Belmont (11-6, 4-2 MVC)
at Valparaiso (6-11, 0-6 MVC)
Game No. 18 – Tuesday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will play the second matchup against an opponent for the first time this season by battling Belmont on Tuesday night. This marks the Bruins’ first game at the Athletics-Recreation Center since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. The two teams will close out the regular season series despite the fact that Valpo has yet to play five MVC programs this year.
Last Time Out: Bradley used a pair of 11-0 runs and all told a 22-2 spurt in the first half to take control of an 88-66 victory over Valpo on Saturday afternoon in Peoria. Ben Krikke remained a Beacon bright spot with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Four Valpo players reached double figures but Bradley sustained its home dominance and extended its home-court winning streak to 16.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Zach Collins (play-by-play)
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (103-107) is in his seventh season as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2022-2023. Twice during his tenure, Valpo has upset Top-25 opponents, defeating Drake and Rhode Island at the ARC. Valpo has four wins over AP Top 25 teams in program history, and two have come under Lottich. In 2019-2020, Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness, the annual Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, to reach the title game after playing in the opening round by winning three games in three days. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
First Meeting – Belmont 76, Valpo 64 (Dec. 1): Valpo cut what had been a 15-point lead to six with seven minutes remaining thanks to a 9-0 run, but host Belmont closed out a 76-64 victory on its home court to open league play on Dec. 1. Kobe King scored a game-high 21 points, while Ben Krikke added 18 and Jerome Palm turned in a near double-double of 11 points and nine rebounds. Drew Friberg went off for 20 points and drilled six 3s to lead Belmont.
Series Notes: The first matchup between the two teams this season – a Belmont victory in Nashville to open league play – marked the continuation of a head-to-head series that began in 1997-1998. Valpo owns a 9-3 advantage in a dozen all-time matchups. The two teams played a rare nonconference home-and-home within the same season in 2015-16, when Valpo won 61-57 at the ARC and lost 85-81 in Nashville. Valpo has won all six all-time home matchups with the Bruins.
Kobe on Verge of Milestone
- Kobe King has an opportunity to reach a significant career milestone on Tuesday night vs. Belmont at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Entering the game, he has scored 989 career points, just 11 points away from reaching the 1,000-career point milestone.
- King has scored 603 with the Brown & Gold after registering 386 over his three seasons at Wisconsin.
- If he reaches the milestone, King would become the second Valpo player to do so this season. Ben Krikke achieved the feat in the Nov. 13 home-opening victory over Western Michigan.
- Prior to this year, the last Valpo player to join that esteemed group was current graduate assistant Tevonn Walker exactly five years prior to Krikke’s milestone – Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Trinity Christian.
Double Figure Streak
- The only player in the Missouri Valley Conference who has scored in double figures in each of his team’s games this season is Kobe King, who has scored 10+ in 17 straight.
- In each of the last two games, King has needed second-half flurries to reach the 10-point threshold. He was held to just two points in the opening half on Jan. 4 vs. UNI, but poured in 12 after the break to push his streak to 16. He scored eight of his 12 points after halftime on Jan. 7 vs. Bradley.
- King has scored in double figures in 36 of his 40 games in a Valpo uniform.
- The former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball has scored 15 points or more in 11 of his 17 games this season. He has five 20-point outputs this year and has scored 15 or more points in 21 of his 40 games with the Beacons.
- King is up to 41 career double-figure scoring efforts including his tenure at Wisconsin.
- At the end of last season, King became Valpo’s second All-Newcomer Team choice since joining the league and first since Bakari Evelyn in 2017-18.
- He appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays after a three-quarter court buzzer-beater on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte, a play that ranked No. 9 on the popular countdown that evening.
Krikke on the All-Time Scoring List
- Ben Krikke cracked the top 20 on Valpo’s all-time scoring list when he scored the first basket of the game on Dec. 18 vs. Elon, and moved up to 19th on Jan. 4 vs. UNI.
- Krikke enters the Jan. 7 game at Bradley with 1,280 career points after recently surpassing Lance Barker (1991-1995; 1,196) for 20th and Darryl Ashby (1974-78; 1,247) for 19th.
- Chuck Kriston (1960-63) is 18th at 1,287, meaning Krikke is seven points away from moving up another place.
Sharing is Caring
- Over the last two games, Valpo has handed out 32 assists on 46 made baskets with 69.6 percent of their baskets being assisted. Prior to the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI, 48.5 percent of Valpo’s baskets were assisted this season and 41.7 percent in conference play.
