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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.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.