Trey Lyles Recruiting – Here Comes Loyola-Chicago!

by Kent Sterling

The only similarity between Trey Lyles and every other Loyola recruit in 50 years would be his species.

The only similarity between Trey Lyles and every other Loyola recruit in 50 years would be his species.


There is something creepy about caring deeply about where a high school kid is going to go to college, but for the same reason ‘American Idol’ transfixed America (while the judges were interesting), trying to project high school athletes into a collegiate environment is fun.

So I keep track of the kids around Indianapolis, and that means checking their recruiting pages regularly.  Last week there was a surprise on Tech High School’s Trey Lyles page.

Lyles, a 6’10” senior-to-be, who is ranked fourth nationally in the 2014 class has been offered by the usual suspects – Duke, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, UCLA, Georgetown, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Purdue, Stanford, and even Butler.  Those were predictable.  What school wouldn’t want a top five kid?

The 16th team right between Indiana and Michigan State was fascinating in its inclusion.  Loyola of Chicago, a bottom dweller in the Horizon League since the graduation of Blake Schilb in 2007, has also offered Lyles.

That’s like me bringing my checkbook to Auburn, Indiana, this weekend to bid on a 1930 Duesenberg Boattail Speedster.  I can dress the part, register with the other prospective buyer, hold a champagne flute, and appear to belong, but when the bidding starts for real, I would be exposed as what I am.

Loyola is a wonderful school.  My son played basketball there, but after the Ramblers won the 1963 NCAA Tournament, they returned to form.  It could be argued the Loyola is the seventh most prestigious program in Illinois, and yet they are listed with the all-time great college basketball programs who have offered one of the best players in his class.

My guess is that when coach Porter Moser called Lyles to offer the scholarship, he had to introduce himself several times.  “Hi, Trey.  This is Porter Moser at Loyola….Loyola of Chicago…Moser…Horizon League…yes, the one that Butler left…Chicago…Anyway, we’d like to offer you a scholarship…Porter Moser…Hello.  Trey?  Hello?”

While I applaud Loyola for wading into the deep waters with a bamboo pole and a bucket of worms to catch a marlin, I have grave doubts that Lyles re-opened his recruiting after committing to Indiana to land on the Rogers Park campus of a program that a month ago celebrated it’s 50th anniversary of the only relevance it has ever known.

13 thoughts on “Trey Lyles Recruiting – Here Comes Loyola-Chicago!

  1. Jeff Gregory

    I think it is great that Loyola offered a top-tiered recruit like Lyles. It is a good PR move. It makes a statement that Loyola EXPECTS to bring its program to elite status.

    I recently had a conversation similar to this about the local program here, the University of Evansville. Evansville can’t offer a lot of things that Big Ten schools may offer, but they offer some things that most Big Ten schools can’t. Sometimes in college recruiting, it is about fit. However, UE doesn’t seem to recruit players they think they can’t get (local product, Jaquan Lyle comes to mind).

    Loyola offers a kid a chance to play in Chicago – a unique experience, I’m sure. It, like Evansville, can also offer a kid a chance to be a cornerstone of a program and a reference of when a school entered into the national conversation – similarly to what Cody Zeller meant to IU.

    I like that Loyola is taking on the “little engine that could” mantra. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      I would love it if this represented a push toward a unique strategy.

      Loyola has the assets that Butler enjoys – plus some. This is no reason why Loyola can’t compete year in and your out for the MVC crown. Given the choices of campuses and cities, Loyola is a runaway winner. They have always targeted what they could get, rather than who they can win with.

      Loyola is urban, but beautiful. It offers a great education and its own private beach on Lake Michigan. The newly remodeled Gentile Center is a cool place to play.

      I’m not saying they will ever be able to compete with Duke, but they sure as hell can compete with Butler. They need to establish a brand, and become known for something more than what happened 50 years ago. That means doing something different.

      In a comment today to a different post, Pauly Balst begged IUPUI to take a page out of the Boise State handbook for doing something unique. To build a brand, they need to excite the media, and to do that the Ramblers need to be bold and innovative.

      That could be in style of play like Loyola Marymount, in apparel like the Fab Five at Michigan, or in dedication to the futures of student athletes – as with Butler.

      What they can’t do is the same old thing – recruit against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, IUPUI, and Northern Illinois. Decide who and what you are and be that thing everyday.

      Reply
      1. Jeff Gregory

        Yes, as “College Sports” pointed out. The Ramblers are now in the Missouri Valley Conference (with Evansville, ironically). It is a step up from Horizon, but since they are taking Creighton’s vacancy, not as big of a step as it would have been.

        Reply
  2. College Sports

    “This is no reason why Loyola can’t compete year in and your out for the Horizon League crown.”

    Loyola is in the Missouri Valley Conference.

    Reply
  3. Jerry Huston

    We all know that the “Dancing Clown” has offered half of the class of 2014, 2015 & 2016. Well you know what? When its scholly time there are only so many to go around ……and don’t forget that they are only issued one year at a time. So, good for Porter Moser. Keep your hat in the ring. He may not get him as a frosh but maybe later on ?????????

    Reply
  4. Paul Cloyd

    Who do those “mid-majors” think they are? How dare they offer a scholarship to someone whose talent level is BCS caliber! Lighten up, Kent. By the way, how come I can’t find a bio of you on the net? Could it be you don’t have a BCS pedigree either? Shame on you…

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      I live my bio, Paul. You’re right, Illinois State, Toledo, and Western Kentucky should try to get in on that action too!

      Reply
  5. Romar

    I think it’s a brilliant move. Generally there is some connection in these cases where a coach from a mid-major like Loyola, offers to a talent like Lyles. Other than ridicule by elitist sports writers, what’s the downside?

    I’ve seen situations where a kid has a bad summer, finds trouble, or is injured and all the BCS types go running leaving Loyola there as the lone school with a solid offer who had stuck with him from the start. Or he goes big school his first year and the coach leaves or doesn’t get the P/T he thinks he deserves and thinks, I would have started as a Frosh at Loyola. Look at Shaw leaving the Illini for Bradley.

    Reply
    1. Paul

      There is no downside to this move. The worst the kid could do is tell Coach Moser: “Thanks but no thanks.” And in addition to every possible negative situation that Romar mentioned, there are also three other kids who are mid-major D1 prospects on Lyles’ high school team. Loyola is probably interested in them also. And even if Lyles knows that he’s got bigger and better places to go than Loyola, he still could tell his other 3 teammates who will almost assuredly not go to a powerhouse like Duke or Kentucky or the like about how Loyola and Coach Moser could be a good fit.

      And the 1-in-a-million upside is he says yes, which would be huge for Loyola.

      Reply
      1. kentsterling Post author

        So you’re saying Loyola’s got a chance!

        I love Loyola. They have $100K of my money, and I couldn’t have invested in better. My son is a better man because of the four years he spent there.

        Reply
        1. Paul

          If it were 1985, what do you think the odds were that 2 stars of the Philadelphia Public League, who were also heavily recruited by all the big-time schools, would end up at Loyola Marymount?

          Reply
          1. kentsterling Post author

            That would be a great point if Loyola of Chicago was known for a specific style of play, and coached by a former Lakers head coach. Again, I really like Loyola, and I hope Porter turns it around. I like that he’s recruiting Indiana. Always liked the Osbourne kid from Muncie a lot. Thought he was way under-recruited, and thought Porter was smart to get him.

            If they target the right guys, they can win consistently.

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