Here's another in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the upcoming season.
Up now ...
- JOSH FORNEY (6-9, 230 pounds, Center, St. Frances Academy, Baltimore): Reported to be a big, bruising inside presence, but is likely to redshirt this season. No statistics available. "He's got great size, but will most likely redshirt," Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said in a recent interview with the Baltimore Sun newspaper. "He's a good player ... reminds me of Rick Mahorn. He's kind of a bruiser, a thick kid. He's an inside guy, a hard-working type of guy. But, with Julius Brooks and Jordan Latham at the 5 (for Loyola this coming season), we wouldn't want to waste the year. He'll most likely redshirt."
- JARED JONES (6-6, 185 pound, Forward, John Carroll School, Baltimore): A slender player who averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a high school senior. "He's going to play some 3 and some 4," Patsos told the Baltimore paper. "He's like Erik Etherly (Loyola's senior standout). He's kind of an inside player with a lot of guard skills, so that's good. He's done fine when we had some practices. He's just catching up to the speed of the game, but obviously ... he's coming prepared from the high school level. He's had great high school coaching and it shows in practice, he was ready to go. He was good, a guy who can help us off the bench.
- WILL RASSMAN (6-7 Forwar, Gonzaga College H.S., Takom Park, Md.): No high school stats available. "He is similar to Jared Jones," Patsos told the Baltimore paper. "Remember, freshmen should be concerned with the invisible stats. I want freshmen to take charges, play good defense and get deflections, things like that. Hustle plays. Lots of times freshmen are confused and think `I'll be the man right away.' You play as a freshman for invisible stats. Rassman is that kind of guy. (He comes from) a great program. He and Jones are going to play some minutes this year."
- DAMON RASHFORD (6-5, 200 pounds, Guard, Westwind Prep School, Phoenix): He averaged 18.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in prep school this past season. A native of Canada, he played for a Toronto-based AAU team coached by Loyola basketball alum Shane James.
ERIC LASHER (6-6, 195 pounds, Wing, Polytech H.S., Smyrna, Del.): He averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game this past season and was named Delaware's Player of the Year. "He's young, but he's got talent," Patsos told the Baltimore paper. "Watching a few practices, he's a late bloomer but has a lot of talent and he can score. He's a scorer. Scorers have a funny way of getting on the court. He's a 2/3."
ANALYSIS: It's interesting to see that as Loyola's program has progressed in recent years Patsos has had more success in players from the Baltimore area, which hadn't been the case several years ago. The Greyhounds appear to be set with returnees likely to be the first six players in the rotation, but there is a need for depth and that's what the incoming class is expected to bring. All four freshmen (the fifth, Forney, is likely to redshirt) will get a legitimate chance to earn minutes in the coming season and the five-member group will provide a nice foundation for the program's future.