Prairie View A&M (0-10, 0-0 SWAC)
at Valparaiso (7-6, 0-1 MVC)
Game No. 14 – Tuesday, Dec. 28, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After five days without a game during the Christmas holiday, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will return to action on Tuesday night by hosting Prairie View A&M in the nonconference finale. This will mark the team’s final game of the calendar year and the last chance to take the court in a nonconference setting before Missouri Valley Conference play resumes on Sunday, Jan. 2 vs. Illinois State. Please note that masks are required at all home Valpo athletic events until further notice.
Last Time Out: Valpo knocked down a dozen 3-pointers and hit at a 54.5 percent clip from long range in an 88-66 home victory over William & Mary on Dec. 22 in the final game prior to the Christmas holiday. Kevion Taylor and Sheldon Edwards combined for seven of those triples. Edwards went 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points, while Kobe King scored a game-high 19 and Taylor (15) and Thomas Kithier (12) rounded out a quartet of Beacons in double figures. Valpo handed out 23 assists while committing just eight turnovers.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN3 – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Valpo 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 (90-84) is in his ninth season overall at Valparaiso University and sixth as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2021-2022. The 2020-2021 season saw Valpo improve its Arch Madness seeding for the fourth straight year as the program continued to make positive strides in each season as a Missouri Valley Conference member. The team earned a first-round bye in the State Farm MVC Tournament for the first time since joining the prestigious league. Valpo upset previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the ARC, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor. Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, Lottich’s team did more than hold its own in 2019-2020, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. 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.
Series Notes: This will be the first ever matchup between Valpo and Prairie View A&M. The Beacons are 4-0 against current members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, most recently beating Texas Southern 84-73 in March 2016 in an NIT game at the ARC. Valpo also owns wins over Bethune Cookman, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State.
Beacons Heating Up
- Valpo has won four of its last five games and owns a 6-2 record over its last eight.
- The team’s Dec. 22 victory over William & Mary helped Valpo climb above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2019-2020 season.
- The 88-66 victory over the Tribe was the program’s largest margin of victory against a Division-I team since beating SIUE by that same differential on Dec. 9, 2020. This marks the third straight season Valpo has beaten a D1 nonconference foe at home by 22 points (Central Michigan in 2019).
- A win over Prairie View A&M would mark Valpo’s first three-game winning streak since Jan. 23-28 of last season (two wins at Illinois State, one vs. Bradley).
- If Valpo can top the Panthers, they will win the final three nonconference games in a season for the first time since 2014-2015, when they entered league play on a five-game winning streak and eventually reached the NCAA Tournament.
Century Mark in Sight: Valpo head coach Matt Lottich earned his 90th career win on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary. He needs just 10 more to become the fourth head coach in program history to reach 100 career victories, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M Christiansen. Lottich currently ranks fifth in program history for career head coaching victories and needs just three more to tie Gene Bartow for fourth.
- Valpo knocked down shots at a 57.6 percent clip on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary, the team’s top field-goal percentage against a Division-I opponent since shooting 58.6 percent on Feb. 25, 2020 vs. Missouri State.
- The Beacons knocked down 3s at a 54.5 percent rate (12-of-22) against the Tribe, tied for the seventh-highest by any Missouri Valley Conference team in a single game this season. In addition, that marked Valpo’s best 3-point shooting showing since hitting at a 57.1 percent rate vs. Indiana State on Feb. 27 of last season.
- Valpo drained 12 3-pointers against William & Mary, tying a season high established on Nov. 24 vs. Tulane and matched on Dec. 7 vs. East-West.
- The 3-point shooting percentage of 54.5 against William & Mary eclipsed Valpo’s previous season high of 40.0 vs. UIC by 14.5 percent.
- Valpo forced 21 William & Mary turnovers on Dec. 22, the most by a Beacon opponent this season.
- The 21 takeaways marked the team’s most since Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest (28) and most against a D1 opponent since 25 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.
