ROLLING WITH RAMBLERS

DePaul Prep star John­son joins Brother Rice’s Kennedy as part of Loy­ola’s back­court

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - JOE HENRICKSEN Twit­ter: @joe­hoop­sre­port

TY John­son was par­tic­i­pat­ing in the IHSA state three-point shoot­ing contest in Peo­ria as a fresh­man when he watched Loy­ola’s Donte In­gram hit a last-sec­ond three-pointer to beat Mi­ami in the open­ing round of the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

He was next to his fa­ther, Ted John­son, as In­gram’s shot set off a ju­bi­lant cel­e­bra­tion and Loy­ola in­stantly be­came a na­tional story and one of the all-time Cin­derel­las in tour­na­ment his­tory.

“I said right there to my dad while watch­ing that game, ‘That’s some­thing I want to do,’ ” John­son said of the mag­i­cal March Mad­ness mo­ment. “My dad said to me, ‘We can make that hap­pen. We have to find the right school.’ ”

Lit­tle did John­son know at the time the right school for him would ul­ti­mately be that No. 11 seed he watched in ad­mi­ra­tion that day.

The combo guard, who is push­ing close to 6-3 with a pen­chant for putting the ball in the bas­ket, com­mit­ted to Loy­ola and coach Porter Moser in July.

“That Fi­nal Four run changed my mind­set about Loy­ola,” John­son said. “They have ev­ery­thing I need and was look­ing for in terms of school, play­ing bas­ket­ball and to pre­pare me for the fu­ture.”

Loy­ola is stock­pil­ing tal­ent in the back­court. The Ramblers al­ready have for­mer Brother Rice star Mar­quise Kennedy, who last sea­son was named to the Mis­souri Val­ley Con­fer­ence all-fresh­man team.

“I can learn a lot from Mar­quise,” said John­son, who played against Kennedy in the Catholic League. “And I think I can play with him in the back­court.”

Last year as a ju­nior, while lead­ing DePaul Prep to a 26-6 record, John­son av­er­aged 22 points and was named to the Sun-Times Al­lArea team. He also av­er­aged four re­bounds, three as­sists and 2.5 steals.

It’s the sec­ond re­cent lo­cal com­mit­ment for Loy­ola. Waubon­sie Val­ley’s Ben Sch­wieger also orally com­mit­ted to the Ramblers in July. Now Moser and his staff have se­cured two top-10 tal­ents in Illi­nois in the Class of 2021. John­son is the City/Sub­ur­ban Hoops Re­port’s eighth-ranked prospect in the class.

Sch­wieger is a 6-6 for­ward who burst on the scene this past win­ter.

Since the re­cruit­ing process be­gan, Sch­wieger said Loy­ola was the school to beat. He ad­mits every­one else was play­ing catch-up.

“I have al­ways had a gut feel­ing about Loy­ola be­ing the best fit for me,” Sch­wieger said. “They were at the top of my list through­out the process. But I did want to make sure I was 100%, so I took a lit­tle time. But Loy­ola checked off ev­ery sin­gle box for me.”

Al­though Sch­wieger had a ton of in­ter­est and plenty of of­fers, in­clud­ing Belmont, Elon, South­ern Illi­nois, Wil­liam & Mary, Ten­nesseeChat­tanooga, UIC and Wis­con­sin-Mil­wau­kee, he was still an un­der-the-radar prospect.

Sch­wieger went from av­er­ag­ing 3.2 points as a sopho­more to 16.4 points, 5.5 re­bounds and 2.8 as­sists as a ju­nior and made the City/ Sub­ur­ban Hoops Re­port’s top-10 prospect list.

“First, he’s a qual­ity hu­man with great char­ac­ter,” Waubon­sie Val­ley coach Ja­son Mead said. “He’s earned this and de­serves this. He cares more than just about how many points he scores. He cares about so many more things that mat­ter, that help a team.”

ALLEN CUN­NING­HAM/FOR THE SUN-TIMES

TY John­son av­er­aged 22 points, four re­bounds, three as­sists and 2.5 steals in lead­ing DePaul Prep to a 26-6 record last sea­son as a ju­nior.

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