Valparaiso (4-5, 0-2 MVC)
at Virginia Tech (6-3, 1-0 ACC)
Game No. 10 – Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. CT
Cassell Coliseum (8,925) – Blacksburg, Va.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will take the court one final time prior to final exams as the Beacons make their way to Virginia Tech to take on the Hokies. This marks the team’s third straight game on the road and the final trip prior to the Christmas holiday. After Saturday’s game, Valpo will not play again until Saturday, Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State and will not hit the road again until Friday, Dec. 29 at Elon.
Last Time Out: Valpo fought back to within three in the closing seconds after trailing by as many as 22, but the valiant rally fell short in a 71-67 road loss at Central Michigan on Wednesday night. The Beacons outscored the Chippewas 24-9 over the final 8:15 including a made triple by Darius DeAveiro despite being fouled with 10 seconds to go. DeAveiro completed the timely 4-point play to trim the lead to three, but Valpo would get no closer. Isaiah Stafford led the team with 23 points, while Sherman Weatherspoon IV tallied a personal-best 13 points, Kaspar Sepp racked up 12 rebounds and Darius DeAveiro gave out seven assists.
Following the Beacons: Television – The CW – Evan Lepler (play-by-play) and Brian Oliver (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Brandon Vickrey (analyst)
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Roger Powell Jr.: Roger Powell Jr. (4-5) is in his first season as the head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program. After helping guide Gonzaga to a 121-13 record during his four seasons as an assistant coach, Powell returned to Valpo, where he was part of head coach Bryce Drew’s staff from 2011-2016 and led the team to 124 wins in five seasons, including a program-record 30 victories and a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title game appearance in 2015-16. He was part of head coach Mark Few’s Gonzaga staff as the Bulldogs reached the 2021 national championship game after winning their first 31 games of the season. During Powell’s first season on staff in 2019-20, Gonzaga was 31-2 at the time the NCAA college basketball season was halted due to COVID-19. The Bulldogs reached the Sweet Sixteen in each of his final three seasons on staff, including two Elite Eight appearances and the aforementioned trip to the 2021 national title game. Prior to his arrival at Gonzaga, Powell served as the associate head coach at Vanderbilt University under Bryce Drew from 2016-2019. During his stint as an assistant at Valpo, he was part of four Horizon League regular-season championships in a five-year period while also leading the 2012-13 and 2014-15 squads to Horizon League tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. A product of Joliet West High School and a native of Joliet, Ill., Powell capped a prolific collegiate playing career at Illinois with a national title game appearance in 2005 before going on to a successful professional playing career.
Series Notes: This will mark Valpo’s first ever matchup with Virginia Tech. Valpo is 5-50 all-time against current members of the ACC with 40 of those 50 games coming against Notre Dame (3-37). Valpo’s most recent game against an ACC foe was a 69-63 loss to Wake Forest on Nov. 18, 2018 at the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Valpo’s last win over an ACC foe came on March 17, 2016 when Valpo defeated Florida State 81-69 at the ARC in the NIT in the final year of now first-year head coach Roger Powell Jr.’s stint as an assistant coach at Valpo.
Valpo vs. Power-Conference Competition
- Valpo’s last win over a power-conference opponent was a 68-60 success story vs. Alabama at a multi-team event in Las Vegas on Nov. 21, 2016.
- The win over the Crimson Tide marked Valpo’s third triumph over a power-conference opponent in a two-year span. During the 2015-16 campaign, the team went on the road to beat Oregon State and then took down Florida State at the ARC in the second round of the NIT.
- Prior to 2015-16, Valpo hadn’t beaten a power-5 opponent since the 2008 win over Washington in the CBI.
- Nine of Valpo’s last 12 victories over power-5 opponents have come on neutral floors, with the most recent true road win coming in the aforementioned game at Oregon State.
Scouting the Hokies
- Most recent game was a 75-68 win over Louisville in the conference opener on Dec. 3. MJ Collins led all scorers with a career-high 20 points.
- Head coach Mike Young is in his fifth season at Virginia Tech.
- Picked eighth of 15 in the ACC preseason poll.
