Loyola’s Faught to remain a Rambler

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Junior guard Katie Faught (in white) will become Loyola University’s first player from Loyola Academy. (Joe Schuman/for STM)

Katie Faught’s favorite colors must be Maroon and Gold.

The junior guard will be the first Loyola Academy girls basketball player to join Loyola University after making a verbal commitment to the other Ramblers on Friday.

Faught made several recruiting trips across the Midwest and even to the East Coast, but settled for the Jesuit college affiliated with her own high school.

“I’m going to be an eight-year Rambler,” Faught said.

Faught chose Loyola over Holy Cross, Fordham, Saint Louis, Drake, Bradley, Northern Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, and made recruiting trips to each of those schools.

A yearning to stay close to her Wilmette home proved to be too great for Faught, who will enter her third varsity season next year.

“It’s really important to see my family; for them coming to my games,” Faught said. “Staying close to home is important for me so my family can see me.”

Faught becomes the first Chicago area recruit for coach Eric Simpson, who finished his first season earlier this year. Simpson was a Loyola Academy boys basketball assistant coach from 1994-96, but led the women’s basketball team to a 15-15 overall record, 9-9 in the Horizon League. The finish tied Loyola’s 15-win season in 2002. The last time the women Ramblers won more than 15 games was in 1989 when the Ramblers won 21 games.

“The schools (I considered) were great,” Faught said. “I think I’ll be more comfortable. (Loyola) is a good fit for me. I liked the coaching staff. I felt comfortable around them.”

Faught was one of three players for last year’s girls basketball team to go to a public junior high school. She went to Wilmette Junior High, but wanted to continue a Jesuit education.

Former Loyola Academy assistant basketball coach Mary Just, a Maine West graduate, starred for Loyola University from 1985-88 and averaged 12.8 points during her career. She originally played volleyball at Northwestern for two seasons before transferring. Just is no longer on the basketball coaching staff, but coached Faught a few years ago during a summer camp.

“Absolutely, (it’s exciting) for me. As an alum, I think it’s great,” Just said. “I told her not to go ahead and break my old records.”

Just remains Loyola University’s record holder for career three-point field-goal percentage (49.5) and season three-point field-goal percentage (50.0). Former star Maggie McCloskey tied Just’s record for most three-pointers in a game with eight.

During the recruiting process, Just asked Faught to also consider Holy Cross where former Loyola Acacemy star Jeanette Paukert played. Faught said her final decision came down to three Jesuit schools: Loyola, Holy Cross and Fordham.

After playing against Trinity graduate Monica Albano, Faught has struck up a friendship with the Loyola University freshman guard from Park Ridge.

“She’s a great athlete,” Faught said. “I always looked up to her. It’s amazing now that I get text messages from her.”

The 5-foot-10 Faught is playing for the Chicago Hoops Express AAU team this summer. She is the second member of her team to give a verbal commitment, following Homewood-Flossmoor junior Jailyn Norris, who chose Memphis. Faught played shooting guard for the Ramblers, but is playing both shooting and point guard for the Express.

“I’ve put her at both,” Express coach Jerald Davis said. “I think it’s important to give her reps at point guard and how to think the game, help identify teammates and understand their ole from the point guard position.”

Davis said he feels Faught may be better off as a shooting guard. During the high school season, Faught scored a season-high 16 points three times, but missed some games due to a concussion early in the season. She was named all-tournament at New Trier’s Thanksgiving tournament.

The Express will play in the AAU state tournament Friday through Sunday and is expected to advance to the state championship tournament in late May. Next month, the Expess will also play in the U.S. Junior National Midwest Invitational in Champaign.

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