- As a team, Valpo tallied 18 assists on 25 made baskets on Dec. 4 vs. UNI, tying a season high reached on three prior occasions – Nov. 13 vs. Western Michigan, Dec. 18 vs. Elon and Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill.
- The 18 assists were Valpo’s most in a conference game since 18 on Jan. 2, 2022 vs. Illinois State (W 81-76, OT) and the program’s most in a regulation conference game since Feb. 6, 2021 vs. Drake (19).
- The Beacons followed by obtaining 14 assists on 21 made baskets in the Jan. 7 game at Bradley.
- In the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI, forward Ben Krikke gave out a team-high six assists, shattering his previous career high of five set on Jan. 26, 2021 vs. Bradley.
- Krikke had nine total assists in 15 games this season prior to the six-helper outburst against the Panthers.
Among Conference & National Leaders
- Valpo has two of the top three players in the MVC in terms of field goals made and two of the top 40 nationally. Ben Krikke leads the conference and ranks ninth in the nation with 126 made field goals, while Kobe King ranks third in the conference and 38th nationally with 103.
- Valpo is one of two teams in the country with two players in the top 40 nationally in terms of field goals made, joining Marshall.
- Krikke and King also represent two of the league’s top seven players in terms of scoring average. Krikke’s 18.0 points per game rank third in The Valley with King not far behind at 16.6 ppg, seventh.
- In league-only games, Krikke is averaging 19.5 points per outing, second only to UNI’s Bowen Born (22.7 ppg).
- Valpo is the only team in the conference with two players who rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring average.
Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 7 – Bradley 88, Valpo 66
- Valpo made 18 free throws, its third highest total of the season behind Trinity Christian (19) and Incarnate Word (20).
- The Beacons attempted a season-high 26 free throws. This was the team’s most charity tosses in a game since Feb. 12 of last season at Missouri State (27).
- Krikke tallied 13 points and five rebounds in the opening half while knocking down five of his seven field-goal attempts. He went on to lead the team with 17 points, while Kobe King (12), Quinton Green (12) and Connor Barrett (10) all joined him in double figures.
- All of Barrett’s damage came after halftime as he went 3-for-3 shooting to achieve his second double-figure scoring output of the year.
- Redshirt senior Joe Hedstrom scored six points and went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.
- Bradley had five players score in double figures, the first time five or more opposing players scored 10+ points in a game since Dec. 10 at Ole Miss.
Scouting the Bruins
- The Bruins are coming off a 74-61 victory over Missouri State on Saturday to cap a 2-0 week that also featured a 77-71 triumph at UIC.
- In their first season of MVC action, Belmont also owns home victories over Bradley (63-60) and Valpo but lost at Illinois State (87-77) and at Southern Illinois (63-45).
- Led in scoring by Ben Sheppard (18.1 ppg) with Cade Tyson (13.4) and Drew Friberg (13.1) also averaging in double figures.
- Picked to finish sixth of 12 in the MVC preseason poll.
- Ben Krikke has reached double figures in 15 of his 17 games this season including seven outputs of 20 points or more.
- Krikke has scored 15+ points in 13 out of 17 contests.
- Krikke got off to a strong start to his fourth season at Valpo, as the Edmonton native scored 18 points or more in each of his first four games including three straight with 20 or more points.
- Krikke became the first Valpo player with three straight 20-point outputs since program legend Alec Peters did so in December 2016 (at Missouri State, vs. Indiana State, vs. Santa Clara).
- Krikke played all 40 minutes on Nov. 19 vs. Incarnate Word. This marked the first time in his career that he has played the entire game. He did play 40+ minutes on two prior occasions but both were overtime affairs.
- After tallying a then-career-high 28 points in the Nov. 13 home opener vs. Western Michigan, Ben Krikke followed with 27 on Nov. 16 at Chicago State.
- Krikke’s 27 points on Nov. 16 at Chicago State were the most by a Valpo player in a true road game since Javon Freeman-Liberty’s 28 on Jan. 15, 2020 at UNI.
- Krikke became the first Valpo player to score 27 points or more in back-to-back games since Alec Peters did so in three straight outings in December 2016 (at Missouri State, vs. Indiana State, vs. Santa Clara).