- Will have a week between games before hosting Vermont on Saturday, Dec. 16.
- Went 19-15 overall last season including a 13-4 home mark en route to an NIT appearance.
- Led in scoring by Lynn Kidd at 15.1 points per game. Hunter Cattoor (14.6 ppg) and Sean Pedulla (13.7 ppg) are also averaging in double figures.
Stafford’s Steady Scoring
- Isaiah Stafford has scored 17 points or more in seven of his nine games this season, most recently turning in three straight performances of 20 points or more – Nov. 29 vs. Drake (20), Dec. 2 at Belmont (21) and Dec. 6 at Central Michigan (23).
- The junior college transfer has led the team in scoring (outright or tied) in seven of the nine games this season.
- Stafford, who ranks fourth in the MVC in scoring at 18.8 points per game, made three 3s in the conference opener against Drake, his third game this season with at least a trio of triples. He also swiped three steals against Drake, his fourth multi-steal game.
- Stafford has scored 17 or more points in four straight games and has five performances of 20+ points this season.
- His Dec. 6 output of 23 points marked his second highest scoring showing this season behind only 30 points at No. 23 Illinois.
- Valpo starting point guard Darius DeAveiro has thrived in the assist department of late, giving out five or more helpers in each of the last five games, including seven on Dec. 6 at Central Michigan to tie a season best. He’s tallied five or more assists on seven occasions this season, including Nov. 21 vs. Western Illinois, when he originally established his season watermark of seven.
- Entering the Nov. 21 game vs. Western Illinois, DeAveiro had played 58 career games and owned a career high of eight points, achieved twice (Jan. 15, 2022 vs. Missouri State and Nov. 13, 2022 vs. Western Michigan). After that, he scored at least eight points in three straight games including a personal-best 11 on Nov. 21 vs. Western Illinois and Nov. 29 vs. Drake.
- DeAveiro made three 3-pointers on Nov. 29 vs. Drake after having entered the game with no more than one 3-point make in any of his first 60 career games. For further comparison, he made three 3s all of last season in 25 games.
- The junior entered this season with seven career made 3s over 54 games and has matched that with seven made 3s in the first nine contests this year.
- DeAveiro busted out of a shooting slump as he entered the Nov. 21 game against the Leathernecks having gone 0-for-10 from the field over his previous three games and 2-for-17 shooting for the season. He had scored seven total points over his first four games this season before scoring 30 points in a three-game span.
- DeAveiro became just the third Valpo player in the last decade to shoot 80 percent or better from the field (minimum five attempts) while handing out at least seven assists in the game against the Leathernecks. He was the first to do it since Max Joseph on Jan. 10, 2018 vs. Drake. Before that, the most recent was Erik Buggs on March 2, 2013 against Green Bay.
The Rookie Report
- Cooper Schwieger is averaging 11.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. The last Valpo freshman to finish a season with over 10.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg was current Valpo Director of Recruiting & Player Development Lubos Barton in 1998-99 (13.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg).
- Missouri Valley Conference freshmen to average above 10 ppg and 5 rpg since 2005 are as follows: Doug McDermott (Creighton, 2010-11), Cameron Krutwig (Loyola, 2017-18) and Marcus Domask (Southern Illinois, 2019-20).
- Schwieger had scored 12 points or more in five consecutive games and in six of his eight games this season before Dec. 6 at Central Michigan, when he was tagged with foul trouble and had a season-low four points in a season-low 19 minutes, his first game this season with fewer than eight points.
- That came right after the rookie achieved a season-best 18 points on Dec. 2 at Belmont.
- Schwieger had made five or more field goals in five straight games before being held to one on Dec. 6 at Central Michigan.
- Schwieger has blocked at least one shot in seven of his nine games.
- The Overland Park, Kan. native ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring average among freshmen at 11.8 points per game. He is one of two rookies averaging double figures, joining Drake’s Kevin Overton (14.4 ppg).
- Schwieger ranks second among MVC freshmen with 1.2 blocks per game and leads all MVC rookies with 5.4 rebounds per game.
- He has made multiple 3s in three of his last five games.
