Loyola University Maryland will open its 103rd season of intercollegiate basketball when it takes the floor against Binghamton University.
Last year, the teams played each other in their season-opener, as well, with Loyola prevailing, 71-45, on November 9, in Reitz Arena.
Friday’s game is the second of a two-game series between the teams.
The game will mark the official start to the head coaching career of G.G. Smith who became the 20th head coach in program history on April 12, 2013. Smith spent the last six years as an assistant to Jimmy Patsos at Loyola.
The Greyhounds return eight players from a team that went 23-12 last year.
Last Time Out
The Greyhounds wrapped-up the 2012-2013 season on March 26, 2013, in Greenville, N.C., at East Carolina University in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament Quarterfinals. The Pirates outlasted the Greyhounds, 70-58, and went on to win the CIT title.
Robert Olson hit a jumper with 12:26 left in the game to put Loyola in front, 45-44, but it would be the Greyhounds’ last point for 5:47, and East Carolina would turn a one-point deficit into a eight-point lead.
Dylon Cormier led Loyola with 12 points in the game, while seniors Olson and Anthony Winbush closed their careers with 11 and 10, respectively.
Start Of The Smith Era
G.G. Smith was named the 20th head coach in Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball history on April 12, 2013.
The 1999 graduate of the University of Georgia spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola for Jimmy Patsos who took the head coaching position at Siena College in March.
Loyola amassed a 106-87 record (.549) during Smith’s six years as an assistant. The 106 wins and the .549 winning percentage are the best of any six-year stretch during Loyola’s Division I history (since 1982-1983).
As a player, Smith was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1995-1999. Smith helped the Bulldogs advance to the 1996 NCAA Sweet 16 and another tournament appearance in 1997. He left Georgia as the school’s career leader in games played (129), wins in a season (24) and 3-pointers in a game (nine).
Smith is the son of current Texas Tech University Head Coach Tubby Smith. The elder Smith led the University of Kentucky to the 1998 NCAA Championship and is in his 23rd season as a head coach. G.G. Smith played for his father from 1995-1997 at Georgia.
Meet The Staff
Joining G.G. Smith on the Greyhounds’ bench this season will be assistant coaches Keith Booth, Josh Loeffler and Dan Ficke and director of operations Kevin Farrell.
Booth spent the last two seasons as an assistant women’s coach at Loyola after serving as an assistant to Gary Williams for seven years at the University of Maryland. An All-American and four-time All-ACC player at Maryland, Booth won an NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls.
Loeffler brings considerable Patriot League experience with four seasons, and two League Championship Game appearances (2010 and 2011), at Lafayette College. He was also the head coach at NCAA Division III school Stevens Institute of Technology from guided the Ducks to a 46-13 record in two seasons and an NCAA Sweet 16 bid in 2007.
Ficke is a graduate and four-year lettermen of Loyola where he also earned his master’s degree. The last three seasons, Ficke has been a member of the staff at Wake Forest University where he was the Special Assistant to the Head Coach and Director of Scouting and Recruiting.
Farrell returns for his second season as the Greyhounds’ director of operations and sixth overall with the program. He was a four-year manager for the team as an undergraduate at Loyola.
Look Back At 2012-2013
Loyola finished the 2012-2013 season with a 23-12 record, marking the first time in the school’s Division I history (since 1982-1983) that the Greyhounds have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.
The Greyhounds finished their final season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 12-6 mark, tying for second place.
After falling in the first round of the MAAC Championships, Loyola its first-ever bid tot he CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. Following the Greyhounds’ 2012 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, it was the first consecutive postseason bids in school Division I history and the first since 1953 in any division of competition.
Erik Etherly and Dylon Cormier became the first set of Loyola teammates to be named to the All-MAAC First Team in the same year.
Cormier led the team with 16.4 points and 1.8 steals per game, while Etherly averaged 15.7 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds per game.
Ethelry was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District I Second Team for the second year in a row, the first time a Loyola player has been selected to the group on more than one occasion.
Cormier was the team’s top scorer a year ago, posting 558 points in 34 games for an average of 16.4 per contest. He was also the top rebounding guard in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, pulling down an average of 4.6 per game, a total of 155.
