Former Loyola guard Jeff White clarified his comments published in a Loyola Phoenix column that criticized coach Porter Moser, saying his quotes were taken out of context during a Periscope broadcast Monday with College Court Report’s Peyton Wesner.
“Playing for Coach Moser for four years, I was basically saying that he’s not tough at all. He’s tough with us, but not to the point where he’s trying to manipulate us or trying to make it however the Loyola Phoenix reporter was trying to make him seem,” White told Wesner. “And basically I was just saying how Coach Moser is like a great guy on us. He just expects a lot of us as players, which is both on the court and off the court. He just wants what’s best for us. I was basically saying how he’s always there for us, pushing us to do our best. At times, just like any other coach around the country I’m pretty sure, if a coach wants the best out of you, if they’re not getting on you or very tough on you then that’s a problem.”
— Peyton Wesner (@pcwesner) February 27, 2017
The column by Loyola senior Madeline Kenney speculated on if Moser’s coaching style can hurt players’ confidence, particularly focusing on post players. Since Moser’s first season at Loyola in 2011-12, 14 players have left the program. Since March 2014, nine players have left prematurely, and eight of them have been forwards.
However, the Phoenix did not include the voices of any players who transferred, only speculating that Moser’s coaching style “can, and probably has, ruined a player’s confidence.” Sources with knowledge of the situation say the Phoenix did not attempt to interview Moser for the article.
Instead, the only quote came from White, who played all four years at Loyola and still roots for the program. The column quoted White as such:
“If [Moser] feels a specific person is not producing for the team — such as bringing energy, making plays or etcetera — he will [give] that opportunity to the next person,” said White. “Only the players and coaches know what goes on behind close doors … It’s nothing personal at all. [Moser] just wants you to be on point and have more positives than negatives.”
“I would say for some it does affect their confidence because they feel as if they have a small room for error,” White continued. “Therefore, they tend to be very tense afterwards because of fearing to make a mistake. It’s something as an athlete you have to prep yourself for mentally. Some use it as motivation to get better and eliminate those mistakes, while others let it affect them mentally.”
Honestly, White’s original comments don’t even seem that critical of Moser’s coaching style on their own. But in the context of the column’s argument, they take on a different meaning.
Last Thursday, White also issued a series of tweets regarding the Phoenix column, saying the student newspaper “mixed my words up” and felt Kenney “was using me to make her story look good.” He called the story “false” and “disrespectful towards my coach.”
I’m not going to sit here and say that Kenney’s argument has absolutely no merit. Enough players have transferred out for people to naturally ask some questions.
But I will say that the column has no merit. A lot of post players have left the program over the last few years, but it’s not right to Moser, or the players themselves for that matter, to speculate why they transferred without actually talking to them on record. Until someone does the actual reporting, there could be any number of reasons each player transferred.
Division I college basketball programs average close to two transfers per season. Loyola has been above average there, but not abnormally so. If Moser’s coaching style was actually the reason behind a dozen players transferring, you’d think one of them would have been willing to speak out.
Updated Feb. 28, 8:39 a.m.