stowe highlight some areas he could improve.  He also should cut down on the amount of ‘behind the back’ handles when he’s pressured on the ball, but all this will come in time.

Luis Santos, AKA Look At That Giant Guy on the Bench:  Santos is a transfer from University of South Florida eligible to play starting the 2018-2019 season.  He is 6’8 and 250 lbs.

Markos Psimitis, AKA The Greek Freak: Not to be confused with the lesser known Giannis Antekkfaosdugmpou, Markos is a walk-on from Harris-Stowe.  I think he scored a pair of free-throws last year, if I remember correctly.  That was fun.  Give Markos all your love, he won’t play.

Rasheed Anthony, AKA Depth Guy:  These nicknames are really getting lazy, aren’t they?  Rasheed is a graduate transfer from Seton Hall, meaning he is eligible to play immediately.  He’ll be a good depth guy off the bench, but I can’t see him logging more minutes than he did against Harris-Stowe (17) unless there is foul or injury concern.  In fact, the 17 minutes he logged were more than any game he played at Seton Hall.  At 6’9, he’s the tallest member of the team this year and comes from a very respected basketball program.  He certainly has some good experience and he’s done this before:

Ty Graves, AKA Mighty Mouse:  Tyler Graves transferred from Boston College midway through his freshman year.  Because of that, he’ll be eligible to compete starting in January 2018.  Ty Graves is a legitimately good point-guard, and they’ll likely try to find a way to fit him into the rotation.  I just don’t know how they’ll do that.

 

Anything else?  I’m kind of over reading this.

Hey, screw you.  I’m over writing it too, okay?  But there are just three quick things I wanted to add.  First, There are a lot of rotation options that Ford has now that the majority of this team is eligible to play.  And he’s likely to go through a couple of lineups early on the season to get a feel for whats clicking.

But Ford will not run with a deep bench.  Other than his last year at Oklahoma State, Ford typically ranked in the bottom third of bench usage.  And his best teams (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) are even lower than that.

Second, you may have noticed that I mentioned three-pointers a lot in the player profiles, and that was only slightly intentional.  The fact of the matter, is that a lot of our players generate most of their contribution via the three point shot.  Knowing how Ford has had success in the past, it’ll be interesting to see how he shapes his players’ tendencies with his own play book.  The exhibition gave little indication that the offense is defined.

Third, and finally, the new jerseys are fly.

 

Well…until next season, probably….

Go Bills.

 

 

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Ever feel like you don’t belong?

I’m already over writing about the Billikens; there’s only so many times one can waste a Wednesday night having an existential crisis.  I don’t have the energy and you don’t read any of this anyway.

With that in mind, I may try to shift the focus of the blog to general basketball questions that intrigue me.  And although they won’t focus on the Billikens per se, most of these will stem from my desire to understand where the Billikens sit within the broader landscape of D1 basketball.  Other than obvious wins and losses, can we explore how bad the Billikens are through deeper statistics?

First Up:  Which teams are most out of place in their conference?

To answer this question, we will have to set some standards of measurements across both teams and conferences.  First, let’s try to understand what the average team in each conference would look like, keeping in mind an average team in the Big 12 is going to look quite a bit different than an average team in the MEAC.

Stealing some basic principles from KenPom, we’re going to assign each team a “Game Efficiency” rating to standardize the playing field.  Game Efficiency (GmEff) is calculated using Offensive Rating (pts for per 100 possessions) and Defensive Rating (pts against per 100 possessions), both staples of KenPom’s Efficiency Margin which ranks all 351 D1 teams. However, GmEff the also factors in the pace at which the team plays. It’s my opinion that for two teams that are totally equal, the upper hand should be given to the team that traditionally plays at a faster pace. The formula is simple:

((Ortg – Drtg)/100) * AvgPace = GmEff

This formula essentially gives us the point value that each team would either win(+) or lose (-) against an average D1 opponent (average GmEff = 0.00).

Averaging the teams within a conference, we get the below rankings of conferences by GmEff:

