Valparaiso (2-1, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #4 - Friday, November 21 - 3:30 p.m. CT
vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-2, 0-0 SWAC)
Game #5 - Sunday, November 23 - 8:45 a.m.
vs. Maine (0-2, 0-0 America East)
McGuirk Arena (5,300) - Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso continues its season-opening stretch of five games in ten days this weekend at the Central Michigan Tournament. The Crusaders will take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday afternoon before concluding tournament play against Maine on Sunday morning.
Last Time Out: Valparaiso placed six players in double figures on Wednesday evening at the ARC as the Crusaders rolled to a 91-55 victory over IU South Bend. David Skara led the way with 17 points in the winning effort as Valpo led by double figures for the final 34 minutes of the contest. Alec Peters added 14 points, while Vashil Fernandez posted a double-double with 13 points and ten rebounds.
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 Aaron Leavitt (Color)
Video - Pay, through Central Michigan’s website
Links for the audio, as well as live stats, will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (68-37) is in 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: Valparaiso and Arkansas-Pine Bluff have never met on the basketball court. In fact, the Crusaders have only played one game in program history against a current SWAC member - a 70-68 victory over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 13, 1986. The Crusaders have faced Maine twice in program history, with the Black Bears winning both previous matchups - but the most recent matchup came way back on Dec. 12, 1984.
...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.
...notes from IU South Bend
- The Crusaders led by double figures for the final 34 minutes of the game and extended their lead to as many as 42 points.
- All 11 active players played at least nine minutes - nine of them saw between 16 and 25 minutes of playing time.
- @ValpoBasketball placed six players in double figures for the first time since Nov. 30, 2013 against Cincinnati Christian.
- The Crusaders reached double figures in 3-pointers for the second time this year, knocking down ten triples from seven different players.
- Valpo out-rebounded IUSB 50-22, a +28 advantage - the Crusaders’ largest advantage on the glass since Nov. 18, 2010 vs. Purdue North Central (+38).
- @ValpoBasketball heads off to Nashville for the Challenge in Music City next weekend, facing Drake, Murray St. and Portland Nov. 28-30.
- The Crusaders then close out a six-game stretch away from home on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at Eastern Kentucky.
...at a neutral site
- @ValpoBasketball went 1-1 in neutral-site games last season, defeating Southeastern at UCF and falling to Milwaukee in the #HLMBB Tournament at Green Bay.
- The Crusaders have not played back-to-back neutral-site games at the same court since 2010, when they beat Northern Colorado and Texas A&M-CC in Las Vegas.
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff enters this weekend 1-2 on the season, as they played a trio of games at Hawai’i’s Rainbow Classic.
- The Lions fell to Hawai’i and High Point before closing the tournament with a win over Cal State Bakersfield.
- Senior guard Marcel Mosley is averaging a team-best 19.7 ppg through three games, including a 87.5% clip from the foul line.
- Junior forward JoVaughn Love adds 14.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
- Maine enters the weekend 0-2 on the year, falling in games at Butler and NJIT to open the 2014-15 campaign.
- The Black Bears face host Central Michigan Friday night before matching up with the Crusaders Sunday morning.
- Four players are averaging in double figures in the early going, led by 13.0 ppg from senior forward Zarko Valjarevic.
- Valjarevic also pulls down a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game.
Offense - Best of Times, Worst of Times
- The Valpo offense has seen two extremes so far this season.
- The Crusaders scored 90 points in the season-opening win over ETSU, the most in a season-opener against a D-I school since moving to D-I.
- The 90 points also were the most in a regulation win over a D-I school since beating Green Bay, 90-87, on Dec. 31, 2011.
- Valpo hit 50% from the floor, including 10-of-18 from beyond the 3-point line, in the win over the Bucs.
- Then, against Mizzou, the Crusaders managed just 41 points, hit just 32.6% from the field and just 4-of-18 from 3-point range.
