It's been Chicago's scourge for some years now: The city's best recruits inevitably skip town to attend out-of-state schools despite five Division-I programs located within city limits. Milton Doyle's commitment to Loyola Chicago, which was reported last night, is a step in the right direction and an indication that Chicago's colleges may still have some inroads with local recruits.
The top five recruits from Chicago's 2011 class (as ranked by ESPN) all left the state: Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Quincy Miller (Baylor), Wayne Blackshear (Lousiville), Sam Thompson (Ohio State) and Chasson Randle (Stanford) went elsewhere. The 2012 list is even more bleak with the University of Illinois having a dip in recruits. You won't find an in-state recruit until you reach No. 10 (SIU's Anthony Beane), and you won't find a Chicago recruit committed to a Chicago school until you reach No. 23 on that list (UIC's Gabriel Snider). Jabari Parker, the top recruit on the 2013 list still lists DePaul among his choices, but nobody there is holding their breath. Of course Billy Garrett Jr., the No. 4 prospect on the 2013 list is already committed to DePaul, but that's because his dad coaches there.
Doyle, a 6-4 slashing guard, flew under the radar as a high school recruit (he's nowhere to be found on that ESPN list above), as the Sun-Times' Joe Henricksen meticulously elucidated. After two years at a smaller school, a wrist injury that sidelined him for his entire junior season and a summer spent focused on academics, only Florida International University offered the Chicago Public All-Star that averaged north of 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in his senior season. But Doyle ended up at Kansas instead when Isiah Thomas was fired at FIU and enrolled in summer classes and traveled with the Jayhawks to Europe before deciding that it wasn't a good fit.
On Monday Doyle visited Green Bay where his former Marshall teammates Keifer Sykes and Alfonzo McKinnie are playing, but yesterday gave his commitment to Porter Moser and Loyola, one of Green Bay's Horizon League foes. Moser himself is a product of Benet Academy, a suburban Chicago high school, and is about to embark on his second season as coach of the Ramblers. This is a big get for him to say the least.
Doyle's mother told ESPN's Scott Powers that being close to home was important in her son's decision. That Doyle still chose Loyola over more prestigious programs at Northwestern and DePaul says a lot, but perhaps they weren't interested.
Because of his classes at Kansas, Doyle will be forced to sit out the 2012-2013 season, but will retain four years of eligibility. When he finally starts in the Ramblers' backcourt alongside Iowa transfer and Chicago-area native Cully Payne, Loyola, which won just one game in the Horizon League last season after dressing nine scholarshipped players to start the year, will be a serious contender in the Horizon. With Butler gone, even more so.
Moser harped about running a more uptempo team in his first season as head coach, but failed to deliver. The Ramblers averaged a methodical 60.8 possessions per game due to their short bench en route to a seven-win season. Moser has added a 6-man recruiting class for this season that includes two in-state players, and the time off will give Doyle time to improve in practice. His long, wiry frame will mean plenty of versatility in the backcourt. With some added size he could become a true swing player that can score from anywhere on the floor.
The Horizon League is known for breeding quality guards that play tough on both ends of the floor, and Doyle with a strong foundation in the CPL stands to join their prestigious ranks. If he doesn't transfer again, that is.