Bradley (10-10, 4-4 MVC)
at Valparaiso (10-10, 3-5 MVC)
Game No. 21 – Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After a 2-0 week that featured a pair of thrilling victories decided by a total of five points, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will look to stretch its winning streak to three on Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Bradley will be in town for the latest installment of tightly-matched series that has featured four season splits in Valpo’s first four seasons in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Last Time Out: Valpo led by as many as 11 midway through the second half and fended off a late Indiana State surge for a 75-73 victory on Saturday at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute. Ben Krikke’s contested hook shot that spun around the rim and in with six seconds left in regulation stood as the game-winner when Valpo executed to perfection on the final defensive possession, forcing a difficult shot by a defensive-minded player as time expired. Krikke boasted a team-high 21 points, while Kevion Taylor contributed 17 and Kobe King chipped in 15. Krikke recorded Valpo’s latest game-winner since Eron Gordon’s memorable shot to beat Loyola in the 2020 MVC quarterfinals. Valpo held on for the victory despite playing without Trevor Anderson in the second half and without Thomas Kithier over the final 11:46 as both battled injuries. Thanks to winning both the turnover and rebounding battle and strong free-throw shooting, Valpo prevailed despite being outshot for the first time this season (1-6).
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – 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 (93-88) 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: Bradley owns a 5-4 edge in games played since Valpo joined the Missouri Valley Conference prior to the 2017-18 season. The two teams have split the regular season series each year and Bradley prevailed in the 2020 MVC title game. The Braves hold a 7-5 advantage in a dozen all-time matchups, a series that dates all the way back to 1980. The home team had won seven straight games between these two foes until Bradley came to the ARC and earned a 76-52 victory on Feb. 10 of last season. Both matchups occurred within the confines of Valpo’s home arena a year ago as the Beacons won 91-85 in double overtime on Jan. 28. Bradley’s February victory was its first ever at Valpo, snapping a five-game skid at the ARC. Furthermore, Bradley head coach Brian Wardle ended a personal 10-game losing streak at the ARC with six of those losses coming during his tenure at Green Bay.
Down But Not Out: When Valpo transformed a 40-35 halftime deficit into a 75-73 victory on Jan. 22 vs. Indiana State, it represented the fifth time this season the Beacons have trailed at the game’s midway mark before rallying to prevail. Half of Valpo’s 10 wins this season have come when trailing at the break. Valpo has faced a five-point halftime deficit in each of its last two games, both eventual victories. In addition to the last two games against UNI and Indiana State, the Beacons also came from down at half to beat Eastern Michigan (Dec. 20), Tulane (Nov. 24) and Jacksonville State (Nov. 22). Valpo also had five wins when trailing at halftime in 2019-20, but if the team notches a sixth win when chasing at the break, that would be the most since rallying from seven halftime disparities during the 2011-2012 campaign.
Down to the Wire: Overall this season and especially during the calendar year of 2022, Valpo has become no stranger to games decided in the final minute of regulation or in overtime. Since ringing in the new year, five of Valpo’s seven games have been decided by three points or fewer or in overtime. Overall this season, nine of Valpo’s 20 games have been dictated by four points or fewer or required OT. Since the start of the 2018-19 season, 37 Valpo games have been decided by five points or fewer and 22 have been one-possession games (three points or fewer).
Century Mark in Sight: Valpo head coach Matt Lottich earned his 93rd career win on Jan. 22 at Indiana State. He needs just seven 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’s victory over the Sycamores elevated him into a tie for fourth in program history with the legendary Gene Bartow (1964-1970). On a side note, Valpo assistant coach Matt Bowen worked under Bartow at UAB in 1995.
Ending Terre Haute Troubles: Valpo had dropped its first three Missouri Valley Conference games at Indiana State prior to notching the 75-73 victory on Jan. 22. Valpo’s previous win in Sycamore territory came 69-63 in a nonconference matchup on Dec. 9, 2015. The team’s first three MVC trips to the house that Larry Bird built resulted in losses by an average margin of 13 points per game.