- With Cooper Schwieger limited by foul trouble, Jahari Williamson out due to an illness and Connor Barrett and Lual Manyang still sidelined by injuries, Valpo’s depth was tested on Dec. 6 at Central Michigan.
- Former Valpo football player turned basketball walk-on Anthony Sciarroni logged seven minutes, his first action this season against Division-I competition outside of playing the final 1:24 at No. 23 Illinois. Sciarroni was a three-year defensive back on Valpo’s football team before joining the basketball team as a walk-on this year.
- Freshman Sherman Weatherspoon IV had a season-high 13 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. He outdid his previous personal best of eight that had occurred on Nov. 25 vs. Southern.
- Freshman Kaspar Sepp gobbled up a team-high 12 rebounds in the game against the Chippewas while also scoring six points on 3-of-5 shooting. He entered the game with six total rebounds in his first four appearances this year before exploding for a dozen. He had just eight total points in four games and none against Division-I competition. Before the six on Dec. 6, Sepp hadn’t scored since eight in the Nov. 6 season opener vs. Trinity Christian. He became the third different Beacon with a double-figure rebounding effort this year, joining Jerome Palm (twice) and Jaxon Edwards.
- Ola Ajiboye came off the bench to contribute five points and seven rebounds, his highest totals in both categories since scoring 21 points and gobbling up eight rebounds on Nov. 21 vs. Western Illinois. The Dec. 6 game was a return to Ajiboye’s old stomping grounds as he played at Central Michigan last season.
More Individual Beacon Bits
- Jerome Palm has scored 52 points in the first nine games this season. During the seventh game of the season on Nov. 29 game vs. Drake, he surpassed his 2022-23 season point total of 44 in 23 games.
- Jaxon Edwards has scored 77 points in nine games for Valpo this season. This is over 12 times his scoring total of six points in 11 games while playing at Murray State a year ago.
- Ola Ajiboye has nearly doubled his scoring production from last season despite seeing similar minutes. He is averaging 5.8 points per game in 19.8 minutes per game after tallying 3.0 points per game in 19.2 minutes per game last year at Central Michigan.
A Tale of Two Halves
- In the Dec. 6 game at Central Michigan, Valpo outscored the hosts 45-34 after halftime but trailed 37-22 at the break.
- In the first half, Valpo was outrebounded 27-14 including a 12-2 differential on the offensive glass. In the second half, Valpo flipped that to a 22-17 rebounding edge including a 10-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
- Valpo uncharacteristically committed 11 first-half turnovers before making only three after halftime.
- Valpo did not attempt a free throw in the first half before going 10-of-12 at the line after the break.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 6: Central Michigan 71, Valpo 67
- Valpo outscored Central Michigan 24-9 over the final 8:15 of the game.
- The Chippewas struggled to hit free throws, going 8-of-18 (47.1 percent).
- Valpo cut what had been a 22-point lead to three in the final minute. If the Beacons had completed the rally, it would have been the team’s biggest comeback since Jan. 17, 2013 at Detroit Mercy, when Valpo rallied from down 22 to win.
- Central Michigan got a game-high 24 points from Derrick Butler, who entered the game with 16 points in six games all season. He was 1-of-7 from 3 for the season before going 4-of-7 from long range against the Beacons.
- Valpo fell to 0-5 all-time at Central Michigan.
- Ola Ajiboye had a team-best +11 in the plus/minus category. Valpo was +9 when Sherman Weatherspoon IV was on the court as both reserves made a positive impact.
- The Beacons had 15 or more free-throw attempts in each of their seven games before having just two on Dec. 2 at Belmont and 12 – all in the second half – on Dec. 5 at Central Michigan.
- Valpo has won the turnover battle in six of the team’s nine games this season including each of the team’s four victories. Most recently, Valpo tied the turnover battle on Dec. 6 at Central Michigan.
- Valpo ranks fifth in the conference in fewest turnovers committed per game at 11.0, second in turnovers forced per game at 14.22 and third in turnover margin at +3.2 per game. The team ranks 61st nationally in turnover margin at +3.2 per game.
