The Loyola Ramblers were missing a key part of their attack during Horizon League play in 2008-09. Andy Polka spent most of the season on the bench after injuring his ankle. He's healthy now and his return is a the key for a young Loyola squad.
Importance: Polka is one of three seniors on the Ramblers'
roster along with guard Aric Van Weelden and forward Marcus Thomas.
When Polka went out with his injury last season it was a big blow to
Loyola's front court depth.
- Name: Andy Polka
- Class: Senior
- Position: Forward
- Height/Weight: 6'7" 240 lbs.
Health: Polka tore the ligaments in his ankle last season. He also chipped the bones in the front of his ankle, but after off-season surgery he's ready to go again. Polka said last Friday at March Madness that he's healthy and head coach Jim Whitesell said his senior forward has looked great during workouts.
Key Stats: In 11 games last season Polka put up a 97.0 offensive rating on 49.2 effective field goal percentage. More traditionally, he put up 7.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Polka isn't the most athletic player on the court, but he's very intelligent and should help the ball movement for the Ramblers.
Quotes: "Getting Polka back healthy, he's a kid who his freshman year played on a really good team and the last two years he's been hurt," Whitesell said. "Last year he missed almost the entire conference season and he's probably the kid that understood our system the best and our best defensive front line player. Not that he's a 15 or 20 point scorer, but Andy's been a guy that knows what he needs to do."
Expectations: Polka is never going to light up the scoreboard, but he's a hard worker on the glass. With the graduation of Darrin Williams the Ramblers desperately need another experienced front court player that can stabilize the offense in the paint. That's where Polka will be used the most. His rebounding average during his previous two seasons was higher at 7.2 and 6.7 rebounds per game during his freshman and sophomore seasons respectively. Surely Whitesell would like to see that type of production on the boards again.