Valparaiso (0-0, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #1 - Friday, November 14 - 7:30 p.m.
East Tennessee State (0-0, 0-0 Southern)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso opens the 2014-15 season on Friday night as it hosts East Tennessee State in the back half of a home-and-home series. The Crusaders will honor the legacy of former coach Gene Bartow, as a number of his family members will be in attendance, including son and ETSU head coach Murry Bartow.
Last Time Out: In their lone exhibition game, the Crusaders took down Grand Valley State last Thursday evening at the ARC, 60-52. Alec Peters led all players with 17 points, while Darien Walker made his Valpo debut with 16 points, including a key seven-point stretch in the second half.
Following the Crusaders: Audio - Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WJOB, 1230 AM, Hammond) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Paul Oren (Color)
Video - Horizon League Network/ESPN3.com
Links for the audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at ValpoAthletics.com. In addition, ValpoGameday.com is a one-stop shop for live video, stats and social media interaction, all on the same page.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (66-36) enters his fourth season at the helm of the Crusader men's basketball program in 2014-15. In his first three years, Drew has led Valpo to 66 victories and postseason berths in each of his three seasons. The 2012 HL Coach of the Year, Drew ascended to the head coaching position on May 17, 2011 after spending six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach with the Crusaders.
Series Notes: This is just the second all-time matchup between Valpo and East Tennessee State, coming after the first meeting in the series last season in Johnson City. The Buccaneers jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead, and while Valpo cut the lead to seven with under five minutes to play, the Crusaders couldn't get any closer. Lavonte Dority led Valpo with 14 points, while Vashil Fernandez posted a double-double with ten points and 14 rebounds.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- @ValpoBasketball has been picked to finish in fourth place in the league standings in 2014-15 in preseason polling.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last four years.
- Sophomore Alec Peters was the lone underclassman on the preseason #HLMBB First Team All-League squad.
...looking back at last year
- @ValpoBasketball won 18 games and finished in fourth place in the #HLMBB regular season.
- The Crusaders advanced to the postseason for the fourth straight year, falling in the first round of the CIT to Columbia.
- Lavonte Dority was a First Team All-League selection and also earned All-Region honors.
- Alec Peters and Lexus Williams were both named to the league's All-Freshman Team.
...in the exhibition
- Valpo won its lone exhibition game, downing Grand Valley State last Thursday evening, 60-52.
- Alec Peters led the Crusaders with 17 points in that game.
- Newcomer Darien Walker added 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench, including a key seven-point stretch in the 2nd half.
- The Crusaders took the lead for good on a Keith Carter jumper with 9:29 to play.
- Valpo also played a closed scrimmage against Buffalo in preseason action.
- @ValpoBasketball closes out the opening weekend on the road on the SEC Network Sunday evening against Missouri.
- The Crusaders return home Wednesday night, hosting IU South Bend.
...at the ARC
- @ValpoBasketball has 14 regular season home games scheduled for the ARC in 2014-15. #ValpoGameday
- The Crusaders posted a 12-6 mark at the ARC last season.
- Over the last 20 years, @ValpoBasketball owns a 235-56 (.808) record on its home court.
...in home openers
- @ValpoBasketball has won its home opener in each of the last nine seasons, including eight by double digits. #ValpoGameday
- Last season, the Crusaders edged Murray State in the home opener at the ARC, 77-74.
- The last time Valpo lost a home opener was Nov. 27, 2004, falling to Charlotte by an 85-71 final.
- East Tennessee State went 19-16 last season, including a 10-8 mark in Atlantic Sun play.
- The Buccaneers earned a berth in the CIT, beating Chattanooga before falling to Towson.
- ETSU begins its first season as a member of the Southern Conference in 2014-15.
- ETSU returns three starters from last year's squad, including leading scorer Rashawn Rembert (16.8 ppg, 108 3PT, 42.5% 3PT%)
Honoring Gene Bartow
- Prior to Friday's game, Valpo will honor the memory of former Crusader coach Gene Bartow.
- A number of Bartow's family members will be in attendance, including son Murry, head coach at ETSU.
