Sister Jean was kind enough to extend the olive branch to her friend and supporter with this video message today.
Isn't she delightful?
(In case you're new, we are big Sister Jean fans around here. Big.)
This season will mark the 100th in Loyola's men's basketball program history. (They've been playing basketball almost as long as Sister Jean has been alive.)
And what a bizarre season it's shaping up to be.
The team has managed to mitigate a Covid outbreak by quarantining all returning players for 14 days, and then breaking them up into pods. They're wearing masks at all times, except when on the floor. Coaching staff wears them and gloves throughout whole practices and most likely will during games as well.
Coach Porter Moser also has a special gadget he was gifted for use in practice -
On Moser’s first day back, the athletic department gifted him an electronic whistle. The gadget cleverly emits sound when you press a button, eliminating the need to blow. After he posted about it on Twitter, newly masked coaches from across the country bombarded him with queries. Where’d you find that? How can I get one? Ironically, Moser doesn’t have much use for it, other than distracting his dog at home. Infamously vocal, he prefers to use his booming baritone instead.
Loyola and the Missouri Valley Conference are slated to tip things off on the 29th and 30th, but a little birdie told me don't be surprised if you see a Loyola vs. Chicago State pop up this weekend… and a Loyola vs. UIC matchup next week…
Loyola is pre-season ranked #42 in the nation, and #2 in the MVC behind Northern Iowa.
Loyola has the luxury of returning all five of last season's starters: all seniors.
Cameron Krutwig, Senior, Center, 15.1 ppg
Tate Hall, Senior, Guard/Forward, 12.7 ppg
Keith Clemons, Senior, Guard, 10.4 ppg
Lucas Williamson, Senior, Guard, 9.0 ppg
Aher Uguak, Senior, Forward, 5.7 ppg
They've also added key pieces in perimeter shooters Braden Norris, a transfer from Oakland University, and redshirt soph. Cooper Kaifes as well as Damezi Anderson, a transfer from Indiana, and Ben Schwieger, a local kid and top ten prospect. They're also returning the MVC’s best sixth man Marquise Kennedy.
Everybody is high on big man Cameron Krutwig this season. But unless he can figure it out at the free throw line he'll remain a liability in close games down the stretch. Something that KILLED Loyola the last two years. They shoot an abysmal 63% from the line.
I think Kennedy is going to have an explosive year coming off the bench, making game changing plays. He's one of the fastest guys in all of college basketball, and can dish like a PG.
With a team this deep, and with senior leadership in spades, I think Loyola not only goes to the Tournament this year, but they'll be good enough that they won't need to win the MVC in order to get a bid. (Even though they will).
We'll be keeping up with things as the season progresses. #goramblers
p.s. - Sister Jean's cameo proceeds all go to charity. 100%. Despite what the grinch says.
p.p.s. - with all due respect to Carl, Loyola remains the only Illinois school to ever win a National Championship (1963). Don't expect that to change in our lifetime.