Loyola coach Porter Moser recruited Josh Pastner out of high school

Loyola head coach Porter Moser walks off the court after the Ramblers lost to Nevada 65-79 at Gentile Arena on Nov. 27, 2018.

Credit: Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tri

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Loyola head coach Porter Moser walks off the court after the Ramblers lost to Nevada 65-79 at Gentile Arena on Nov. 27, 2018.

Credit: Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tri

If Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner ever needs anyone to certify for his ability as a high school basketball player, Loyola Chicago coach Porter can vouch, sort of.

When Pastner was a high school prospect in Houston and also the coach of his father Hal’s AAU team, Moser was an assistant coach at Texas A&M. Through his recruiting of the Houston Hoops’ stocked roster, Moser got to know Pastner.

Through that interaction, Moser recruited Pastner to come to Texas A&M as a walk-on. Moser spoke Wednesday from Indianapolis, where their two teams will face each other in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

“And there was a point where he was possibly going to come play at Texas A&M,” Moser said. “And then, he built his relationship with (Arizona coach) Lute Olson, he went out there. It was a great move.”

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At Arizona, Pastner’s role was mostly helping Olson develop players more than playing. The only playing time he received was when the Wildcats were far ahead. Pastner likes to jokingly brag that Arizona’s record in games he played in was 42-0. It proved a life-changing decision for Pastner. He was hired after graduation to Olson’s staff, ultimately becoming an assistant coach, and met his wife while living there.

Asked for a scouting report on Pastner the player, Moser responded, “Similar to mine. Don’t let him shoot. Make him dribble.”

The two have remained good friends since.

“The thing that I’ve always admired about Josh is he’s always stayed true to who he was,” Moser said. “Positive, humble, hardworking, grinder.”

Moser was referencing the early success that Pastner had in his career, becoming head coach at Memphis at 31 and taking the Tigers to four consecutive NCAA tournaments.

“He’s done a great job to take Georgia Tech to win the ACC tournament,” Moser said. “His positivity, his energy is absolutely rubbing off on the program.”

Coincidentally, Moser was also a head coach at 31, at Arkansas-Little Rock. He went from there to Illinois State where he was fired after three losing seasons in four years. He was hired at Loyola in 2012, where he led the Ramblers to the Final Four in 2018 and four consecutive 20-win seasons.

Said Pastner of Moser, “I always thought he was awesome. He’s always been a great coach, but he’s always been a great guy, and you always like to see those guys have great success.”

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