Rank Conference Ortg Drtg AvgPace Gm. Eff
1 B12 110.84 93.40 70.24 12.25
2 ACC 111.51 95.07 69.37 11.40
3 BE 110.48 96.02 70.55 10.20
4 B10 108.49 95.45 68.99 8.99
5 SEC 107.00 96.29 70.62 7.57
6 P12 107.59 96.97 71.14 7.56
7 Amer 104.22 98.63 68.35 3.82
8 A10 104.02 99.47 70.32 3.20
9 MWC 103.29 100.33 70.00 2.07
10 WCC 104.98 102.07 69.10 2.01
11 MVC 101.93 99.38 68.37 1.74
12 MAC 103.55 103.09 70.91 0.32
13 CAA 103.14 103.24 68.87 -0.07
14 SB 100.94 102.68 69.62 -1.21
15 MAAC 101.70 103.59 71.05 -1.34
16 Ivy 101.88 103.96 70.09 -1.46
17 CUSA 100.64 103.04 69.80 -1.67
18 Sum 101.34 103.86 70.46 -1.77
19 SC 101.41 104.82 69.35 -2.36
20 Horz 101.02 104.60 72.04 -2.58
21 OVC 101.48 106.38 69.92 -3.43
22 BW 99.12 104.10 69.77 -3.47
23 Pat 99.77 105.22 68.45 -3.73
24 ASun 101.73 106.99 71.25 -3.75
25 WAC 98.65 104.19 70.94 -3.93
26 AE 99.23 106.18 69.96 -4.86
27 BSky 99.60 107.20 69.82 -5.31
28 Slnd 98.96 107.03 71.84 -5.80
29 BSth 97.52 106.17 68.95 -5.96
30 NEC 96.60 107.58 69.15 -7.59
31 SWAC 93.84 109.06 69.27 -10.54
32 MEAC 93.78 109.62 70.54 -11.17

No surprise here (sorry for the plain formatting, couldn’t quite figure it out). I think most people would have the conferences ranked in a similar order. There is, however, two things that I find particularly interesting:

  1.  The number of conferences whose “average” team has a below average GmEff rating (20 out of 32). And
  2. 50% of those conferences actually have above average Offensive Ratings.

Next, let’s figure out who the worst teams are and how they stack up against their conference average to determine who is crowned the Most out of Place (MooP):

MooP Rank Conference Worst Team GmEff (Team) Difference
1 ACC Boston College -1.27 12.68
2 BE DePaul -0.63 10.83
3 A10 Saint Louis -6.76 9.96
4 P12 Washington St. -2.24 9.79
5 Amer Tulane -5.32 9.14
6 WCC San Diego -6.49 8.50
7 MAC Miami OH -8.17 8.49
8 WAC UT Rio Grande Valley -11.97 8.04
9 BSky Northern Arizona -13.23 7.93
10 MVC Bradley -5.85 7.59
11 BSth Longwood -12.69 6.73
12 SEC Missouri 0.85 6.71
13 SC VMI -8.98 6.62
14 Sum Western Illinois -8.13 6.36
15 SWAC Alabama A&M -16.54 5.99
16 B12 Texas 6.41 5.84
17 AE Hartford -10.68 5.83
18 CUSA UTSA -7.25 5.58
19 Ivy Dartmouth -7.02 5.56
20 SB Appalachian St. -6.62 5.41
21 MEAC Florida A&M -16.46 5.29
22 Pat American -8.95 5.22
23 Horz Detroit -7.67 5.09
24 CAA Drexel -5.09 5.02
25 ASun Kennesaw St. -8.75 5.00
26 Slnd Central Arkansas -10.47 4.67
27 BW Cal St. Fullerton -7.66 4.19
28 B10 Iowa 4.86 4.14
29 MAAC Niagara -5.37 4.03
30 NEC St. Francis NY -11.39 3.80
31 OVC Tennessee Tech -7.03 3.60
32 MWC UNLV -1.07 3.14

Ahhhhh, sweet sweet proof.  As expected, SLU (#3) is one of the most out of place teams in basketball, having a GmEff Rating 9.96 points off from the average A10 team.  In fact, they’re 4.5 points off from the second worst team in the A10 (Duquesne). A truly embarrassing discovery.

You’ll notice that the other teams that round out the top four:  Boston College (#1), DePaul (#2), and Washington State (#4), aren’t exactly independently terrible.  In fact, DePaul is a pretty average team, the problem is that they’re in an a conference dominated by good basketball programs and, as an effect, are very much out of place.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is also not a measure of the conference competitiveness.  Just because the UNLV is closest to it’s conference average among all other does not mean that there is a normal bell curve for this data.

In case you were wondering where SLU ranks among all 351 D1 teams, this stat puts them at #302, with a 27 rank gap between the next team in a “top 8” conference (Tulane, Amer, #275).

Good grief. Go Bills.

-billikev

 

 

A bunch of losers.

Let me make something clear.  Just because no one expected the Billikens to be any good does not make this season any less of a disappointment.

The Billikens don’t have a lot of talent, maybe any talent.  The Billikens don’t have any depth.  They look inept on offense and pathetic on defense. These are all things we could have predicted and many actually did.  But I was promised a new attitude, a new culture, more excitement.

One thing is for certain: the Billikens are losers. They have loser players, with loser attitudes, and countless examples to back it up.  The losing culture established by Jim Crews is persistent and annoyingly prevalent.

For those who look for hope in the three transfers sitting at the end of the bench and the top recruits who have pledged their talents, just know that untested quality talent isn’t going to cut it.