- Valpo garnered a season-high 12 steals, the team’s most since swiping 17 on Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest and most against a D1 foe since 16 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.
- On the flip side, Valpo committed just eight turnovers against the Tribe – the team’s second straight game with only eight turnovers. This marks the first time Valpo has had back-to-back games with eight turnovers or fewer since January 2015 (vs. UIC, vs. Cleveland State).
- Valpo has finished with fewer than 10 turnovers on six occasions this season including five times in the last seven games.
- The +13 in the turnover battle on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary marked Valpo’s best since also going + 13 on Dec. 6, 2020. It was Valpo’s best turnover margin against a D1 opponent since owning a 13-turnover advantage in a Dec. 5, 2012 victory over IPFW.
The Season of Giving
- Another noteworthy number from Valpo’s 88-66 victory over William & Mary on Dec. 22 was the team’s 23 assists on 34 made baskets.
- This marked the team’s highest total against a Division-I opponent since handing out 24 helpers on Feb. 22, 2020 vs. Bradley.
- There have been seven instances this season where a Missouri Valley Conference team has dished out 23 assists or more and Valpo has accounted for three of them (vs. William & Mary, Trinity Christian and East-West.)
- In the game against the Tribe, five Beacons gave out three assists or more including a season-high six from Trevor Anderson.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 22: Valpo 88, William & Mary 66
- Four Valpo players finished in double figures, led by Kobe King with 19. He was followed closely by Sheldon Edwards, who achieved 17 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3. Kevion Taylor (15) and Thomas Kithier (12) also surpassed the 10-point threshold.
- Taylor averaged 16.5 points per game over two outings during the week leading into Christmas. He canned four triples in each game while going a combined 12-of-17 (70.6%) from the floor and 8-of-13 (61.5%) from 3 in wins over Eastern Michigan and William & Mary.
- The .700 percent shooting clip was a season high for Edwards and the second-best of his Valpo career. He matched a career high with seven made field goals, his third such performance overall and second this season (Nov. 24 vs. Tulane).
- King’s 19 points equaled his career high, which was established on Dec. 7 vs. East-West. King has scored 17 points or more in three of his first four Valpo games.
- Kithier collected six rebounds to pace the team on the glass for the eighth time this year. His 12 points helped him snap out of a three-game stretch where he was held to six points or fewer in each contest. In addition, the Michigan State transfer swiped a career-high three steals against William & Mary.
- Kevion Taylor has made at least one 3-pointer in all 12 games that he’s played this season.
- Overall, he has made a 3 in 76 consecutive contests dating all the way back to Dec. 15, 2018 while playing for Winona State in a game at Concordia St. Paul. The highest of the NCAA records (Division I, Division II or Division III) for consecutive games with a made 3 is 93 and belongs to Daniel Park of D-II Rollins from Jan. 26, 1994 to Feb. 28, 1997. However, Taylor’s streak would not be recognized in the NCAA record book should it reach that point since it is split between Division I and Division II.
- If Taylor’s streak came in all D-I games, 76 would rank third in Division-I history. The D-I record is held by Mack Smith, who Valpo played against on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan. Smith set the record while at Eastern Illinois.
- Taylor’s four 3s on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan all came after halftime. That represented his second game with four or more 3s this season (5 on Nov. 23 vs. Coastal Carolina).
- The four 3s against the Eagles came en route to a season-high 18 points, surpassing his previous Beacon best of 16 on Nov. 23 vs. UIC.
- He followed that effort with a 15-point performance on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary behind his third game this season with four or more 3s.
- Taylor enjoyed his seventh double-figure scoring output this year and the 88th of his collegiate career against William & Mary. The Eastern Michigan game marked the second time this season that he has led the team in scoring.
- Taylor is the first Valpo player with four or more 3s in back-to-back games since Ryan Fazekas in February 2020.
