Moser, Krutwig move on, but Loyola aims to show staying power

  • Loyola guard Lucas Williamson, here driving around Georgia Tech's Michael Devoe at the NCAA tournament in March, is the leading returning scorer for the Ramblers.

    Loyola guard Lucas Williamson, here driving around Georgia Tech's Michael Devoe at the NCAA tournament in March, is the leading returning scorer for the Ramblers. Associated Press

  • Waubonsie Valley's Ben Schwieger lays in 2 points against Oswego last season, and will play for Loyola this season.

    Waubonsie Valley's Ben Schwieger lays in 2 points against Oswego last season, and will play for Loyola this season. Sean King for Shaw Media

 
 
Updated 11/8/2021 7:51 PM

Porter Moser is the new head coach at Oklahoma.

Cameron Krutwig is playing professional basketball in Belgium.

 

Those are two major losses for Loyola, but the Ramblers aren't feeling sorry for themselves heading into the new season.

The stalwart mid-major program that shocked the college basketball world by advancing to the Final Four in 2018 and upsetting No. 1 seed Illinois and making it to the Sweet 16 last season is still set up for success.

A week after losing to Oregon State in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals, Moser left the Ramblers for Oklahoma. In 10 seasons at Loyola, the Naperville native won 20 or more games five times.

Two days after Moser's exit, Loyola tabbed Drew Valentine to fill the gaping hole.

"The impact that (Moser) has made on this entire university will not forgotten," said the 30-year-old Valentine, who was as assistant coach with the Ramblers the last four years. "We will continue to do things the right way, with character and passion. The vision and standard that coach Moser established will forever remain a part of the culture."

Even without Krutwig, a prep star at Jacobs High School in Algonquin and one of the top players in Missouri Valley Conference history, the Ramblers are good enough to get back to the NCAAs for the third time in the last five years.

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First game

Tuesday vs. Coppin State at Gentile Arena.

Top returnees

Lucas Williamson, guard; Braden Norris, guard; Aher Uguak, forward; Keith Clemons, guard. The foursome all started on last season's 26-5 team.

New faces

Ben Schwieger, forward; Ty Johnson, guard.

A second team all-state selection last season, Schwieger averaged 17 points and 8.4 rebounds per game at Waubonsie Valley High School.

Key losses

Krutwig; Baylor Hebb (transfer, Colorado State).

Worth noting

Not only is Williamson Loyola's top returning scorer (8.8 points per game), the 6-foot-4 guard is one of the nation's best defenders.

"The analytics are absolutely insane about when Lucas is guarding you in an iso situation," Valentine said. "He was the defensive player of the year in the Valley last year, which is among the Top 10 leagues in the country, he was all-defensive in the league the year before that. He's just been an elite defender for one of the best defenses in the country statistically and analytically. I'd put him up with anybody."

Top games

Nov. 12 vs. Michigan State (Bahamas); Dec. 4 at DePaul; Jan. 30 at Drake.

The Ramblers, picked to finish second in the MVC behind Drake, also host the Bulldogs Feb. 19.

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