Chicago Colleges: Loyola Ramblers

Five potential impact transfers in Illinois

November, 2, 2013
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Here’s a look at five college basketball transfers who could be impact players for Illinois programs this season:

Kelsey Barlow, UIC, guard, redshirt senior
Barlow, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, has the potential to be one of the top players in the Horizon League this season. He sat out last season after transferring from Purdue. He started 22 games for the Boilermakers during the 2011-12 season and averaged 8.3 pints, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

Milton Doyle, Loyola, guard, redshirt freshman
Doyle, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, departed Kansas after a short period and transferred to Loyola. He sat out last season. He is dealing with an injury now, but he is expected to contribute for the Ramblers when healthy this season. He averaged 19 points, five assists and five steals as a high school senior at Marshall in Chicago.

Sandi Marcius, DePaul, forward, redshirt senior
Marcius, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound power forward, utilized the NCAA’s graduate student waiver rule and transferred to DePaul from Purdue for his final season. Marcius should provide the Blue Demons some needed interior play. He led Purdue in blocks six times and rebounds once last season. He had 10 rebounds, including six offensive, and two blocks in the Blue Demons’ win over Lewis on Tuesday.

Rayvonte Rice, Illinois, guard, redshirt junior
Rice, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, should be able to help the Illini replace the scoring void left by D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul. Rice sat out last season after transferring from Drake. He was a second-team All-Missouri Valley pick for the 2011-2012 season and led Drake with 16.8 points per game.

Jordan Threloff, Northern Illinois, center, redshirt junior
Threloff, 6-foot-9, 255-pound center, received a waiver and is eligible this season after transferring from Illinois State. He wasn’t used a whole lot with the Redbirds, but he should have a bigger role at Northern Illinois. He was one of the state’s better big men coming out of high school and is believed to have a lot of upside left. He redshirted his first year at Illinois State.

Insider: 2013-14 CBB Team Previews

October, 24, 2013
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ESPN Insider has previews for every Division I college basketball team this year. The previews include articles, projected order of finish for every conference and essays from Insider's hoops experts.

Illinois Fighting Illini: John Groce continues to make strides in rebuilding the program. Preview Insider

Northwestern Wildcats: Chris Collins' arrival has brought plenty of excitement to Evanston. Preview Insider

Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Irish offensive style may change, but they should remain successful. Preview Insider

DePaul Blue Demons: Amid a major roster overhaul, the Blue Demons will likely struggle again. Preview Insider

Loyola (IL) Ramblers: Are Ramblers ready for the challenge of the Missouri Valley? Preview Insider

Illinois-Chicago Flames: Defense-focused Flames will need offensive boost to move up in Horizon. Preview Insider

Recruiting: Cunningham gaining interest

August, 30, 2013
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Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin may be biased, but he believes senior forward Josh Cunningham is going to do big things in the future.

"Josh is going to be a NBA player," Irvin said on Friday. "There's three guys that stick out -- Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Josh. He's a sponge. He's getting better and better each year. He's tough. He understands basketball. He plays hard. He's young. He's only going to get better."

Cunningham isn't considered by most to be an NBA prospect at this point, but his profile is growing. He's ranked No. 27 among power forwards by ESPN and is starting to get even more recruiting interest. He already has offers from Creighton, DePaul, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oklahoma and St. John's, but now Michigan State has also reached out to him. Illinois has also touched base. According to a source, he's a priority for Northwestern.

"Michigan State is coming in hard," Irvin said. "They've been on him, but haven't offered. They have high interest in him. He's got two visits set up in Iowa State and Oklahoma."

Irvin said he expected Cunningham wait until the spring to decide.

Here are some other local recruiting notes:

• Whitney Young senior center Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1 player in the country, is making an official visit to Baylor this weekend. He will be joined on the trip by Tyus Jones, who is ranked No. 3. Okafor is considering Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State.

• Illinois is getting an official visit this weekend from White Station (Memphis) senior forward Leron Black, who is ranked No. 36. Black recently cut his list to Baylor, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee.

• UIC received a commitment from Munster (Ind.) combo guard Drew Hackett on Thursday.

• According to a source, DePaul is working on setting up official visits with Whitney Young senior forward Paul White, who is ranked No. 57, and Christian Brothers (St. Louis) senior shooting guard Pat McCaw, who is ranked No. 87. White recently cut his list to Arizona, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown and Minnesota.

• Benet senior center Sean O'Mara, the No. 20 center in the country, will make an official visit to Loyola next weekend. O'Mara is considering Loyola, Massachusetts, Seton Hall, Wake Forest, Wichita State and Xavier.

• Illinois will receive an unofficial visit from Ballard (Ky.) senior point guard Quentin Snider on Sept. 29. Snider, a former Louisville recruit, is considering Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Oklahoma State, UCLA and USC.

