Custer, Richardson Collect More Awards
CHICAGO (April 20, 2018) – Clayton Custerand Ben Richardson, starting guards on the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team that captivated the hearts of the country with a run to the NCAA Final Four last month, have been chosen as the Kansas City Sports Commission Sportsmen of the Year, it was announced this week. The student-athletes will be honored for their achievements at the 45thKansas City Sports Commission Awards Banquet on June 7 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown-Muehlebach Tower.
Custer and Richardson, natives of Overland Park, Kansas, and graduates of Blue Valley Northwest High School, helped Loyola to a school-record 32 wins in 2017-18 en route to the program’s first Final Four appearance since winning the national championship in 1962-63. The Ramblers defeated four ranked teams this year, including No. 5 Florida on the road during the regular season, then knocked off Miami, Tennessee and Nevada in thrilling fashion in the NCAA tournament before disposing of Kansas State, 78-62, in the Elite 8, to earn a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio.
Richardson, a senior, was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year this season and would later be named NCAA South Regional Most Outstanding Player after pouring in a career-high 23 points in the Ramblers’ victory over Kansas State in the Elite 8. For the season, Richardson, who finished his Loyola career ranked tenth in program history in steals, averaged 6.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while connecting on 40 percent (38-for-95) of his three-point field goal attempts.
Meanwhile, Custer was named MVC Player of the Year, the first Loyola men’s basketball student-athlete to be selected as the top player in a conference since Andre Moore in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1987. The redshirt junior contributed 13.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per outing, sinking 52.8 percent (160-for-303) of his field goal attempts, including 45.1 percent (60-for-133) from three-point territory, on his way to Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America status. In addition to those awards, Custer was also hailed as the Lou Henson Award winner, presented annually by CollegeInsider.com to the top mid-major player in the nation, and earned National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) First Team All-District 16 recognition.
In addition to their exploits on the court, Custer and Richardson define the term “student-athlete,’ earning numerous recognitions for their work in the classroom and community. Both were named MVC First Team Scholar-Athlete and Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete in 2017-18, while Custer also collected College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District and MVC State Farm Good Neighbor Awards accolades.
Loyola finished the 2017-18 season with a 32-6 overall record, set a school-record with 15 Missouri Valley Conference victories, and was ranked No. 7 in the season-ending USA Today Coaches Poll.