ROLLING WITH RAMBLERS
DePaul Prep star Johnson joins Brother Rice’s Kennedy as part of Loyola’s backcourt
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.”
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.