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The #ChatWithChaps mailbag: Part 1

For a long time, I have wanted to try a way to more directly respond to some of the questions I see circulating the Billiken landscape. Twitter is an excellent tool for sharing information but isn’t a great platform for nuance or great depth. Questions deserve as many characters as it takes to answer them, so, I will attempt to do what I always do. Provide as much insight into the Billikens as I can.

I am very pleased to also say that in this first call for questions I received more than I could reasonably answer in a single mailbag. So, as the title suggests, there will be a second part coming shortly. The answers here are ones I could answer first, whereas the second grouping needed more contemplation and/or investigation.

On to the question asking.

Chances for an at large? -Brendan

Does SLU have to finish 13-5 in the A10 to have any chance at an at-large bid? -Max

Let’s start with talking about the NCAA tournament.

Despite the loss to Dayton being a “good loss” in that it was less than 10 and positively affected the Billikens NET ranking, it was a loss. After dropping the Davidson and Duquesne games, the Bills really needed a statement win against Dayton to put them back in the race.

Not to say it is impossible, hypothetically yes if they go 13-5, winning 7 straight games and beating VCU and Rhode Island along the way, they have a chance. They would then have to go on another run in Brooklyn and add some statement wins to their resume for them to even be in the conversation. That chance gets better if you get a tournament win over Dayton.

Ultimately that still might not be enough, when considering at-large chances can come down to just how many upsets there are in conference tournaments around the nation. There are only 36 at-large bids to give and in a year where the Big 10 is going to get as many as 12 of those. There may just not be enough to go around for a deep bubble team like SLU.

There is still a chance. It’s a long shot and they don’t control their own destiny, but there’s a chance.

Will Diarra, Hankton, Thatch Jr., and Jimerson redshirt this year? How does that work? -Max

Let’s get this disclaimer out of the way. “Redshirt” is a colloquial term that does not appear in the NCAA guidelines. The NCAA calls what is often times referred to as a “Redshirt” as a Hardship Waiver.

In order to receive a Hardship Waiver, the player needs to have a significant injury or personal circumstance to retain that year’s eligibility and additionally, playing less than 33% or one-third of scheduled games. One aspect of the Hardship Waiver that a source has made me aware of is that the player’s injury has to be deemed “season ending”. If the player can return at any point, the waiver would not be applicable.

Diarra and Hankton don’t match those descriptions. Diarra is not sitting because of an injury, and has appeared in games this year so his year of service is not in question, and Hankton’s injuries are not season ending by any means so he would not qualify (more on him in a moment). If neither had made any appearances, then they simply would have not burned a year of eligibility and a waiver would not be necessary. So, a ‘Redshirt’ would not apply for them

The program has been clear that they will apply for a Hardship Waiver for Gibson Jimerson, and they are confident he will be awarded the waiver and granted another year of eligibility.

Fred’s situation is a little different as the nature of the injury is less clear cut but equally debilitating. Should the remedy to Fred’s aliments become clear and he would suddenly be able to play, he would then become ineligible. My feeling is, at this point, that won’t be the case. He would be eligible for such a waiver and would have an even more rock-solid case than Jimerson, having played in less games.

As it has been explained to me from a reliable source, the Billikens can apply for the waivers at any point and they will be awarded or denied in a timely fashion. It is not as if they have to wait until their senior seasons for the application to take place. The Billikens plan to apply for these waivers at the end of this season, so it won’t be too long relatively until we know the fates of these players’ status.

Javonte Perkins. When will he start? -The WestPineBills

Probably next year.

That’s likely not the answer you were looking for, but I will say this: it is not as if it hasn’t been considered. More than once this season Coach Ford has talked about looking to change things up on multiple fronts. One that he specified was the starting lineup. Obviously, it is a different team than last season, but that’s more leeway than he gave to the notion of mixing it up last year.

If the Billikens were having extraordinarily poor starts to games, I think the change would have come. But Javonte is going to get about 34 minutes a night, and I don’t think it matters if he misses the first 2-4 minutes. Having players come in waves isn’t a bad thing, especially if foul trouble continues to be an issue.

I am going to start calling Javonte the Billikens Inigo Montoya. Just when you think the Bills offense has shown its hand, he reminds you, “ah, well I am not left-handed.”

Obviously if an injury occurred to any of the starting five (knock on wood) he would naturally be the replacement, barring that, I don’t think it is until the 2020-2021 season that Javonte gets to start.

Will Nike make replica SLU jerseys anytime soon? They had them back in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Why’d they stop? -John

I think it’s only a matter of time before authentic Nike jerseys become available for sale in some way or another. The department is actively working on it and wants to get it done. Chris May told me that he wants to get authentic jerseys available “badly”. He does not want a knock-off, or a replica made that is not true to form.

As I understand it from a source in the athletic department, the biggest issue is that the supplier of merchandise for the department, a company based out of Texas, does not want to order and stock what they refer to as a “single” of the jersey from Nike. That is the base material that the jersey is made out of with additional designs stitched on later. SLU’s designs are very unique compared to some other mid-major schools that work with this same company (the imprinted arch being one of the more key designs) and it has led to this supplier being rather bullish on being caught with a massive stock of the material and only being able to sell to one base. Butler is one program that works with this same supplier who has options available but has a far simpler base jersey (standard navy blue), so the problem doesn’t manifest itself for the Bulldogs.

SLU representatives have been actively pleading their case for some time for this company to ‘play ball’ but they ultimately have the last say due to contracts. It feels like patience is wearing thin and action of some kind will be taken soon.

The ultimate solution appears to be that eventually SLU itself will purchase the overhead and supply this company with the single so they can complete the embroidery. Another option that was floated was that they may simply make a much, MUCH, larger order of one jersey color when the team itself makes its purchase for the 2020-2021. However, that does seem unlikely

The feeling I get (hope?) is that this is going to happen sooner rather than later, and if I had to make a guess, I’d say some kind of option will be available for the season’s opening next year. I don’t know how, or what that will look like and that’s just a hunch but based on the desire of the departments staff to get it done, I’d be surprised if this situation lasts any longer than that.

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