The Saint Louis Billikens had a very disappointing season last year. Javonte Perkins tore his ACL just a couple of weeks before the season started and that seemed to majorly throw them off. But he is back healthy this year and five of the top six guys from last year’s team return as well. The Billikens start the season as one of the favorites in the Atlantic-10.
You can read about the previous team in my rankings here.
Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #23 Saint Louis Billikens
Like I said, getting Perkins back is huge. He was the A-10 sixth man of the year as a freshman in 2019-2020, and then was even better as a sophomore. There might be a little bit of rust to shake off, but he should be back to being one of the best players in the A-10 in no time.
The Billikens will once again have one of the best backcourts in the conference, as well as a good post player. The starting duo of Yuri Collins and Gibson Jimerson both return. Collins tested the NBA Draft waters but smartly decided to return to school. He is one of the best passers (Led the A-10 in assists per game by far last season.) and defenders in the conference. He has improved every year and really shined last season. Jimerson was still technically a freshman last season. He was third in the conference in scoring average and really stepped up to fill the hole left by Perkins. Francis Okoro is back in the post. After two decent seasons at Oregon he broke out in his first year at Saint Louis.
The Billikens brings in two transfers who could make an impact off the bench. Former Temple forward Jake Forrester dealt with injuries last season but led the Owls in rebounding the year before. He could be in line to start alongside Okoro in order to give the Billikens some extra size in their lineup. Javon Pickett is an interesting transfer from Missouri. The guard averaged career-highs in points, assists, and steals last season for the Tigers, but his shooting numbers/percentages dropped off dramatically from the previous season.
PF – Francis Okoro (10.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG)
PF – Jake Forrester (5.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG at Temple)
G – Javonte Perkins (17.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 BPG in 2020-2021)
SG – Gibson Jimerson (16.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG)
PG – Yuri Collins (11.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG)