Bulls honor Loyola for its thrilling run to the NCAA’s Final Four

The Bulls honored Loyola’s Final Four team Saturday night for its captivating run in the NCAA tournament, sitting team members in a luxury suite and introducing them to a standing ovation during a second-quarter timeout in the game against the Nets.

Asked if the organization had considered using Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt as the Bulls’ representative at the NBA draft lottery May 15 in Chicago, coach Fred Hoiberg smiled and pointed to his head, using the universal signal for “good idea.”

Whether that transpires remains to be seen. But who wouldn’t want to be associated with the team chaplain who was such a good-luck charm and a story that thrilled the city?

“It’s such a cool story,” Hoiberg said. “That’s something these guys will always have such great memories of. They’ll have reunions for this team 20, 30, 40 years down the road.

“It’s such a great story when you have a Cinderella like that, a double-digit seed, do something special like those kids did. They did it with heart and determination. They did such a good job of playing unselfishly and with confidence. I’m really excited to see those guys. Just the way the city rallied around them was a fun ride to watch.”

Hoiberg recruited Ramblers star Clayton Custer to Iowa State before Custer transferred and became the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, and Denzel Valentine’s older brother, Drew, is an assistant to Loyola coach Porter Moser. Making the night of connections even more special was the fact rookie Milton Doyle, who played at Marshall High and Loyola, was active for the Nets after spending much of the season in the G League.

Doyle said a couple of his Nets teammates jumped on the Ramblers bandwagon during the tournament.

“It was like watching my family,” Doyle said of Loyola’s run. “I didn’t get to watch a lot of the games, just because we played a lot of the time. But I went back and watched a lot of the clips and talked to those guys after every game. It was a great feeling seeing all their success.

“I knew they were going to be pretty good, just because I was the only one to leave. So I knew with the juniors we had, the leadership that was going to be going on this year and the freshmen that came in, they were probably going to be big for the program.”

kcjohnson@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @kcjhoop

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