Haanpää Joins Ranks of Crusaders Playing Professionally
Monday, August 4, 2008

Valparaiso guard Samuel Haanpää (Kerava, Finland/Cornerstone [Texas] Christian) has reached a three-year agreement with Orlandina Basket, a Serie A Italian team, and will forego his final two years of collegiate eligibility.

“We are really excited that Sam is getting this opportunity to play professionally,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “Our goal at Valpo is to have our players graduate and give them the opportunity to continue playing basketball professionally, and Sam has been given an early chance to start his pro career.  He can also continue to work towards his degree in Finland.”

Orlandina Basket competes in Serie A, the highest level of Italian professional basketball and among the top European basketball leagues.  Haanpää joins a roster that includes the likes of former collegiate stars such as Tyus Edney (UCLA), Greg Brunner (Iowa) and Drake Diener (DePaul).

Haanpää appeared in 54 games in the Crusader uniform, averaging 11.1 points per game over his two seasons.  One of the most prolific threats from behind the 3-point arc in Valpo history, he connected on a program-record 44.5% of his 3-point attempts for his career.  He also broke the Crusaders’ single-game record for made 3-pointers last year against Chicago State, connecting on ten triples on just 12 attempts.  Haanpää becomes the 26th Valparaiso men’s basketball player in the last 14 years to play professionally.

“We will miss Sam, as he was an integral component on our team in his time here,” said Drew.  “While we are disappointed he won’t be completing his degree at Valparaiso, we are proud that he is getting a chance to play at one of the highest levels of pro basketball.”