Inside the Panthers
- Picked to finish second of 12 in the SWAC Preseason Poll behind only Texas Southern.
- Seeking their first win of the season but have not yet played a home game.
- Coming off a 102-66 setback at Wichita State.
- This game will start a two-game Chicagoland swing that will continue on Thursday, Dec. 30 at Northwestern before the Jan. 1 home opener vs. North American.
- Went 16-5 overall and 13-0 in SWAC play last season before falling to Texas Southern in the SWAC title game.
- Also went 19-13 overall and 14-4 in SWAC action in 2019-20 and 22-13 overall and 17-1 in conference play en route to a SWAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018-19.
A No-Quit Attitude: Valpo rallied from 11 points down to beat Eastern Michigan 67-55 on Dec. 20 at the ARC. That represented the 18th time during the Matt Lottich Era (sixth season) that Valpo has erased a double-figure deficit to come away victorious. It marked the second such victory this season, joining the third-place game of the Nassau Championship vs. Tulane in The Bahamas. Furthermore, Valpo flipped a double-figure deficit into a double-figure victory for the seventh time during the Lottich Era and the first since Feb. 22, 2020 vs. Bradley. The 18 double-figure comebacks are listed below with the seven double-figures that Valpo won by double figures noted in italics.
Erasing Double-Figure Deficits Under Lottich
Year Opponent Largest Deficit Outcome
2021-22 Eastern Michigan 11 W 67-55
2021-22 Tulane 12 W 68-64
2020-21 Bradley 14 W 91-85 (2ot)
2019-20 Loyola 18* W 74-73 (ot)
2019-20 Bradley 13 W 90-78
2019-20 Illinois State 17 W 65-62
2019-20 Indiana State 11 W 86-77
2019-20 SIUE 10 W 89-76
2019-20 Toledo 14 W 79-77
2018-19 Illinois State 12 W 58-56
2018-19 George Washington 10 W 82-79
2018-19 UNLV 11 W 72-64
2017-18 Bradley 10 W 77-64
2017-18 UNCW 10 W 79-70
2016-17 Wright State 10 W 84-74
2016-17 Cleveland State 12 W 78-67
2016-17 BYU 12 W 92-89
2016-17 Trinity Christian 16 W 89-75
*largest comeback since Jan. 17, 2012 vs. Detroit Mercy
On the Run: Valpo’s 15-point run in the second half of the Dec. 20 victory over Eastern Michigan marked the team’s largest of the season against a Division-I opponent and second largest overall behind only a 16-point burst vs. East-West. The 15-point run was Valpo’s largest against a DI foe since a 17-point surge in the first half of a 70-58 victory over Indiana State on Feb. 27 of last season.
Beyond the Arc Anecdotes
- Valpo made just one of its 11 first-half 3-point attempts for a 9.1 percent clip on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan. However, the Beacons went 7-of-12 from distance after halftime, notching a 58.3 percent 3-point clip.
- The first half vs. Eastern Michigan marked Valpo’s lowest single-half 3-point percentage this season, while the second half was the team’s highest single-half 3-point clip this year.
- What transpired on the other end of the court from long range on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan was even more significant. Valpo held the Eagles to just 9.1 percent from 3-point range (1-of-11), the lowest by a Valpo opponent this season.
- That came just a game after the Beacons allowed Charlotte to go off for 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) from 3, the highest 3-point clip by a Valpo opponent this season.
- The 9.1 percent vs. Eastern Michigan represented Valpo’s best performance in terms of 3-point defense since Dec. 8, 2019, when Central Michigan shot just 5.9 percent (1-of-17) from long range.
- The EMU game was also the first time since the aforementioned date with the Chippewas that Valpo limited an opponent to one made 3 or fewer.
- Valpo cashed in on the freebies during the games against Charlotte and Eastern Michigan, knocking down 25 of 26 free-throw attempts (96.2 percent). The Beacons made all 14 of their free throws on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte, then followed with an 11-of-12 showing (91.7 percent) on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan.
