Valparaiso claimed a pair of the Horizon League’s major postseason awards on Monday, as junior forward Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) was named the league’s Player of the Year and first-year head coach Bryce Drew was tabbed the league’s Coach of the Year. In addition, junior forward Kevin Van Wijk (Hoofddorp, Netherlands/Katholieke Scholengemeenschap Hoofddorp) joined Broekhoff on the All-League First Team.
Broekhoff becomes the first Crusader to earn Horizon League Player of the Year honors and is Valpo’s first Player of the Year since Lubos Barton earned the Mid-Con honor for the 2001-2002 season. The junior led the league in rebounding, averaging 8.4 rebounds per game, and has totaled 261 rebounds to date, already tied for ninth-most in a single season in Crusader history. Broekhoff also ranks fourth in the league in scoring, posting 14.8 ppg, and scored in double figures in 26 out of Valpo’s 31 games. The junior forward easily led the Horizon League with 11 double-doubles, the most by a Valpo player since Kikas Gomes had 12 double-doubles in the 2003-2004 campaign. Broekhoff also closed the regular season among the league’s top-ten in eight different statistical categories.
Van Wijk joins Broekhoff on the first team, giving Valpo a pair of First Team All-League honorees for the first time since Raitis Grafs and Barton were both on the Mid-Con First Team in 2001-2002. Van Wijk finished fifth in the league in scoring (14.4 ppg) and easily led the league in field goal percentage, hitting 62.6% of his shots, good for fifth nationally. The two-time HL Player of the Week had just four games all season in which he hit less than half of his field goal attempts and scored in double figures on 24 occasions, including six efforts of 20+ points.
Drew earns the Horizon League Coach of the Year nod in his first year as the head man on the sidelines for the Crusaders. Drew took a squad which was projected to finish fifth in the league in the pre-season poll, lost over 60% of its scoring and lost three starters from the previous year’s team, and guided it to the regular season championship, winning the league by two full games. He also has already led the team to 21 wins, its 12th 20-win season in the last 19 years, and is guaranteed to guide the Crusaders in a postseason tournament, the 11th postseason appearance in the last 17 seasons for Valpo. Drew is the first Valpo head coach to receive the league Coach of the Year honors since Homer Drew was named Mid-Con Coach of the Year in 2001-2002.