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St. Frances' Josh Forney talks Loyola pledge

Josh Forney couldn't help but notice a trend developing in the Loyola men's basketball program over the past year.

It started with former Cardinal Gibbons combo guard Dylon Cormier having a standout freshman year for the Greyhounds last season. It continued last December when point guard R.J. Williams – Forney's teammate at St. Frances – committed to Loyola. Then came a pledge from Milford Mill small forward Tevin Hanner in March, followed by a transfer to Loyola from Xavier by former City standout Jordan Latham in May.

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Earlier this week, Forney joined the Baltimore-to-Loyola movement by committing to the Greyhounds.

"It was just something I wanted to get off my chest," Forney said Thursday. "They were very excited about the commitment. … It's a real comfortable atmosphere."

Forney has experience playing with all four of those aforementioned future teammates. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound center teamed with Williams to help St. Frances to the 2010 MIAA A Conference championship. Forney played with Latham during the beginning of his high school career at City. And he suited up with Cormier and Hanner years ago with the Crusader Nation AAU program."It makes me feel real good coming in. I already played with all of them a good amount of time," Forney said. "I won't have to do a lot of adjusting, just come in and play my game, my kind of basketball."

With Williams and Greg Lewis (Rutgers) leading the way for the Panthers last year, Forney took on a supporting role, averaging around "six or seven points, nine or 10 rebounds and a couple blocks" as a junior. St. Frances athletic director and assistant coach Nick Myles said Forney is still developing offensively, but "defensively, he's ready."

"He's going to rebound on both ends and he's going to defend," said Myles, who also coached Forney this summer with the B'more Finest AAU program. "Offensively, he's gotten a lot better. Josh bangs the whole time, rebounds at a high level [and] defends the post at a high level."

Forney was offered by Loyola before his junior season, thanks in large part to his play during open gyms at St. Frances. Greyhounds assistant coach Luke D'Alessio was the point man in Forney's recruitment. Forney also received interest from Delaware, Drexel, Florida Gulf Coast, Radford and St. Joseph's, but he was leaning toward Loyola "the whole way." He likes the role coach Jimmy Patsos envisioned for him as a freshman.

"Whenever the team needs a bucket, I'm the go-to person in the post to get a bucket whenever they need it," Forney said. "I'm more of a defensive player. I'm a grinder. I've been working on my quickness and speed, just working on being that big guy. At St. Frances, I'm the next big man, so I'll do my part to step up and get to the cup and get buckets."

Forney said he's looking forward to his senior season at St. Frances, where he'll be reunited with B'More Finest teammate Daquan Cook (UNLV). He also can't help but look ahead to the 2012-13 season, when he and Hanner join Williams, Latham and Cormier on the Greyhounds' distinctly Baltimore-influenced roster.

"They can expect a person that's going to just be an all-out dog for Loyola," Forney said. "I'm going to come in and give everything they want. Everything they want, I'm giving it on the court. I'm doing all the dirty work. Anything."

Photo of Josh Forney by Colby Ware / Special to The Baltimore Sun / Dec. 18, 2010

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