Billikens' Crews earns top coaching awards from "Sporting News," A-10

2:48 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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Nov 28, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Saint Louis Billikens head coach Jim Crews speaks with center John Manning during a break in play against the Washington Huskies during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

(KSDK Sports) -- Call it padding your resume, but the case to make Saint Louis Billikens interim head coach Jim Crews the official head coach is improving.  Today, Crews earned two distinguished awards.  Earlier today, Crews was named the Atlantic 10 Conferences' Coach of the Year.   This afternoon, he was named National Coach of the Year by The Sporting News.

Crews took over the program in August 2012 after it was announced that Rick Majerus would not coach this year. Crews has guided the Billikens to a 24-6 record and SLU's first outright regular season conference title since 1957.

Saint Louis is the No. 1 seed in this week's A-10 tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

But Crews wasn't the only league award winner today.  Senior forward Cody Ellis was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's Sixth Man of the Year and junior forward Dwayne Evans was selected to the A-10's first-team All-Conference squad.

In addition, senior guard Kwamain Mitchell and junior guard Jordair Jett were named to the All-Conference third team. Jett was voted to the A-10 All-Defensive team, while Evans was named to the A-10 All-Academic team.

Ellis, who has come off the bench in all 30 games this year, is third on the squad in scoring with 10.1 ppg. Earlier this year, he became the 27th member of the Billikens' 1,000 points club. Ellis enters the A-10 Championship with 1,013 career points. He is also proficient on the defensive end, drawing a team-high 41 charges.

Evans leads the team in scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). He has scored in double figures in 12 straight contests and has registered double-doubles in three of the last four games. For the year, he has five double-doubles, giving him 17 for his career.

Evans was named A-10 Player of the Week March 5, and he eclipsed the 20-point mark in five games this season. A business administration major, Evans is the 10th Billiken to be honored as an All-Academic team member by the A-10 in the last seven years, which leads all A-10 institutions during that time.

Mitchell, who earns his fourth All-Conference nod, is second on the team in scoring 10.2 ppg. Over the last three games, he is averaging 18 ppg. SLU's active career leading scorer with 1,515 points, Mitchell missed the first 11 games of the season with a foot injury. He is the only player in SLU history to rank in the top 10 in career points, as well as the top five in assists and steals. Mitchell was named to the All-Rookie team as a freshman, second-team All-Conference as a sophomore and third-team All-Conference as a junior.

Jett leads the team in assists and steals and averages 9.8 ppg. He is a repeat honoree on the league's All-Defensive squad. After starting five of the first nine contests in place of the injured Mitchell, Jett has come off the bench and scored in double figures in 15 contests. He is a lockdown defender, consistently drawing matchups against the opposition's top scorers, and is a main reason why the Billikens lead the league in scoring defense.

Crews, hired as interim head coach in August after it was announced that Rick Majerus would not coach this year, has led the Billikens to their first outright regular season title since 1957. SLU is 24-6 overall and is the No. 1 seed at the A-10 Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

It is Crews' fifth conference coach of the year honor. He won it three times (1987, 1989 and 1992) in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and once in the Missouri Valley Conference (1999) during his 17-year tenure at Evansville. Crews is the first SLU coach to be named a conference coach of the year since Eddie Hickey was named the Valley's coach of the year in 1952 and 1957. Former SLU coach Charlie Spoonhour was a National Coach of the Year in 1994, but he did not win the Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year award.

Saint Louis received a bye into the quarterfinals and will face either No. 8 Richmond or No. 9 Charlotte (those teams play at 11 a.m. [CT] on Thursday) Friday at 11 a.m. (CT).

KSDK Sports

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