Loyola (MD) Greyhounds
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #78
Conference Rank: #1 Metro Atlantic
Loyola (MD) Team Page
Coach Jimmy Pastos has done a great job at Loyola and those efforts paid off with an NCAA Tournament trip in 2012. While Iona garnered all of the headlines, the Greyhounds quietly pushed the Gaels for a conference title and ended up earning the conference’s automatic bid by knocking off Niagara, Siena and Fairfield in the MAAC tournament. While perennial powers like Iona and Fairfield are not going anywhere and Manhattan and Niagara should make the conference race very interesting, Loyola returns four starters and should have more than enough depth to win the regular season title.
2011-12 Record: 24-9, 13-5
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jimmy Pastos
Coach Record: 122-113 at Loyola (MD), 122-113 overall
The transfer of Justin Drummond to Toledo was a tough loss for Loyola. Drummond was the team’s sixth man and averaged 10.7 points per game. He was the only guard who saw quality minutes off of the bench last year and replacing him will have to be done by a freshman, or multiple freshmen. The frontcourt depth is a little more experienced, so replacing the graduated Shane Walker should be a little easier. However, Walker was a fine rebounder and a decent interior presence on the defensive end. After averaging 9.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as a senior, Walker’s absence could turn into a problem if some returning players are not ready to step up.
The key newcomer will likely be the one player who was sitting on the bench as a redshirt last season. Tyler Hubbard may not take over all of Drummond’s minutes, but he is a very good shooter, which is something Drummond struggled with. If Hubbard can provide a shooter off of the bench, Loyola should be in good shape. Damion Rashford and Eric Laster are the other perimeter options and even if Hubbard is knocking down three’s, having an all-around scorer step up on the perimeter is not a bad thing. Both are quality wing players who can score in bunches, but it remains to be seen which one, if either, can adjust to life in the MAAC right away. The frontcourt could add a little depth with Jarred Jones and Will Rassman. Neither are big guys, but both are pretty versatile and can spend time at either forward spot. Coach Pastos will not need major minutes from them as freshmen, but they are brimming with potential and if that potential is realized during the 2012-2013 season, they will play. Big man Josh Forney and walk-on guard Sean Tuohy will likely redshirt this year.
Who to Watch:
Coach Pastos generally ran an eight man rotation last year and six of them are back and one other is expected to break into that rotation. R.J. Williams, Dylon Cormier and Robert Olson will make the team go from the backcourt. The Greyhounds like to get up and down the floor and the development of Williams at the point will be very important. Williams started most of his freshman campaign and proved to be a capable ball handler, passer and defender. The Greyhounds may not need him to score much, but if he was a bigger threat to score, it would help open things up. But Cormier and Olson will do plenty of scoring. Cormier is the tough scorer who can do damage from long range or by attacking the basket. Olson is easily the best shooter on the team after knocking down 43.1 percent of his attempts from long range, but he has also done a better job of using his 6-4 frame to mix up his offensive game. As a senior, he will likely be even more aggressive as a leader and a scorer. Erik Etherly, a versatile 6-7 forward, can do plenty of scoring as well. He led the Greyhounds with 13.7 points per game and he will do plenty of scoring inside and out. The three-point line is a little beyond his range, but Etherly can stretch out the defense by knocking down mid-range jumpers with relative consistency. Loyola will not need Etherly to be a great shooter, since he is the main interior scoring threat and a fine defender in the paint. Those four returning starters will be the leaders of the Greyhounds and after that just finding a fifth starter and a little depth will be the difference between a team that can compete for a conference title and a team that can win it.
Jordan Latham will step into the starting role vacated by Walker. Latham, a 6-8, 249 pound junior, only averaged 12.2 minutes per game as a sophomore, but he is the player with the size and the strength to battle in the paint. He is not the strongest rebounder, but he is a good shot blocker. With more playing time, Latham could even develop into a halfway decent scoring threat. Mostly this group just needs him to play some defense and toughen up a bit on the boards. Julius Brooks will have to spend some time at the five spot due to lack of other options. He has the size and is a quality rebounder, but after averaging just 4.7 minutes per game last year, the Greyhounds are looking for a big jump in production from the senior. Anthony Winbush is a big, versatile wing who can play pretty much anywhere except the point or the five spot. That versatility makes him a great option off of the bench. If the Greyhounds need another rebounder or some extra size on the floor, they can put Winbush on the wing. If the frontcourt depth is developing into an issue, he can hold his own there as well. There are a few players who will need to take on larger roles this year and Coach Pastos does not really have too many options unless the freshmen are ready to compete right away and that does not happen as much as many would hope. But this is an experienced squad that returns six key players from an NCAA Tournament squad and that is more than anybody else in the conference can say.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
R.J. Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 points per game
Dylon Cormier, Junior, Guard, 13.4 points per game
Robert Olson, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Erik Etherly, Senior, Forward, 13.7 points per game
Jordan Latham, Junior, Forward, 1.8 points per game