Converting the Freebies
- Free-throw shooting played a vital role in Valpo’s 75-73 victory at Indiana State on Jan. 22. The Beacons made 16 of their 17 free-throw attempts, shooting 94.1 percent at the charity stripe.
- That marked the eighth time this season that Valpo has shot better than 80 percent at the foul line, and the fourth time over 90 percent. Two of those games featured perfect free-throw performances as Valpo went 14-of-14 against Charlotte and 16-of-16 against Illinois State.
- In the team’s three conference wins, Valpo is shooting 45-of-48 (93.4 percent) at the charity line.
- Valpo ranks third in the league and 45th nationally in free-throw percentage.
Righting the Rebounding
- Valpo was outrebounded in 11 of its first 13 games against Division-I opponents this season, but the Beacons have now won the rebounding battle in four of the last five games.
- During that time, Valpo outrebounded Southern Illinois 33-29 on Jan. 8, Loyola 36-28 on Jan. 11, UNI 37-26 on Jan. 19 and Indiana State 38-36 on Jan. 22.
- In the Jan. 19 game against UNI, Valpo permitted just three UNI offensive rebounds, tying a season best (East West, SIU) despite playing an extra five minutes. Valpo continued its success in limiting second chances on Jan. 22 at Indiana State, allowing just three offensive caroms for a second straight game and the fourth time this season.
- Valpo pulled down 10 offensive rebounds on Jan. 22 at Indiana State, the team’s third double-figure performance on the o-glass this season and first since Dec. 20. The 10 offensive caroms equaled the team’s most against a D-I foe this year.
- The +11 rebounding margin against UNI was Valpo’s largest against a D1 foe since outrebounding Indiana State by 17 in last year’s regular season finale.
- The +11 against UNI was a key turnaround after Valpo was -10 on the glass in the Jan. 4 matchup between the two teams in Cedar Falls. Before winning the battle on the boards on Jan. 19, Valpo had been outrebounded by UNI in each of the previous six meetings between the two squads.
- The +8 rebounding margin against Loyola was Valpo’s best in a head-to-head matchup with the Ramblers since joining the MVC.
- The successful rebounding performance came against a Loyola team that is strong on the glass. Valpo snapped Loyola’s stretch of outrebounding the opponent in seven straight outings. Valpo became just the second team this season to outdo Loyola by eight or more on the glass, joining Auburn (+10).
- Valpo won the turnover battle in eight straight games prior to Jan. 5 at UNI, the team’s longest stretch of winning the turnover battle over the last 28 seasons.
- After a stretch where Valpo won the turnover battle just once in five games (three lost one tied), the Beacons returned to form with a 13-7 turnover edge on Jan. 22 at Indiana State.
- All seven of the giveaways against the Sycamores came after halftime. In the opening 20 minutes, Valpo did not turn it over, the first time the team did not commit a first-half turnover since Nov. 15, 2007 at IPFW. The first half at Indiana State marked the first time Valpo played turnover-free basketball in any half since the second half on Feb. 13, 2010 at Youngstown State.
- The Beacons have turned it over just 11.1 times per game this season, a number that ranks second in The Valley and 31st
- Matt Lottich’s group has committed 10 turnovers or fewer in 13 of their 20 games this season.
Ben Comes Up Big
- Ben Krikke scored a team-high 21 points in the Jan. 22 win at Indiana State, his fifth 20-point output this season and first since Dec. 7. That marked Krikke’s highest scoring output in league play this year.
- Krikke delivered the game-winning shot with six seconds remaining in the victory over the Sycamores, the latest Valpo game-winner since Eron Gordon’s memorable buzzer-beater in the 2020 MVC quarterfinal vs. Loyola.
- The Edmonton native scored in double figures for the 11th time in 17 games this season and shot 50 percent or better for the 11th straight game.