- The Beacons rank second in the league and 66th nationally in blocks per game at 4.7.
- Valpo ranks fourth in the league and 62nd nationally in 3-point defense at 29.5 percent.
- Valpo leads the MVC in offensive rebounds per game at 11.3.
- Valpo has had the same starting lineup in all nine games this year – Jerome Palm, Cooper Schwieger, Jaxon Edwards, Darius DeAveiro and Isaiah Stafford.
The Uncharitable Stripe
- The charity stripe was anything but charitable to the Beacons on Dec. 2 at Belmont. Valpo had just two free-throw attempts in the contest.
- Valpo became just the fourth Division-I team nationally with two or fewer charity tosses in a game this season, joining Idaho (Nov. 29 vs. Denver), Manhattan (Nov. 24 at UConn) and Texas A&M Commerce (Nov. 8 at Texas Tech).
- Last season, Valpo had a game where it did not have any free-throw attempts on Nov. 25, 2022 vs. South Dakota State in Savannah, Ga. Before that, you have to go back to Nov. 25, 2011 at Ohio State for the last time Valpo had two or fewer free-throw attempts.
- The last 12 times nationally that a team has attempted two or fewer free throws, it has been in a loss.
Welcome to The Valley
- Valpo newcomers have achieved Missouri Valley Conference recognition in back-to-back weeks as Isaiah Stafford was tabbed MVC Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 20 before Cooper Schwieger earned MVC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 27.
- Valpo has already won two MVC weekly awards in the first three weeks this season, one away from the team’s season total from last year and already only two away from the team’s highest total number of weekly awards in a season since joining The Valley.
- Schwieger’s honor came after he averaged 15.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range in a pair of wins over Western Illinois and Southern.
- Stafford averaged 24.0 points per game during the week of his award, tallying 18 in a home win over Green Bay before exploding for 30 at No. 23 Illinois.
- Valpo closed out a stretch of three straight home games and six of its first seven at the ARC on Nov. 29 vs. Drake.
- Now, the Beacons are set for the final game of a stretch of three straight on the road.
- Valpo started the season with three straight home games, the first time it has done so since 2016-17.
- This marked the most home games (six) that Valpo has had in the first seven games of a season since the 1969-70 season, when the Beacons traveled to Air Force and had home games against Saint Procopius, No. 10 Notre Dame, Whittier, Pacific Lutheran, Gustavus Adolphus and South Alabama over the first seven contests.
- Valpo has owned a record of .500 or better at home in 31 straight seasons.
Additional Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 2: Belmont 77, Valpo 68
- Belmont turned it over 19 times, its highest turnover total in a home game since December 2019.
- Valpo forced 19 turnovers, the most against the Beacons by a Division-I foe since William & Mary had 19 on Dec. 22, 2021.
- Valpo won the turnover battle by eight, its largest turnover margin in a D-I game since Jan. 2, 2022 vs. Illinois State, an 81-76 overtime win.
- Valpo swiped 11 steals, its most in a conference game since Feb. 15, 2020 at Illinois State.
- Isaiah Stafford’s 21 points came on 10-of-20 shooting, while Cooper Schwieger’s season-high 18 came on 8-of-14 from the field. Jaxon Edwards chipped in nine points – his highest point total over his last five games – on an efficient 4-of-6 shooting.
- Schwieger surpassed his previous personal best of 17 that came vs. Southern.
- Ola Ajiboye led the team in rebounds with six.
- Belmont made six of its first eight 3-point attempts, before cooling off to 1-of-15 the rest of the way. The teams ended up with nearly identical 3-point shooting numbers as Valpo was 7-of-23 and Belmont was 8-of-22.
- In the Nov. 21 win over Western Illinois, Valpo held the upper hand in bench points, 41-8. Three players – all underclassmen – combined for the 41 bench points as Ola Ajiboye (21), Jahari Williamson (13) and Sherman Weatherspoon IV (seven) all made key contributions.
- Ajiboye’s career-high 21 points came on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, two blocks, one steal and one assist.
- Ajiboye over doubled his previous career high of 10 points, which came on Nov. 6 of this season vs. Trinity Christian.
