7. A SLU Basketball Renaissance Under Travis Ford
It’s already another lost season for Saint Louis University basketball. Travis Ford’s team, which features just nine available scholarship players, is 4-9 through their first 13 games with little hope for improvement during the conference schedule. The Billikens’ backcourt has major issues with shot accuracy, and they’re not an exceptionally aggressive defensive team.
That could all change in 2017-18, though. Most significantly, Ford has recruited four Division I transfers: former Rutgers forward D.J. Foreman, Michigan State castoff Javon Bess, and UCF transfer Adonys Henriquez, all of whom will be eligible to play at the beginning of next season, and former Boston College point guard Ty Graves, who committed earlier this week and will become eligible next December. Foreman, Bess, and Henriquez are already said to be the three most talented players on the team, and with a full year of development in Ford’s system, their potential is sky-high.
In addition, the expectations are high for incoming freshman guard Jordan Goodwin, a four-star prospect from Belleville Althoff High School who ESPN ranks as the 56th-best player in his class. Four-star forward Hasahn French will also join the program and has a chance to immediately take over for departing senior Reggie Agbeko, who has arguably been the Billikens’ best player this season.
While there won’t be an exceptional amount of depth, the Billikens should have enough talent in their starting lineup to make a serious NCAA tournament run. With a coach like Ford who has experience leading a big-time program, SLU is overdue for a postseason berth, as this will almost surely be the third straight year that they haven’t even been close to making the tournament.
If the Billikens can at least return to being competitive next season, it should make for a very exciting 2018-19 season, as the arrival of current high school junior Carte’are Gordon could immediately vault them into national championship contention.