After Washington went to Western Michigan and became an assistant coach for Oakland, he recruited Valentine out of high school to play for the Golden Grizzlies. Loyola Chicago can't do that.
The No. 11 seed in the South, Loyola then routed Kansas State 78-62 in a regional final to continue its Cinderella story. They broadcasted the moment live on social media.
The opposing players themselves even tend to look similar.
The game will be the latest intersection for the two close friends in a lifetime full of them.
"I just think he likes the way they play on top of them being basketball junkies", Drew Valentine said. We're so happy for Sister Jean. And here is Coach Porter Moser, a product of a Jesuit institution, a "Catholic kid from Chicago". Creighton, Wichita State and Missouri were the other schools Custer considered.
"I saw it on Facebook the other day", Sister Jean said.
"I was standing next to him, trying to see how tall I was", said Jackson, who got a photo with the UCLA product. "Yet I knew deep down that if I was to lead the Loyola program in the way that I really felt it needed to be led, that I had to be willing to make those personal sacrifices and have my first actions really speak to my management philosophy".
"I never imagined two or three (reporters), let along this large group", Sister Jean said.
Just under a year after Calhoun took the job at Penn, she dismissed Jerome Allen and hired Donahue. "I'm always on a positive note, never negative". The Wildcats can cement their status as a modern college basketball power with their second title in three years, but a showdown with the powerful Jayhawks looms.
Matthews, a 6-foot-6 junior guard, made a decision to leave Kentucky, a program once considered One-and-Done U. Now Duke has taken over that distinction. The transition also had a bit of a learning curve - on and off the court.
"Belgium was the style I liked, running up and down, up and down", Bell said.
"I've never seen a team work so hard and be so connected on both ends", MI head coach John Beilein told the Detroit Free Press after a 58-54 win over Florida State in the West regional final.
When that year was up, Richardson and Custer were both ready to join forces again. Loyola's been there a long time.
Throw the seed-lines out of the window, ignore conference stature, watch some tape and you'll quickly understand why.
"It's awesome! It's so incredible when you see the little guy succeed", said Mimnaugh. We believe that we should be in this position and that we've earned the right to be alongside these teams and compete with them. "They just want to move that ball and share that ball and they play defense for each other". They're just playing their best basketball. "They're energized and we've had two good days of workouts down here".
"I feel very confident that Penn is on much of the same trajectory, because I've been building it in all the same ways", she said. A lot of teams that are like us are definitely rooting for us to prove that teams in smaller conferences and mid-majors are really good teams.
When they dress for the national semifinal, possibly for the last time together, that realization is not something the two dwell on. "I don't know how to describe it". "And I fought hard enough to do that because I wanted to be with the guys". "No matter what happens, this is a special feeling". After each game, Sister Jean sends each player an email to lift their spirits. "There are no good teams out there anymore that can't shoot". "It's refreshing to see".
Since the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament was first created in 1939, only four No. 11 seeds have reached the Final Four, with Loyola adding to the list this year.
A lot has changed, Sister Jean says, since the Ramblers last made history - back in 1963 when they completed an equally unexpected run by knocking off Cincinnati for the national championship. "Just like high school".