Saint Louis University center Austin Gillmann is leaving the Billikens basketball program to focus on academics.
Gillmann, a 6’10 rising senior from Oakville, MO, played sparingly under Travis Ford, averaging only 5.4 minutes a game and scoring 10 points total on the season. Though he showed some passing ability and an ability to stretch the floor, Gillmann struggled with the physicality of A-10 basketball, which limited his playing time. Though he is leaving the SLU basketball program, he is staying at the school and finishing his degree, instead of transferring to play elsewhere.
This gives Travis Ford yet another scholarship for next season, after the earlier departures of Zeke Moore and Matt Neufeld. SLU has had a bunch of recruits visiting the campus this past week, including former Illinois commit Javon Pickett, 6’9 forward Isaiah Whaley, 6’9 center Khalea Turner-Morris, and 6’9 South Florida transfer Luis Santos. With the depature of Gillmann, Ford now has three scholarship slots to fill.
However, personally I think that Ford should only use 2 of the scholarships for the class of 2017. If Ford fills all three, then there will be only one scholarship left for 2018, and Ford has both top-10 recruit Carte’Are Gordon, and Fred Thatch committed in the class of 2018. Of course, players leave, and that will be the case next year, but the St. Louis area is stacked with good players next season and Ford is recruiting a ton of quality players both in St. Louis and all over the country.
Next year’s team is already going to have a core comprised predominately of new players, and it might be better to save the scholarship and bring in another talented player to a team that’s learned how to play together for a year. It also would allow Ford to reward walk on Aaron Hines with a scholarship as a thank you for his contributions last year. Typically I’m all for filling up all available scholarships, but I think that Travis Ford will be able to pull in a much more talented player in 2018 than he could with a third scholarship spot this season.
Of course, I’d be remiss not to thank Gillmann for his three years on the Billiken basketball team. He was a great representative of SLU athletics on and off the court, by all appearances, and his effort was appreciated.
photo from SLUbillikens.com