Saint Louis University now has three available basketball scholarships for the 2017-18 season with Austin Gillmann having walked away from the sport.
Head coach Travis Ford‘s prolific recruiting ability has led to plenty of excitement surrounding the Saint Louis Billikens basketball program over the past year. One of the unfortunate, often overlooked aspects of the frantic recruiting process is that there ends up being an extremely high turnover rate among the players already in place.
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Stu Durando first reported on Friday morning, center Austin Gillmann has left the basketball program:
Gillmann joins center Matt Neufeld and swingman Zeke Moore as players who have departed the SLU basketball program this offseason, and when you factor in Marcus Bartley, Milik Yarbrough, Miles Reynolds, and Brett Jolly–all of whom departed within the six months following the hiring of Ford–he’s the seventh player to leave the program under Ford’s watch.
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Gillmann is apparently walking away on his own terms, and it’s unlikely that he would have played much during his senior year, but it’s still unfortunate to see him leave the program just before his senior season. As a product of Oakville High School in St. Louis, Gillmann could have become the first St. Louis area native since Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell III (both from the class of 2008-09) to start his collegiate career at SLU and play four seasons for the Billikens. Aaron Hines (Parkway North) could technically still accomplish that feat this season, though he came in as a transfer from John Wood Community College.
Gillmann’s departure is also another black mark on Jim Crews‘s 2014 recruiting class. Bartley, Yarbrough, Reynolds, Jolly, and Gillmann were all members of that six-man class, and now the last man standing is guard Davell Roby, who’s set to enter his senior season this fall.
With an extra scholarship available, the Billikens are free to pursue quite a few players that they’ve expressed interest in during the spring recruiting process. The Billikens have hosted South Florida transfer Luis Santos and high school recruits Khalea Turner-Morris, Javon Pickett, and Isaiah Whaley on campus. They’ve also expressed interest in Mizzou transfer Frankie Hughes, according to KSDK’s Frank Cusumano.
Depending on how many new recruits they’re able to bring in, it’s possible that they could also extend a scholarship offer to walk-on point guard Aaron Hines, who started the Billikens’ final 24 games in 2016-17, averaging 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and a team-best 3.3 assists per game during Atlantic 10 play.