He’s the thing…I graduated college in 2004 and have no idea how semesters or quarters work at a private institution like St. Louis University…i’m a state school kid. So, i’m giving my SLU grades now…with 8 games left in the regular season…and despite my repeated unanswered emails to the chancellor…these grades will count for a collective zero credit hours.
I never understood what a “bell curve” was… Tepen and Beckmeyer tried to explain it back at Mizzou a few times, but to no avail… so these are straight up old school A through F grades.
The Billikens are one of the best defensive teams in the nation…seriously. If their offense was just adequate they would be a top 20 team. With Javon Bess in discussions for A-10 defensive play of the year talks, and Hasahn French on pace to break every Billiken career rebound and blocks record, this team is stout 1-5 on D…but dat offense tho….
If there was a grade worse I would use it. The only reason this team isn’t 22-1 is because they cannot shoot.
Case and point.
Loss Margin of Defeat Missed Throws Missed 3’s
Pitt 2 6 10
SIU 5 5 20
Houston 4 9 13
Duquesne 4 3 18
Davidson 1 7 16
Richmond 3 5 15
Rhode Island 11 10 6
Seriously… SLU has only been truly beaten once… they flat out beat themselves 7 times this season. 7 TIMES. It does not matter how many times you stop a team on defense if you miss on your very next possession.
Defense and rebounding are the only things that stop SLU from shooting their way to A-10 oblivion. This squad flat out gets after it on the glass. French, Bess, and Goodwin lead the way and constantly battle it out for the rebound chain. Despite their offensive woes, there is ZERO quit in this team. ZERO, From buzzer to buzzer they are working their asses off and you can see it in these rebounding stats.
Individual Grades for the Big 3
Jordan Goodwin- B+
J-Good is non-stop. He is a physical and vocal force on all 94 feet. Bess is the Alpha Dog now, but Goodwin is laying in wait. The only thing between Goodwin and the NBA is a consistent shot. If he becomes a consistent shooter from deep, and the line, he will be a contributor on an NBA playoff team in 3-4 years.
Hasahn French- B
Hasahn is a helluva rebounder and defender. He has a great attitude, work ethic, and is a great teammate. His only downfall is his work at the charity stripe. For his career he is shooting 35.3%. Once he graduates I have no doubt he will at least get to the G-League. His issue is not without precedent. Andre Drummond is a similar player and was a sub 40% free throw shooter for 5 years in the NBA. If French can just get himself in the 60% range like Drummond he will get some run in the league. As for this season, he would be an A+ and be putting up Anthony Bonner type numbers if he could just get his free throws together.
Javon Bess- A-
Javon will play in the NBA. He is the next DeMarre Carroll. He can defend the 1, 2, or 3 at the next level right now. He is the leader of these Bills and the all-around best player in the A-10. He plays all 40 minutes and all 94 feet at maximum effort and efficiency. He has bettered his jumper. The only thing he still needs to add to his game is NBA level handles. The rest is complete, it just needs slow and steady improvement.
Travis Ford- C-
I like Coach Ford a lot. He is open, respectful, and a seemingly all around good man. The issue, this is the same exact team as last year except the fact that Javon Bess is a much improved offensive player, and Fred Thatch is a better all-around player than Aaron Hines. That is it. Tramaine Isabell Jr. is basically the same player as Davell Roby, KC Hankton appears to be Jalen Johnson 2.0 with far less minutes played. The offense outside of the improvement of Bess and the occasional 3-point hits from Dion Wiley has not improved in any way shape or form. They still run a weave to burn 8 seconds off the shot clock every play that results in the ball being pretty much exactly where it started, and they still struggle to reach 65 points on a nightly basis. The old saying goes, nothing changes if nothing changes. And from my vantage, nothing has changed in the offensive approach of this program.
This team has a shot to go to the dance, and it has an equal chance of going out in the first round of the NIT. It all has to do with shooting. Free throws and threes. The pain and frustration of knowing how close you are to being what you’ve dreamed of, but you just can’t reach that next rung has to be eating at every young man on that roster. But, despite that, I know that this team will not quit, they will not stop. They will grind and grind until every last drop of sweat falls upon polished hardwood. And that is my kind of team.
Let’s all sit and try to enjoy a true blue collar squad. They are worth your time, and you won’t regret it.
Until the dance… long live the bell curve