- This represented a considerable turnaround after Valpo went 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan and 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) on Dec. 7 vs. East-West.
- This marks the first time Valpo has had back-to-back games with over 90 percent free-throw shooting since January 2007 when the Beacons went 18-of-19 (94.7 percent) vs. IPFW and 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) at UMKC.
- Valpo’s 14-of-14 free-throw clip in the setback vs. Charlotte marked the team’s first perfect showing at the foul line since going 5-of-5 on Feb. 7, 2018 at Evansville. It was also Valpo’s first flawless day at the stripe with at least 10 attempts since going 14-of-14 on Nov. 17, 2016 at Oregon. As of the time of the game against the 49ers, only five teams nationally this season had a perfect free-throw shooting game with more than 14 attempts.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Dec. 20: Valpo 67, Eastern Michigan 55
- The 12-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest against a Division-I team this season.
- The 55 points were the fewest allowed by Valpo this season and fewest permitted in any game since Feb. 17 of last season at Loyola, a 54-52 loss.
- Valpo finished the year 2-1 against the Mid-American Conference with victories over Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan and a loss to Toledo.
- Kevion Taylor’s 18 points topped three Beacons in double figures as he was joined by Ben Krikke (17) and Trevor Anderson (15).
- Krikke finished in double figures for the sixth time in his nine games this season and surpassed the 700-career point threshold.
- Preston Ruedinger made his collegiate debut and dished out four assists while squeezing a pair of rebounds and committing no turnovers.
- Anderson reached double figures for the sixth time in the last seven games and the eighth time in 12 games this season. He made three 3s for the third time this season, enjoyed his third straight game with multiple made triples and has knocked in multiple 3s in five of his last seven.
- Kobe King finished with nine points while hauling in a team-high seven rebounds. The seven boards marked a collegiate career high for King, usurping his previous best of six on Nov. 27, 2018 vs. NC State while playing for Wisconsin.
- Valpo recorded a season-high six blocked shots including a pair by Krikke. That marked the team’s highest rejection total since swatting seven Drake shots on Feb. 7 of last season.
- Another notable number was the turnover total, as Valpo gave it away just eight times. Valpo has kept the turnover number in single figures on five occasions this season including four times in the last six games.
#SCTop10 Again: Kobe King nailed a three-quarters court shot to beat the buzzer on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte. Although the desperation heave was not enough as Valpo fell 68-67, the play checked in at No. 9 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays that evening. It was highlighted again two days later on ESPN’s popular “SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt” show. This marks the fourth time in a three-year span that Valpo basketball has produced an #SCTop10 play. The previous appearance came courtesy of a Sheldon Edwards dunk in a victory over No. 25 Drake on Feb. 7 of last season. Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, Valpo Athletics has been featured on the iconic daily countdown on 10 occasions spanning five sports – men’s basketball (four times), softball (twice), volleyball (twice), women’s basketball and soccer.
The Slimmest of Margins: Valpo’s 68-67 loss vs. Charlotte on Dec. 11 was the team’s first one-point game since winning 66-65 at Southern Illinois on Feb. 21 of last season. That marked Valpo’s first defeat by the slimmest of margins since Jan. 29, 2019, 55-54 in overtime vs. Missouri State. Half of Valpo’s six losses this season have come by three points or fewer including one overtime setback.
Home-Heavy Stretch in Progress: The Dec. 5 game at Western Michigan marked the final contest in a seven-game stretch where Valpo played six games away from the Athletics-Recreation Center (three road, three neutral site). The Dec. 7 contest vs. East-West began a home-heavy month where the Beacons will be in front of their home fans for six straight. Valpo will go a full month between road games from Dec. 5 to Jan. 5. From Dec. 5 to Jan. 21, the Beacons will spend just one night in a hotel (Jan. 4 at UNI). This is Valpo’s first homestand longer than four games since a five gamer from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12, 2003. This homestand will be Valpo’s longest since Jan. 21 to Feb. 6, 1994, a stretch of six straight at home against Eastern Illinois, Oral Roberts, Buffalo, Youngstown State, UMKC and Western Illinois.