- Krikke stepped out for his third made 3 of the season and first since Dec. 7 after he had gone 0-for-8 from 3 over the previous nine games.
- Krikke also squeezed seven rebounds against the Sycamores, his third game with seven or more boards this season, two of which have come in the last five contests.
- The junior surpassed the 800-career point threshold in the game against Indiana State.
- After scoring a season-high 22 points on Jan. 19 vs. UNI, Kevion Taylor followed with a 17-point effort on Jan. 22 at Indiana State. He reached 15+ points for the eighth time this season and scored in double figures for the 11th
- Although the game vs. UNI was Taylor’s first time with 20+ points in a Beacon uniform, that marked the 37th time Taylor has scored 20 points or more in a collegiate contest.
- During the Jan. 8 game vs. Southern Illinois, Taylor surpassed 1,800 points for his collegiate career (split between D-I and D-II). He became just the 32nd active player at all levels of NCAA college basketball to reach the 1,800-point threshold. Taylor became just the 16th active player in the NCAA (all three divisions) with 1,800 points and 600 rebounds.
- Entering Jan. 26 vs. Bradley, Taylor is four made 3s away from 300 for his collegiate career.
- Furthermore, Taylor has scored more collegiate points than Michael Jordan (1,788).
Taylor Tossing in Treys
- Kevion Taylor has made a 3 in 83 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, it would rank third in Division-I history. The D-I record is held by Mack Smith (91), who Valpo played against on Dec. 5 at Western Michigan. Smith set the record while at Eastern Illinois. Second is Corey Bradford of Illinois (88).
- Taylor has made multiple 3-pointers in 15 out of 20 games this season. He’s hit at least one triple in all 20 contests.
- Taylor is the first Valpo player since at least the start of the 1989-90 season (nearly all the way back to the addition of the 3-point line) to make a 3 in each of his first 20 games of a season. He surpassed the program’s previous longest season-opening streak of 14 by Larry Barker in 1994-95. Three other Valpo players made a 3 in each of the first 13 games of a season – Bryce Drew (1995-96), Casey Schmidt (1992-93) and Mike Jones (1989-90).
- On Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State, Taylor snapped a streak of eight straight games with multiple made 3s after opening the season with a stretch of five in a row with multiple triples. The last time Valpo had a player make multiple 3s in eight straight was Javon Freeman-Liberty (9, 2019-20).
- After missing the first nine games of the season in order to gain NCAA eligibility, Kobe King is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game in 11 contests (10 starts).
- He’s scored at least eight points in every outing, including nine appearances in double figures. He’s been in double figures in seven of his last eight games, entering Jan. 26 vs. Bradley.
- King has scored 15 points or more in six of his first 10 games in a Valpo uniform.
- King finished with 18 points on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, doing the bulk of his damage in the second half. He scored 13 second-half points including eight in the final four minutes of the game.
- Also on Jan. 8 vs. SIU, King tied a rebounding career high that was set in the previous game. He did not reach nine rebounds in any of his first 68 career games, but did so in consecutive contests (Jan. 5 at UNI, Jan. 8 vs. SIU).
- The Wisconsin native again turned in a big second half on Jan. 22 at Indiana State, when 13 of his 15 points came after the break. King and Kevion Taylor combined for over half of Valpo’s second-half scoring against the Sycamores as they produced 23 of the team’s 40 second-half points.
- No Valpo player has started every game this season.
- Valpo has used nine different starting lineup combinations this season.
- Valpo used the same starting lineup in back-to-back games vs. UNI (Jan. 19) and at Indiana State (Jan. 22), the first time it did so since Dec. 20 and Dec. 22 against Eastern Michigan and William & Mary.
- The only three players who have played in all 20 contests are Kevion Taylor, Sheldon Edwards and Eron Gordon.
