Loyola finished off the 2007-08 season with a 65-63 loss to Siena in the semi-finals of the MAAC tournament, which took place in Albany, NY. Siena went on to win the MAAC Championship.
The Greyhounds enter the 100th year of basketball at Loyola, ranked fifth by the coaches in the MAAC preseason poll.
Lost from that team are three of the starting five: Gerald Brown, Michael Tuck, and Omari Israel. Also lost from last year’s team are Hasan Fofana, a transfer from Maryland, and Greg Manning, a fan favorite and sharp shooter—now acting as an assistant coach.
Leaving with last year’s graduating class is the size that helped last year’s team set a school record of 19 wins.
Even with the loss of big producers from last year, the future looks bright for the Greyhounds. Key players returning from last year include Brian Rudolph, who was named MAAC Co-Rookie of the year last year and is a preseason Second Team All-MAAC selection.
Marquis Sullivan, who was named MAAC Sixth Man of the Year last season and is a preseason Third Team All-MAAC selection, also returns.Also returning is Brett Harvey, a staple in the starting lineup for the last two years.
Each year Patsos has brought in at least one transfer to help contribute to the team. This year is no exception with the addition of Jamal Barney. Barney, another Baltimore native who has returned to his hometown from Providence College, will most likely not replace the potent scorer of Gerald Brown.
But he will certainly be a key starter and contributor. Barney has three years of eligibility remaining and will be a factor for the team in the future.
Sophomore Isaac Reid and junior Jawaan Wright should also see significant time and contribute in the frontcourt.
Jimmy Patsos has also brought in a promising freshman class, with the likes of G Jhared Hall (New Rochelle, NY), F Anthony Winbush (Alexandria, VA), and C/F Josh Wiegand (Bel Air, MD). All three will probably see minutes this year—as Patsos has shown in the past that he likes to mix up the lineup.
The projected starting lineup looks to be Rudolph, Harvey, Barney, Reid, and Wright. Look for Sullivan and Winbush to come off the bench, while also seeing some starts. With the team losing a lot of size last year, this year’s team will probably look to do a good deal of running while relying on outside shooting and tough defense.
The season opens with the continuation of the long standing rivalry with Mount St. Mary’s—the 164th meeting between the two. Then the Greyhounds head up to Boston College for the first round of the NIT Season tip-off.
Over the Christmas break they make a trip down to North Carolina to face NC State and Duke, which will provide the team with good experience before they enter conference play.
Reitz Arena has become a home court advantage for the Greyhounds as student support has grown since Patsos arrived on the Evergreen Campus. Last year they had an impressive 11-2 record in the newly renovated 3,000 seat gym.
If the students are rowdy again this year they could put up a similar record at home.
Season Prediction: 17 – 12 (7-4 OOC) (10-8 MAAC)