Over the last ten years, ZERO teams have had three consecutive seasons with winning percentages under .35 followed by at least two consecutive seasons of moderate success (winning pct >.6).  I’m not saying it won’t happen, I’m just saying it hasn’t happened. Last night, when Kansas State was up by 400 points with under 8 minutes to go, I saw two of their JV guards dive for a lose ball while Jalen Johnson and Davell Roby looked at each other trying to assess blame. THAT is what needs to change; talent is not a catalyst.

Davell Roby simultaneously preaches about leadership to the media while showing none on the court.  A transfer from Harris Stowe unlikely to score a single point this year is the only one who appears to have any pride playing for a D1 basketball program. Our university president wears white new balances with cuffed khakis. The tuba song is played in the first five minutes and not the last five minutes. THAT is what needs to change.

This might be a losing season, but this isn’t a lost season.  Lost seasons are for programs of obscurity and teams defined by their own pitifulness, which can be more damning than a blowout loss to a superior opponent.

I’ll still watch, obviously. But I won’t be looking to see which players might be able to play a role next year.  I won’t be trying to determine which Jim Crews recruit will transfer to a more appropriate league.  I’ll be watching for the tubas.

Go bills.

-billikev

 

Billikens score 124; will be terrible.

By now, I’ve had some time to digest the Billikens’ first game of the season, in which SLU scored 72 points in the second half to defeat Division III opponent Greenville College 124-85.  Don’t let that score confuse you, we will be terrible.

If you knew anything about Greenville College, it’s that they ranked highest in College Basketball in both points scored (112/game) and points given up (110/game) across all divisions.  They don’t play anyone over 6’5 and they press the ball handlers relentlessly; hoping to force a turnover before the ball gets played inside for a remarkably uncontested lay-in. It’s chaos, obviously ineffective, and frustratingly repetitive.

Although this structure of play is unlikely to be seen again this year, the Billikens struggled mightily against a Division III press. By the time the final whistle blew, SLU had accumulated a whopping 27 turnovers on what ended to be 25% of their possessions. SLU already ranked in the bottom 50 of the NCAA in turnover percentage. Let’s hope that a faster paced game does not equate to more ball handling sloppiness.  When the Billikens beat the press and got on the fast break (which was often), points came easy.  Like, Mike Crawford and Gillman both had dunks, easy.  109 of SLU’s 124 points came from a mixture of layups, dunks, or free throws. SLU only made 6 actual jump shots the entire game.  They shot 3-17 from three, with Crawford himself going 0-6 and Roby tossing an airball.

Now, I don’t think SLU will actually go 0-32.  I have them pegged anywhere from 11 to 14 wins and going 3-15 in conference play.  But make no mistake, this year will be tough. Ford will hold his players to a standard that most of them can’t athletically meet, a refreshing strategy but hardly realistic. Ford is establishing a program, and the current roster will be an example of play, not a model for success.

So we have to review this season through a different lens. Is SLU bad because of the game plan? Or because of the talent? Both the responsibility of the coach, but only one that we can realistically assess him on this year.  Now, before we read too much into the first exhibition game of the year, let’s amplify it with some hot takes:

Reggie will lose his starting job to literally anyone

No one enjoys Reggie fumbling around a basketball court more than I do; it’s provided comedic relief over the past two terrible seasons and I thank him for that.  But it’s clear to me that Ford’s focus this season will be individual development and Reggie has reached his peak. When Reggie plays, that means that a combo of Neufeld, Gillman, Welmer, and probably Jalen Johnson are sitting on the bench. And Reggie’s court presence steals some much needed in-game exposure for some of our younger talent. Look, if SLU is competitive, Reggie will play.  He takes high percentage shots and his hustle on the boards add value that bench players can’t duplicate.  But SLU probably won’t be competitive, so it’s not worth benching small potential over fully developed shit. Then again, the term “potential” associated with Neufeld and Gillman makes me giggle.

Aaron Hines will be the primary point guard

There was absolutely zero indication of what the Coach Ford offense would look like when the Billikens took down Greenville. Thinking back, I can’t even think of a time when the Billikens had to set something up on offense?  It was mostly all chaos followed by easy buckets.  That being said, I think Aaron Hines will be leveraged as the primary point guard because of two reasons:

  1. He’s one of the most athletic guys on the team
  2. He can’t play any other position

Don’t get me wrong, both Jermaine Bishop and Davell Roby are plenty able, but they can also play the 2 and 3 position when required. With the inability of our bigs to play fast (jury is still out on Welmer), I think that SLU will be playing with a smaller line-up this year and running like hell. Look for a line-up consisting of Bishop, Roby, & Moore rotating among the 2 and 3 spots, with Bishop owning point when Hines is on the bench.*

*I know nothing about basketball.

