Even without sports being played for the most part, there is still a lot going on around the area to talk about.
DeSmet and East St. Louis crack the national rankings
The national high school sports website maxpreps.com came out with its preseason Top 25 rankings for the high school football season and two St. Louis area teams made the list.
Defending Missouri Class 6 state champion DeSmet was No. 13 in the rankings while Illinois Class 6 state champion East St. Louis checked in at No. 25. Both teams were undefeated en route to winning their respective state titles. East Side and DeSmet are also scheduled to meet in a big showdown on Sept. 2 in the Gateway Scholars Classic at East St. Louis. Both teams return tremendous amounts of talent and Division I prospects, so it should be a tremendous event.
East St. Louis is led by standout quarterback Tyler Macon, who has already committed to the University of Missouri and top receiver Dominic Lovett. DeSmet is led by defensive end Mekhi Wingo, another Mizzou recruit and the standout running back trio of Taj Butts, Darez Snider and Rico Barfield.
The return of two Billikens
The Saint Louis University men’s basketball program received some good news last week when senior standouts Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French announced that they will be returning for their senior seasons. Both players had decided to test the NBA Draft waters during the spring, but finally decided to come back to the Billikens for what should be an exciting 2020-21 seasons.
The 6’3” Goodwin averaged 15.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals a game while the 6’7” French averaged 12.4 points and 10.4 rebounds while also becoming the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots. They are the heart and soul of a Billikens’ team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and won 23 games last season.
With Goodwin and French back in the fold, the Billikens will be one of the top contenders to win the Atlantic 10 Conference championship next season. The Billikens also return former St. Louis area standouts Javonte Perkins, Yuri Collins, TJ Hargrove as well as emerging center Jimmy Bell Jr.
Kevin Lisch calls it a career
On the subject of Saint Louis University, a very special salute goes out to former Billiken star Kevin Lisch, who recently announced his retirement after a very successful 11-year professional career in Australia. Lisch won the Most Valuable Player Award in the National Basketball League twice. He also led the Perth Wildcats to the NBA championship in 2010. He was also a member of Australia’s Olympic team during the 2016 games in Brazil.
The former Belleville Althoff High star was a standout with the Billikens from 2006-09. He finished his career with 1,687 points, which is currently in the top five of all-time scorers at SLU.
James Proctor signs with the Reds
Former MICDS baseball standout James Proctor was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds organization last week. A right-handed pitcher, Proctor just finished an excellent collegiate career at Princeton. In 2016, he was the St. Louis American Player of the Year in baseball after leading MICDS to the Class 4 state championship.
Lauryn Miller gets her degree in three
Congratulations to former Kirkwood High girls’ basketball standout Lauryn Miller, who graduated from UCLA last week with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in just three years. Miller was a starting forward on a talented Bruins team that finished with a 26-5 record last season. The 6’2” Miller will complete her basketball career next season while beginning graduate work at UCLA. Miller was the St. Louis American Player of the Year in 2017 after leading Kirkwood High to the Class 5 state championship.
DeSmet receives an invite to the Bass Pro TOC
The DeSmet Spartans should have one of the state’s top boys’ basketball teams for the upcoming 2020-21 season. DeSmet recently received an invitation to compete in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions Tournament, which will be held in January in Springfield on the campus of Missouri State University. The Tournament of Champions is one of the top tournaments in the country. The John Q. Hammonds Arena is usually filled to capacity for the three days of the tournament. Vashon represented the St. Louis area at last year’s Bass Pro TOC. The Wolverines advanced to the championship game before losing to perennial national power Oak Hill Academy.