- He became the first Valpo player to shoot 80 percent or better at the ARC (with a minimum of 10 attempts) in a game against a Division-I opponent since Alec Peters on March 4, 2014 vs. UIC. He became just the 10th Valpo player in the last decade to shoot at an 80 percent clip or better with at least 10 shots.
- Ajiboye became the first Valpo player to come off the bench and score 20 points or more against a Division-I opponent since Sheldon Edwards on Feb. 16, 2022 vs. Loyola.
- This marked quite the turnaround for Ajiboye as he played but did not score in the previous game on Nov. 17 at No. 23 Illinois.
- Ajiboye became just the fourth Valpo player in the last decade to come off the bench and score 20+ points while pulling down 8+ rebounds. He joined Sheldon Edwards (Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE), Darien Walker (Nov. 14, 2014 vs. East Tennessee State) and Bobby Capobianco (Nov. 29, 2013 vs. Mercer).
- Williamson hit three 3s en route to his 13 points while also swiping three steals. He became the first Valpo freshman to achieve that combo since Connor Barrett on Jan. 9, 2021 vs. Missouri State.
“I” Stands for Isaiah
- As Paul Oren of “The Victory Bell” put it, the “I” on the center of the court in Champaign stood for Isaiah – as in Valpo’s Isaiah Stafford – rather than Illinois on Nov. 17 as the Beacons clashed with the No. 23 Fighting Illini.
- Stafford scored 30 points on 11-of-23 shooting, 3-of-8 from 3 and 5-of-7 at the free-throw line. He finished one point shy of a career high that was set on Feb. 26, 2022 while playing for Southern Indiana vs. Lindenwood.
- Stafford’s performance against the Illini coupled with his 18 points on Nov. 14 vs. Green Bay helped him earn MVC Newcomer of the Week honors on Nov. 20.
- The 30 points at Illinois marked the most points scored by a Beacon since Ben Krikke tallied 34 at UIC on Feb. 19 of last season.
- Stafford joined Krikke (3x), Javon Freeman-Liberty (twice), Bakari Evelyn, Alec Peters (10x) and Lavone Dority (twice) as the only Valpo players in the last decade with a 30-point performance.
- Stafford had the most points scored by a non-power conference opponent against Illinois since Ohio’s Jason Preston in 2020.
- The bulk of Stafford’s damage came before the break as he had 23 first-half points. This marked the highest scoring half by a Beacon since Javon Freeman-Liberty had 23 on March 7, 2020 vs. Missouri State in the MVC semifinals. However, that included points scored in overtime so Freeman-Liberty’s total came in 25 minutes rather than 20.
- The last time a Valpo player scored more than 23 in a half was Alec Peters on Dec. 22, 2016, but that included double overtime.
- Stafford had Valpo’s biggest first half and biggest half that did not include OT by a Valpo player since Peters scored 23 in the opening half on Dec. 17, 2016 vs. Indiana State.
Hats Off for Half 1
- Valpo led for the entirety of a brilliant first half and held a 45-38 advantage at No. 23 Illinois at the break after owning a cushion as big as 10.
- The program was hoping to record its fifth all-time victory against a nationally-ranked opponent and its first true road win against an AP Top-25 foe. The Brown & Gold fell to 0-44 all-time on the road against nationally-ranked opponents, with three of the program’s four ranked wins coming at home and one on a neutral floor.
- Each of the last two road games against Top-25 teams and three of the last six have seen Valpo own the halftime lead. In addition to the Nov. 17 game at No. 23 Illinois, Valpo led No. 22 Loyola 29-26 at the break on Feb. 17, 2021 and held a 35-33 edge at No. 25 Oregon midway through the Nov. 22, 2015 matchup.
- Valpo was also seeking its first power-conference win since 2016 vs. Alabama and was hoping to snap a 15-game skid against Big Ten Conference competition that dates back to Dec. 28, 2004 vs. Penn State.
The Game’s Biggest Stage
- Valpo head coach Roger Powell Jr. owns the unique distinction of having played and coached in the national championship game.
