Billikens face uphill challenge - KMOV.com

Billikens face uphill challenge

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College Basketball: NCAA Playoffs: Saint Louis coach Jim Crews during game vs Louisville at Amway Arena
Orlando, FL 3/22/2014
CREDIT: Bill Frakes (Photo by Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X157954 TK1 ) By Bill Frakes College Basketball: NCAA Playoffs: Saint Louis coach Jim Crews during game vs Louisville at Amway Arena Orlando, FL 3/22/2014 CREDIT: Bill Frakes (Photo by Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X157954 TK1 ) By Bill Frakes

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Jim Crews has his work cut out for him this season. The St. Louis U. head coach lost all of his starters to graduation, and a total of six seniors - Dwayne Evans, Kwamain Mitchell, Rob Loe, Jordair Jeff, Mike McCall, Jr. and Jake Barnett. That group led the Billikens to 19 wins in a row last year, three straight NCAA tournament appearances, and an 81-22 record over the past three seasons. 

 
“That’s kind of the college way,” said Crews. “The guys that just graduated were tremendous for us, but they’re going to do bigger and better things in their lives than play SLU basketball. And that’s how it should be.”
 
Crews recruited seven freshmen and added a couple of walk-ons to the roster. Getting that group up to speed quickly will be a major challenge for the coach and the players.
 
“This stuff really comes at you hard,” said 6’9” freshman forward Brett Jolly. “It’s just so fast. It’s kind of hard to grasp it all with just three hours of practice.”
 
“It just all comes at us freshmen,” said freshman guard Davell Roby. “We don’t have time to dwell on it. We just have to pick it up quickly and keep moving.” 
 
With such a young team, and no returning superstar to count on, Crews isn’t about to predict a fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance. Right now, he’s trying to coach with the big picture in mind. 
 
Crews said, “We just work on the fundamentals. On how we want to think, how we want to approach things, respond to things, try to develop good habits. The scoreboard will take care of itself. It has the past couple of years.”
 
Crews still has more than three weeks to get his young team ready for the start of the season. They open on November 15th at home against SIU-Carbondale. 
 

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