Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Next Year's Bills: `Different Look,' but Still Gazing at 20 Victories

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Next Year's Bills: `Different Look,' but Still Gazing at 20 Victories

Article excerpt

Jamal Johnson often fantasized about wearing a St. Louis University basketball uniform this season instead of having to wait for next season.

If only he could have provided a slamming, jamming option against Wake Forest instead of having to sit out a season after transferring from Miami.

"I was happy for the guys and how everything went, but there were times I wanted to help balance the team a little more," Johnson said. "It would have been great to play one season with them.

"I still think we can go to the NCAA Tournament next year, though. It'll be hard, of course. We should win 20 games. And with Spoon, well, I think the man can coach. He's shown that."

Next season could prove that to any remaining skeptics.

Coach Charlie Spoonhour will lose eight seniors from this season's SLU squad. That includes four starters, the heart of a team that won 46 games and went to the NCAA Tournament the last two years.

The only significant returnees will be 6-foot-5 Jeff Harris, a starter who grabbed 22 rebounds in two NCAA tourney games last week, and reserve point-guard Carlos McCauley, who played about 11 minutes a game.

Harris probably will start at one forward. Joining him along the front should be Johnson and junior college transfer Tyrone Caswell. Johnson, 6-7 and 220 pounds, has the kind of athletic skills that could lead to a pro career after his one season with the Billikens. Caswell, a muscular 6-7 lad from East St. Louis, will be coming off a shoulder injury. SLU coaches don't expect that to affect his powerful scoring and rebounding abilities.

Teammates might have to tie McCauley up and stick him in a closet to wrestle the starting point guard spot away. He knows the system, has a strong defensive presence and hinted improved offense at season's end. Corey Frazier, once a teammate of McCauley at Charleston (Mo.) High, could claim the other starting guard position. …

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