- The Valpo basketball program received recognition from the Valparaiso University Student Philanthropy program on Sunday, Nov. 14.
- The team was recognized as part of the University’s annual Generosity Awards Celebration. Head coach Matt Lottich’s group was selected as the 2021 Athletic Team Awardee for the program’s community service and engagement.
- The team’s community engagement activities include participating in the Popcorn Fest, Valparaiso Downtown Trick or Treat, Valpo Day of Caring and beach cleanup at the Indiana Dunes National Park.
- In addition, the team hosts youth camps in the summer, working with children ages 6-14 to provide a fun and positive basketball experience.
- The program makes it a priority to attend as many Valpo Athletics events as possible to support other teams. The Beacons also make an effort to actively participate in the University community and support student organizations while also having an active presence as members of the broader City of Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana communities.
- Of the six core values that make up the foundation of the Valpo men’s basketball program, servanthood and appreciation are among the most prominent.
Random off-the-court facts on each Valpo player.
- #0 Thomas Kithier – Is an avid Detroit Lions fan and can name every player on the roster... Mother Jane played college volleyball at Eastern Michigan... Works in Valpo Athletics in ticketing, marketing and sports information.
- #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 whose best score is a 73.
- #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.
- #5 Keyondre Young – Enjoys observing nature and sightseeing... Enjoys watching movies and lists Blue Chips as his favorite.
- #10 Eron Gordon – Comes from a basketball family including brother Eric who has played in the NBA since 2008 and is currently a member of the Houston Rockets... Enjoys editing videos and podcasting.
- #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.
- #12 Kevion Taylor – High school teammates with Tyler Herro of the NBA’s Miami Heat.
- #13 Sheldon Edwards – Has six siblings... Enjoys listening to music... Played for his uncle Louis Graham at TLAP Sports Academy for one year prior to coming to Valpo.
- #15 Luke Morrill – Walk-on who enjoys wakesurfing.
- #20 Tyler Fricke – Walk-on whose father Scott coached Matt Lottich in high school and brother Zach pitches for the Valpo baseball team.
- #21 Trevor Anderson – Father Scott was his high school coach at SPASH and played at UW-Stevens Point... Enjoys visiting coffee shops, traveling and cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.
- #22 Brock Pappas – Walk-on who is majoring in nursing and hopes to one day become a pediatric nurse and work at Riley Children’s Hospital.
- #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 Trey Woodyard – Maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, earning a place on the honor roll every year.
- #35 Kobe King –Enjoys making music and writing song lyrics.
- Valpo has improved its conference tournament seeding in each of its four Missouri Valley Conference seasons.
- The team entered Arch Madness as a No. 10 seed in 2017-18, a No. 9 seed in 2018-19, a No. 7 in 2019-20 and a No. 6 in 2020-21.
- With Year 4 in The Valley now in the books, Valpo has surpassed Loyola’s conference win total over its first four seasons in the league. Valpo garnered its 29th MVC victory in the 2020-21 regular-season finale vs. Indiana State.
- The Ramblers went 27-45 over their first four seasons before going 57-16 over the following four seasons.
- Valpo has improved its conference finish in each season during the four-year transitional period after elevating to the prestigious and competitive conference.
More on 2020-21
- The 2020-21 season was highlighted by an upset victory over previously-undefeated Drake, the nation’s No. 25 team, 74-57 on Feb. 7, 2021 at the Athletics-Recreation Center, the fourth win over an AP Top 25 team in program history and second under Lottich. The Bulldogs were one of three undefeated teams in the nation prior to that setback, joining Gonzaga and Baylor.