- Bartow coached at Valpo from 1964 to 1970, leading the Crusaders to 3 postseason berths, including a spot in the final eight in 1967.
- He went on to coach at Memphis, Illinois, UCLA and UAB, reaching a pair of Final Fours and winning 647 games over 36 years as a coach.
Who's Back This Season
- @ValpoBasketball returns just seven letterwinners from its 2013-14 team, returning 48.3% of scoring and 56.8% of rebounding.
- Leading the returnees is preseason First Team All-League selection Alec Peters (12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
- Jubril Adekoya (5.8 ppg, 53.7% FG%) and Vashil Fernandez (58 blocks last year, fourth-most in program history) also are returning starters.
- Five eligible newcomers also join the fray in 2014-15 - two with junior eligibility and three freshmen.
- Sophomore Lexus Williams returns as well, but is expected to miss the entire season.
- Bryce Drew is in his fourth season as head coach of @ValpoBasketball and is in his tenth season overall on the coaching staff.
- Last season, Drew led the Crusaders to 18 wins and their fourth straight postseason berth.
- In 2012-13, Drew guided Valpo to its second straight regular season title, its first tournament title and a school record 26 wins.
- Drew was named #HLMBB Coach of the Year in 2011-12 in his first season as head coach - 22 wins and #HLMBB regular season title.
- Drew was the first Crusader men’s basketball Coach of the Year since 2001-02, when dad Homer won the honor in the Mid-Con.
- Prior to coaching, Drew spent seven seasons playing professionally, including six seasons in the NBA.
- Drew was a two-time Mid-Con MVP in his playing days with Valparaiso, helping the team to three NCAA tournament appearances.
- Drew hit “The Shot”, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament, to lift the Crusaders over Ole Miss.
- “The Shot” was named one of the top-35 All-Time Madness Moments by the NCAA as part of the celebration of 75 Years of March Madness.
- Bryce is the third member of the Drew family to serve as head coach of @ValpoBasketball.
- Father Homer was head coach from 1988-2002, and then returned to lead Valpo from 2003-11.
- Brother Scott (current head coach of @BaylorMBB) led the Crusaders during the 2002-03 season after nine seasons as an assistant under Homer.
- A Drew has been at the helm of the Crusaders for the last 26 years. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- The Drew family has combined to lead @ValpoBasketball to 457 victories and 12 postseason appearances. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 932 collegiate victories over a combined 45+ seasons of head coaching. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- @ValpoBasketball boasts one of the nation’s highest-scoring staffs, as a trio of coaches combined for 4,211 points during their D-I careers.
- Head coach Bryce Drew scored 2,142 points during his four-year career with the Crusaders.
- Assistant coach Roger Powell Jr. tallied 1,178 points during his four-year career with Illinois.
- Assistant coach Matt Lottich poured in 891 points over his four-year career at Stanford.
- Assistant coach Luke Gore also played collegiately at NAIA Bethel [Tenn.] College.
- Peters scored a team-best 17 points in the Crusaders' exhibition win over GVSU, including 10-13 from the foul line.
- Peters was a preseason First Team All-League selection after earning All-Freshman team honors last year as a rookie.
- Peters averaged 12.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg last year, becoming the highest-scoring Valpo freshman since 1998-99.
- A four-time #HLMBB Freshman of the Week, Peters also grabbed the most rebounds by a Valpo freshman since 1999-2000.
- Peters led the Crusaders in scoring 12 times in 2013-14 and in rebounding on nine occasions.
- Peters finished his freshman year tenth in the league in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and 3-pointers/game.
- Peters scored 30 points twice as a rookie, only the fifth Crusader to score 30 or more twice in a career in the last two decades.
- Peters paced the Crusaders in scoring in eight of the season's final ten games.
- Fernandez grabbed five rebounds in 18 minutes of action in the exhibition game against GVSU.
- Fernandez averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a junior, and blocked 58 shots - fourth-most in a season in Valpo history.
- Fernandez averaged 2.4 blocks/game in league play, second-most in the Horizon League.
- Fernandez led Valpo in rebounding nine times and blocked at least three shots on nine occasions.