• Northwestern offered Fenwick senior shooting guard Scott Lindsey on Monday. Lindsey is expected to make official visits to Iowa, Nevada and Northwestern. He is making an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt this week.

• Simeon junior forward D.J. Williams, who is ranked No. 32, will make an unofficial visit to Illinois this weekend and attend the Illini's football game.

• Hinsdale Center sophomore center Barret Benson, Whitney Young sophomore guard Skyler Nash and Sandburg senior forward Malek Harris, all of whom play for the Illinois Wolves, will attend Marquette's Midnight Madness on Oct. 11. Harris is committed to Marquette. Benson was recently offered by Penn State.

• North Chicago senior JayQuan McCloud will visit Murray State on Sept. 13 and Rhode Island on Sept. 20.

• Chicago State received a commitment from Richards senior power forward Josh Meier on Thursday.

Loyola's Moser loses entire coaching staff

June, 17, 2013
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Porter Moser had to put together an entire staff when he was hired as Loyola coach in 2011, and he's at it again in 2013.

Moser confirmed Monday he has lost all three of his assistant coaches to other positions.

Rick Malnati left the program in April after two seasons to become a high school coach again. Malnati will be the varsity boys basketball coach at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill. Malnati was previously the varsity boys basketball coach at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill.

Armon Gates recently left Loyola to be an assistant coach for Northwestern coach Chris Collins. Gates' hiring is expected to be announced by Northwestern soon. Gates spent two years with Moser.

Jason Gardner also recently departed Loyola to be an assistant coach for Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who Gardner played with at Arizona. Gardner had been given his first college coaching position with Moser and was at Loyola for two seasons.

"I was called for permission to talk to Armon in one hour, and the next hour I was called for permission to talk to Jason," Moser said on Monday. "That's just part of the business. I'm happy for everybody. I hope this is a reflection that I hire good people. It's a positive reflection on who we're hiring. People are looking at our program. They're high-character people. I'm going to miss them. I'm going to miss going through the day-to-day grind with those guys.

"We were really trying to resurrect this program. I'm 100 percent sure that I'm going to hire guys with that same vision. I wanted high-energy, high-character guys that can recruit and coach and relate to people. I'm not going away from what I hired before. Obviously, it's always a challenge when you lose an assistant. I'm going to hire a great staff again."

Moser said no one has been officially hired yet, but he already is in the process of adding to his staff.

According to a source, Daniyal Robinson is expected to join Loyola's staff and be reunited with Moser. Robinson was an assistant coach to Moser from 2003-2007 at Illinois State. Robinson has spent the past three seasons as assistant coach at the University of Houston.

Source: Gates to complete N'western staff

June, 17, 2013
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Northwestern first-year coach Chris Collins is set to hire Armon Gates as the final assistant to his staff, according to a source.

Gates has spent the past two seasons as an assistant to Loyola coach Porter Moser. He was also an assistant coach at TCU and Kent State and a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky.

Northwestern is expected to announce the hiring of Gates once he is cleared through a background check, according to the source.

Moser said Monday that Collins was receiving a quality coach, recruiter and person.

"I think Armon is a rising star," Moser said. "He did a great job for me the two years he was here. He's a high-energy guy, a high-character guy. He was a good friend as well as a good colleague. I wish him all the best. Chris is getting a good one. Northwestern is getting a good person and good coach."

Gates is from the Chicago area and played at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Ill. He played at Kent State and earned his master's degree from the school in 2007.

Gates will complete Collins' staff. Collins previously announced the hiring of assistant coaches Brian James and Patrick Baldwin. Tavaras Hardy recently left Northwestern's staff to take an assistant position at Georgetown.

Loyola joins Missouri Valley Conference

April, 19, 2013
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CHICAGO -- The Loyola Ramblers are on the move.

The school made it official Friday and announced it will move from the Horizon League to the Missouri Valley Conference, changing affiliations for the first time since 1979. Loyola will replace Creighton, which announced a move to the Big East in March.

"I think our brand will raise the profile of the institution and the fact that we're in the Chicago market place is going to do wonders for the Missouri Valley," Missouri Valley Commissioner Doug Elgin said at Loyola.

Read the entire story here.

Loyola accepts invite to Missouri Valley

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
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Loyola has accepted an invitation and agreed in principle to join the Missouri Valley Conference, a school spokesperson confirmed on Monday.

Read the entire story.

Payne brothers exit Loyola program

March, 22, 2013
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Loyola junior guard Cully Payne will not return for his senior season, and Payne’s younger brother Quinten Payne, a high school senior guard, has asked and been granted a release from his letter of intent, the school announced on Friday.

