FOR OPENERS: The Billikens will inaugurate basketball at Chaifetz Arena on Friday, Nov. 14, in a 7 p.m. game against Missouri-St. Louis. The game begins a three-game homestand for SLU in its first season at the new facility.
CHAIFETZ ARENA: The new Chaifetz (SHAY-fetz) Arena debuts in 2008. The $81 million arena has a seating capacity of 10,600 and is located on the SLU campus along Laclede Avenue west of Compton Avenue. Chaifetz Arena functions as a true multipurpose campus events center, hosting a myriad of SLU events including men's and women's basketball, volleyball, commencement, cultural events, conferences and conventions. The arena houses the department of athletics offices as well as Chaifetz Pavilion, a practice facility for the basketball and volleyball teams. The building is named for Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, who donated a $12 million naming gift to the University. Dr. Chaifetz is a 1975 SLU grad and is chairman and CEO of ComPsych Corporation.
HEAD COACH Rick Majerus: Rick Majerus begins his second season as head coach of the Billikens. He has a 21-year career mark of 438-162 and has never had a losing season. Majerus has taken 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament and four to the NIT. His .730 career winning percentage ranks 13th among active coaches.
RETURNING VETERANS: Four letterwinnners return to the men's squad, led by the senior guard tandem of Kevin Lisch (Belleville, Ill. / Althoff) and Tommie Liddell III (East St. Louis, Ill. / Hargrave Military). Lisch led the 2007-08 team with 14.6 ppg, 63 3-pointers and 97 assists, while Liddell added 12.3 ppg and is the squad's leading returning rebounder at 4.3 rpg. Senior forward Barry Eberhardt (Inkster, Mich. / Coffeyville CC) returns after averaging 6.0 points and 3.9 boards. Sophomore guard Paul Eckerle (Washington, Mo. / St. Francis Borgia) played in all 31 games and sank 22 3-pointers en route to 3.8 ppg as a freshman.
FRESH FACES: The Billikens brought in the largest freshman class in school history with eight talented newcomers. The class was ranked in the top 40 nationally by recruiting service Scout.com, and Rivals.com considered SLU's class the second best in the A-10. Guard Kyle Cassity (Pinckneyville, Ill. / Pinckneyville) was an All-State selection after averaging 20 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Six-foot-six forward Brian Conklin (North Eugene, Ore. / North Eugene) was a two-time All-State selection in Oregon and was the 5A Player of the Year. Guard Ruben Cotto (Alton, Ill. / Alton) averaged 22.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg and was a first-team All-Metro selection, while Femi John (St. Louis, Mo. / McCluer North) helped his high school squad reach two state championship games, winning the 2007 crown. Guard Daniel Lisch (Belleville, Ill. / West) becomes the third member of his family to play for the Billikens. Point guard Kwamain Mitchell (Milwaukee, Wis. / Dominican) was the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year and set the school career scoring record. Six-foot-nine forward Willie Reed (Kansas City, Mo. / Bishop Miege) was rated the No. 32 forward in the country as a junior, and 6-foot-10 center Brett Thompson (Vienna, Ill. / Vienna) was a first-team All-State selection after setting school records for career points and rebounds.
PRESEASON AWARDS: The Atlantic 10 Conference announced that Saint Louis University senior guards Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell III were named to the league's preseason men's basketball All-Conference teams. In a poll of the league's coaches, Lisch was named to the first team and the All-Defensive squad, while Liddell was selected to the second team.
LAST YEAR: In their first year under head coach Rick Majerus, the Billikens posted a 16-15 overall mark, 7-9 in the Atlantic 10. Kevin Lisch earned third-team All-Conference and All-Defensive team honors.
ACADEMIC AWARDS: Kevin Lisch, a potential Academic All-American, was named to the A-10 Academic All-Conference team in 2007-08. He also will look to become the third straight Billiken to be selected to the NACDA I-AAA Scholar-Athlete team after Luke Meyer was honored following the past two seasons.