- Last season, Ben Krikke was one of three players in the Missouri Valley Conference to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 80 percent or better from the free-throw line, joining Isiaih Mosley of Missouri State and Malevy Leons of Bradley while owning the highest field-goal percentage of that elite group.
- Krikke entered the season with a career field-goal percentage of 53.4, a mark that ranks seventh in program history.
- Krikke had a 12-game double-figure scoring streak that was snapped in the final game of the season, the MVC Tournament quarterfinal vs. Missouri State. He totaled 22 double-figure outputs and seven performances of 20 points or more while pacing the team in scoring on 11 occasions.
- After earning third team honors for the second straight year, Krikke became the first Valpo player to earn All-MVC accolades in two different seasons. The program’s last multi-time all-conference honoree was Alec Peters, who was a first-team all-Horizon League pick in each of his final three seasons, concluding in 2016-17.
- He earned MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team status for the second straight year. He is the only Valpo player who has been part of the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team since the department joined the conference.
- The 69-67 loss to UNI on Jan. 4 at the ARC came on a putback layup by Michael Duax with no time on the clock. He snagged the offensive rebound after the initial miss by Bowen Born.
- This was Valpo’s first home buzzer-beating defeat since March 18, 2014, a 58-56 loss to Columbia in the first round of the CIT.
- Two of Valpo’s last three games have been losses by five points or fewer (at Drake, vs. UNI). Three of Valpo’s six league losses have come by five points or fewer or in overtime.
- Valpo was 3-0 in games decided by five points or fewer during the nonconference schedule with wins over Incarnate Word, James Madison and Elon.
DeAveiro Back in Action
- Sophomore Darius DeAveiro returned to action for the first time since Dec. 10 at Ole Miss on Jan. 4 vs. UNI after he missed the previous five games with a knee injury.
- DeAveiro made an immediate impact, posting a plus-minus line of +13 in his 22 minutes off the bench. He handed out four assists.
- During the time DeAveiro was sidelined, Valpo played with just one healthy point guard (Nick Edwards) as Preston Ruedinger is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Nelson Returns to Starting Five
- Freshman Maximus Nelson made his seventh start of the season on Jan. 4 vs. UNI, with Jerome Palm instead coming off the bench.
- Nelson had come off the bench in the previous five games.
- The rookie made the most of his shot to start, tallying 10 points against the Panthers for his first career double-figure scoring output.
- Over his last three games including Jan. 7 at Bradley, Nelson has 24 points, averaging eight points per game. He has scored seven points or more in each of those three appearances after reaching that total just once over his first 13 games.
- Ben Krikke, Kobe King and Quinton Green have been fixtures in the starting lineup this season as all three have started each of the first 17 games. The other two spots have rotated with Nelson (eight starts) and Palm (nine starts) splitting time as Krikke’s frontcourt mate, while Darius DeAveiro (two), Preston Ruedinger (six) and Nick Edwards (nine) have all started at point guard.
Bayu Blocking Shots
- Ibra Bayu blocked three shots in 16 minutes on Jan. 4 vs. UNI after having one block over his first 10 collegiate contests. He also swiped a steal in the game against the Panthers, playing all-around strong defense.
- Bayu’s performance on the defensive end helped him earn 16 minutes of run after playing just three minutes in the previous game vs. Indiana State. The 16 minutes marked the most he’s played in a conference outing this season.
- The three blocks tied for the most by a Beacon in 2022-2023, joining Ben Krikke (Jan. 1 vs. Indiana State) and Jerome Palm (Dec. 18 vs. Elon) as Valpo players with three rejections in a game.
- Bayu again played 16 minutes on Jan. 7 at Bradley, the first time this season that he’s played 15 minutes or more in back-to-back games.
Scoring & Helping
- Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, there have been seven instances of a Valpo player with 20 or more points and five or more assists in a game, and three of those seven performances have occurred this season.
- Most recently, Ben Krikke turned in 20 points and six assists in the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI. That came after Nick Edwards achieved the feat on both Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill and Dec. 6 vs. Trinity Christian.
- Prior to this year, Javon Freeman-Liberty was the last player with 20+ points and 6+ assists in a game on Dec. 21, 2019 vs. Arkansas, and before that it was LaVonte Dority back on Nov. 29, 2013 vs. Mercer. Ryan Broekhoff (Nov. 11, 2011 vs. Duquesne) and Brandon Wood (Nov. 12, 2010 vs. IU Northwest) also achieved the stat line.