- Gordon has played in all 83 Valpo games since the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
- The latest player to debut in the starting lineup is true freshman Preston Ruedinger, who made his first collegiate start on Jan. 8 vs. SIU and started again on Jan. 11 at Loyola. Ruedinger became the second nonscholarship player to start a game for Valpo during the Matt Lottich Era as John Kiser started on March 4, 2017 vs. Milwaukee at the Horizon League Tournament in Detroit as a freshman walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to his sophomore campaign.
Strength of Schedule
- Valpo may have gotten off to a slow start to conference play, but five of the team’s first seven games came against the programs picked to finish in the top four in the MVC preseason poll. All five of Valpo’s league losses have come against teams projected to finish in the top half of the Valley standings.
- Leading into Jan. 19 vs. UNI, Valpo had dropped five of its first six MVC games, but four of those defeats came against teams that owned a combined 18-5 conference record.
- Although the parity in the league has been evidenced by the number of close games, Valpo is currently in a stretch of six straight games against teams predicted to finish five through 10 in the preseason poll.
Scouting the Braves
- Also own back-to-back victories after beating Drake 83-71 on Wednesday and Southern Illinois 70-62 on Saturday.
- Picked sixth of 10 in the MVC preseason poll.
- Have won two of the last three State Farm MVC Tournaments including the 2020 title game against Valpo.
- Four Braves average in double figures, led by Terry Roberts at 16.1 points per game. Rienk Mast has a scoring average of 11.0 to go along with a team-high 8.2 rebounds per outing.
- Thomas Kithier had his third double-double of the season and his second in a four-game span with a 15-point, 11-rebound showing on Jan. 19 vs. UNI.
- Both Kithier’s point and rebound totals against the Panthers were his highest in conference play this year.
- Entering Jan. 26 vs. Bradley, the Valpo center has squeezed six or more rebounds in 11 of his last 12.
- Kithier is the first Valpo player with three or more double-doubles in a season since Derrik Smits had four in 2018-19. Alec Peters (16 in 2016-17) and Tevonn Walker (three in 2016-17) are the only other players to achieve that feat during the Matt Lottich Era.
- Kithier has owned or shared the team lead in rebounding in 11 out of the 18 games he’s played this season.
- One streak Kithier would like to reverse is that he’s left early in each of his last four games – three times due to fouling out and once due to an injury.
Reversal of Fortunes: Just two weeks after a 92-65 loss in Cedar Falls, Valpo reversed the result in an 83-80 overtime victory over UNI on Jan. 19. The last time Valpo beat a team that it had lost to by 27 or more earlier in the season was 1953-1954, when head coach Kenneth Suesens’ team beat Western Michigan 63-62 after having loss to WMU 103-70 earlier that year.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 19: Valpo 83, UNI 80
- Valpo outscored UNI 34-24 on points in the paint after the Panthers owned a 48-14 advantage in that area on Jan. 5 in Cedar Falls.
- Valpo handed UNI, picked third in the MVC Preseason Poll, just its second loss in league play as the Panthers slipped to 5-2. The Beacons prevailed despite a valiant 33-point, 10-rebound effort from UNI’s Noah Carter. Carter’s 33 points were the most by a Valpo opponent since Southern Utah’s Randy Onwuasor’s 35 on Nov. 11, 2016.
- Valpo shot right at 50 percent (30-of-60), its second time in the last three games shooting 50 percent or better.
- Valpo went 41.7 percent from 3 by draining 10 of its 24 attempts. The 3-point percentage was the squad’s best in Valley play this year and second-best overall this season behind 54.5 percent on Dec. 22 vs. William & Mary.
- The Beacons shot 86.7 percent at the foul stripe (13-of-15). That helped Valpo bounce back after a season-worst 53.3 percent free-throw mark on Jan. 15 vs. Missouri State.
- Valpo trailed by as many as nine, the third time this season Valpo has chased by nine or more and come back to win.
- Valpo improved to 5-29 when allowing 80 points or more during the Matt Lottich Era.
#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 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.