Much has been said of the job Jim Crews is doing at Saint Louis, where he’s operating as the Billikens’ interim head coach following Rick Majerus’ death.
UE’s former coach only added to that conversation Sunday when 16th-ranked Saint Louis beat Virginia Commonwealth 62-56 in the Atlantic 10 tournament’s title game. The Billikens, already the A 10’s regular-season champion, enter the NCAA tournament with a 27-6 record.
“There’s no negatives in coach Crews. Zero,” said UE coach Marty Simmons earlier this week. “He has no weakness. He’s a passionate, comparing, loving person, No. 1. That’s what, when you have to step into a role that he was asked to do over there, I think those qualities away from coaching have helped him be able to deal with some of the very, very difficult things he’s had to deal with over there with coach Majerus deciding not to coach and then his passing.
“He’s just a great, great person. Then you add that he’s a basketball encyclopedia, and the way he understands the game of basketball and people and the way he’s able to teach – he’s a tremendous teacher – and he uses basketball to teach things about life. He’s such a well-rounded person that I think all those qualities and traits are what make him so special.”
Bracket projections have Crews’ squad anywhere from a three to five seed in the NCAAs, where the former UE coach will guide a team for the first time since the Aces went in 1999.