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Alex Jensen now learning the coaching ropes

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WASHINGTON — Alex Jensen, at some point late Saturday night, will go

online or check his phone to find out the score of the BYU-Utah game in

Provo. But you will have to excuse Jensen, the former Ute star from

Viewmont High, if he doesn't follow the game as closely as he could.


has his own Division I conference showdown to deal with on the other

side of the country, though the passion for Saint Louis at Richmond in

the Atlantic 10 Conference may not rival that of BYU hosting Utah.

Jensen, 33, is in his third year on the coaching staff at Saint Louis

and his second as an assistant with the Billikens.


man in charge is head coach Rick Majerus, who coached the Utes from

1989 to 2004. Jensen was a key player on the 1997-98 team that went 30-4

and lost in the NCAA title game to Kentucky.


has been great. I guess I am biased since I played with him, but there

is no better person to learn from,\" Jensen said. \"I learned a lot from

him as a player. Who better to learn from?\"


back, Jensen has fond memories of the Utah-BYU rivalry. \"My first year

(in 1994-95) they were pretty good. The first game I started (in the

series) was at their place. They won that game but we won the return

trip,\" said Jensen.

\"If you won that

game you had a good chance to win the league,\" he added. \"My memories

were of full arenas. Like all rivalries it was more important than just

another game.\"

Jensen, who served a Mormon mission in London after his freshman season with the Utes,

graduated from Utah in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in finance. His

family still lives in the Salt Lake area, and Jensen owns a home in

Utah in which his sister lives.

What are his best memories?


all the time and work you do, it is winning, which we did a lot of, and

some of my best friends today are teammates and coaches. Winning with

people that you had a good time with, I have come to appreciate that,\"

said Jensen.

The wins have been

harder to come by at Saint Louis, which is 12-7 overall and 3-2 in the

Atlantic 10 going into Saturday's game at Richmond. Last year Saint

Louis was 18-14, and in the first year under Majerus in 2007-08 the

team was 16-15.

Jensen played six

years of pro basketball in Turkey and also played for a CBA title team

in 2002-03. When he learned that Majerus had taken the Saint Louis job,

Jensen joined the staff. \"I felt it was time for me to move on,\" he

said. \"Everything I have learned has come from him.\"


was the best defensive player and rebounder that I have ever coached,\"

Majerus said in 2007 when he hired Jensen. \"Alex is a student of the

game and court smart. He will bring those attributes to coaching.\"

As an assistant Jensen has typical duties such as scouting and recruiting and focuses on post play and defense.


hardest thing is recruiting,\" said Jensen, who notes Saint Louis is a

strong academic school a long way from many of its conference foes. \"I

thought it would be easier. Some people are built for it. I have gotten

better at it. Coach says all the time that players win games and not


Jensen was the most active

of the three Saint Louis assistants during the game at GW, standing and

hollering instructions on many occasions. During a timeout with 1:32

left in regulation and his team up 53-51, Jensen stood with his back to

the court as the players listened to Majerus. Jensen then walked around

to the baseline side of the group and gave some instructions to

sophomore guard Kyle Cassity, who thew the ball inbounds near the team

bench after the stop in play. Jensen said after the game it is

agonizing as a coach to watch a team lose a lead. \"As a coach you don't

have as much control as a player,\" said Jensen, who works out regularly

with the team in practices. \"It is difficult.\"


Moser, the associate head coach for Saint Louis, did not know Jensen

when they joined the staff in 2007. Moser is the former head coach at

Arkansas-Little Rock and Illinois State. \"He won so much at Utah. He is

a hard worker,\" Moser said of Jensen. \"He has been where these guys

want to go. They look up to him. He came in as a 5 and left as a 3 (at

Utah). He lived and breathed everything coach taught him. He will be a

good coach. He has a huge passion for the game and huge knowledge of

the game.\"

Would Jensen like to be a

head coach one day, perhaps at Utah? \"I have my second thoughts a lot

when I see the ups and downs,\" he said of the profession. \"If the right

opportunity comes along.\"

David Driver covers the Atlantic 10 conference. He can be reached through his Web site at www.davidsdriver.com.