- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Loyola’s Walker no longer a postseason spectator
BALTIMORE — Loyola basketball coach Jimmy Patsos uncorked a virtuoso postgame news conference when the Greyhounds won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title last week, referencing everything from adopting the attitude of activist Bobby Seale to a visit to the Guggenheim.
Three seats down, Shane Walker was transfixed by something far less animated than the gregarious Patsos. Right beside Walker was the tournament championship trophy, a tangible symbol of finally securing an opportunity he once left behind.
Walker stared at the trophy while Patsos rambled on, caressed it while questions were directed at his coach and two teammates. He transferred from Maryland in 2008 after one season, and his old teammates enjoyed a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
“It just made me more hungry just to get there,” said Walker, whose 15th-seeded Greyhounds (24-8) face second-seeded Ohio State (27-7) on Thursday in Pittsburgh. “Obviously, I left Maryland with mixed emotions, but I always wanted them to do well. But when I saw them and thought ‘I could have been there,’ I said ‘I’m going to get this team there,’ and that’s what we’ve done.”
Walker played sparingly in his year at Maryland, averaging 0.5 points and 5.3 minutes in 24 games. He was raw, yet at 6-foot-10 with the ability to hit outside a player Patsos happily added to his program.
Patsos has judiciously added transfers throughout his eight-year tenure, with the likes of Andre Collins (via Maryland), Gerald Brown (Providence) and Erik Etherly (Northeastern) becoming all-conference players. Walker was a useful piece, but his experience wasn’t always as smooth as some of Patsos‘ other additions.
“I would have to say that, but I’ve grown up as a coach and he’s grown up as a player,” Patsos said. “That’s a good combination. We’ve grown together. We communicate much differently. He’s like ‘Dude, I know you yell and I respect that because that’s you are. But I’m a smart guy and you don’t have to yell at me like that.’ OK. ‘So if I don’t yell at you and just tell you what to do, you’ll do it?’ ‘Yes, I will.’ And he did it.”
Even if it meant a shift in his game.
Walker led the Greyhounds in scoring a year ago, but Loyola needed him to provide something else this season. So he’s taken charges. He’s blocked shots. He’s rebounded. And he’s defended the likes of Iona’s Mike Glover and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis without much concern for his decreased scoring.
“When you have a tough defensive matchup, it’s hard to give your all on the offensive end because you’re giving so much energy on the defensive end,” Etherly said. “Him being able to lock down a lot of the better big men in the country and rebound when we need him to rebound, it’s made a big difference in the team.”
Patsos said he saw a change in Walker over the last season and a half. After the Greyhounds lost six of seven in December 2010, it was Walker who emerged as Patsos‘ intellectual extension on the floor while then-freshman Dylon Cormier became the Greyhounds’ emotional nexus.
Both players substantially improved this year, with Walker ensuring everyone knows precisely what is expected of them on the court.
“He’s been a good player all three years, but this year he’s been a great teammate,” Patsos said.
He also made a difference in Loyola’s 48-44 defeat of Fairfield last week. He made two defensive rebounds in the final 20 seconds and hit a free throw with two seconds left to clinch the victory. Soon, the title trophy (and the elusive opportunity it represented) was in his arms.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow