Loyola Wolf Pack off to a 12-0 start

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 9:06 AM CST
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After a few nights off, Loyola returns to the gym on a Monday night, not rusty, but hungry to put in the work, something that’s a direct result of not having their own gym available right now due to damage from Hurricane Ida.

“You get an appreciation for the game more so when you have time off from it,” says senior Myles Burns. “Last year, we were in the gym everyday because we had access to the gym. Sometimes you take those types of things for granted. This year, we didn’t really didn’t take anything for granted because we know what it’s like to lose something as big as a gym and not play any home games.”

But location hasn’t mattered. No. 2 Loyola’s 12-0 start isn’t just the result of a fast start to this season. It’s the product of years of hard work that’s bred outstanding leadership.

“I feel like we have a new level of maturity that we’ve all gained and experienced in being here,” says senior Zach Wrightsil. “I feel like we have a great group of guys that know what needs to be done, playing their roles exactly how they need to be played.”

Head coach Stacy Hollowell says Wrightsil is one of several catalysts for their chemistry on and off the court that’s produced record results.

“Those guys are about winning first,” says Hollowell. “They understand what it takes to be really good. They drive that. And it’s special.”

That drive can be seen in the way Loyola plays. They’re eager to take the ball on the defensive end, where they rank second in the country in steals, and ready to share it on the other where they average more than 19 assists per game. But more than anything, again, the goal is to win because these seniors know as well as anyone that this type of opportunity doesn’t come around every season.

“You don’t want to leave any school or situation without a championship,” says Burns. “It’s just wanting to go out with a bang.”

“The older you get, the more you just want to win,” says senior Andrew Fava. “And having older guys, it’s not so much about yourself as it is getting a win and helping however you can.”

When you take a closer look at the history books, you’ll notice that coach Hollowell is second all-time in wins at Loyola, leading a group that includes Wrightsil, who’s fourth all-time scoring, and Andrew Fava, who’s 10th in three-pointers made. It’s easy to see why he says this is the most fun he’s ever had coaching a team.

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