Summer basketball trips are designed to build chemistry, confidence and to find out how players react under pressure. Loyola-Chicago took a trip to Spain, won four games and head coach Porter Moser is returning to the Windy City with a smile on his face.
Loyola went 4-0 and had only one close game — a two-point victory over Eurocolegio Casvi, which Moser enjoyed the most.
“This game was such a great experience for us,” Moser said in a video on the Loyola athletics website. “I’m proud of how we defended and rebounded. To play pressure situations in August against a team of that caliber, you can’t put a price tag on that.”
Milton Doyle, last year’s second leading scorer (11.2 points per game) and the leader in assists, was one of three Ramblers that averaged double-figures in scoring on the trip. Doyle topped the 20-point mark twice on his way to 17.8 points per game. Doyle has battled injuries during his time on the north side of Chicago, and Moser is looking for big things from this one-time Kansas recruit.
Ben Richardson was spectacular from long distance. The 6’3 junior averaged 13 points per game, while connecting on 11 of 20 three point shots. Richardson converted more than 43 percent from deep last season. However, Moser is glad Richardson is starting to attack the basket with more regularity and earning extra scoring opportunities from the free throw line.
Richardson’s high school teammate (Blue Valley Northwest/Overland Park, KS), Clayton Custer, averaged 10.5 points per game despite struggling from long range. The redshirt transfer from Iowa State made only five of his 21 shots from beyond the arc.
Newcomer Aundre Jackson was the team’s leading rebounder. The 6’5 forward scored 15 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and hit the winning shot in the Ramblers’ two-point win. The junior transfer could provide an inside presence the team has lacked since Christian Thomas graduated two seasons ago.
Freshmen Cameron Satterwhite and Matt Chastain were impressive too. Chastain reached double figures in two of the four contests and the 6’6 wing posted 4.8 rebounds per game. Satterwhite averaged a solid four points and four assists in Spain.
Junior wing Donte Ingram is a key member of Moser’s squad as the leading rebounder amongst Moser’s returning players.
“This trip was really about getting some team chemistry,” Ingram said in another video on Loyola’s athletics site. “We learned who was going to do what when things got down to the nitty gritty.”
Newcomer Vlatko Granic played in three of the exhibitions and struggled to show his expected ability to spread the floor, but was productive hitting the glass. The 6’8 Croatia native grabbed 21 rebounds in his three games.
The Ramblers won the CBI two years ago but battled inconsistency last season. Adding more weapons around Doyle could make him more effective. The presence of Custer and the arrival of Chastain diminish the ball-handling load for Doyle and should increase the team’s overall firepower.
Moser believes the lessons learned in Spain will pay dividends deep into a Missouri Valley season that could be the most wide open in years.