Aug. 9, 2012
CHICAGO - After wrapping up a session of classes and summer workouts, the youthful Loyola University Chicago men's basketball squad will embark on a two-week tour of Italy when it takes off for Rome today. While overseas, the Ramblers will play four games in four different cities before returning to Chicago August 23.
To prepare for the excursion to Italy, Loyola made use of the 10 practices allotted by the NCAA prior to such trips, wrapping up those workout sessions yesterday afternoon.
"With eight new players on the roster, these summer practices have been invaluable from a teaching standpoint, from a learning standpoint, and from a camaraderie standpoint," second-year Loyola head coach Porter Moser said. "Going to Italy will be a tremendous educational and cultural experience for our guys and one that they will remember for the rest of their lives. From a basketball perspective, we hope to come together, learn about each other, and build a togetherness that championship teams possess."
Rome will be the first destination for the Ramblers, who will perform two service projects during their six-day stay in Italy's capital city. The team's stay in Rome concludes with its first game of the trip, against The Italy All-Stars, August 14.
From there, the Ramblers travel to Florence, where they will spend three days taking in the sights and sounds, while prepping for their second game of the trip against Pallacanestro Bassano del Grappa in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, August 18. That game begins a challenging stretch in which Loyola will play three games in five days to close out the trip.
The next stop on the tour is Treviso, Italy, and Loyola will meet up with Zepa Marostica there August 20 before heading north to Como. On August 22, the Ramblers wrap up the trip to Italy by taking on Legnano Basket before beginning the journey back to the Windy City one day later.
With eight newcomers on the roster, the trip will be extremely beneficial to the young, but talented, Rambler squad that has already made great strides this summer. Despite the youthfulness of the roster, which features only two returning upperclassmen with playing experience at Loyola, Moser will be able to rely on the veteran leadership of fifth-year senior Jordan Hicks (8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and senior Ben Averkamp, who captured Second Team All-Horizon League accolades a year ago after putting up 15.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Averkamp was one of only two players to rank among the top five in the conference in both scoring and rebounding.
Sophomore guard Joe Crisman is a wily veteran and will provide steady leadership after starting 25 contests as a rookie last winter, when he chipped in 8.5 ppg and 2.8 rpg. Moser will also lean heavily on a proven point guard as University of Iowa transfer Cully Payne becomes eligible after sitting out last season due to NCAA residency requirements. As a freshman in 2009-10, the 6-foot-1 Payne was named to Sporting News' All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
Follow LoyolaRamblers.com for blogs and videos from the team's trip to Italy.
Aug. 9, 2012