- Valpo came close to two other victories over ranked foes, falling 80-77 vs. No. 25 Drake on Feb. 6 and 54-52 at No. 22 Loyola on Feb. 17.
- Valpo closed the regular season with a stretch of 16 Missouri Valley Conference games in a 39-day span. By comparison, Valpo had played three games over the previous 31 days before beginning the stretch of seemingly nonstop competition. Six of Valpo’s first eight MVC games were postponed due to COVID-19, causing the backlog of makeup games during the busy stretch.
2021-22 Preseason Picks
- Ben Krikke was named to the Preseason All-MVC Second Team.
- Valpo was picked seventh in the 10-team league based on a preseason survey of the conference’s head coaches, media members and sports information directors.
- Drake was tabbed the preseason favorite to win the league, while UNI’s AJ Green earned Preseason Player of the Year accolades.
Sustained Home Success
- The Athletics-Recreation Center has provided a distinct homecourt advantage over the years as Valpo has not finished with a losing mark at the ARC since 1991-92.
- Thanks to a victory in the 2020-21 home finale vs. Indiana State, the program finished with a record of .500 or better at home for the 29th consecutive season.
- Valpo enjoyed double-figure home win totals in nine of 10 seasons prior to the unusual, pandemic-altered 2020-21 season. Due to health and safety regulations, fans were unable to pack the ARC as they have in years past.
- The ARC is back open to spectators without any capacity restrictions during the 2021-22 season, restoring the home court advantage Valpo has come to expect over the years.
- The historic home success is good news for Valpo this season, as the team will play 17 home games.
- The nonconference slate will be comprised of eight home dates, two road games and three neutral-site contests.
- Valpo most recently played 17 home games during the 2016-17 season. This will mark the team’s busiest home calendar since joining the Missouri Valley Conference.
Big Ten U
- Prior to this season, Valpo had just a pair of Big Ten transfers join the program over the last two decades (Bakari Evelyn and Bobby Capobiano).
- This year, the program has been bolstered by four additions from the Big Ten Conference. Trevor Anderson, Joe Hedstrom and Kobe King have all come in from Wisconsin, while Thomas Kithier joins the fold after beginning his career with three seasons at Michigan State.
- Four of the five transfers that have come in join the team from the Big Ten, while a fifth impact transfer began his career with four seasons at Division-II Winona State. Kevion Taylor was a three-time all-conference performer and was his conference’s preseason player of the year in 2020-21.
- King started all 19 games he played at Wisconsin in 2019-20, Anderson appeared in 60 of Wisconsin’s 62 games over the last two seasons and Kithier appeared in 86 games and made 19 starts for Tom Izzo’s team over his three seasons in East Lansing.
- Although the team features five freshmen and the five aforementioned transfers, five scholarship players do return from last season.
- The squad brings back 47.9 percent of its scoring and 42.4 percent of its rebounding.
- Four of the team’s top six scorers are back.
- A pair of MVC postseason award winners remain in the fold for the Beacons as Sheldon Edwards was a member of the 2020-21 MVC All-Freshman Team, while Ben Krikke earned All-MVC Third Team, MVC Most-Improved Team and MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, the lone player in the league to receive all three honors.
- Seven letter winners are back from last year’s team, while nine have departed. Three starters return and three left. (Note: Starters based on top five players in number of games started. Six players were considered starters due to a tie for fifth).
- Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 20th 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 11 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 fourth season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
- Director of Basketball Operations Peter Funk is in his first 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.
- Bob Brooks is in his 18th year as Valpo Director of Strength & Conditioning at Valpo and returned to oversight of men’s basketball strength & conditioning in 2020-21. He has worked with Valpo teams since 1994.
- Athletic trainer Ken DeAngelis is in his third season full-time at Valpo after previously earning his master’s degree from the University in 2012 while spending two years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer.
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 11 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 NBA players in the last four years. 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-present).
- Valpo has produced over 50 professional players in the last 25 years.