Oregon v Saint Louis

Saint Louis removes head coach Jim Crews’ interim tag

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The wait is finally over at Saint Louis.

The school has officially removed the interim tag of Jim Crews, making him the head coach after Crews led the Billikens to a 28-7 record (13-3 Atlantic 10) and the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament titles.

Crews was named interim head coach when poor health forced the late Rick Majerus to step down, and all Crews did was lead a veteran-laden team to one of the best seasons in the history of the program.

Saint Louis fell to Oregon in the NCAA tournament round of 32, but while the end of the season was a disappointment for SLU the loss doesn’t negate what Crews and the team accomplished.

But the time in which it took SLU to come to a decision regarding Crews’ status raised eyebrows within the city, and the school was criticized for seemingly dragging its feet on the matter.

Moving quickly would have allowed Crews and his coaching staff greater momentum as it tried to compensate for lost time recruiting. As is, an announcement today falls within a week of next Wednesday’s national signing day.

SLU has instead taken more than twice as long to extend Crews than UCLA needed to offer its post to three outsiders. (Coincidentally, three coaches whom Crews’ team beat in six of six games.)

Saint Louis loses three key contributors from this season’s team in guard Kwamain Mitchell and forwards Cody Ellis and Cory Remekun.

And with four more players being seniors next season, the work Crews and his staff does on the recruiting trail (especially the 2014 class) will be very important when it comes to the long-term prospects for the program.

Currently SLU has two commitment in the 2013 class, 6-5 small forward Mike Crawford (Tipton, Ind.) and 6-8 power forward Reggie Agbeko (Buffalo, N.Y.).

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.