Nov. 1, 2006
Baltimore, Md. - The 2006-07 Loyola College men's basketball season gets underway Friday evening at Reitz Arena when the Greyhounds host the Cardinals from Catholic University in an exhibition game scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m. As part of the pre-game festivities, CBS Sports and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will address the crowd and offer his opinions on the upcoming basketball season.
The contest will mark the on-court debut in Loyola Green and Grey for junior guard Gerald Brown (Baltimore, Md./Frederick Douglass HS). The transfer from Providence College who sat out last season while establishing residency at Loyola is one of four new eligible players who will be appearing on the Reitz Arena floor for the first time under third-year coach Jimmy Patsos.
Three starters return for a Greyhounds team that posted a 15-13 record in 2005-06, their first winning season since 1993-94. Leading that group is junior forward Michael Tuck (Toronto, Ontario/Markham District HS), the top scorer (9.1 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg) among the returnees. Senior guard Shane James (Toronto, Ontario/Milliken Mills HS) has started 73 of 84 games over the last three seasons and junior center Hassan Fofana (Weston, Mass./Holy Name Academy) started 21 of 22 games last season after becoming eligible at the conclusion of the first semester following his transfer from the University of Maryland.
Other players back for the Greyhounds are senior forward Josko Alujevic (Split, Croatia/Vladimir Nazor HS), junior guard Greg Manning (Alpharetta, Ga./Chattahoochie HS) and sophomores Marquis Sullivan (Westminster, Md./Archbishop Spalding HS), Jawaan Wright (Agawam, Mass./Cathedral HS), and Dan Ficke (Englewood, Colo./Regis Jesuit HS).
Along with the debut of Brown, freshmen guards Brett Harvey (New City, N.Y./Clarkstown North HS) and Tony Lewis (Fredericksburg, Va./Blue Ridge HS) and junior forward Sal Gaetani (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown Heights HS) will suit up for the Greyhounds for the first time Friday. Junior forward Omari Isreal (Rockville, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel HS) also will be eligible this season, joining Loyola for game action following the completion of the first semester after his transfer last winter from the University of Notre Dame.
Patsos will be coaching against his alma mater for the first time as a head coach. The 1989 graduate lettered three times under the legendary Jack Bruen and helped the Cardinals to a 51-26 record during that span.
Bilas' participation is part of season-opening festivities and includes a private reception for the Loyola student body senior class and members of Loyola's Kennel Club. He will speak to those in attendance from the court just prior to the tip. This is the second consecutive year that a function has been developed for the senior class and held prior to the exhibition game as ESPN's Digger Phelps spoke to a standing-room only crowd prior to last year's game.
The regular season gets underway one week later when the Greyhounds travel to Queens, N.Y., the weekend of November 10-11 to participate in the 2006 2K Sports College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. First-round action pits the Greyhounds against the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen on Friday at 6:00 p.m. The other matchup that night features the Red Storm of St. John's hosting the Ospreys of North Florida at 8 o'clock. Saturday's consolation game is at 6:00 p.m. with the winners meeting at 8 o'clock for a chance to advance to the championship round at Madison Square Garden the following weekend.