- The 41 points marked the fewest by a Valpo squad since a 61-40 loss at Ball State on Dec. 16, 2006.
- The Crusaders rebounded with a 91-point effort in the win last time out over IUSB, including another ten 3-pointers.
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.
Lots of New Faces
- Nearly half of the @ValpoBasketball roster (6 of 14 players) is new to the program this season.
- Five players are eligible for the first time this season, including Charlotte transfer E. Victor Nickerson, who sat out at Valpo last year.
- Darien Walker came to Valpo from junior college, while Max Joseph, David Skara and Tevonn Walker are all true freshmen.
- Shane Hammink (LSU) and Chandler Levingston Simon (UMKC) both transferred to Valpo last off-season and have to sit out this year.
The International Flavor
- This year’s squad continues the international pipeline that @ValpoBasketball has cultivated over the past two decades.
- The Crusaders boast five international players on this year’s roster from four different countries.
- Represented are Canada (Joseph, T. Walker), Croatia (Skara), Jamaica (Fernandez) and Netherlands (Hammink).
- The duo from Canada mark the first Canadian players in program history.
- Over the past two decades, @ValpoBasketball has welcomed 31 international players from 18 different countries.
- Crusader signee Daniel Relvao is from Portugal and will become the first Portugese player in program history when he joins in 2015-16.
In the Crusaders’ Future
- Daniel Relvao and Derrik Smits have both signed NLIs to join @ValpoBasketball as freshmen for the 2015-16 campaign.
- Relvao (6’9”, 235 lbs.) hails from Coimbra, Portugal and currently plays prep ball at Mountain Mission [Va.] School.
- Relvao averaged 8.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 3.3 bpg for Portugal last summer in Division B of the FIBA U18 World Championship.
- Smits (7’0”, 230 lbs.) will join Valpo from Zionsville [Ind.] H.S., where he averaged in double figures last season & also posted 3.6 rpg and 1.8 bpg.
- Smits is the son of former Indiana Pacers star center Rik Smits.
- 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 459 victories and 12 postseason appearances. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 936 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 needed just 17 minutes to score 14 points (5-7 FG) in the Crusaders’ win last time out over IUSB.
- Peters tied for game-high honors with 27 points in the season-opening win over ETSU.
- Peters went 9-of-15 from the field, hit four 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds in the win over the Buccaneers.
- 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 registered his third career double-double last time out vs. IUSB, scoring 13 points and pulling down ten rebounds.
- Fernandez grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in each of Valpo’s first two games this season.
- 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 the summer of 2014 playing for the Jamaican national team at FIBA Centrobasket.
- Carter tallied ten points and five rebounds in the Crusaders’ win over IU South Bend last time out.
- 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 eight points and grabbed six rebounds in each of Valpo’s first two wins of the season.
- 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 last year.
- 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 made his first career start as a Crusader in the win over IUSB last time out, playing 19 minutes and grabbing four rebounds.
- 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 saw 11 minutes off the bench last time out versus IUSB, scoring three points and tallying a pair of steals.
- 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 paced Valpo with 12 points (4-5 FG, 3-3 FT) off the bench at Missouri.
- 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 tallied three points, four rebounds and three assists last time out in the win over IUSB.
- 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 led all players with 17 points (6-9 FG) and also handed out a game-high six assists without committing a turnover last time out in the win over IUSB.
- Skara scored in double figures off the bench in the season opener vs. ETSU, going for 11 points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes.
- 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 tallied ten points and six rebounds in the win over IUSB last time out.
- Walker scored 20 points in the season-opening win over ETSU, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
- Walker scored 14 of his points against the Buccaneers in the first half, including four triples.
- 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 went 4-of-6 from the field for 10 points last time out in the win over IUSB.
- Walker made his Crusader debut in the season opener against East Tennessee State, starting and playing a team-high 32 minutes.
- Walker finished with 16 points, including a perfect 8-8 from the foul line, and also handed out three assists without a turnover.
- 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.