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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 15th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

 

Overall Rank: #88

Conference Rank: #1 Horizon

 

2005-06: 19-11, 8-8, 3rd (t)

2005-06 postseason: none

 

Loyola University ChicagoLoyola Chicago returns all but one player from a team that went 8-8 in conference and 19-11 overall last season, including wins over Bradley and Purdue.  Coach Jim Whitesell has brought the winning ways back to Chicago and, at least on paper, this is the best team Ramblerland has seen in quite some time.

 

Who’s Out: Chris Logan started 22 contests, averaging 8.8 points, as a senior.  His departure won’t worry Loyola fans though with J.R. Blount, Majak Kou and Blake Schilb returning to the perimeter.  Blount, a sophomore point guard, averaged 11.3 points and 2.3 assists last season.  Kou isn’t the most consistent shooter around, but can get to the bucket and looks to increase on his 12.8 points per game a year ago.  Schilb, an early candidate for Horizon Player of the Year, averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals. 

 

Who’s In: If and when healthy, Matt Adler will see his first action for the Ramblers.  The 6-11 center redshirted last season and can make an immediate contribution in the shot blocking department.  Andy Polka, a 6-7 240 pound power forward spent his summer playing for the United States at the Global Games with good results.  He’ll find it troublesome to see too many minutes as a true freshman with the depth the Ramblers have up front, but the potential is there for big things in the future.  The depth on the perimeter is an issue and Courtney Horton will have the opportunity to put an end to that concern.  The 6-2 transfer from Southeastern Community College in Iowa averaged 13.8 points and 5.1 rebounds last year and will provide a spark off the bench.  Speaking of providing a spark off the bench, Marvell Waithe would do that quite nicely.  Some academic concerns leave his eligibility in question, but if he can play, the 6-7 wing will bring another scoring threat onto the court.  The Canadian has a smooth stroke, but needs to work on his strength in order to be effective going to the basket.

 

Who to Watch: Leon Young isn’t the experienced option up front, but after an explosive freshman campaign big things are expected from the 6-6 forward.  Young averaged 10.4 points and 7.2 rebounds while coming off the bench in all but five games.  His minutes might not go up too much, but Young could put up even bigger numbers with a year of experience on his side.  Kye Pattrick started 25 games as a junior last season.  Once the 6-9, 250 pound Australian learned how to stay out of foul trouble, he became quite productive despite the overall numbers of just 1.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.  There is tons of depth up front too with Brandon Woods and Tom Levin both having starting experience.  Junior Tracy Robinson saw the least amount of minutes of the big guys last year, but showed potential while seeing an increase in playing time late last season.

 

Final Projection: Teams like Detroit, Wright State, Butler and Wisconsin-Green Bay aren’t going to make what could be a magical season easy.  In fact, top to bottom, the Horizon is a vastly improved conference and nobody is going to concede anything to Loyola.  Yet, with this much talent, the Ramblers are the favorites to make the NCAAs, which would be their first trip since the Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1985. 

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

J.R. Blount, Sophomore, Guard, 11.3 points per game

Majak Kou, Senior, Guard, 12.8 points per game

Blake Schilb, Senior, Guard, 19.1 points per game

Leon Young, Sophomore, Forward, 10.4 points per game

Kye Pattrick, Senior, Center, 1.9 points per game

89 Georgia » Complete List » 87 Notre Dame

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