As Good As Gold
Feb. 17, 2013
By Emily Durfey
When the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team comes to practice at Gentile Arena, it is immediately divided into two groups. Most players are wearing maroon jerseys but some are not.
"We're known as the `Golden Boys' because we wear gold jerseys during practice and try to play harder," junior Bill Clark said. "Our ultimate goal in practice is to make Coach Moser mad. If we've done that, then we've done our job."
The "Golden Boys" scout team is made up of guards Clark, junior Derrick Boone, freshman transfer Milton Doyle, sophomore London Dokubo, and rookie center Jeremy King. Clark, Boone, and Dokubo are not scholarship players. They walked on to the team at the beginning of last season and although they may not earn many minutes during games, they are still counted on to play hard against the rest of their teammates and make them better. They also try to make second-year Loyola head coach Porter Moser mad by outplaying the regulars in practice.
"During practice, we work on the little things," Boone said. "We focus on pressuring the ball on defense and working on offensive plays that the other team runs and our starters can get used to defending. We also work on our cuts as well as penetration on offense. We make the most of our opportunities."
While most of Loyola's team was recruited to play for the Ramblers, these three players have taken unusual routes to suit up for Moser. Boone, originally from Minneapolis, didn't even plan on coming to the state of Illinois after graduation.
"I wanted to go to Marquette originally, but I visited and liked Loyola better," he said. "I wanted to play basketball in college, so I tried to walk on when I got to Loyola. Even though I didn't make the team my freshman year, I decided to try out again when Coach Moser came to Loyola. I was fortunate enough to make the team, and it has been such a blessing."
Dokubo, originally from Schaumburg, a Northwest suburb of Chicago, considered several different options after graduating from high school.
"I knew I wanted to play basketball in college, and I originally was deciding between a few Division II and Division III schools," Dokubo said. "I also had an opportunity to walk on to Northern Illinois University's team as well. That didn't end up panning out, so I searched for another option. During the summer before my freshman year, I came to summer camp at Loyola with Coach Moser, and he offered me an opportunity to walk on to the team."
Clark, who is from Valparaiso, Ind., did not intend to play basketball after graduating from high school and enrolled at Indiana University. However, he transferred to Loyola before his sophomore year when he decided to pick up the sport again.
"I played basketball in high school, but I originally wasn't going to play basketball in college," he said. "During my freshman year, I played intramural basketball and wanted to play again. I decided to come to Loyola because my dad and grandfathers played here, so I wanted to be a fourth-generation Rambler. It ended up working out."
Although the three walk-ons may not have seen as much action in games as they did last year, they have noticed a different attitude as this season has unfolded.
"I have definitely noticed a change from last season to this season," Boone said. "We've worked harder in practice. I also feel that this team has good character and we're better focused. We also have a good group of freshmen who are humble."
"Last year, we had the mentality that we were always going to lose," Dokubo said. "This season, we've worked a lot with the younger guys, and we think we're going to win. We know we are good enough to play with anyone."
"Last season, we were playing to be in games," Clark said. "This season, we're playing to win games."
Though their efforts may not end up on a statistics sheet after a game, Boone noted that the three players still try to help out their teammates in other ways while playing as hard as they can.
"I maintain focus and intensity during the game by cheering on my teammates," Boone said. "I take pride in [doing that] because it gives them a boost. There is a different mentality fighting for minutes [for us]. I have a desire to make Coach think about us in the game. We hate losing, but it gives us a motivation to work hard."
All three players have expressed a desire to continue to work with athletics in some way after they graduate from Loyola.
"I'm a finance major, and I'd like to be a financial advisor after I graduate," Boone said. "If it works out, I would also like to own a sports complex in an inner-city setting for kids that offers chances to play sports as well as personal training."
Dokubo, who is a sports management and marketing major, would like to continue to work in the basketball industry.
"I would like to work for an NBA or matchup agency as a player manager," he said.
Clark is a pre-med and biology major but may end up continuing to work with basketball after he graduates.
"I want to be an orthopedic surgeon and work in a pediatric hospital," he said. "Coach Moser has also told me several times that I should possibly consider becoming a coach. I'm not sure about that though."
For now, Boone, Dokubo, and Clark will continue to work hard in practice and make the most of the opportunities given to them.
"My favorite basketball memory has to be beating DePaul this season," Boone said. "We were down early and had to come back to win. It's a good city rivalry, and it felt good to overcome adversity."
Both Dokubo and Clark included last season's last-second victory over Toledo as one of their favorite basketball memories at Loyola.
"We only had six scholarship players and three walk-ons, and we ended up winning on a buzzer-beating shot," Dokubo said. "My other favorite basketball memory would have to be my first ever start at Wright State last year. I never expected to start as a freshman."
"My favorite basketball memory is also our game last season against Toledo both personally and as a team," he said. "I got an assist on a game-tying shot by Christian Thomas, and after the game my dad came over and told me how proud he was of me."