“Cully has indicated to me that he will not return for his senior season and subsequently, Quinten has asked for a release from his NLI,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said in a statement on Friday. “We wish Cully and Quinten nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”

(Read full post)

Loyola to celebrate 50th anniversary of title

February, 15, 2013
2/15/13
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LoyolaAP PhotoLoyola's Vic Rouse (40) leaps to score the winning basket in overtime in the 1963 NCAA title game over Cincinnati's Tom Thacker (25). At right is Loyola's Jerry Harkness, who tied the score at the end of regulation.
Loyola is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ramblers’ 1963 NCAA tournament championship, which has remained the lone title by a team from Illinois.

Loyola will honor players from the 1962-63 team during Saturday’s game against Illinois-Chicago. Former players John Egan, Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, Ron Miller, Don Connaughton and Rich Rochelle are expected to be in attendance.

The Ramblers won their first 20 games in the 1962-63 season and went 24-2 in the regular season. They defeated Tennessee Tech by 69 points in the NCAA tournament’s opening round, Mississippi State in the second round, Illinois in the quarterfinals, Duke in the semifinals and came back from 15 points to defeat Cincinnati in overtime of the title game. Vic Rouse scored the game-winning basket when he tipped in a rebound at the buzzer.

“We’re 50 years away and the visions of that year jump through your mind,” the 72-year-old Harkness said by phone on Friday. “To see him tap that back, you don’t know at first. You’re thinking, ‘We still got a few seconds to go. Then all of a sudden, you see people running together. I ran toward the pile, too. That stays with you. It really does.”

(Read full post)

Ten predictions for state basketball teams

November, 9, 2012
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Brandon Paul and Drew CrawfordAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhIllinois' Brandon Paul and Northwestern's Drew Crawford should be in the running for the Big Ten scoring title this season.


The college basketball season tips off on Friday, and here are my 10 predictions for the hoops year in Illinois:

1. This is finally the year for Northwestern to reach the NCAA tournament: The Wildcats don’t exactly have the star power of John Shurna, but they’re deeper than they have ever been. Depth has been one of the main reasons Northwestern has fallen just short of the tournament in the last few years. Senior swingman Drew Crawford will take over Shurna’s role and was among the Big Ten’s top scorers last season. Even without shooting guard JerShon Cobb, who is ineligible this season, Northwestern has a deep backcourt in sophomore point guard Dave Sobolewski, redshirt freshman point guard Tre Demps, senior shooting guard Alex Marcotullio and senior shooting guard Reggie Hearn. Louisville transfer Jared Swopshire, a 6-8 forward, gives Northwestern size and skill in the frontcourt. TCU transfer Nikola Cerina, a 6-9 forward, will help on the boards, another weakness in recent years. Plus, 7-foot, 275-pound center Alex Olah could be a legitimate difference-maker this season. Northwestern coach Bill Carmody could also turn to a few others off the bench.

(Read full post)

Loyola lands transfer Milton Doyle

August, 29, 2012
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Former Kansas guard Milton Doyle committed to Loyola on Wednesday.

Doyle originally committed to Florida International while at Marshall High School in Chicago. He was allowed out of his letter of intent when Isiah Thomas was fired. He later committed to Kansas and was enrolled there until recently. He played with the Jayhawks during their recent trip to Europe.

Doyle, a freshman guard, chose the Ramblers over Green Bay. Doyle will enroll into Loyola in the fall semester and will likely have to sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

“I’m just happy to move forward,” Doyle’s mother Lisa Green said. “Just happy he still had the opportunities he had. We were just trying to make sure it was really, really something that was right for him.

“The No. 1 thing is it’s close to home. The name Loyola is of course a prestigious school in Chicago. He’s able to be at a good school, be close to home and do what he likes to do.”

Doyle, a 6-4 guard, averaged 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists while playing in the Chicago Public League his senior season. He was selected to the ESPNChicago.com all-area team.

Loyola assistant coach Armon Gates was the lead recruiter on Doyle.

The Ramblers were 7-23 overall and 1-17 in the Horizon last season.

Loyola's trip to Italy comes at perfect time

August, 16, 2012
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CHICAGO -- Loyola’s style of basketball was often difficult to watch during Ramblers coach Porter Moser’s first season.

[+] EnlargeMoser
Icon SMIComing off a 7-23 debut season at Loyola, Porter Moser has just two seniors on the roster.
The Ramblers played slow, and they played sloppy mostly due to inexperience and lack of depth at point guard. They ranked 329th in the country with 62.7 possessions per game and 243rd with 14.4 turnovers per game.

The Ramblers plan to display a completely different pace of basketball during their four-game exhibition tour in Italy, which began this week.

The 24-second shot clock will certainly force Loyola to play faster, but its two new point guards will be just as vital to the quickened pace. With the addition of junior Cully Payne, who sat out last season after transferring from Iowa, and touted freshman Jeff White, who played at Peoria Manual, Loyola is hopeful its point-guard play will be a strength this season.

