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“Team Blue” is Growing

(St. Louis, MO) –Team Blue‘ is a slogan they throw around at Saint Louis University, like Donald Trump throws around ‘Make America Great Again’. Second year Billiken coach Travis Ford is in constant pursuit of togetherness, discipline, brotherhood, accountability, connection and trust.

Javon Bess – slubillikens.com

Team Blue‘ isn’t a mantra for Ford, but rather a life-style. That is why the alleged sexual assault scandal involving several of his players is particularly galling, disturbing and heart-breaking. Three SLU players are yet to play in a contest this season and are believed to be the ‘defendants’ in an alleged sexual assault situation on September 24th. For information on that side of SLU basketball, follow Stu Durando at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

You can’t be around Ford, the winner of 355 college games (18-27 at SLU) and a former Kentucky Wildcat player, without picking up his passion for the game, his team and the development of young men. He is energetic, sincere and candid in his conversations.

After a recent game against Southeast Missouri, Ford spoke to the importance of older players mentoring the younger ones. Freshman Jordan Goodwin (this week’s A-Ten ‘Rookie of the Week‘) also talked about the value of having senior Davell Roby ‘take him under his wing’.

 

 

Ford, who took the SLU coaching reins after eight seasons and five trips to the NCAA Tournament at Oklahoma State, is unrelenting when talking about how he wants his players to grow as people, become a brotherhood and to support and help one another.

When speaking with recent Billiken signee Cart’Are Gordon (Webster Groves High School) the future SLU player immediately said those themes are the kinds of things that drew him to the Billiken program. After a recent win over Murray State, Ford brought up the ‘Team Blue‘ theme and talked about his players voluntarily showing up for extra work. He says the team members are learning to trust one another.

 

 

SLU (7-6) has won three of its last four games and is still playing short handed. Adonis Henriquez, Jermaine Bishop and Ty Graves are rumored to be the players under investigation and are yet to appear in a Bills’ uniform. Graves would not have been eligible the first semester due to transfer rules, whether he is part of the Title IX investigation or not. Elliot Welmer has been side-lined all season with an injury. Many nights the Bills have gone into games with just 7 or eight available players.

Freshmen Goodwin and Hasahn French are emerging as dependable contributors. Michigan State transfer Javon Bess is reliable and the team’s leading scorer and Roby seems to turn it on in the second half of every game. Sophomore Jalen Johnson is a deep threat.

As SLU opens conference season with two road games (La Salle and Davidson), they seem to be learning their roles, growing in confidence and understanding what it means to be a part of ‘Team Blue.’

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