I fell in love with hoops in the early 90s, and since then I have been an obsessed hoops head of the highest order. From October till June I finish every single night by reading every, and I mean every, NBA box score. Just ask my wife.

"Honey, what are you doing?"
"Nothing...."
Sigh..."Are you reading your sports scores...again?"
God bless her, she's a saint.

The NBA is my greatest love, but my first basketball love was SpoonBall. Charlie Spoonhour’s brand of basketball was perfect, and in my opinion, well ahead of its time. All threes, rebounds and put-backs. They were the Houston Rockets of mid-90's college basketball.

The Bills packed the Arena and then the Kiel Center with 20,000 strong almost every night. Back to back NCAA Tournament appearances and non-stop excitement. Threes from everywhere! H Waldman, Scott Highmark, and the greatest jumper to ever grace the STL, Erwin Claggett.

Claggs, The Venice Menace, was must see in St. Louis. Every single time he shot a J, every single person in Kiel knew it was going in. Before Claggett, I thought I was going to be a power forward. Since Claggs, I’ve been a shooting guard with zero regrets. He literally changed my basketball life. I loved those Billiken’s teams, and experiencing SpoonBall in person solidified my lifelong basketball addiction.

So, In preparation for Friday night’s Billikens regular season opener, let’s talk about my 10 favorite Billiken’s since I was brought onto this big green globe.

Anthony Bonner

After starting to go to games in the 93-94 season I heard tales of Anthony Bonner. I was able, and it’s time to age myself, get VHS tapes of his squad that made it to back to back NIT Championship Games. He is the G.O.A.T. of Billken’s hoopers. He led the entire nation in rebounding in 89-90' at 13.8 boards a game! Bonner is the program's all-time leader in points, rebounds, steals, and, I don’t have the numbers on this, but most likely back door oops and raging tomahawk jams on the fast break.

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Donnie Dobbs

First off, awesome name, and it’s even better when Bob Ramsey screams it. Plus he had one of the greatest descriptions of a basketball player ever… “6’3” Power forward.” He was St. Louis’ own Round Mound of Rebound. In his two seasons in the gateway, he averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a contest while jumping no higher than eleven inches off the ground.

H Waldman

Seriously, his first name was just H. A Stockton-esque handle, Jason Kidd-like passing abilities, and a good enough jumper that you couldn't play off of him. He was the perfect floor general for the mid-90’s Billikens.

Scott Highmark

Scotty H! The stockbroker in a basketball jersey. He had the shooting form that would make Jimmy Chitwood proud and the academics to please even Barbra Hersey. The only negative, that Christian Laettner hair.

Erwin Claggett

My aforementioned basketball god. Let’s throw some numbers behind my earlier argument. He is SLU's second all-time leading scorer with 1,910 points, all-time leader in threes made with 295, and he’s the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Great Midwest Conference. He was THE Man on back to back NCAA Tourney teams.

Jeff Harris

Harris was a mad dog on the boards. On the two Claggett lead tourney teams he was a spark and relentless worker off the bench. He was Donnie Dobbs 2.0 with similar hops and rebounding ability, but not quite the nose for the basket.

Justin Tatum

When engaged, Tatum was an athletic marvel and an excellent all-around basketball player. The one season he played with Hughes, Tatum was on the receiving end of some of the sweetest alley-oops that could draw a head nod from Dominique. Plus, his son is going to be the NBA ROY, so, you know, he’s got that going for him.

Larry Hughes

The second greatest pro SLU ever produced, behind only Easy Ed who helped Pettit and the Hawks bring a title to our fair city. Larry seemingly single-handedly lead the 1997-1998 Billikens to the NCAA tourney and a first-round victory over UMASS…before a 27 point throttling at the hands of the Jeff Shepard-led, soon-to-be champs, Kentucky Wildcats. After Larry there was a 10-year gap of Bill’s joining the NBA until Willie Reed back in ’08, and Willie’s still getting it done out in L.A. backing up DeAndre Jordan.

Luke Meyer

Why? He’s a Borgia boy. Farm raised in New Haven, MO, Meyer was another one of Coach Dave Neier’s finest players. Following previous Borgia Division I hoopers Ben Kandlbinder, Josh Hotz, and Josh Warren, Meyer was a solid contributor for his entire career as a Billiken. Soft left-handed touch from anywhere, especially the charity stripe shooting nearly 83% for his career.

Jordair Jett

The last of my favorites. I was able to see Jordair in person and he was exactly what you want in your point guard. Excellent floor general and relentless defender which earned him the 2013-2014 Atlantic 10 player of the year award. Plus, as always, props to some fantastic locks that make even the great HT Sims proud. Also, dude is still getting it done overseas.

As Mr. Tony says, "that’s it, that’s the list." Who on this season’s team will be the next on the list?
My early favorites…Hasahn French based on hairdo alone, Markos Psimitis because he looks like the 3rd unknown Property Brother, or Luis Santos because that’s pretty much the best name on the team. Yes, my criteria is thin, but it is mine and I stand by it.

I’ll have to watch and see. But until tomorrow night, I’m going down a YouTube rabbit hole of Claggett-Highmark-Waldman highlights to bask in the glory that was.

Ahhh, SpoonBall.