Stat Sheet Stuffing
- Prior to Jan. 7 at Bradley, point guard Nick Edwards had five straight games with five or more assists.
- In the Dec. 29 game at Drake, Edwards had his third straight game with six or more rebounds, six or more assists and two or more steals.
- He finished the game against the Bulldogs with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and a season-high five steals. He became the first Valpo player with five steals in a game since Connor Barrett on Jan. 9, 2021 vs. Missouri State.
- In the game at Drake, Edwards became the first Valpo player with 10+ points, 5+ steals, 5+ assists and 5+ rebounds in a game since Ryan Broekhoff on Feb. 10, 2011 vs. Detroit Mercy. Edwards became the 22nd player nationally to post such a stat line this season.
- Edwards displayed his holiday spirit the week leading into Christmas by dishing out 13 assists on Dec. 18 vs. Elon and 12 on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill.
- Edwards became the fourth player nationally with multiple games of 12+ assists this season, joining Yuri Collins of Saint Louis, Tyler Robertson of Portland and Markquis Nowell of Kansas State. His 13-assist game ranked tied for ninth nationally and his 12-assist game ranked tied for 13th at the time it occurred.
- Prior to Dec. 18, the last time a Valpo player had 12 or more assists in a single game was Bryce Drew on Jan. 21, 1995 vs. Eastern Illinois. Edwards then turned the trick in consecutive contests.
- In the game against Stonehill, he posted a double-double with 18 of his 20 points coming after halftime, when he knocked down six of his seven field-goal attempts. That marked Valpo’s second double-double of the season and first since Ben Krikke had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Nov. 7 season opener at Toledo.
- Edwards became just the 11th player in the nation with a 20-point, 10-assist game this season. He became the first player in the nation to notch 20 or more points and 12 or more assists in a game this year. The last time that happened nationally was Yuri Collins of Saint Louis on Feb. 2, 2022 at George Mason. No Missouri Valley Conference player had achieved that feat in the last decade prior to Edwards.
- Edwards had Valpo’s first 20&10 game since Kobe King on Feb. 5, 2022 vs. Indiana State (24 points, 11 rebounds).
- Edwards posted the first points-assists double-double by a Valpo player since Ron Howard (15 points, 10 assists) on Jan. 24, 2005.
- Edwards also swiped four steals and collected six rebounds in the win over Stonehill. He became just the second player in the nation this season with 20 or more points, 10 or more assists, five or rebounds and four or more steals, joining UConn’s Tristen Newton (Nov. 15 vs. Buffalo).
- He finished just three assists shy of a longstanding program record for dimes in a single game by dishing out 13 in the Dec. 18 victory over Elon.
- He became the first member of the program to give out 13 or more assists in a single game since Todd Smith on Feb. 22, 1986 vs. Eastern Illinois.
- Edwards became just the 10th player in the nation to notch 13 or more assists in a single game in 2022-23.
- Prior to this season, only one Valpo player over the previous decade (Deion Lavender, twice) had accrued 10 or more assists in a game. Now, two different Beacons have done so this year with Edwards joining Darius DeAviero (Nov. 13 vs. Western Michigan).
- This marks the first season where two different Valpo players have had double-figure assist games since 2004-05 (Ron Howard and Seth Colclasure).
- The program record of 16 assists in a game came courtesy of John McIlvain on Jan. 13, 1983 at UIC.
- The 13 assists nearly doubled Edwards’ previous season best of seven that came on Dec. 6 vs. Trinity Christian.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 4: UNI 69, Valpo 67
- Four members of Valpo’s starting lineup scored in double figures – Ben Krikke (20), Quinton Green (16), Kobe King (14) and Maximus Nelson (10).
- Three Beacons handed out four or more assists – Ben Krikke (6), Nick Edwards (5) and Darius DeAveiro (4).
- Green had four steals, establishing a season high and tying a career best set on Nov. 16, 2018 vs. Campbellsville Somerset while playing for Cedarville.
- Valpo shot 55.6 percent in the first half but was held to 34.5 percent after halftime.
- UNI had four players in double figures including double-doubles from Michael Duax (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Tytan Anderson (16 points, 12 rebounds).
Lottich Leaps J.M. Christiansen
- Valpo head coach Matt Lottich moved into sole possession of third in program history when he garnered his 103rd career victory on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill. That triumph helped him snap a tie with J.M. Christiansen (1929-1941) for third all-time.