WIlliams returns for his third season as the Greyhounds’ starter at point guard. Last year he posted a 2:1 assist:turnovber ratio, averaging 4.0 assists in 17 games played. He averaged 31.7 minutes per game and shot 86.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Latham started 16 games a season ago and shot 48.6 percent from the field. He scored a season-high 17 points at eventual Sweet 16 team Florida Gulf Coast University and was also the team’s top shot-blocker, averaging 1.16 per game.
Jones, Laster and Rassman all earned valuable experience during their first seasons at Loyola, and Hubbard was a stretch-the-defense shooter in his first season on the court after redshirting in 2011-2012. Jones started nine games and averaged 11.0 minutes per game. He shot 56.6 percent from the field, had 17 blocks and the same number of steals. Rassman made six starts during his first campaign; he had eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks in his third collegiate game (UMBC) and then scored 13 in his first start (vs. Saint Peter’s). Hubbard had three double-figure scoring games, knocking down 17 on 4-of-5 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 overall against UMBC.
Seven players will make their Loyola debuts this season with the roster featuring two juniors who transferred from other schools, three redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen.
Denzel Brito will suit up for the Greyhounds after spending 2010-2012 at a different Jesuit school with a similar name: Loyola University Chicago. As a sophomore in 2011-2012, Brito started 21 games for the Ramblers and led the team in assists with 3.5 per game, while averaging 7.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. In their last four games, he averaged 11.0 points.
Stefano Mancini joined the team before the fall semester. The former Gatorade Player of the Year for the State of Maine spent the 2011-2012 season at the University of Maine.
True freshmen Nick Gorski and Jevon Patton were the first signees by the new coaching staff at Loyola and joined the program this fall. Both Gorski and Patton led their respective high school programs to state titles in 2012-2013, Gorski at Benedictine Prep in Richmond, Va., and Patton at Olympic High School in Charlotte, N.C.
Etherly returned from an early-season shoulder injury to average 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds while earning All-MAAC First Team and NABC All-District I Second Team honors for the second year in a row. He finished with 1,245 points and 669 rebounds in three seasons at Loyola.
Olson was the team’s third-leading scorer with 12.7 points per game, and he also averaged 4.2 rebounds as a guard. A 2012 All-MAAC Third Team member, Olson graduated with 1,264 career points and the second-most 3-pointers made in a career (211).
Winbush was the quintessential multi-role player for the Greyhounds; he saw action at every position but center last season offensively, and he frequently defended the opponents’ best player, regardless of position. He led the team in overall rebounds (197), was second in overall assists (76) and averaged 7.0 points per game.
Brooks provided toughness, rebounding and inside scoring for the Greyhounds, playing in 34 games and starting 10. He averaged 4.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and nearly a blocked shot a game as a senior.
Wandrusch was a four-year walk-on to the program who was a solid addition to the Greyhounds’ scout team.
New Year, New Coach, New League
Many things associated with the Loyola men’s basketball program have changed, such as first-year head coach G.G. Smith moving up after spending six years as an assistant on the Greyhounds’ bench.
Loyola will also be a member of the Patriot League for the first time in 2013-2014. The school announced in August 2012 that it would make the move to the conference, and the move became official on July 1, 2013.
The Greyhounds will compete against American University, fellow Patriot League newcomer Boston University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, College of the Holy Cross, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Preseason Patriot League Picks
Loyola senior guard Dylon Cormier was one of five players named to the Preseason All-Patriot League First Team, an honor shared by Bucknell’s Cameron Ayers, Holy Cross’ Dave Dudzinski, Boston University’s D.J. Irving (player of the year) and Lehigh’s Mackey McKnight.
As a team, the Greyhounds were slated to finish fifth, just six points out of third place. Boston University was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Lafayette, Army, Bucknell, Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Navy.
Series History Versus Binghamton
Loyola and Binghamton will play for the second time in series history on Friday night, the first coming when the teams squared off last year in the season-opener in Baltimore.
The Greyhounds won that decision, 71-45.
Binghamton scored the game’s first two points, but Loyola held the Bearcats scoreless for 10-minutes, 30-seconds as part of a 19-0 run that helped the Greyhounds build a 17-point advantage. They would hold that same margin at the half, 39-22. Binghamton cut it to 14, 41-27, with 17:25 to play, but an Erik Etherly dunk spurred a 22-5 run that covered nearly nine minutes and put Loyola ahead, 61-32, with 8:58 left in the game.
