The Billikens have a long history of starting frontcourt players who love to stretch a defense with a great perimeter game. The missing element each year from the team's frontcourt players is physicality and strong defense at the rim.
Last year, Brian Conklin became that player. This year, the job is open.
Dwayne Evans (Junior, 6'5", 230 lbs.)
Someone is going to need to fill the hole left by Conklin, who graduated last year. That someone is Dwayne Evans. Meet the team's best frontcourt player.
Evans is on the verge of being a double-double machine this season for the Billikens.
Evans led the team in rebounding last season (7.3 per game), grabbing nearly 100 more than his closest teammate.
During conference play, Evans was even better, averaging 8.4 rebounds per game to go with 9.7 points per conference game.
As the season wore on last year, Evans seemingly improved each game. This year, he could easily average 13 points and 10 rebounds per game, making him one of the Atlantic-10's best all-around forwards.
Evans is a mediocre foul shooter (67.1 percent last season). That needs to improve because he will have dozens of opportunities this year to convert the three-point play at the foul line.
Cory Remekun (Senior, 6'8", 220 lbs.)
Billiken fans have been waiting for Remekun to take that next step in his game. There are flashes of it throughout the seasons. Remekun will come flying out of nowhere towards the glass, swatting away a ball just before it peaks, then grab the ball off the rebound to start a fast break.
But consistency has been the lacking element in Remekun's game.
Remekun has been a victim of playing time, as in not getting enough. That's caused mostly by having an undefined role on the team. Is he a reliable defender down low? Is he capable of creating his own shot? Can he score from the post?
These questions have never been answered during Remekun's tenure at SLU, and he has but one season left in his college career to do so.
I see a lot of promise in Remekun and I believe he can make huge improvements this season. He led the team in blocks last year while only playing 9.5 minutes per game. He is a reliable shooter (.542 last season), although his range is limited.
At 6'8", he needs to be a more aggressive rebounder and scorer, as he will be the second tallest player for the SLU when he's on the floor.
Cody Ellis (Senior, 6'8", 245 lbs.)
Ellis' game has not changed much since he burst onto the Billiken scene three years ago as a freshman.
Ellis is a danger from beyond the arc, and he knows it.
He led the team in three-pointers made (69) and shooting percentage (.381) last season. Ellis is a solid double-digit scorer who is capable of taking over a game (and Twitter), as evidenced by his six three-pointers against St. Joseph's last year (five in the second half).
Ellis' mid-range game is solid (48 percent shooting from inside three-point line), but it is an area that, if improved, could really make him one of the A-10's most dynamic offensive threats.
Rob Loe (Junior, 6'11", 245 lbs.)
Loe is not your traditional center. Loe's Achilles' heel is his height. Fans expect him to dominate the game just because he is the tallest guy on the court.
Loe is a little more Dirk Nowitzki then Dwight Howard.
Loe lives on the perimeter (35 percent three-point shooter last year), which is impressive for anyone, let alone someone nearly seven feet tall. Loe is also not afraid to ask for the ball down low.
I've been told that Loe looked much bigger at the Billiken Fan Fest in October. Hopefully that time in the weight room is paying off.
Loe is definitely going to need to improve on last year's numbers (five points and three rebounds per game). Also, his conditioning must improve.
Loe started all 34 games last year, yet he only averaged 16 minutes of playing time. That is likely to go up by nearly 10 minutes more per game this year.
The Billikens are counting on Loe to be the team's most improved player.