There was a Florida State offer and an official visit to powerhouse Wichita State this fall, but the pull of Loyola and coach Porter Moser’s basketball program is real.
Marquise Kennedy of Brother Rice committed to the Ramblers, choosing the red-hot mid-major program fresh off a Final Four appearance after taking official visits to Illinois State, Wichita State and Loyola
Kennedy said his coach at Brother Rice, Bobby Frasor, told him he would get a certain feeling on one of his official visits.
“Coach Frasor said I would get a feeling when I stepped foot on the right campus,” said Kennedy, who took his official visit to Loyola this past weekend. “I didn’t get the same feeling at the other places as I did at Loyola. I waited for that feeling as I took my visits, and I fell in love with Loyola.”
Loyola’s recent success was a big draw to Kennedy. With Wichita State firmly in the picture, a program that’s reached seven straight NCAA Tournaments and averaged 29 wins a year during that time, it was important for Kennedy to play for a winner.
“What Loyola did last year, along with the talented players they have in their program, was a big factor in my decision,” says Kennedy. “To be able to be a part of a winning team in my hometown, to be able to put basketball on the map here in the city of Chicago is pretty cool.”
Kennedy hit it off with not only Moser but assistant coach Bryan Mullins and the players in the program, which is littered with former Illinois high school products.
“The coaching staff is amazing, showing and expressing to me how badly they wanted me,” says Kennedy. “I liked the players a lot, got along well with them and they are great guys. I just liked the overall environment and culture there.”
After a terrific junior season at Brother Rice, Kennedy was the state’s breakout performer on the club circuit this past summer. The athletic 6-1 point guard shined, elevating his stock and picking up a dozen-plus offers in June and July.
Kennedy was a stat-sheet stuffer for Frasor this past season. He averaged 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game while also recording 48 steals and blocking 37 shots.
Kennedy, who knocked down 24 three-pointers and shot 81 percent from the free-throw line, has evolved as a point guard while showcasing his speed and athleticism in the open floor as a scorer.
Moser has now secured commitments from two of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top six prospects in the state in the Class of 2019. Kennedy joins 6-7 Tom Welch of Naperville North in a class that also includes 6-4 guard Paxton Wojcik of La Lumiere Prep School in Indiana. All three played together for the Illinois Wolves on the club circuit.
“Those guys were texting me every single day,” Kennedy said with a laugh. “Every time I would put something up on snapchat about my recruitment they would hit me with ‘You’re coming to Loyola.’ It was constant. But it’s going to be amazing to be able to play with both of them for my four years in college.”