Loyola-Chicago will continue its Cinderella run in the NCAA tournament with a final four match against Michigan on Saturday night. One of the key elements in the Ramblers' run and overall success this season was senior guard Clayton Custer.
In late February, he was voted Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, scoring an average of 13 points, four assists and 52 percent off the ground. What is even more impressive is that he won the award and lost four games due to injury. But there is much more than shooting and running the Ramblers offensive that makes him so special.
Custer, from Overland, Kansas, played his freshman season 201
How Friends Recruit Friends: Ben Richardson and Clayton Custer on Custer's Transfer from Iowa State to Loyola, who began this journey to the Final Four … pic.twitter.com/2jWhiEtHGD
– Tom Martin @ TomKCTV5) March 29, 2018
The two teamed to lead the Blue Valley Northwest High School to consecutive Kansas State titles in 2013 and 2014.
"He (Richardson) obviously tried to get more. I came here for a visit, and I had and had a great time," said Custer. "I spent a lot of time with Coach (Porter) Moser and I just bought everything he said and I thought it would be perfect to play for coach Moser and Ben."
Custer is one of the main reasons why Loyola is so hard to defend. In order to facilitate the pace and the scheme of space that he performs with ease, you must be selfless. Custer has this trait, but he's not afraid to take shots himself, which sometimes can pair. Back in the second round, Custer hit on the Summer Beater three-pointers to upset Miami:
"I do not know how to say that, but I have to give God the credit." Custer told CBS Ros Gold Onwude . "The ball has touched the edge and has appeared in the air, I think all the years of hard work come together in one piece, I've put all my heart and soul into this game, and I've worked so hard since I did it's all worth the hours in the gym, I can not believe that's what happened right now. "
He also shot 45 percent off the mark this season.
Custer has stolen this tournament five times, and what makes Loyola-Chicago such a tough opponent is his offensive paired with a stifling defense.
"The first focus is on defense for us," said Custer after the Kansas State victory last week. "Yes, people talk about our distance and the way we move the ball and how selfless we are, which I think is expected because we do a good job, but I think, maybe – yes, our defense is definitely the key to winning these games. "
Loyola-Chicago may not be the favorite if you win the Final Four teams this year, but with a guy like Custer Ramblers, it's tough against them bet.