Jalen Johnson will shoot so so so much

Jalen Johnson is the only product that Travis Ford can trot out on the court as his own. Signing on as a late recruit last Spring, Jalen Johnson is a guy that can play just about any position on the court.  Seeing as SLU has been terrible at offense, I expect Johnson to shoot a TON this year. And while our good pal, Chris, has already tagged him as his main squeeze because of his ability to walk and be a lefty, I will hold out judgment until probably the first real game of the year. It’s not my style to over-commit on my opinions.

Even more so, Jalen Johnson will be needed a lot this year.  Mike Crawford is fragile and honestly, not a particularly great three-point shooter when he is healthy.  Did you know that Milik Yarbrough, the defected man baby, had a higher 3pt percentage last year than our designated 3pt shooter? What if I said that two of the three categories in which Crawford ranked in the top 2,000 NCAA D1 basketball players were Turnover Pct and Fouls Committed per 40 minutes. His value add (free throws, the other ranked category) is not worth keeping him on the court logging significant minutes.  I have no doubt that Johnson will be given the freedom to become the team’s top scorer, but that feat alone won’t impress the dejected Billiken fanbase.  Our other freshman, Zeke Moore also deserves a shoutout for going 10-10 from free throw, hitting a rare SLU 3 pointer, and throwing down the most athletic home-team dunk in Chaifetz memory.

 

It will be a long year, but remember what recruits are coming in.  All is not lost.  Only 364 more days until next year’s basketball season, gotta toughen up.

zdiav6

Go Bills.

-Billikev

 

 

And he will come again, in glory.

I’ve kind of forgotten how to do this. On top of that, there’s been so much that has happened since our last post that I don’t even know where to begin.

We hired Travis Ford. FOUR sophomores left the program. We added three transfers, an incoming freshman, and one of the best recruits in the region in Jordan Goodwin. There are zero coaches left from the Jim Crews era. And little did I know, the Billiken is actually an amphibious demon here to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

I think for the most part, we’re just going to let those stories pass.  Any commentary we we have is mostly going to be worthlessly dated. Travis Ford was #3 on our “big board” so you can assume we like the hire.  Everything he’s done since he’s taken over as head coach has tickled me.  Those transfers can’t play for another year but I’ve heard they’re making our starters look like Brett Jolly. Wait.

Brett Jolly. Holy shit.

tumblr_maogyciqhd1r5pjkqo1_500

Travis Ford is the best thing to happen to this University since Pestello is forced to recall BINGA BINGA the Billiken in two weeks.

On top of getting rid of Jolly (ICYWW, Jolly moved to Arkansas-Fort Smith, D2), Travis Ford performed effing INCEPTION on one of the top 100 recruits in order to get him to commit to SLU:

 

In case you don’t have any interest in listening to the clip, Jordan Goodwin tells Randy Karraker that the ghost of a Billiken chased him in his dream.  He found himself at Chaifetz arena and knew that where he needed to be – I’m not making that up. That shit is lit.

Ghosty Billiken infiltrating dreams is NEXT LEVEL recruiting strategy.  Pitino can keep his strippers, we have GHOSTY BILLILKEN:

GhostyBill.png

(Side note, I think it’s safe to say: If the Baby Koopa Billiken visited Goodwin, it’s likely that cat would have taken his talents elsewhere.)

One thing that particularly pissed me off about the interview: When asked what Ford did that was “special” or different from other coaches in the recruiting process, Goodwin answered (paraphrasing here): Nothing. But he was at every single one of my games.

Now, why does that piss me off?  You might remember that SAME explanation given by Jayson Tatum for his decision to commit to Duke last year (I KNOW THERE WERE OTHER REASONS, #1 BEING ITS DUKE, STFU).  Arby’s Representative, Jim Crews, decided to coerce Tatum by inviting him to a Billiken Roast over Winter Break, when the student section was empty and you could hear, word for word, the obscenities coming from 208. What a dream environment.

Travis Ford is an absolute workaholic. Unfortunately, we may have another year before we get to see some of the fruits of his labor.  My only request is that he spends about as much time at Webster Groves as he does trying to convince Agbeko that travelling is, in fact, still in the rule book.

Go Bills.

-Billikev

 

Housekeeping Items

Welcome to the new site, we’ve gotten rid of all the noise that existed previously (ie. recent scores, STLToday news feed) and put the focus on our unusually below-average content.  It’s likely you never clicked that crap anyway.

Last year it was easy to get burnt out writing about how garbage our team was and it’s possible that it won’t be any different this year.  But, I can tell you that I’m heading into this season that I’m as amped as I’ve been in a couple of years. If nothing else, I think I have realistic expectations.

Speaking of, I think I’m going to try and do some prediction posts this year as well.  We’re getting away from the Weekly Rant format so we don’t have wait for each other to post content. Don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of passive aggressive bickering between our posts.