'Dream team' seniors gear up for final gamesBy Jennifer Vanasco
The seven College seniors on the Chicago men's basketball team are counting down the final games of their college lives.
"These last few games have been very emotional, because I know it's almost at an end," said shooting guard Jason Milesko, who will start an investment banking career with Goldman-Sachs when he graduates in June. "I've been playing since second grade -- I've spent hours on the playground, gone to basketball camp, and now it's almost over. We're all trying to make these last few games the best."
Milesko and his fellow seniors -- Aaron Horne, Dan Klock, Jeff Boulanger, Rusty Loyd, Tim O'Toole and Matt Morycz -- have helped coach Pat Cunningham turn the Maroons' fortunes around. The year before this year's seniors came to Chicago, the team had a 3-22 record. This season, Chicago's record is 23-2, and for the second straight year the Maroons won the UAA conference title.
"It's been awesome, turning the team around," Milesko said. "We've really bonded together. The relationships we have with each other are probably what's going to last longest."
Milesko led Chicago in the wins that clinched the UAA title, scoring 19 points in a 74-61 win over New York University (Feb. 20) and 21 points in an 89-41 thrashing of Brandeis University (Feb. 22).
Chicago's 21-game winning streak, a school record, ended Wednesday, Feb. 25 with a loss to Illinois Wesleyan. In the past two years, the Maroons have won 41 of their last 44 games.
Currently ranked second in the NCAA Division III top-20 poll, Chicago (23-2 overall, 14-0 UAA) had two conference wins in late February, earning an automatic bid to the 1998 NCAA Division III post-season tournament. The team will compete in the Midwest Regional and West Sectional, which -- according to the Chicago Sun-Times -- "figures to be the nation's toughest," since it also includes Nebraska Wesleyan and Wisconsin-Platteville.
The team will play a second-round championship game Saturday, March 7, at the Moody Bible Institute's gymnasium, 930 N. Wells. Bus service to Moody will be provided. For more information, call 702-7684.