Julian DeGuzman admitted he was tentative at times last season.
That’s no longer the case for the 6-foot-3 senior forward.
DeGuzman (pictured above) scored a career-high 16 points to go with six rebounds in Loyola’s 62-36 win over Lincoln Park on Tuesday at the New Trier/Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament in Wilmette.
“Last year, I was inexperienced, and I’m not going to lie a little nervous,” he said. “I am more comfortable now.”
DeGuzman showcased an array of post moves Tuesday he developed with his dad in grade school and honed with Loyola assistant coach Chris Braier. When he got the ball on the block, DeGuzman usually came away with a basket or got fouled. He finished 4-for-6 from the free throw line.
“He’s the best offensive post we’ve had,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “He can score in a variety of ways down there, but he can also step out and shoot it. He keeps getting better and a lot more confident. We are proud of him.”
DeGuzman said he wants to play in college and some of the Division III programs he’s looking at include Denison University, Wabash College and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Braier played college basketball.
“I’m not the tallest player out there, but I try to out-tough my opponent,” he said. “I want to play with more heart than him.”
For the second consecutive game, Loyola (2-0) didn’t trail. The Ramblers led 17-6 after one quarter and took a 31-20 lead into halftime. Loyola started distancing itself from Lincoln Park (1-1) late in the third quarter. DeGuzman scored in the post, and junior guard Kevin Cunningham followed on the next possession with a 3-pointer to up Loyola’s lead to 47-31 with 48 seconds remaining before the fourth.
It was never close in the final quarter. On Monday, the Lions beat New Trier 78-62 in Winnetka.
“Lincoln Park is a good, good team,” Livatino said. “I thought we made big strides [Tuesday]. We played with a lot of effort and a lot of energy. We have to keep building on that.”
Senior guard Ramar Evans put together an impressive game. He finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and went 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Senior forward Matt Sechman scored nine points to go with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Cunningham had eight points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Matt Lynch scored seven points.
The Ramblers finished 22-for-25 from the free throw line.
Loyola plays New Trier at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Wilmette.