Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Midnight Sunrise Billikens Start New Era; Will Sky Be the Limit?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Midnight Sunrise Billikens Start New Era; Will Sky Be the Limit?

Article excerpt

Midnight Madness has turned into a social event for former Billikens, a place to see and be seen.

They were all around the fringes of the floor at Bauman-Eberhardt gym early Sunday, when about 2,000 folks watched St. Louis University's rollicking season-opening practice.

Roland Gray, Erwin Claggett, Carl Turner, David Robinson and Anthony Bonner drew largely polite applause, though. They are yesterday's SLU news.

A mostly new crew teased the crowd with some exciting, dazzling possibilities.

It all began at 12:01 a.m., when 5-foot-8 freshman J.J. Halliburton led the line of Billikens through the center doors and onto the court. Fans filled the small building with head-ringing noise, but they pumped up the volume even more when Halliburton did a series of backflips.

"I liked that," said Charlie Spoonhour, still a diehard Cardinals fan as he starts his fourth season as SLU's coach. "It was that Ozzie Smith kind of thing, so that was fun. I was just worried if he had practiced it enough to do it.

"I guess he might do that at Kiel sometime. We'll have to see."

Spoonhour is taking a wait-and-see approach with several other more pressing Billikens issues. Such as: The starting lineup. Roles. Shot selection. Wins and losses.

He's got eight new players. The Bills lost their top five scorers and four starters from a squad that went 23-8, earned a second successive NCAA Tournament berth and won a tourney game. SLU fans won't want to forget the work of Claggett, Robinson, Scott Highmark and H Waldman.

But even in a loose, entertaining hour workout Sunday morning, these fresh Billikens showed they will be different yet not necessarily less successful.

They put on a flashy dunk show. Jamal Johnson, Tyrone Caswell and Donnie Adkins jammed in one caffeine jolt after another for the crowd.

In a frequently choppy scrimmage, the Billikens provided some early hope for the pessimistic. Caswell, 6 feet 7 and 230 pounds, sets a mean screen. Halliburton is quick. …

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