Valparaiso University men’s basketball head coach Matt Lottich announced today that the Crusaders have added a pair of transfers to their roster, as Detroit native Bakari Evelyn and Atlantic City native John Middleton join the Crusaders from Nebraska and Utah State, respectively. Both guards will have to sit out the 2016-17 campaign and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting with the 2017-18 season.
Evelyn appeared in 18 games as a freshman for Nebraska in 2015-16 after spending his senior season at Hillcrest Academy in Arizona, averaging 25.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Prior to moving to Arizona, Evelyn played three seasons for Southfield Christian School, leading the Eagles to three consecutive Michigan Class D state titles. The 6’2”, 178 lb. guard averaged 20.4 points per game as a sophomore and 17.4 points per game as a junior, and was widely considered among the top players in the Detroit metro area entering his senior year before moving to Arizona. He played AAU ball with the 1Nation AAU program, helping lead his squad to the semifinals of the 2014 UA Finals.
“Bakari has a tremendous work ethic and is one of the more talented players I’ve seen working off an on-ball screen,” said Lottich. “He is a great leader, both on and off the court, and will be a welcome presence in the community, in the classroom and in the locker room.”
Middleton – a 6’4”, 215 lb. guard – comes to Valpo from Utah State, where he appeared in eight games during his freshman year. A three-year starter at Holy Spirits H.S. in Atlantic City, Middleton averaged 17.8 points and 7.4 assists per game during his senior year, scoring in double figures in all but three games while leading his squad to a 19-7 record.
“John is a very physically imposing player, but has a well-rounded skill set,” said Lottich. “He can shoot, dribble and pass, but his competitiveness and toughness are what sets him apart on the court.”
The addition of Evelyn and Middleton gives the Crusaders four newcomers heading into next season, as they join previously announced incoming freshman Micah Bradford and Jaume Sorolla.