“I think we’ll be quicker,” said Loyola senior forward Ben Averkamp, who averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season. “I think you’ll see we’ve be able to get up and down a lot more. We can run two point guards.”

Payne is excited just to get back to playing competitive basketball. He played five games in the 2010-2011 season at Iowa due to an injury and sat out all of last season.

“I think more than anything it helps me as a person,” said Payne, who started 32 games for Iowa as a freshman. “I’m happy when I’m on the court. I love it. It’s kind of what I do. I’m just excited.”

Because Loyola is implementing two new point guards and seven newcomers total with Payne, six freshmen and one junior-college transfer, the Ramblers’ trip to Italy couldn’t have come at a better time. Loyola had 10 practices leading up to its departure and will play four teams in four cities over a two-week span in Italy.

Loyola defeated the Italy All-Stars in Rome on Tuesday and will play Pallacanestro Bassano del Grappa in Bassano del Grappa on Saturday, Zepa Marostica in Treviso on Aug. 20 and Legnano Basket in Como on Aug. 22.

“I have no doubt the talent level has risen in our program, but still half the team is freshmen,” said Moser, whose team went 7-23 last season. “These practices are invaluable.”

Averkamp gets Loyola will be young, but he’s optimistic the Ramblers will be much improved for his senior season. He and Jordan Hicks are the team’s only seniors.

“I understand they’re young and have a lot being thrown at them, but in the same respect for Cully and I and especially Jordan, who has been here five years -- he’s been through everything -- we see an importance to this year,” Averkamp said. “Hopefully, this trip to Italy springboards us for the year.”

Aguirre's cousin Williams joins Loyola

June, 27, 2012
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Loyola announced the addition of Tallahassee junior college combo guard Kody Williams to its roster for next season.

Williams, who was born in Chicago and is the cousin of Chicago basketball legend Mark Aguirre, averaged 4.6 points, 4.5 assists and 1.0 steals last season. Williams also played one season at Southern Mississippi.

“Kody gives us toughness and athleticism at the guard spot,” Loyola coach Porter Moser said in a statement. “He can play the one, two or three spots and brings collegiate experience to our program having been at both Southern Mississippi and Tallahassee Community College. Kody is a long, athletic player who can be a great defensive stopper for us.”

Williams joins Loyola’s recruiting class of forwards Nick Osborne (Muncie, Ind.), Matt O’Leary (Terre Haute, Ind.) and Tanner Williams (Orion, Ill.), center Jeremy King (Houston) and guards Jeff White (Peoria, Ill.) and Devon Turk (Houston). Former Iowa point guard Cully Payne will also be eligible next season.

Rapid Reaction: Loyola 78, UIC 69

February, 11, 2012
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at Loyola’s 78-69 win over Illinois-Chicago Flames on Saturday.

How it happened: Loyola jumped on the Flames from the start. The Ramblers built a 20-6 lead in the first eight minutes and later extended it to as many as 16 points in the second half. Where Loyola excelled Saturday (and had struggled in previous games) was getting everyone involved. During its hot start, the Ramblers used six different scorers to add up to 20 points. They finished with five players in double figures.

What it means: Loyola finally won its first Horizon League game after opening conference play with 13 consecutive losses. The Ramblers also avenged an earlier road loss to crosstown rival UIC. For the Flames, it was their second difficult defeat in a row. They were coming off a 70-42 loss to Cleveland State Vikings. The two teams appear as if they’re going to fill the bottom two spots of the conference. Loyola is in last place with a 1-13 record and UIC is just ahead of it with a 3-11 mark. Both programs are still in rebuilding mode with coaches in their first and second years.

Outside the box: Loyola first-year coach Porter Moser had asked his players how they wanted to finish the season multiple times leading up to Saturday’s game. “Are we going to be a team that packs it in?” Moser said earlier in the week. His players responded on Saturday.

Player of the game: Loyola’s Jordan Hicks is looking more and more like his old self after breaking his foot in back-to-back seasons. He had 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals against UIC.

UIC player of the game: Daniel Barnes showed why he’s one of the top shooters in the Horizon League. He made three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

What’s next: Loyola heads to Butler on Tuesday. UIC travels to first-place Valparaiso on Tuesday.

Hill leaving Loyola basketball program

December, 23, 2011
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Loyola senior forward Devin Hill has decided to leave the team, the school announced on Friday.

Hill was sitting out this season after transferring from DePaul.

"After reflecting on his future and on the place of basketball in his life, Devin has made a decision to leave the Loyola program because he no longer has a passion for the game," Loyola coach Porter Moser said in a statement. "It takes a great deal of courage to admit his true feelings and I appreciate his honesty to both his teammates and our staff. The last few years have not been easy for Devin, but he is a terrific young man and we wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors."

Hill was injured for most of last season at DePaul. He played in five games and averaged 5.2 points and 2.4 rebounds. He made 67 appearances in three seasons for DePaul.

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