Big Weekend For The Billikens

The future of the Saint Louis University basketball team will get a glimpse of the present squad this weekend. Four of the five high school seniors who have already committed to the Billikens will be on campus this weekend.

Brett Thompson, Kwamain Mitchell, Brian Conklin and Femi John are all making official visits to SLU this weekend.

The only player of the five prospects who have already pledged to sign with Rick Majerus who was not making an official visit this weekend is power forward Willie Reed.

Recruiting target Kyle Kuric, a shooting guard from Evansville, Ind., was scheduled to make a visit but decided not to, according to sources. Kuric is now likely to choose between Louisville, where his sister plays soccer, and Southern Illinois.

Thompson, a 6-foot-11 center from Vienna, Ill., became the first commitment for Majerus in the Class of 2008 when he pledged in May. Thompson averaged 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game as a junior and picked the Billikens over Iowa State, Alabama and Indiana.

When we talked to Thompson in July, he was excited about the direction of the program as Majerus and assistants Porter Moser and Angres Thorpe were getting verbal commitments from several players.

"It's been kind of cool," Thompson said. "With me committing, I guess it's helped some of the other recruits commit."

Mitchell, a 6-1 point guard from Dominican in Whitefish Bay, Wis., became the third commitment (following Thompson and Reed) when he pledged in June. He averaged 19.3 points per game as a sophomore and 16.4 points per game as a junior.

"Kwamain Mitchell is going to be the leader of this crew, probably from Day 1," said Dave Telep,'s National Recruiting Director. " … He's a very trustworthy guy at that position. He will get in the paint and make things happen."

John, a 6-4 shooting guard from nearby McCluer North High School, became the fourth member of the class when committed in late June. He averaged 15.3 points per game as a junior when he helped lead McCluer North to the school's first basketball state championship.

"You want to play for a winner," John said when he committed. "That's the name of the game. You want to play for a winner. SLU has a great education, a new arena and it's at home. What more could you want? I'm looking forward to winning. I'm excited."

Conklin, a 6-8, 225-pound forward from North Eugene, Ore., committed in early July without ever having visited the Saint Louis University campus. He averaged 19.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and four assists per game and was named The Oregonian's Class 5A player of the year after leading his team to the Oregon state championship.

"I figured I'd almost be crazy to pass up an opportunity to play for Coach Majerus," Conklin said at the time.

So as the Billikens prepare for the 2007-08 season, four recruits who will join the team the following season will have an opportunity to spend some time together on campus this weekend and get to know each other.

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