Sunday, August 16, 2009

Loyola: Big Transfer Could Have Impact


The five players with the most starts a year ago are back, but last year's starting lineup changed almost on a game-by-game basis. And, it lacked a legitimate "big" man.

The Greyhounds were one of the youngest teams nationally last year, so the likelihood is that players grew into roles and playing time will be more defined. And, there is a legitimate center in place this year, too.

Eligible transfer

- Shane Walker, a 6-foot-10, 211-pound center transferred in from Maryland, was at Loyola last season ans is eligible this season. He's a legit big man. First, a word of warning: Big men transferring down to the MAAC aren't exactly sure things. Loyola fans will recall 6-10 Hassan Fofana, another transfer from Maryland who was basically a role player for the Greyhounds. But, Walker might be different. Those who have seen him play describe him as a "mobil" big man (Fofana didn't move well) with good inside skills, enough, maybe, to free up some openings for Loyola's strong perimeter cast. Walker, a native of Northampton, England, averaged 0.5 points and 1.0 rebounds and 5.3 minutes per game in 24 appearances at Maryland as a freshman. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Incoming freshmen

- Julius Brooks, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Page High School in Greensboro, N.C. He averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks per game as a senior. Reports are that he has a nice touch around the basket and is a strong shot-blocker. Likely to be a back-up this season, but head coach Jimmy Patsos is clearly unafraid to tinker with his playing group, so if Brooks earns it he'll play ahead of upper classmen.

- Robert Olson, a 6-4 guard from Georgetown Prep in Maryland. He averaged 13.5 points per game there last season. Reports indicate that he is an athletic guard who can also play small forward. Loyola has plenty at the three perimeter positions, so he'll be able to ease into the college game.

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