- Lottich reached the 100-win milestone with an 81-79 overtime victory over James Madison on Nov. 27 in Savannah, Ga.
- The former Stanford sharpshooter became just the fourth head coach in program history to get to 100 wins, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M. Christiansen.
- Lottich is now trailing only the Drews on the program’s all-time wins list.
Name Years Wins
Homer Drew 1988-2002; 2003-2011 371
Bryce Drew 2011-2016 124
Matt Lottich 2017-pres. 103
J.M. Christiansen 1929-1941 102
In the Nick of Time
- Fifth-year senior Nick Edwards became the latest entry on the list of Valpo basketball players who have hit game-winning shots in the final five seconds of regulation or overtime when he drove to the basket and scored in the closing ticks of OT to lift Valpo past James Madison 81-79 on Sunday in Savannah, Ga.
- This was Valpo’s first game-winning shot since March 6, 2020, Eron Gordon’s memorable basket to beat Loyola at the MVC Tournament in St. Louis.
- The bucket by Edwards marked Valpo’s 26th last-second shot in the final five seconds since the start of the 1992-93 season.
- There have been four total last-second shots during the Lottich Era, with Javon Freeman-Liberty vs. Toledo to open the 2019-20 season and Markus Golder’s 50-footer at the buzzer to beat Illinois State on Jan. 2, 2019 joining the aforementioned baskets by Edwards and Gordon.
A Quality Victory
- James Madison entered the game against Valpo at No. 78 in the KenPom rankings and had a 6-1 record with the lone loss coming 80-64 at the nation’s No. 1 team, North Carolina.
- The Dukes were a top-50 NET team in the first release of NET rankings and represented a Quad 1 win for Valpo.
- The Dukes entered the game leading the nation in scoring margin by outscoring the opposition by an average of 34.7 points per game.
- James Madison entered the contest third in the nation in scoring offense at 94.9 points per game, but the Beacons kept the Dukes to just 79 points despite playing an extra five minutes.
- James Madison had downed South Dakota State 79-60 after Valpo fell to the defending Summit League champion Jackrabbits by a 61-50 score as part of the multi-team event.
Top Two Scorers Back
- With both Ben Krikke (14.2 ppg) and Kobe King (14.0 ppg) back, Valpo returns its top two scorers from last season.
- The last time the program had its top two scorers back from the previous year was 2015-2016, when Alec Peters and Darien Walker both returned after finishing as the team’s top two scorers in 2014-15. The 2015-16 season was a historic one, as the Brown & Gold reached the NIT championship game.
- Only four of the 12 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference have their top two scorers back from last season, as Valpo joins Drake, Southern Illinois and Indiana State.
Looking Back at 2021-2022
- The team boasted two MVC Scholar-Athlete team selections, the captain of the All-Bench Team, an MVC Most-Improved Team honoree, an All-MVC Third Team performer, an All-Newcomer team member and an All-Freshman team honoree. Valpo had seven different MVC postseason honors won by five different players.
- Valpo went a combined 5-0 against instate foes Indiana State and Evansville, sweeping the Hoosier State for the first time since joining the MVC.
- Valpo finished with a home record of .500 or better for the 30th consecutive season.
- Eight of Valpo’s 18 MVC games were decided by three points or fewer or required overtime.
- The Beacons overcame double-figure deficits to win on three occasions (Tulane, Eastern Michigan and Evansville), something that has occurred 19 times during the Matt Lottich Era.
- The team finished fourth in the MVC in both free-throw percentage (.759) and field-goal percentage (.459) while also finishing fourth in assists per game (12.5), steals per game (6.4) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.1).
- Valpo played six overtime games, the program’s most since tying a Division-I record with eight in 1993.
- Ben Krikke was tabbed to the Preseason All-MVC First Team, becoming the first player to earn that honor in Valpo’s time in the conference.
- Prior to this season, Valpo had five preseason all-conference selections since joining The Valley in 2017-18, all second team honorees.
- Kobe King was named to the Preseason All-MVC Third Team, making this the second time in the team’s six years in The Valley that Valpo has boasted a pair of preseason all-league choices.
- Krikke, also a Preseason All-MVC Second Team choice last year, became the first Valpo player to earn Preseason All-MVC honors on multiple occasions.
- Valpo was picked to finish ninth of 12 in the preseason poll, ahead of Illinois State, UIC and Evansville.
- Drake hauled in 52 of the 54 first-place votes and finished a heavy preseason favorite, while Drake’s Tucker DeVries was named MVC Preseason Player of the Year.
