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“I absolutely loved it,” he said. “Rarely does coaching end in a fashion that’s very pleasing. I learned that a long time ago.”

Saint Louis cracked the Top 25 for the first time since 1993-94 early last season, then beat Memphis and took seed Michigan State to the limit in the NCAA tournament. The Billikens were picked to finish second in the A-10 this season, but had to grind their way back into the poll after losses to Santa Clara and Rhode Island.

The Chaifetz Arena has been at or near capacity four times this season and the final two home games are close to sellouts, too.

“I think he’s done as excellent a job as anybody could,” May said of Crews. “It’s been a special run, no question, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Crews‘ opening discussion with players centered on accountability and he gets high marks from the administration for communicating teaching points on and off the court, using a blend of the past with his own ideas. Three seniors, guard Kwamain Mitchell and sixth man Cody Ellis and backup forward Cory Remeken, are on track to graduate soon.

“Winning’s more fun, period,” Crews said. “The main thing is what type of program you’ve got, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

There’s so much experience, Crews said, it’s a team that doesn’t need an appointed leader.

“Coach Crews, he’s got his wrinkles, his own style of coaching,” Evans said. “So it’s a good mesh. He’s handled the ship perfectly.”