"He's always been extremely talented," said Cheevers, who left coaching to go into private business when Gibbons shut its doors in 2010. "Once he believes he is 'the guy,' he is going to explode. He'll start to feel that confidence that he is the best player on the court."

Said Cormier: "My stepfather said pretty much the same thing — it's just like Gibbons. Last year I kind of got my feet wet, and this year I grasped more things and played a bigger role. I think the same kinds of things will happen my last two years."

But Cormier is not worried about that. He is more concerned about leading Loyola into uncharted territory — the NCAA tournament.

"Coming from where we were last year, losing to St. Peter's in the opening round [of the MAAC tournament] and finishing .500, I really didn't think we'd be where we are now," Cormier said. "We've came a long way as a team."

Cormier said he has always watched the NCAA tournament, trying to follow those he played with and against during his high school days. The selection show to announce the seedings and pairings was another matter.

"Never was really interested," he said.

That will change Sunday, when Cormier and the rest of the Greyhounds gather at Reitz Arena to see where they will be going and who they will be playing. Cormier knows he will have to play better than he did during his team's last two victories in the MAAC tournament.

After scoring 23 points in the quarterfinals against Niagara, Cormier scored five points in each of the last two games, taking a total of 10 shots. Early foul trouble didn't help Cormier — or Etherly — in Loyola's grind-it-out, 48-44 win over Fairfield in the championship game.

"The last two games I wasn't being aggressive enough," Cormier said. "But other players stepped up and did a great job, just like we did all season."

Cormier does not have a preference as to who the Greyhounds might play in the NCAA tournament. Nearly all of the prognosticators have Loyola as a No. 15 seed, with a possible matchup against Duke or Michigan State.

"The one thing I know about Dylon is that he's not going to be intimidated playing against anybody," Cheevers said.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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