Jayson Tatum Chooses Duke


Moral victories are a figment of our imaginations. They leave the same taste in your mouth as a bad loss does. And they surely don’t fix programs.

Therefore, when Jayson Tatum announced his decision to go to Duke, the SLU coaching staff and community were left with a bad taste in their mouth. He was supposed to be the savior, staying home to resurrect a program him and his family have been a part of for two decades.

But he didn’t. He chose the powerhouse team with the Hall of Fame coach. And he can’t be blamed. Duke will mold him into a superstar, while SLU might have stunted his growth. Faced with the same choice, could any of us turn down the chance to play under a 5 time NCAA champ, and two-time Olympic gold medalist? Doubtful. For a young man, that’s a priceless opportunity, and a choice Tatum had to make.

More from St. Louis Billikens

For SLU, Tatum’s answer raises more questions. How can they become competitive again? Was throwing all chips in Tatum sweepstakes worth missing out on other recruits (Tyler Cook)? What’s Jim Crews’ future?

First, the only thing they can do is get back to work. Milik Yarbrough developed into a leader, and star last year, but needs to increase his skill, versatility, and basketball IQ. He forms a nice core with Marcus Bartley, Mike Crawford, and Davell Roby, but they lack a big man with any sort of drive and intensity.

Next, going all in for Tatum was a chance the Billikens had to take. They needed a program-changer, not necessarily “just another piece”.

Finally, Jim Crews did what he had to do. He was bold with his commitment to Tatum, and pulled out all the stops. He knew what they needed, and he pursued it with courage. But in the end, it wasn’t enough. And because of that, the ice beneath his feet is thinner. If they can’t rebound from a poor season next season, can we view Crews as the long term solution? In my opinion, it’s time to move forward. It’s been fun while it lasted, coach, but unfortunately, moral victories don’t improve the win percentage.

Next: Carlos Martinez Deserved All-Star Selection to Begin With