It may be Porter Moser’s first year at Loyola, but the experienced coach is leading his third program. He was very successful building programs at Arkansas-Little Rock and Illinois State. After a four-year stint as an assistant at Saint Louis, he is running his own program once again, and doing a terrific job landing talent at Loyola.
Born and raised outside of Chicago, Moser can sell the city of Chicago as well as anyone and knows how to navigate its tricky recruiting landscape. He, and his staff, is also well-connected throughout the states of Illinois and Indiana and the entire Midwest.
Those ties have already paid off with Loyola's 2012 class. On top of landing four high school kids, Moser reeled in two transfers in Devin Hill from DePaul and PG Culley Payne from Iowa, who should have an immediate impact. Coaches at the mid-major level are always on the lookout for transfers because they can elevate a program -- even if it's only for a year.
Here is a look at what the potential future will look like for the Ramblers.
In the frontcourt, the Ramblers will have a pair of mobile skilled bigs with good upside in Matt O'Leary (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute North Vigo) and Nick Osborne (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central). O'Leary is a long, skilled power forward who can stretch the defense with his ability to knock down the open 3 off the catch. As soon as he steps on campus, he will be the team’s best shooter with range out to 22 feet. Osborne is a productive, physical power forward who scores in pick-and-pop situations, as well as off a sweep and drive from the high post. He will also rebound and be a matchup problem for less-mobile forwards.
Mosher likes athletes and his future backcourt will have a couple of good ones from Illinois in Darrell Combs (South Holland, Ill./Thornwood) and Jeff White (Peoria, Ill./Manual). Combs is a tough, competitive scorer who is relentless on the offensive end and can make his opponents pay in transition or in the half-court set with his tight handle and ability to stretch the defense out to the arc. White is a tough lead guard with speed and a midrange game. His team finished second in the state of Illinois last season and he knows how to win.
Payne brings Big Ten experience at the most important position and according to Moser, Payne is the team's best player who instills confidence in everyone. Hill can dominate the paint with his size, but he needs to have a great offseason to be a major factor in league play.
This incoming group, plus the returning Ramblers, will travel to Italy in August, which means they will compete together before the season even starts. Overall, the Ramblers fans have plenty to be excited about as Loyola will make a push up in the always-difficult Horizon League.