- Just 12 coaches in the last 25 years have coached in the national title game after previously playing in the national title game, and two others have coached in the national championship game after being a rostered player but not seeing action in the national title game as a student-athlete.
- In the last quarter of a century, only two coaches have coached in the national title game after previously playing in the national title game at a different school – Roger Powell Jr. and Kenny Payne.
Name Year, Team as Player Year, Team as Coach
Sean May 2005, UNC 2022, UNC
Roger Powell Jr. 2005, Illinois 2021, Gonzaga
Jeff Capel 1994, Duke 2015, Duke
Nate James 1999 & 2001, Duke 2015, Duke
Jon Scheyer 2010, Duke 2015, Duke
Ricky Moore 1999, UConn 2014, UConn
Kenny Payne 1986, Louisville 2014, Kentucky
Danny Manning 1988, Kansas 2008 & 2012, Kansas
Chris Collins 1994, Duke 2010, Duke
Jim Thomas 1981, Indiana 2002, Indiana
Johnny Dawkins 1986, Duke 2001, Duke
David Henderson 1986, Duke 1999, Duke
Quin Snyder 1986, Duke 1999, Duke - DNP
Jeremy Case 2008, Kansas 2022, Kansas - DNP
“The Rev” in the Community
- Since head coach Roger Powell Jr. was hired to lead Valpo’s program, he has made numerous community engagement appearances including IBCA State Wide Clinic, Popcorn Fest, Valpo Kiwanis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana, Big Shoulders NWI, the Valpo Athletics Coaches Tour and many more.
- An engaging speaker with an active social media presence, Powell has launched a video series featuring local restaurants called “Powell Party of Six,” showcasing the Powell family meals in the community. Episode 1 featuring Burgerhaus was released prior to the season with more editions to come.
- Nicknamed “The Rev” because of his strong faith and calling as a preacher, Powell’s hire as Valpo head coach made an immediate media splash. The news was featured prominently in the Chicago Sun-Times, on CBS 2 Chicago’s 4 p.m. news and WGN-TV’s GN Sports. He appeared on the Mully & Haugh morning show on 670 The Score in Chicago and Indiana Sports Talk with Bob Lovell out of Indianapolis.
What They’re Saying About Coach Powell
- Bryce Drew, Valpo Legend, Former Valpo Head Coach, GCU Head Coach: “I am very excited for Roger to be a head coach. He is more than ready to lead his own program, so this is perfect timing for him. I will be cheering for Roger and the Beacons!”
- Homer Drew, Legendary Valpo Head Coach: “We’re really happy and thrilled to see Roger return to Valparaiso University. His love for the University and the community of Valparaiso makes him a great fit. Roger is an excellent teacher; he has tremendous knowledge of the game of basketball. He has been part of the Drew family since he arrived on campus and was an assistant coach for Bryce. He is a dedicated and hard recruiter, and being from the Chicago area, he has a lot of friends and contacts in that area.”
- Mark Few, Gonzaga Head Coach: “Roger has been a very instrumental part of our program these past four years. He is the total package as a coach, and one of the best human beings I have ever been around. He will not only be a great addition to the University, but a positive force in the surrounding community. We look forward to watching his teams grow not only on the floor, but also in their life away from basketball.”
- Chris Standiford, Gonzaga Athletic Director: “I am happy for Roger and his family. His positive energy and winning attitude will serve him well as a head coach. Valpo is getting a great coach, and more importantly, a terrific person.”
- Scott Drew, Baylor Head Coach: “Roger is not only an outstanding basketball coach, but an even better person and representative of Valparaiso University. The community will welcome him as they already know him and his family. He will do a tremendous job.”
- Tommy Lloyd, Arizona Head Coach: “Roger Powell is a first-class individual. He is well liked by the players he coaches and his colleagues in the business. I have no doubt that Roger’s passion, energy and fire will help bring back the glory days of Valpo Basketball!”
- Alec Peters, Valpo’s All-Time Leading Scorer: “The amount of love and passion that Coach Powell is going to put into the program is going to be unmatched. His energy, competitiveness and character are going to show up every day and everyone will feel it.”
