Last season the Loyola Academy Ramblers basketball team came close to advancing to their first Illinois High School Association Elite 8 in years, but lost 83-61 to a Chicago Marshall team. Loyola's Rob Belcore would like to get past that point this year. "We're trying to get over the hump and get downstate for the first time in 30 years," Belcore said. "1976 was the last time a Loyola team went downstate. We're looking for me and Jeff (Jordan) to carry the load with scoring. We're also looking for major contributions from Chance Carter the freshman. We're also hoping that Robbie Wennington (son off former Chicago Bull Bill Wennington) a freshman will play varsity. We graduated our center from last year, so we'll be hurting a little down low."
The biggest strength that Belcore has brought to the Rambers and AAU teams such as the Illinois Wolves and Illinois Stars is his ability to shoot from long distance. "I can shoot the ball from very far, off the dribble, coming around screens. I'm looking to post-up and get to the free-throw line more this year."
Rob knows exactly what he needs to impove on if he wants to succeed at the next level. "I definitely need to improve my ballhandling," Belcore expressed. "I'm not going to be a small forward at the next level. I'm going to be a shooting guard. I'll be expected to be able to handle the ball. I worked on it a lot this year, but I've still got a long way to go. I've got to work on playing lower to the ground."
One of the best shooters in the Class of 2008 locally, Belcore has already attracted scholarship offers from some mid-majors. "I have offers from Southern Illinois and Loyola University of Chicago," Rob stated. "I get a lot of mail from Southern Illinois, five letters a day. I'm also being recruited by Stanford, DePaul, Iowa State, Iowa, Bradley, and a lot of other schools."
Belcore is getting the job done in the classroom too, achieving an ACT score of 27 on his first try.
Rob has only visited one school so far. He traveled 20 minutes by train to the campus of DePaul University in Lincoln Park. "I took one visit to DePaul," remarked Belcore. "I had a good conversation with Coach Wainwright there. I like the direction that program is going in."
On Labor Day weekend, Belcore played with a group of younger players – the Illinois Stars in a local AAU tournament. Illinois Stars coach Troy Johnson had plenty to say about the young man from Loyola. "I've known Rob for quite a few years now and I've always liked him," said Johnson. "I just never coached that age group. We still keep a relationship. I've kept in touch with him. I've already called several high-major Division I programs about him including DePaul and Notre Dame, because in that class he can flat out shoot the ball. I think he's more athletic than people give him credit for."
Johnson sees Belcore as a real gym rat. "He's one of the hardest working kids that I know, which I think adds to his ability to play at that level," Troy observed. "He had to get down and defend some guards. He did an above average job. Definitely better than what I saw a year or two ago."
To play at a high major level, what then does Rob need to improve upon? "He just needs to continue to work," Johnson expressed. "He just needs to continue to get exposure to show that he can do it. He needs to continue to work on defensive concepts and being able to rebound like he did (Labor Day) weekend."
Stay tuned to WeAreDePaul.com for the latest on Blue Demons prospective recruits.
2008 Focus: Rob Belcore
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