- In addition to the conference’s honor, Krikke was named to the Preseason All-MVC First Team by Blue Ribbon Magazine
- The 2022-23 roster features eight returning letter winners, one returning player who redshirted last season and six newcomers (three freshmen, three transfers).
- Five Valpo players hail from outside of the United States – two from The Netherlands, two from Canada and one from Denmark.
- Four members of the roster are natives of the state of Wisconsin, while two call Illinois home and one has remained in his home state of Indiana. The remaining players come from Georgia, Minnesota and Ohio.
- Nick Edwards is the first Georgia native to play for the program since E. Victor Nickerson in 2015-16.
- Nick Edwards had a triple-double while playing at Glenville last season, one of eight Division-II players in the nation to achieve that feat.
- Quinton Green earned All-Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) honors for three straight seasons. He finished with 1,288 points over four seasons at Cedarville and knocked down a team-high 59 3-point field goals last year.
- Ibra Bayu spent three years in the United States playing high school basketball before arriving at Valpo. He dealt with a serious medical issue during his junior season before being sidelined by two separate fractured ankles as a senior.
- Jerome Palm comes to Valpo after two junior college seasons at Hillsborough CC and Daytona State. He competed for the championship-winning Netherlands national team in the 2021 3x3 national tournament.
- Maximus Nelson was a unanimous first team all-conference and first-team all-state selection after his senior season at Appleton North High School in Appleton, Wis.
Random off-the-court facts on each Valpo player.
- #1 Cam Palesse – Enjoys building fish-tank ecosystems.
- #2 Preston Ruedinger – Is an avid golfer in his spare time... Has an interest in coaching in the future.
- #3 Connor Barrett – Is also an avid golfer.
- #4 Darius DeAveiro – Father David is the former head coach at McGill University in Montreal and is now the head coach of the Ryerson Rams... Played on the state soccer team at age 13 and traveled significantly for the sport, including a trip to England.
- #5 Nick Edwards – Describes himself as a “wing fanatic” with his preference being either honey barbeque or lemon pepper... Cousin is Champ Bailey, who was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection during his NFL career that spanned from 1999-2014.
- #11 Emil Freese-Vilien – Civil engineering major who spends a lot of time drawing blueprints and houses... His first basketball practice came at age 14... Played serious badminton growing up... Is teaching himself how to cook.
- #12 Ibra Bayu – Played soccer during his youth but was advised to try basketball at age 10 during a gym class... Describes himself as a very social person who enjoys talking, making jokes and laughing.
- #13 Maximus Nelson – Enjoys working kids camp and teaching young children how to play the sport of basketball.
- #14 Quinton Green – Married his wife Liana English on Aug. 20, 2022. They met at Cedarville, where she was a member of the women's tennis team... Has four younger brothers and sisters... His roommate for five years at Cedarville was Conner TenHove, a Valparaiso, Ind. native... Scored 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds against Valpo in an exhibition game on Oct. 19, 2019 while playing for Cedarville...
- #15 Luke Morrill – Walk-on who enjoys wakesurfing.
- #20 Joe Vick – Walk-on who is the son of Julie Vick, the administrative assistant for Valpo Basketball.
- #23 Ben Krikke – Spent over 100 days in quarantine before and during the 2020-2021 season... Enjoys mountain biking and chess, which he learned from his grandfather... Credits his father’s Michael Jordon DVD set for helping hone his skills.
- #32 Joe Hedstrom – Is an avid fisherman and Valpo’s proximity to Lake Michigan added to his desire to play at Valpo... Grandfather Burt Hedstrom played basketball, football and baseball at Northwestern University (1944-47) and both of his parents played college basketball, mother Sharon (Bethel) and father Peter (St. Olaf).
- #33 Jerome Palm – Enjoys cutting hair for fun as a makeshift barber as he cuts hair for friends and family members in addition to his own.
- #35 Kobe King –Enjoys making music and writing song lyrics.
- Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 21st year on staff and has served under four different head coaches. The Valpo veteran has helped the team to eight postseason berths in the last 12 years and was on staff for the three winningest seasons in program history. He serves as the team’s defensive coordinator in addition to leading Valpo’s scheduling and scouting efforts.
- Assistant coach Matt Bowen returned to Valpo’s staff in 2018-19 after previously spending four seasons with the Brown & Gold from 2002-2006. He was the head coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2012-2018. Bowen coordinates the team’s offense.
