In March Madness, stardom is achieved through attrition. As the field narrows, the nation’s attention homes in on the remaining casts of characters until the last note of “One Shining Moment” plays. The Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, however, have had a knack for grabbing the spotlight from the get-go. And thanks to their emphatic 78-62 win over Kansas State on Saturday, they’re going to be holding court until at least next weekend’s Final Four match-ups.
The Ramblers are not lacking for stars, mind you. There’s Sister Jean, of course, the team’s 98-year-old chaplain who has reached Kardashian levels of fame via reaction shots and postgame interviews. The players, too, have taken turns finding the limelight, as their thrilling first three games of the tournament were won thanks to huge shots made by a trio of guards. Following their Elite Eight win, the Ramblers cleared the stage for a duet.
Seniors Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson are roommates and lifelong friends, and their postgame interview with Lisa Byington was full of summer-camp familiarity and buddy-cop timing.
Custer and Richardson are both from Overland Park, Kansas, and they have known each other since elementary school. The rapport is evident, as Custer was keen to give Richardson credit after his career game (23 points, six-of-seven from deep).
Richardson, meanwhile, was just as quick to tease his buddy with an embarrassing story.
The two have been teammates since third grade, but, barring any unforeseen pro forays, the next game they lose will be their last together. It’s a bittersweet proposition for these dudes. Like Thelma and Louise, they are careening towards that cliff, and we all get to watch their final ride. This is not lost on them, nor is it lost on fellow dude, Ramblers head coach Porter Moser.
Godspeed, dudes. May your buddy backcourt continue to prosper throughout March and beyond.