Prosser makes first move: Get Greyhounds running

April 02, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Skip Prosser, the new basketball coach at Loyola College, knows that the next two weeks will be some of the most important he'll spend with the Greyhounds.

Prosser was introduced to players, fellow employees, alumni and boosters at Reitz Arena yesterday afternoon. He and athletic director Joe Boylan then met to iron out specifics of a multi-year deal that will be made official next week.

Prosser, who spent the past eight seasons as an assistant at Xavier, was to travel today to New Orleans and the Final Four, and it's not a social visit. He needs to hire some assistant coaches as quickly as possible, and get started on elevating a program that bottomed out with a 2-25 record this season.

The spring signing period begins April 14, and Prosser expects to visit before then with some prospects that Boylan recruited while the latter was the Greyhounds' interim coach the second half of the season. Eventually, look for Prosser to try to find talent close to home.

"At Xavier, we recruited first in Cincinnati, then the rest of Ohio, and then outside the state," said Prosser, a Pittsburgh native who spent 13 years as a high school coach in West Virginia before going to Xavier. "Baltimore has great high school basketball, and we have to take care of home first. That makes sense. We'll see what's left in terms of scholarship availability [two or three], but I've got some players in mind."

Loyola returns nine scholarship players, including leading scorer and rebounder B.J. Pendleton. Tracy Bergan, the point guard the three previous years who is back at Evergreen this semester after leaving school last March, is expected to regain his eligibility for next season.

"The thing he [Prosser] made paramount to us is that he wants to win now," sophomore guard Matt Gabriel said. "He feels there's enough talent in key spots to surprise some people next year. He's a straight shooter. He told us, if he doesn't like what we're doing, he'll kick us in the butt. Do what's asked of you, and everything will be fine. Everyone knows what's expected of them."

Xavier claims a 100 percent graduation rate of players recruited during the era of head coach Pete Gillen, and Prosser said the only thing he'll promise his players is that they'll get a degree.

On the court, look for Loyola to assume a faster pace than it had this past year, although the talent he inherited from Tom Schneider, who resigned in January, wasn't exactly suited to an up-tempo style.

"I'll know better when I see the kids on tape, but I really love pressure, offensively, defensively and on the boards," Prosser said. "I'm not promising 27 three-pointers a game, but I think kids really like to play that [up-tempo] style."

Loyola was a basket away from a Northeast Conference title and the NCAA tournament under Mark Amatucci in the mid-1980s, but in recent years it has watched on TV while Coppin State and Towson State have experienced March Madness. In four years in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Loyola has yet to win a postseason game, but Prosser spoke as if the NCAA tournament were a reasonable goal.

"The effect going to the NCAA has on a small, private college in a city is unbelievable," said Prosser, who's changing Jesuit institutions. "The place is electric on selection Sunday, and I'm used to that kind of excitement. I'm not done living that."

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