- Fernandez matched the program record for blocks in a game with seven rejections last year at UIC.
- Fernandez set new career bests last season with 14 points (Murray State) and 14 rebounds (at East Tennessee State).
- Fernandez spent summer of 2014 playing for the Jamaican national team at FIBA Centrobasket.
- Carter started for the Crusaders and played a team-high 30 minutes against GVSU in exhibition action.
- Carter appeared in each of the final 22 games of the 2013-14 season after becoming eligible, averaging 5.7 ppg and 2.3 apg.
- Carter connected at a 40% clip from 3-point range in his first year as a Crusader.
- Carter scored in double figures three times last year, including a career-best 19 points in come-from-behind win over UIC.
- Carter handed out at least four assists on six occasions, including a season-best six assists against Youngstown State.
- Carter, a former Illinois Mr. Basketball runner-up, came to Valpo after spending the first half of his freshman year at Saint Louis.
- Adekoya tallied six points and seven rebounds in the Crusaders’ exhibition win over GVSU.
- Adekoya appeared in all 34 games as a rookie for Valpo in 2013-14, starting 24 times and averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
- Adekoya shot at a 63.6% clip from inside the 3-point line on the season.
- Adekoya led the Crusaders in rebounding four times and scored in double figures on seven occasions.
- Adekoya scored a season-high 13 points at Youngstown State and pulled down a season-best nine rebounds at Detroit.
- Chadwick played seven minutes off the bench in the exhibition game against GVSU.
- Chadwick appeared in 12 games last season in his first season playing for the Crusaders, scoring career-best 14 points vs. Cincinnati Christian.
- Chadwick appeared in 52 games over his first two collegiate seasons at Rice.
- Davidson came off the bench to play five minutes in Valpo's exhibition win over GVSU.
- Davidson appeared in 14 games off the bench as a freshman, going for seven points and five assists in a win over Cincinnati Christian.
- Davidson was the area Player of the Year following his senior year at Andrean [Ind.] H.S.
E. Victor Nickerson
- Nickerson scored two points and grabbed six rebounds in 12 minutes of action off the bench in the exhibition win over GVSU.
- Nickerson sat out last season after transferring to Valpo from Charlotte.
- Nickerson appeared in 60 games for Charlotte over his first two years, starting 15 times as a sophomore.
- Nickerson was an Honorable Mention All-State selection as a senior in HS, helping lead Norcross to Georgia 5A state title.
- Joseph played 12 minutes in the exhibition victory over GVSU, scoring two points.
- Joseph was a RSEQ Second Team All-Star in his senior season at Vanier College.
- Joseph earned First Team All-Star honors at the national tournament, helping lead Vanier to a berth in the bronze medal match.
- Skara approached a double-double in the exhibition win, tallying nine points and eight rebounds.
- Skara spent last season at Midwest Elite Prep (Ind.) Academy, averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game for the Warriors.
- Skara represented Croatia at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, helping team to the bronze medal.
- Skara appeared in four games at that tournament, recording ten points and five rebounds in a win over South Korea.
- Walker scored 16 points off the bench in Valpo's exhibition win over GVSU.
- Walker spent last season at John A. Logan College, where he averaged 13.4 ppg and was a First Team All-Region 24 selection.
- Walker played as a freshman at Arizona Western College, registering 11.1 ppg and 4.4 rpg.
- Walker helped Chicago powerhouse Simeon H.S. to back-to-back Illiois 4A state titles.
- Walker started the Crusaders' exhibition win over GVSU, tallying four points and six rebounds.
- Walker was an All-Canadian selection as a senior and ranked as high as eighth in his class nationally.
- Walker was league Player of the Year as a senior at Vanier College, leading the league and ranking 14th nationally with 20.8 ppg.
- Williams is expected to miss the entire season after suffering an offseason knee injury.
- Williams was a Horizon League All-Freshman Team selection as a rookie last year.
- Williams appeared in all 34 games for the Crusaders as a freshman, averaging 6.5 ppg and 2.4 apg.
- Williams led the team as a freshman with 35 steals.
- Williams scored in double figures eight times, including a career-best 22 points in a win at Detroit.