- Assistant coach Rob Holloway is back for his fifth season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
- Director of Basketball Operations Peter Funk is in his second season in that role after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant and the three years prior to that as a student manager.
- Vijay Blackmon joined the Valpo staff this summer, leading the program’s strength & conditioning efforts. He arrived at Valpo after serving as the head strength & conditioning coach at Bella Vista College Prep School in Phoenix, Ariz. from October 2021 to April 2022. During that time, he also served as a strength coach intern for the Grand Canyon men’s basketball program, which is under the direction of Valpo legend Bryce Drew.
- Former Valpo basketball standout Tevonn Walker has rejoined the program as a graduate assistant. He scored 1,405 career points with the Brown & Gold, a total that ranks 14th in program history. He went on to play professionally in Germany and Canada.
- After starting his career at Michigan State, Thomas Kithier was a key player for the Beacons last season. Due to a career-ending back injury, he has transitioned into a graduate assistant role.
- Sam Back is in his fifth season as a student manager and third as head manager. The North Judson, Ind. native was named to Grow the Game’s Manager All-American Team following the 2021-2022 campaign.
- Valpo signed a trio of incoming student-athletes during the early signing period in November.
- 6-foot-9 forward Zane Dougherty (Avon, Ind. / Ben Davis), 6-foot-1 point guard Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ontario, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) and 6-foot-6 combo guard Yanis Bamba (Laval, Quebec, Canada / Jean-de-Brebeuf) are poised to join the Valpo program for the 2023-2024 season.
- Lottich on Bamba: “Yanis is a little bit of a late bloomer,” Lottich said. “He’s from a very similar area to where Max (Joseph) and Tevonn (Walker) are from. He’s a native French speaker. He’s a big-body guard, about 6-6, 200. He’s very athletic and a very good passer. He was excited about the opportunity to come to Valpo, where he’s seen the improvement that players make here. I think he will come in and be able to compete right away because of his athleticism, size and physicality. He’s just scratching the surface of who he is as a basketball player.”
- Lottich on Williamson: “We saw Jahari in Milwaukee for the first time,” Lottich said. “The Canadian pipeline that we’ve had has been really good to us. He’s cerebral, and he shoots it really well. Recruiting internationally can be tougher because you don’t get your eyes on the players as much, but we were able to see Jahari play in some Canadian games where he was in high-level environments. This was similar to how we recruited Ben Krikke. Right now, Jahari is one of the five best players in Canada. His ability to stretch the defense and play with pick-and-rolls with the ball in his hands is going to be big for us.”
- Lottich on Doughty: “We saw him at a high school showcase, and what we really liked was his motor as a big man,” Lottich said. “There’s one thing that we don’t want to have to coach, and that’s effort. When you recruit big men, they are typically coming into their own and then have vast improvements when they get to college. In Zane’s case, one thing that really stood out to us was just how tenacious he was on both ends of the floor. He was rebounding out of his area and loves contact. We followed him throughout the summer and got to watch him play in a few high-level games. We love his toughness, and he really fits Valpo. He saw the family atmosphere at Valpo, and that resonated with him. His family is really important to him.”
Tradition of Excellence
- Valpo has 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT berths in the program’s proud history, with the team’s postseason success highlighted by a Sweet Sixteen run in 1998.
- The program has produced nine All-Americans, won 18 regular season conference championships and 10 conference tournament crowns.
- Valpo also boasts eight NBA players, 10 conference players of the year and 20 20-win seasons.
- Nine of the team’s NCAA appearances have come since 1996.
- Valpo has qualified for the postseason eight times in the last 12 years, including 2019-20 where Valpo accepted a postseason berth but the tournament was not played due to COVID-19.
- Valpo has developed a myriad of professional basketball players over the last quarter century, most notably a pair of recent NBA players. Ryan Broekhoff (class of 2013) signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2018 after spending five seasons playing internationally in Russia and Turkey. Alec Peters (class of 2017) was the 54th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Peters appeared in 20 games for the Suns in 2017-18, highlighted by a 36-point performance in the season finale against Dallas – a new single-game high by a Valpo alum in the NBA. He has gone on to a successful career overseas with CSKA Moscow (2018-2019), Anadolu Efes (2019-2020) and Kirolbet Baskonia (2020-2022) and Olympiacos (2022-present).
- Valpo has produced over 50 professional players in the last three decades.