Inside the Assistants
- Valpo’s staff features two coaches who have played in the national title game – Powell and A.J. Moye. Powell has also coached in the national title game.
- Powell, Moye and Matt Gordon have all either coached or played in the Final Four.
- Powell, Moye, Gordon, Pat Baldwin and Lubos Barton have all either coached or played in the NCAA Tournament.
- Assistant coach Pat Baldwin brings head coaching experience to the staff as he spent five seasons at the helm at Milwaukee before serving as an assistant coach under Patrick Ewing at Georgetown during the 2022-23 season. He also worked under Chris Collins as an assistant during a successful run at Northwestern, so he has recent stops in the Big Ten and Big East to go along with head coaching experience.
- Assistant coach Matt Gordon spent the last two years in the Big 12 Conference at Oklahoma as Director of Recruiting and Special Assistant to head coach Porter Moser. He joined Moser in Norman, Okla. after they previously worked together for a decade at Loyola. Gordon knows what it takes to win in the Missouri Valley Conference as he played a key role in a turnaround that saw the Ramblers post a 156-80 (.661) record during his seven seasons as an assistant coach. He helped the team to two Sweet Sixteen appearances in a four-year period including a historic run to the Final Four.
- Assistant coach J. Moye was a standout during his playing days at Indiana, where he took the Hoosiers to the 2002 national title game before beginning a professional playing career. He trained professional and collegiate players from 2011-2023 as part of Rising Talent Development (Mamba Sports Academy), serving as the Master Basketball Trainer for Kobe Bryant’s academy. Moye played against Powell in the Big Ten and they later finished out their playing careers as teammates with Skyliners Frankfurt in Germany in 2010-11.
- Director of Recruiting & Player Development Lubos Barton returns to Valpo over two decades after wrapping up his storied career donning the brown and gold. After retiring from his professional playing career, Barton stayed in the game of basketball by beginning his coaching career overseas in 2016. A member of the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017, Barton was a standout on the court from 1998-2002, leading the team to three Mid-Continent Conference regular-season titles, three conference tournament championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Special Assistant to the Head Coach Quintin Garrison served as the associate head coach at Trinity International University from 2018-2023.
- Video coordinator / Director of Basketball Operations Sean Taylor served as SIUE’s graduate assistant/video coordinator from August 2021 to May 2023.
- Associate Director of Sports Performance Vijay Blackmon is in his second season as the strength & conditioning coach for Valpo men’s basketball. He previously worked with strength & conditioning as part of Bryce Drew’s Grand Canyon program.
Inside the Roster
- The 2023-24 roster features four returning letterwinners and 11 newcomers. The team lost 11 letterwinners from last season including all five starters.
- This marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that Valpo has no starters returning from the previous season. The 2012-13 NCAA Tournament team started all seniors – Ryan Broekhoff, Kevin Van Wijk, Erik Buggs, Will Bogan and Ben Boggs. The 2013-14 season featured a five-member freshmen class led by Alec Peters.
- Prior to this season, Valpo had at least two returning starters in nine consecutive years.
- The 12 scholarship players on the roster include three returners, five true freshmen and four transfers. Valpo also has three walk-ons – one returner, one former Valpo football player and one transfer.
- The 12 scholarship players are comprised of two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and six freshmen (five true; one redshirt).
- The half dozen freshmen represent the team’s most since 2008-09, when the team also had six on the roster – De’Andre Haskins, Cameron Witt, Nick Shelton, Andrew Ferry, Erik Buggs and Logan Jones.
- This year’s roster features players from five different countries – The Netherlands, Canada, Estonia, South Sudan and the United States. In addition, six states are represented – Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and Kansas.
- Junior guard Darius DeAveiro ranked 14th in the Missouri Valley Conference in assists per game last season. He ranked fifth in the league in assist to turnover ratio at 1.89. During his rookie year in 2021-22, he finished the season as one of two freshmen nationally with 50 or more assists and fewer than 25 turnovers. He was named a captain by head coach Roger Powell Jr. prior to the season.
