Tale of Two Ballers: Loyola freshmen make their mark on the basketball team


Anum Siddiqui

Zach Wrightsil and Myles Burns, mass communication freshmen, start on the Loyola men’s basketball team. Their first year on the team has been met with notable performances and high statistical averages. Photo credit: Anum Siddiqui

Jillian Oddo

Zach Wrightsil and Myles Burns have become Loyola’s newest dynamic duo, clawing their way to the top of the box scores night in and night out.

The mass communication freshmen, both from Texas, traveled hundreds of miles with dreams of tearing up The Den. But the pair never expected to become talk of the town.

The duo met at Loyola and had instant chemistry. They share a dorm, have the same major, are enrolled in similar classes and, of course, couldn’t avoid each other on the basketball court. They both serve as guards and forwards for Loyola’s team.

During their few months as part of the Wolf Pack, Wrightsil and Burns have led in nearly every statistic on the team, and they sport averages that rank high among other Southern States Athletic Conference players.

Not many people can stop the duo when they hit the court together, despite only playing at the college level for less than a year.

“It doesn’t matter if we start, it’s more about what we do on the court,” Burns said, and the numbers back his statement.

Statistics were tallied on Jan. 3, 2019. Photo credit: Ariel Landry

Playing tag team in the box scores created a strong bond between Wrightsil and Burns. Not only are the two teammates, they have become best friends.

They use every opportunity to show off their dance moves, and whether in the Peace Quad or in The Den watching a game, Wrightsil and Burns seem to be the center of attention.

“It’s really fun,” Wrightsil said. “It helps us build trust off the court, so when we’re on the court it makes us play better because we are more comfortable with each other.”

Burns agrees their friendship has resulted in a stronger chemistry when they play.

“What we carry off the court translates onto the court,” Burns said. “We could argue, but once we’re on the court we are 100 percent back to work.”

Regardless of where they are, when Wrightsil and Burns are together basketball is always a part of the conversation.

“We talk about what we need to do, what we did good and what we need to work on,” Burns said. “Basketball is something we relate to heavily, and we’re both passionate about the game.”

The sport has had a major impact on both players over the years. Wrightsil began his basketball career in fourth grade, while Burns hit the courts four years later as an eighth-grader. Playing for multiple teams since childhood developed in Wrightsil and Burns detailed understandings of how to play complimentary basketball.

“We’re both really good scorers,” Wrightsil said. “My game compliments his, and his compliments mine.”

“I feel like I have good court vision, and he is always running somewhere near the goal,” Burns added. “Wherever he is, that is where I’m going to throw.”

Wrightsil and Burns hope for strong finishes to their freshmen seasons, and with three years left at Loyola, they look forward to becoming stronger players, perhaps eventually making it to the NBA.

“I see us skyrocketing … there’s no limit,” Wrightsil said. “We know we could be much better, and our work ethic makes us want to become so much better every time we step on the cou