Rambling to the Sweet 16: A “Chance” encounter on Twitter part of Loyola’s new fame

College Basketball: NCAA Playoffs: Loyola Chicago Donte Ingram (0) victorious during game vs Miami at American Airlines Center. Dallas, TX 3/15/2018 CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X161798 TK2 )

ATLANTA – Better late than never, right? Best to celebrate “March Madness” by joining some of it online.

That’s how Donte Ingram looks at it right now.

For a long time, the Loyola guard resisted getting on Twitter and joining the sometimes creative, other times cruel social media network. He’d be an exception in a sporting society often fueled by what’s been posted in 280 characters or less.

But when chance comes calling, you respond.

This came from Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper after the guard’s game-winning three-pointer in the first round win over Miami in Dallas last Thursday. As one of those who is a fan of his music, the time seemed right to take the Twitter plunge.

“I have two classes that require a Twitter right now, so I was on the verge of making one anyway,” said Ingram. “And then honestly — I mean, obviously winning a couple games in the tournament and the chances we’ve been getting, guys tweeting at us and getting a shout-out from Chance the Rapper, the South Side rapper, that was the icing on the cake,” said Ingram. “I finally gave in to making a Twitter.”

At @kingram_0, Ingram only has that Chance the Rapper tweet and then one following two wins in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.

“I mean, obviously that’s huge, for another guy that takes pride in the city of Chicago,” said Ingram, who grew up in Chicago and attended Simeon High School. “Obviously he has great music, and he does so much for the city. He’s around, he’s very supportive, and you look up to guys like that, so that’s one of my role models, so I look up to everything he does and how he carries himself, so that was huge.”

This is what March can do – make stars out of previously unknown athletes. Ingram has enjoyed some more time in the spotlight due to the game-winning shot against the Hurricanes which ranks as one of the best moments for the tournament so far.

Though it’s not just Ingram, since Loyola’s run to the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed is one of the best stories of the tournament. It can take some time to adjust to the added attention not usually given to the Rogers Park school during the regular season.

“I think it’s definitely been an adjustment, not something that we get just in the normal routine and course of the Valley season,” said guard Ben Richardson of having the media attention the past two weeks. “We’ve enjoyed having you around (laughing), but it’s been an adjustment, and it’s been something we haven’t had to talk about a whole lot. Coach has just kind of stayed on us about sticking to what’s gotten us here and focusing when it’s time to step on the court. It’s that same level of focus, that same level of energy and intensity that we’ve had all year.

“I think this is probably the best practice team I’ve ever been on. We really go hard when we’re out there, and we try to have a laser-like focus.”

Even with just a little bit of time on Twitter thanks to a “Chance” encounter.