- Senior guard/forward Connor Barrett is the team’s leading returning scorer and the longest-tenured member of the program. Now in his fourth season at Valpo, Barrett saw action in 31 of the team’s 32 games a year ago and scored a season-high 13 points including three made 3s on Dec. 18 vs. Elon.
- Senior forward Jerome Palm was named a captain by head coach Roger Powell Jr. prior to the season. He joined Valpo last year after a pair of junior college seasons. He had a season-high 11 points to go along with nine rebounds on Dec. 1 at Belmont.
- Sophomore guard Jaxon Edwards has experience in the Missouri Valley Conference after playing in 11 games during the 2022-23 season as a freshman at Murray State. He led Cathedral to the 2021-22 Indiana 4A state championship in high school.
- Freshman guard Sherman Weatherspoon IV played at Golden State Prep in Napa Valley, Calif. in 2022-23, averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
- Sophomore forward Ola Ajiobye played in 30 of 31 games with 14 starts at Central Michigan as a true freshman in 2022-23.
- Freshman guard Jahari Williamson played for Canada’s U19 World Cup Team in Summer 2023 after participating in the U18 2022 Canada Games for Team Ontario.
- Freshman forward Lucas Scroggins spent the 2022-23 season at Bosco Institute in Crown Point.
- Freshman forward Cooper Schwieger averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists at Link Year Prep in Branson, Mo. last season.
- Junior guard Isaiah Stafford averaged 12.5 points per game to help John A. Logan to the junior college national title and a 33-2 mark in 2022-23 after spending his freshman season at Southern Indiana in 2021-22.
- Freshman forward Kaspar Sepp played for the Estonian national team during the 2023 summer after helping Estonia beat Finland to earn a promotion to the “A” division during the 2022 summer.
- Redshirt freshman Lual Manyang received a medical redshirt in 2022-23 due to a preseason injury at Hofstra.
The Dot Farewell Tour
- Longtime Valpo men’s basketball official scorekeeper Dot Nuechterlein has announced that she will retire from her duties at the scorer’s table following the 2023-24 season.
- Nuechterlein, age 86, began as the official scorer at Valpo in 1984. Her four-decade long tenure as the holder of an official scorebook featured two seasons doing so at Columbia while she lived in New York City during a brief hiatus from Valpo.
- According to Nuechterlein, she was the first female to serve as full-time official scorer for a Division-I men’s college basketball team when she took over the post at Valpo in 1984.
Random facts on each Valpo player.
- #0 Jaxon Edwards – Played football up until high school but stopped after eighth grade when he injured his hand.
- #1 Jerome Palm – Started playing basketball at age 15.
- #2 Connor Barrett – Is an avid golfer.
- #3 Anthony Sciarroni – Spent three years on the Valpo football team before joining the men’s basketball program as a walk-on.
- #4 Sherman Weatherspoon IV – Father Sherman Weatherspoon III is a Northwest Indiana native and Gary Roosevelt product... Enjoys clothes, going on walks, nature and hiking.
- #5 Ola Ajiboye – Enjoys meeting new people, playing table tennis, swimming and being around people.
- #6 Darius DeAveiro – Played soccer until his freshman year of high school, when he gave up the sport to focus on basketball. Played on the state team for soccer at age 13 and traveled significantly for the sport, including a trip to England.
- #7 Jahari Williamson – Owns numerous golf medals.
- #10 Lucas Scroggins – Loves to draw and hopes to pursue an art-related career.
- #13 Cooper Schwieger – Twin brother Carson plays at Wright State. A lot of people think they are identical, but they are fraternal twins.
- #19 Isaiah Stafford – Enjoys spending time with family as well as playing board games, card games and video games.
- #20 Joe Vick – Walk-on whose favorite sports memory is playing in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (now Gainbridge Fieldhouse).
- #21 Kaspar Sepp – His national team coach is former teammates with Valpo assistant coach A.J. Moye and his prep coach is Moye’s former roommate.
- #34 Lual Manyang – Favorite TV show is Shark Tank and his favorite athletes are Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kobe Bryant.
- #35 Luke Carroll – Walk-on who enjoys golfing and fishing in his spare time.
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 15 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 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.