Milton Doyle lands at Loyola

There have been recruiting whirlwinds and then there is Milton Doyle’s recruiting world.

The late-blooming 6-4 Doyle, one of the top five prospects in the final Class of 2012 Hoops Report player rankings, has found a home. In a recruiting dogfight that went down to the wire, the former Marshall star chose to stay close to home this time and play for coach Porter Moser and Loyola.

While several programs around the country checked in and tried to get involved, Doyle and his family decided distance would be a factor this time. Doyle visited Loyola last week. He then took an official visit to Wisconsin-Green Bay on Monday and Tuesday. Then he returned to Loyola for another unofficial visit on Wednesday. Now he’s a Rambler, offering up a commitment to Moser Wednesday evening as assistant coach Armon Gates put in a lot of work to secure a promising talent.

In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Doyle will sit out this season and then have four years of eligibility remaining.

The career — and recruitment — of Doyle has been unorthodox. He transferred to Marshall from little-known Tilden following his sophomore year. Then before he could showcase his abilities in the Red-West, Doyle broke his wrist and missed his entire junior year. He did open some eyes in the Summer of 2011 with his play at the Reebok Headliner tryout camp in Chicago and then the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia. But he didn’t play on the club circuit in the summer prior to his senior year to instead concentrate on academics.

Thus, Doyle remained a rather unknown. Florida International snuck in and nabbed a commitment from Doyle last fall before the kid’s talent blew the top off and he became a hot commodity. Coach Isiah Thomas, however, was fired following the season and Doyle was back on the open market.

Virtually out of nowhere, Kansas was involved. Doyle visited coach Bill Self and the KU campus in Lawrence in the middle of May. The scholarship offer was made, he made the grade academically and signed with Kansas. Doyle even went on the KU European basketball trip in August.

The fit at Kansas, however, was not ideal. Rather than waiting it out for an entire school year and basketball season, Doyle and KU quickly came together and decided the best route would be to look elsewhere. Now Doyle has a chance to fully develop and grow into the promising player the Hoops Report projects he will be in the Horizon League.

Doyle was the ultimate sleeper, an underrated talent — until Kansas started to check in. But he fits the clich “his best basketball is ahead of him” perfectly. Doyle is just scratching the surface. He’s long, wiry, active, extremely athletic and his skill level has improved the more he plays. The slashing guard averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds and nearly 5 assists a game for Marshall coach Henry Cotton this past season. Doyle was terrific in the Chicago Public League All-Star game in April, scoring 20 points in every way imaginable.

Potentially, Doyle could be a difference-maker for Moser and the Ramblers. He joins a solid, young nucleus at Loyola. Cully Payne, the former Schaumburg star, becomes eligible this season after sitting out last year after transferring from Iowa. And Moser pulled in a solid recruiting class in 2012.

The freshmen group at Loyola includes a group with versatility, upside and from different recruiting areas. A pair of Indiana prep standouts in 6-8 Matt O’Leary from Terre Haute and 6-8 Nick Osborne of Muncie, along with 6-10 Jeremy King out of Texas, provide size and versatility along the frontcourt. Guard Keke White of Peoria Manual and 6-4 shooting guard Devon Turk out of Houston provide depth in the backcourt, while Loyola landed a rugged and physical inside threat in 6-6 Tanner Williams of Orion late in 2012.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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