Jones gave SIU a guard that could take down a defense with a dribble or two and take the hard shots. Trent Brown and Steven Verplancken Jr. both made over 35 triples, and Ben Harvey was a bit of a hybrid between them. Without Domask, the Salukis brought Loyola to the edge in the final regular season series of the season and should have won the nightcap. Would they defeat Loyola with him? One time? Yes. In the tournament? Probably not.
I don’t know if there was ever a Valley Tournament contender who started four seniors, two of whom have won more career games than any other Ramblers in history, and have brought more off the bench. Loyola’s only weakness is his ability to consistently hit the 3-point shot, but with how well he defends, he can get away with it. The Ramblers not only led the Valley in scoring defense, they led the country.
SIU will look significantly different next season. Not only are the Salukis returning the entire squad, potentially, through an NCAA rule that gave everyone a free ride, but they will add three more outstanding freshmen who will compete for minutes. Striker Troy D’Amico is playing for one of the top 10 Illinois teams at Niles Notre Dame, center Scottie Ebube is competing for the highest Class 4A boys team in the state, and guard Foster Wonders is a two-time top peninsula player of the year in Michigan and appears to be headed for a third prize.
If the COVID era has taught us anything, it’s enjoying the moment because we don’t know what …