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Loyola players carefully choose their sneakers: "I have a certain swag about me when I wear them"



A few days before Sweet 16, Loyola Guard Marques Townes was traveling with an NBA player who had participated in the Final Four.

He could have asked for advice, but the conversation with Karl Anthony-Towns, a former Kentucky star, was all about shoes.

"He was like," Man, just wear the most comfortable shoes "," said Townes, who played with Towns in New Jersey High School. "It's not a fashion show, just be out there, be it."

Townes has been wearing his cozy, salmon-colored "Hollywood LeBron" pair throughout the tournament since that show. And Loyola has continued to roll up to the Final Four, where number 1

1 will meet on Saturday in San Antonio's Alamodome on Michigan.

Before College Basketball Players Prepare for the Most Significant Games of Their Life in the NCAA Tournament They pour over scouting reports, absorbing final details from coaches, working on their shot – and yes, they spend a lot of time deciding what they should wear on their feet.

The NFL punishes players for wearing shoes, distinguishing them from teammates. College football programs are also uniform in shoes – all black or all white studs.

But NBA players are free to express themselves – and promote their own brands. College basketball players are eager to emulate them with sneakers of the stars, and as long as they wear the brand that their team sponsors, the style preferences of college players can be whatever they want.

"I'm a sneaker head, so I want to make sure I'm there," said Loyola Senior Donte Ingram, who owns about 50 pairs of basketball shoes.

His valued pair is bright, colorful "Nike Hyperdunk Low Chicago" designed his friend and former Simeon team-mate Saieed Ivey who was fatally hit in June 2016. The shoes wear Ivey's jersey number, 2, and the acronym "FINAO" – Failure That's not an option – Ivey has often said that.

But on Saturday in the Final Four game against Michigan, Ingram will wear White Aunt Pearl KDs.

"I like to turn it up and look different there," he said

Other players choose their shoes for the function. Some carry the same pair until they are close to decay.

"They are evil," said Michigan striker Moe Wagner looking down at his black, boat-sized Jordan 11s. "I'll be so happy when the season is over, so I can throw them away, or I'll keep them as a reminder, they will not last long."

Wagner wears them because they allow him to use his right ankle brace fits. But his teammates rip him for his old-school style.

"They give me a lot – I will not say the s-word – a lot of stuff to wear this retro," said Wagner.

Loyola freshman Lucas Williamson wore his PG 1 pair at Whitney Young all the way to the NCAA tournament last season before rising to a pair of PG 2. He wears them because he hopes to emulate Paul Georges piece.

"I'll stay with these," said Williamson

Michigan Superintendent Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman might be the toughest player to miss on the court – and not just because of his shot. They do not exactly match his corn and blue uniform, but his pink Air Jordan XXXII shoes make him the most eye-catching player on the field.

He wore them last season for a game promoting breast cancer awareness, and afterwards Michigan's plane slipped off the runway before the Big Ten tournament in 2017 and was the only pair that Abdur-Rahkman had available. He shot well and put it back in this season.

"I just feel like I have a certain swag about me when I wear it," he said.

Are not they all?

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Twitter @sryantribune

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