Valparaiso University men’s basketball head coach Matt Lottich announced today that Deion Lavender has enrolled at Valpo and joined the program as a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for the 2018-19 season.
Lavender – a 6’3” guard from Alton, Ill. – played the last two seasons at UAB, appearing in a total of 52 games over his two years with the Blazers and starting 14 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2016-17. He led UAB and ranked eighth in Conference USA with 3.4 assists/game in 2016-17, and also ranked ninth in the conference in assist/turnover ratio. Lavender averaged 6.2 points and 2.8 rebounds/game that season as well, while also finishing second on the team with 25 steals.
Lavender began his collegiate career in the Missouri Valley Conference at Southern Illinois, where he appeared in 32 games as a freshman in 2014-15 and started on 13 occasions. He averaged 6.6 points/game in his one season with the Salukis and raised his scoring average to 8.6 points/game within Valley play, good for third on the team. Lavender scored in double figures in in seven of SIU's final 10 games that season, averaging 11.2 points/game over that 10-game stretch.
“Coming into the offseason, we felt it was important to add a member to the senior class,” said Lottich. “Deion is the perfect fit in that role because he brings experience playing in the Valley and has shown the ability to be productive on the court during his career. His versatility and his experience will be invaluable for our program as we enter our second season of MVC play.”
Lavender will be the lone Valpo player in his final season of collegiate eligibility entering the 2018-19 season. His addition also fills out the Crusaders’ roster for the upcoming season.