Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Players Didn't Earn More Floor Time, Crews Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

SLU Players Didn't Earn More Floor Time, Crews Says

Article excerpt

The decision by basketball coach Jim Crews to start the season using the entire 12-man roster was an indication that a hierarchy had yet to develop within the St. Louis University roster.

That pronouncement wasn't surprising given the turnover in personnel. And Crews made good on his promise to play everyone, including all six freshmen, when the Billikens opened in November.

The approach continued into December and changed little with the start of the Atlantic 10 schedule in January.

Ultimately Crews did something that is difficult to pull off, as all 12 Billikens averaged at least 10 minutes for the majority of the season. In the end, only Tanner Lancona dipped below at 9.8.

The inability to settle on a shorter player rotation stemmed from a lack of consistency in performance, Crews said. That never changed as SLU finished with a five-game losing streak and an 11-21 record.

"You have to earn things," Crews said. "No one earned enough to do it consistently. If I say we're going with these eight but they're not consistently providing help-side defense or they're turning the ball over, why keep doing that? You have to earn your minutes. We didn't have enough consistency to earn minutes."

Crews said the one exception was junior guard Ash Yacoubou, who led the Billikens in minutes played. Crews used all 12 players in 20 of 32 games and concocted 11 starting lineups.

Players who missed entire games or played minimal minutes during brief stretches of the season sometimes found themselves starting soon after. Some players would start and then see their minutes reduced dramatically.

"It's good from the standpoint that a lot of guys got experience," Crews said. "I don't think if we had done it a different way it would have been better. The bad thing is it's hard to get a rhythm from an offensive standpoint. So, probably there are pluses in terms of the big picture. In the short term it's not good."

SLU struggled at both ends of the floor. The Billikens were last in scoring and field goal percentage defense in the A-10. They were next to last in rebound margin.

With freshmen getting slightly more than half of the playing time, the growing pains were not unexpected. …

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