Milton Doyle would love to watch his alma mater in the Final Four on Saturday, but he’s happy with his other plans.
Loyola Chicago is the story of March Madness, the Missouri Valley Conference school that has run from a No. 11 seed to the Final Four for the first time since the school won a national championship in 1963.
A year ago, Doyle was the Ramblers’ leading scorer. Now, he’s writing a little Cinderella story of his own, finishing out his rookie year with the Brooklyn Nets. And he’s got a game of his own on Saturday night, with the Nets in Miami to play the Heat.
Undrafted after four years at Loyola, Doyle impressed coach Kenny Atkinson and the Nets when they brought him to Las Vegas as part of their NBA Summer League squad. Signed to play for the G League Long Island Nets, Doyle continued to show off his scoring touch and was signed to a two-way contract in January. He’s played in six NBA games so far, and with the G League season wrapping up last Sunday, he’ll be with the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, his former teammates are on the run of a lifetime, and the nun that used to email him scouting reports has become a national celebrity.
“It’s like watching my little brothers and just enjoying success,” said Doyle. “I’ve been there with them this past summer, so seeing the new guys, the freshmen and what they bring to the table is just great, and just seeing what coach Porter has done through the years.”
After a year at Kansas – which is also bound for San Antonio this weekend – Doyle transferred back home to Loyola and made an immediate impact.
He started all 32 games during his first season in 2013-14, averaging 14.9 points per game. The next year, he knocked down 42 percent of his 3-point attempts. As a senior he started all 32 games again and averaged 15.2 points.
Coach Porter Moser had taken over at Loyola before the 2011-12 season, and the Ramblers went 7-23 in his first year.
“I remember on my recruiting visit he told me it was going to be a process,” said Doyle. “Just have to get one guy in and get it started. I think when I came in, I brought a couple of Chicago guys in, Donte (Ingram), Donte brought a couple guys in after that. So it’s a building process and it’s starting to show now.”
Even before the NCAA Tournament started, Doyle hadn’t missed a thing from the Ramblers’ season. He’s still on a group text with his former teammates, and that’s kept him updated all season long. Lately though, it’s been a little more active.
“It’s been crazy,” said Doyle. “They’ve been getting all type of shout-outs from everyone in Chicago, from Obama to Chance the Rapper. It’s been crazy.”
And while the Ramblers have been winning, they’ve made basketball-crazy, 98-year-old Sister Jean famous. For years before she and Loyola were on national television, she would send the players detailed scouting reports and critiques after a game. She’d let them know what they did right and what they did wrong, but never in a negative way.
“I enjoy all the feedback,” said Doyle. “Most times when you get feedback it’s negative, but her it’s always positive even if she’s telling you to fix something.
“She knew everything she was talking about. When you see her talking on TV you can tell she knows what she’s talking about.”