Saint Louis deals with real loss

Dana O'Neil has the story of the red-hot Saint Louis Billikens, who are in the hunt for the A-10 title while coping with the death of their former coach:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- They all have stories. Anyone who crossed paths with Rick Majerus had a story, and so naturally the last team to play for him has them, too.

There was the time Majerus came to Cody Ellis' place in Perth, Australia, and the Milwaukeean gave the kid who grew up two blocks from the beach bodysurfing tips.

Or the in-home visit with Kwamain Mitchell, during which Majerus chastised the skinny high schooler for eating only one plate of his mom's cooking.

Then there was the visit to Dwayne Evans' home, where Majerus not only offered up basketball tips to Evans' 78-year-old grandmother; he demonstrated them.

"And I'm pretty sure he left with all of the leftover pizza," Evans said.

But these Saint Louis basketball players treasure one story more than any other because it is theirs alone.

It came Dec. 8, 2012, when they escorted Majerus on his final journey.

"That was unreal," Ellis said. "When we were asked to serve as pallbearers, it sent shivers down my spine. To be able to walk alongside his casket among all those people who meant so much to him and he meant so much to, it was the greatest honor."

Jim Crews likes to say there is no blueprint for what Saint Louis has done this season.

Hopefully the one the Billikens have drawn won't need to be duplicated. A team should not have to bury its coach in the middle of its season.

Read the rest of O'Neil's story here.