CHICAGO – Most times it’s been his defense and leadership qualities that has helped to show the best of what Loyola basketball has had to offer the past five seasons.
Yet Lucas Williamson has found a new way to aid the Ramblers’ basketball program in 2022 in a new way: His voice.
The guard, who is in his fifth year at the school, is the narrator for “The Loyola Project” a film by O’Malley Creadon Productions that spotlights the 1963 national champion Ramblers team. Along with playing great basketball and winning the State of Illinois’ only Division I title, the group helped break racial barriers and improve equality in college basketball.
Patrick Creadon, one of the directors of the film, approached Williamson about narrating it back in 2019 and the guard was eager to do so.
“He (Creadon) was like ‘Hey Lucas, you actually have a lot in common with the ’63 guys,'” said Williamson, a Whitney Young High School graduate. “For example, Jack Egan is from Chicago, I’m from Chicago. Jerry Harkness grew up playing basketball in the YMCA. I grew up playing basketball in the YMCA. Current captain of Loyola.
“It was just like, ‘Do you want to give this narration thing a go?, and I said ‘Sure, why not.'”
So over the last few years and through the pandemic, Williamson would record 15-minute sessions of scripts that were sent to him by the directors. During the process, he got the chance to learn more about the impact of the 1963 team on college basketball and society, something he was mostly unaware of before arriving on campus.
“When I got to know the story a little bit more in-depth, got to know more of the things they had to deal with away from the court, it just made me appreciate where I am today,” said Williamson. “All I have to do is focus on school and basketball, which is a job within itself. But I can’t even imagine having to deal with all they had to deal with then away from the court.”
The documentary to which Williamson lent his voice will now give people around the country the chance to learn about this group, what they went through, and what they accomplished. In February, there have been premieres in downtown Chicago, at Gentile Arena in Rogers Park, and even across the country, as the story of the 1963 Ramblers continues to be told.
“It just means a lot to me that people are getting to know their story and people are learning about it,” said Williamson of the family. “That’s basically all you want in making a film like this.”
The Loyola guard spoke more about his involvement in the film with Larry Hawley on WGN News Now this week, and you can see that interview in the video above.
To find out when and where you can see “The Loyola Project,” click here.