Loyola (Chicago) head coach Porter Moser has won just 22 games in two seasons at the school, but the Ramblers did manage to increase their win total by eight games in 2012-13 (15-16 record). Of their 16 losses seven were by three points or less, and having such issues in close games tends to be the case for many young programs.
The hope for Loyola is that their young players will be better equipped to handle such situations in 2013-14. The upcoming season will also present a new challenge for Loyola basketball, as the school has moved from the Horizon League to the Missouri Valley Conference.
The improvement seen on the court hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Loyola administration, and on Friday the school announced that Moser has received a contract extension through the 2017-18 campaign.
“Under the direction of Coach Moser, our men’s basketball program has come a long way in a short period of time,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. M. Grace Calhoun said in the release. “Both on and off the court, Coach Moser is a leader in every sense of the word and extending his contract affirms our faith in his ability to help the Rambler men’s basketball program reach new heights.
“We look forward to having him lead us into a new chapter in the storied history of Loyola basketball as we build on the momentum of last year and begin competition in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.”
The Ramblers welcome back guard Devon Turk (8.7 ppg) and forward Christian Thomas (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg) from last year’s squad, and they also add five newcomers with three having redshirted last season. How well Loyola performs this season will depend primarily upon how much their returnees have matured, with the way in which they adjust to a new conference also playing a role.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.