Behind The ScenesNCAABStarting 5

ESPN’s Biancardi, Loyola-Chicago’s Moser Molded by Majerus

Former St. Louis U. coaching colleagues reunite in the midst of Ramblers' Final Four run

There they are – pages 12 and 14 of your 2007-08 Saint Louis University basketball media guide – Porter Moser and Paul Biancardi, two-thirds of the late Rick Majerus’s inaugural coaching staff with the Billikens.

“Rick wanted guys who had been head coaches as his assistants – guys who had walked in his shoes,” Biancardi said. “I had been at Wright State, and Porter was coming off Illinois State, and we both had known Rick and had good relationships with him. Coach Majerus always said, ‘I’m hiring you to save me from myself.’ He wanted guys who would challenge him.”

And here they are in Atlanta, a few nights ago, celebrating Moser’s Cinderella Loyola-Chicago team, another Final Four for the Majerus Coaching Tree – 20 years after Majerus himself took Utah to (of course) San Antonio:

“I’m in Atlanta for the McDonald’s All American games and I happened to be staying at the Loyola team hotel,” said Biancardi, ESPN’s National Recruiting Director. “I mean, think about that? What are the chances that I can be there to greet the bus when he comes back after advancing to the Final Four?”

The two basketball lifers first met at a Malibu, Calif., basketball retreat in the early 1990s. Despite just one season together on the bench, Biancardi cherishes the experience.

“Porter was always great to work with – vivacious, sharp, witty, smart – and, like me, he has a great passion for the game, so we got along really well,” Biancardi said. “Like Coach Majerus, Porter is detail-oriented and an excellent evaluator of talent and he’s a great closer [in recruiting]. He’s like a magnet – people just want to be with him. He’s a hard worker. If only he were Italian, he’d be perfect!”

Assistant coaches Porter Moser (L) and Paul Biancardi were ready to play. (Photo courtesy of St. Louis Athletics)

Moser stayed three more years with Majerus before taking the Loyola job, while Biancardi left to join ESPN full time in 2008.

“Working with Rick for that year, for me, that was like earning a doctorate degree in basketball,” he said. “He gave Porter and I a lot of autonomy, and he made us both better teachers of the game.”

The teachers shared a moment on Saturday that surely would have given their old “Professor” a chuckle.

“Porter said to me when I saw him later in the lobby, ‘This was really special that I got to share this with you,’” Biancardi said. “I told him I was really proud of him and that I loved him.

“And then I asked if he had two tickets for Saturday!”

Catch Paul Biancardi on today’s McDonald’s All American game scrimmage (3 p.m. ET, ESPNU) and again beginning Thursday for three days of the GEICO High School Basketball Nationals Tournament from New York City.

Paul Biancardi provided the video.