With the move to the Missouri Valley Conference Loyola (Chicago) is taking a step up in competition, and its ability to take advantage of the great amount of talent in the Chicagoland area will determine how competitive Porter Moser’s program is in the new conference.
On Thursday the school announced the addition of assistant Emanuel Dildy to Moser’s coaching staff, bring the Chicago native home after spending last season on Jay Spoonhour’s staff at Eastern Illinois. Prior to his one season at EIU Dildy, whose cousin Tracy is the head coach at Chicago State, was head coach for two seasons at Kennedy-King College.
“I am excited about having Emanuel join our staff. Having grown up in Chicago he is a Chicago guy through and through and is unbelievably respected in all circles,” Moser said in the statement announcing the hire. “Emanuel has been a head coach and is my kind of guy – one that has a great energy about himself.
“He grew up in Chicago when Loyola was a force in the ’80s and was passionate about helping his hometown team win a championship. Emanuel is a high character individual and has great recruiting ties in both Illinois and Indiana. We are thrilled to welcome him back to Chicago.”
The Ramblers finished the 2012-13 season with a 15-16 overall record, going 5-11 in the Horizon League. With the graduation of Ben Averkamp junior forward Christian Thomas (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder.
Loyola added two newcomers to the program, and there are also three transfers who will be at Moser’s disposal (former Kansas signee Milton Doyle being one of the three) after sitting out the 2012-13 season.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.