March Madness

‘We Ain’t Going’: Donte Ingram’s 2018 Mantra Carries to 2021 March Madness Run

Henry Redman | The PhoenixBen Richardson and Donte Ingram won 86 games over four seasons at Loyola.

After a big non-conference win during the 2017-18 season, former guard for Loyola men’s basketball Donte Ingram uttered words that would stick with his team nearly four years after his departure: “We ain’t going.”

The saying was meant to mean that the team refused to go home — a fitting saying for the season where they continuously managed to edge out fierce opponents by playing until the end.

At the time, Ingram said it went over everyone’s heads, but by the end of the season it became a phrase every member of the team lived by. 

Now, as the 2021 team heads into the Sweet 16, it’s a phrase that has returned to the Ramblers’ regular vernacular. 

Loyola head coach Porter Moser brought it back after the Ramblers won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament March 7. 

“Every single person brought it,” Moser said in the locker room following the win. “Everybody brought it. Absolutely awesome. But in the words of Loyola legend Donte Ingram, ‘We ain’t going.’”

In the interlude between this year’s Arch Madness and March Madness, Ingram was asked to narrate a Loyola Athletics hype video. He said he jumped on the chance to be a part of it due to the amount of free time he has while quarantining before traveling to New Zealand to join his new team. 

He said it’s something any alumnus would do just to provide a spark of motivation to the team.

“We ain’t going home, we’re not losing this game,” Ingram said. “We’re not giving in, we’re not gonna break, we’re gonna do whatever it takes to win. … Even up until now, it’s just the mentality of the team. … I wouldn’t be surprised if Coach Moser put that up in the locker room at some point.”

Bringing back a rallying call is no surprise for a team — and especially a coach — that’s known for living by certain creeds, sayings and motivational themes. 

After a first-round defeat in the 2020 MVC tournament, Moser urged the players to “change their story.” 

The Ramblers were upset in the quarterfinals of the 2020 MVC Tournament. Just over a year later, the team bounced back to punch its second ticket to the Sweet 16 in four years.

More proof of this lies in the men’s basketball locker room where the “Wall of Culture” is riddled with meaningful sayings. Phrases including “Trust the process,” “The ball will find you,” “Economy of motion” and “Post a man; not a spot” fill each brick to make up the wall — all headlined by the team’s mantra: created by culture. 

Emily Burdett | The Phoenix Moser’s “Wall of Culture” is something that was carried from previous locker rooms.

Senior guard Lucas Williamson was around when Ingram’s phrase was first coined. Now, as a senior heading into his second career March Madness run, he said “we ain’t going” carries more weight. 

“It’s an attitude,” Williamson said. “We’re not going. It’s an emotion. We’re coming in, we’re going to be tough and we’re going to give it our all.”

Ingram said he’s been glued to the television watching the Ramblers’ March Madness run since he’s in quarantine before going to New Zealand. The “culture” that he was a part of building is still ingrained in him today. 

When Phoenix reporters asked if Loyola could win the whole tournament, Ingram said he’s focused on one game at a time. 

“Every single game there are going to be challenges,” he said. “We don’t look past any round, any team. … Even me watching them now as a fan, I’m not looking at any team but Oregon State.”

The No. 8-seeded Ramblers and No. 12-seeded Oregon State University are set to play their Sweet 16 matchup March 27 at 1:40 p.m. CT.

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