In a continuing agreement with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), five Loyola men’s basketball games will be broadcast by the regional sports network this season. Additionally, those games will be carried by various other RSNs nationwide.
The Greyhounds’ November 16 home-opener against former MAAC foe Fairfield University will be broadcast, as will the November 20 game at UMBC and the December 7 affair at Mount St. Mary’s. MASN will also broadcast the Greyhounds’ February 15 game against Boston University. MASN will also pick up the ROOT Sports Pittsburgh feed of Loyola’s game at West Virginia University on December 2.
Two Loyola games will air nationally on CBS Sports Network as part of the Patriot League’s television package. The Greyhounds will be featured on back-to-back Monday nights in January, starting with a January 13 game in Reitz Arena against Lafayette, followed by the January 20 contest at Boston University.
Another pair of games will also be televised, with SNY originating the November 26 game at the University of Connecticut and ESPN3 carrying the December 30 contest at the University of Miami.
Introducing The Patriot League Network
The remainder of Loyola’s home games, and all non-televised conference road games will be streamed live on the new Patriot League Network.
Launched in August 2013, the network features live and on-demand content from all 10 Patriot League schools on a free, HD platform.
No log-in or subscription is needed, and fans can watch hundreds of Patriot League games in a variety of sports at www.patriotleague.tv.
Brito, Laster Spend Summer Overseas
Two Loyola players, – Denzel Brito and Eric Laster – gained valuable experience playing overseas during the summer of 2013.
Brito trained with the Cape Verdean National Team prior to their play in the FIBA African Championships. However, due to a FIBA exclusion, he was not able to participate in the event itself.
Laster played in five games on a tour that visited Belgium, England and The Netherlands. He was lauded for his wing play by writers who covered the events against professional teams in those countries.
Cormier On The Charts
Dylon Cormier enters his senior season at Loyola with a chance to climb many of the Greyhounds’ career statistical charts. Here is a look at where he stands:
Scoring 22nd 1,213 points Next Marquis Sullivan, 1,242 Field Goals Made 25th 402 field goals made Next Jack Vogt, 410 3-Pointers Made 17th 76 3-Pt. Made Next Anthony Walker, 81 Free Throws Made 10th-Tie 333 free throws made Next Erik Etherly, 340 Assists 23rd 172 assists Next Mark Rhode, 179 Steals 7th 139 steals Next Tom Gormley, 140
Latham On Blocks List
Jordan Latham enters the 2013-2014 season with 56 blocked shots in his two seasons at Loyola. He is 11th all-time in that statistical category, two shy of tying Mike Wagner (1987-91) for 10th and three away from Anthony Smith (1995-97) in ninth.
Latham blocked a team-high 37 shots last year.
Etherly Signs Pro Contract
Erik Etherly, a 2013 graduate of Loyola, signed a professional contract to play in the Israeli Basketball Super League for Hapoel Kazrin/Galil Elyon.
A two-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team forward, Etherly will play in the top basketball league in Israel. Last year, the team won the Balkan International Basketball League, and it captured its first Israeli Championship in 2009-2010.
Through three games (as of Nov. 5), Etherly is the team’s leading scorer (22.7 points per game) for the 2-1 side. He tallied 32 points and nine rebounds in a win over Hapoel Migdal Haemek.
The Loyola men’s basketball team scored the highest amongst squads in the State of Maryland in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate report. The Greyhounds checked in with a 91-percent GSR, tops among the state’s nine Division I schools, for players who entered the school between 2003-2006.
Baltimore Bred And More From Nearby
In recent years, Loyola men’s basketball has put a strong emphasis on local recruiting, and it shows on this year’s roster. Four players – junior guard Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons), junior forward Jordan Latham (City) and sophomore guard R.J. Williams and freshman forward Josh Forney (St. Frances) are products of schools within the city limits.
Four more players played in high school within 50 miles of Loyola, as the crow flies (thanks daftlogic.com): Jarred Jones, John Carroll, 20.5 miles; Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian, 32.6; Franz Rassman, Gonzaga College H.S., 37.2.
Loyola will continue its road trip to open the season an hour up New York Route 79. The Greyhounds will face Cornell University at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 11.
The Greyhounds open the home portion of their 2013-2014 schedule on Saturday, November 16, with an 8 o’clock game against a familiar foe. Loyola hosts former MAAC opponent and fellow Jesuit school Fairfield in a game that will be televised on MASN.