At the end of the bench for the Loyola men’s basketball team all season, transfer guard Tate Hall was forced to endure the hardest thing he’s ever had to do in his basketball career — sit and wait.
Now a redshirt junior, the 6-foot-7 finance major arrived at Loyola in summer 2018. Prior to joining the Ramblers, Hall was a standout scorer at Division II school University of Indianapolis from 2016-18, where he picked up first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) honors in 2018. He led the Greyhounds with 14.8 points per game on 56 percent shooting, which ranked eighth in the GLVC.
After these honors and exceptional showings in Division II, Hall said he knew he was ready to make the jump to Division I. This season, he was unable to play due to NCAA transfer rules — which require transfers sit out one season upon arrival, even when transferring from a D-II school.
With his sit-out year behind him, Hall said he’s ready to get back on the court and make an impact.
“I definitely wanted a new challenge after two pretty good years there,” Hall told The Phoenix. “Moving up a level would be more beneficial to me, especially since I have aspirations to play professionally.”
A Greenfield, Indiana native, Hall said proximity to home is why he initially decided on Indianapolis over other schools that recruited him, such as other Great Lakes Valley Conference schools and Division I school University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
In his first season at Indianapolis, Hall made quick work of GLVC competition, winning the conference Freshman of the Year award while averaging 10 points per game in 28 contests.
Following up a strong first season at Indianapolis with first team All-Conference honors in 2017-18, Hall caught the eye of several Division I programs and their coaches — including those of Loyola head coach Porter Moser. Hall announced his commitment to Loyola via Twitter April 20, 2018 and signed 10 days later.
“[Hall] is an extemely skilled and versatile player who will be able to do a lot of things in our four-out offense,” Moser said in a statement in April 2018. “At 6-foot-7, he can shoot with range and also has the ability to strike you off the dribble. I absolutely love his toughness and competitive nature and how he fits into what we are doing. On top of all that, Tate is an outstanding student and is all about winning.”
Upon his arrival, Hall enrolled in the Quinlan School of Business where he declared as a finance major. Along with continuing his academics, he also continued his basketball career with the Ramblers where his teammates said his impact was felt instantly.
“From day one, Tate brought it for us in practice and made his presence known even though he’s been forced to sit out,” redshirt sophomore forward Aher Uguak said. “When I first met him, he never really smiled that much, but once you get to meet him, you see he’s a great dude and has great character for sure.”
Hall said he looked at this challenge as an opportunity and looked to redshirt senior guard Clayton Custer as well as his roommates, redshirt senior guard Marques Townes and Uguak for guidance after the trio had all experienced redshirt seasons.
Despite being unable to take the court with his teammates, Hall said he remained focused on gaining more experience and refining his skills as a ball-handler and creator for others. Along with this skill work, Hall said he used his free time to work out and prepare for the 2019-20 season.
“This year was still really beneficial for me, I hit the weight room really hard and made a lot of progress in my game working with [assistant coaches] Bryan [Mullins] and Drew [Valentine],” Hall said. “Especially with the change in speed from Division II to Division I, this chance to sit out and transition will definitely help me next season.”
Looking to next season, Hall said he’s ready to take on a major role and help replace the losses of Custer and Townes to graduation. Along with this personal preparation, his teammates also said they can’t wait for fans to see what Hall can do on the court next November.
“A lot of people will be surprised with what he can do, because he’s a really good player, that’s for sure,” Uguak said. “He’s gonna be a big help for us next year.”