Nov. 7, 2007
Baltimore, Md. - The countdown to the commencement of the 2007-08 college basketball season concludes Friday night at 7:00 p.m. when Loyola begins the campaign in the Towson Center against the Tigers. Head coach Jimmy Patsos opens his fourth season at the helm and expectations have never been higher for the Greyhounds.
Slotted for second place behind Siena in preseason voting by the MAAC coaches -- its highest preseason ranking since joining the MAAC in 1989-90 -- the Greyhounds start a stretch of three games in five days and seven in 16 with many of the pieces from last year's 18-13 squad returning.
Tops among those is senior guard Gerald Brown, the third-leading returning scorer in Division I. The Baltimore native scored at a 22.2 points-per-game clip in his first season with the Greyhounds, a figure that led the MAAC. He also led the conferences in steals per game (1.9) and was a preseason all-MAAC First Team selection by the conference's coaches in addition to receiving preseason Mid-Major All-America recognition.
Brown will not have to do it alone as more than 84 percent of the scoring from last year's team returns along with him. The front line of seniors Omari Isreal (9.1 ppg), Hassan Fofana and Michael Tuck -- the MAAC's Sixth Man of the Year a season ago -- are also back after each of them missed games last season for either injury (Tuck, Fofana) or NCAA transfer rules (Isreal).
The team's second-leading scorer (13.1 ppg) and a preseason all-MAAC Second Team choice, junior guard Marquis Sullivan is expected to be joined in the backcourt by newcomer Joe Miles, a junior guard who is eligible this season following his transfer from Marshall University. Not to be forgotten is sophomore guard Brett Harvey, who started 30 games and averaged 31 minutes a game at point guard as a freshman. He will back up both guard positions and can step into a starting role immediately if called upon.
Coming off the bench are senior guard Greg Manning and junior forward Dan Ficke. It is expected that junior forward Jawaan Wright will sit out the season and receive a non-participating redshirt season.
Seeing their first collegiate action will be redshirt freshman guard Tony Lewis, who sat out all of last season following season-ending shoulder surgery, and freshmen recruits Isaac Reid and Brian Rudolph. Lewis adds depth at guard and has excelled as a defensive stopper in the preseason while Reid joins a group of seniors in the rotation in frontcourt and Rudolph will push for time at guard.
Following the Towson game, the Greyhounds return home for a stretch of three games at Reitz Arena. Sunday Loyola hosts Pennsylvania at noon in the inaugural game of the Philly Classic, a multi-team event that concludes with eight teams meeting in Philadelphia Thanksgiving Weekend for two days of doubleheaders. Tuesday's game with American is the Greyhounds' first television appearance of the season with MASN carrying the game live at 7 o'clock. November 18 Vermont is the foe with MASN again providing coverage of the game beginning at 5:30 p.m. to conclude the home stretch.