Green Bay (1-1, 0-0 Horizon)
at Valparaiso (1-1, 0-0 MVC)
Game No. 3 – Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will continue a home-heavy stretch on Tuesday night as Green Bay enters the Athletics-Recreation Center for a 7 p.m. tip. The Beacons will continue to renew old rivalries as they lock horns with a team they previously shared conference affiliation with for the second straight game.
Last Time Out: Valpo controlled the lead for the entirety of the first half before the two teams engaged in a seesaw second half that ended with IUPUI pulling away for a 66-56 victory in an instate matchup that was closer than the final score would indicate. Jaxon Edwards, Cooper Schwieger and Isaiah Stafford tallied 12 points apiece, while Jerome Palm was a point shy of a double-double and squeezed a career-high 12 rebounds.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Noah Godsell (play-by-play)
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Roger Powell Jr.: Roger Powell Jr. (1-1) 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: Valpo and Green Bay are certainly no strangers to playing one another as the Phoenix own a slight 30-25 lead in a series that dates all the way back to 1981. This will mark the first game between the two teams since spending a decade as Horizon League adversaries from 2007-2017. They also shared conference affiliation in the Mid-Continent Conference/AMCU from 1982-1994. Green Bay provided the opposition for several memorable moments including Valpo’s 54-44 win in the 2015 Horizon League title game at the ARC to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament and the 70-69 win in the 2013 Horizon League semifinal at the ARC, when Ryan Broekhoff hit the second most storied shot in program history. Green Bay won the most recent meeting 86-69 on Feb. 4, 2017 in Wisconsin, while Valpo prevailed in the last ARC showdown 80-56 on Jan. 16, 2017. The Brown & Gold will look to extend an eight-game home winning streak in the head-to-head series as the Phoenix have not notched a win at the ARC since Jan. 23, 2011.
Notes Wrapping Up Nov. 10: IUPUI 66, Valpo 56
- Three Valpo players scored in double figures as Jaxon Edwards, Cooper Schwieger and Isaiah Stafford tallied 12 points apiece.
- Stafford did the bulk of his damage from the free-throw stripe, where he was a perfect 7-for-7.
- Stafford became just the third Valpo player over the last four seasons (since the start of 2020-2021) to go perfect at the free-throw line with seven or more attempts, joining Kobe King (Jan. 17, 2023 vs. UIC) and Kevion Taylor (Feb. 9, 2022 at Illinois State).
- Stafford’s seven made free throws tied his NCAA career high from Feb. 26, 2022 vs. Lindenwood while playing for Southern Indiana.
- As a team, Valpo shot 84.2 percent from the free-throw line, making 16 of the team’s 19 attempts.
- Palm gobbled up a career-high 12 rebounds, outdoing his previous best of 10 on Dec. 4, 2022 vs. Murray State. Four of his rebounds came on the offensive glass. He was one point shy of a double-double with nine points to go along with the 12 boards.
- Palm’s stat line of nine or more points and 12 or more rebounds is one that was achieved by a Valpo player just twice all of last season – Kobe King on Jan. 25 at UNI (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Ben Krikke on Nov. 7 vs. Toledo (18 points, 13 rebounds).
- Valpo blocked six shots as a team, the third straight game the Beacons have rejected six shots including last year’s MVC Tournament game vs. Murray State. The Beacons had one game total (Feb. 14 vs. SIU) with six or more blocks during the regular season last year.
- It was a cold shooting night as Valpo hit just two of its 19 3-point tries.
Scouting the Phoenix
- Picked to finish 11th in the Horizon League preseason poll.
- Opened the season with an 85-44 loss at Iowa State on Nov. 6 before winning 72-56 over St. Francis (Ill.)
- Under the direction of first-year head coach Sundance Wicks, who previously served as an assistant coach at Wyoming.
- Former Valpo point guard Preston Ruedinger is on Green Bay’s roster.
- This will mark the third of three straight home games to begin the 2023-24 season. Valpo will play six of its first seven at the ARC.
- This will mark the first time Valpo has started a season with three straight home games since 2016-17, when the Beacons started by hosting Southern Utah, Trinity Christian and Coppin State.
- Valpo has owned a record of .500 or better at home in 31 straight seasons.
Reaching the Century Mark
- Valpo scored 100 points in the Nov. 6 season opener vs. Trinity Christian, marking the first time the team scored 100 since Dec. 7, 2021, a 101-58 win over East West.
- The 39-point margin of victory against the Trolls was Valpo’s largest since the aforementioned Dec. 7, 2021 game against the Phantoms (+43).
- Valpo was one of 34 teams in the country to score triple digits on opening night.
- Five Beacons tallied double figures in the scoring column, the first time that has occurred since March 3, 2022 vs. Evansville in the MVC Tournament.
Starting on the Right Foot
- Valpo snapped a three-game opening night losing streak and improved to 9-3 over the last 12 years on opening night.
- The program improved to 18-1 in its last 19 home openers with the Nov. 6 win over Trinity Christian.
- Roger Powell Jr. became the fourth straight Valpo head coach to win his first game at the ARC.
From Down Town
- Valpo drained 14 3-pointers on Nov. 6 vs. Trinity Christian, the team’s highest total since Feb. 22, 2020 vs. Bradley.
- The Beacons got off 33 3-point attempts, the team’s highest total since 34 in double overtime on Feb. 4 of last season vs. Drake. This marked the team’s highest number of 3-point tries in a regulation game since Nov. 24, 2021 vs. Tulane (34).
- Isaiah Stafford went 5-of-6 from 3-point territory, becoming the first Valpo player to hit five or more 3s in a game since Maximus Nelson on Feb. 4, 2023 vs. Drake. Stafford’s success from beyond the arc helped him to a team-high 20 points.
- Valpo was one of 26 teams in the nation with 33 or more 3-point attempts on opening night.
- The Beacons had 72 total shot attempts in the win over the Trolls, the team’s most since Nov. 27, 2021 vs. Trinity Christian. Valpo was one of 28 teams in the country to take 72 or more shots on opening night.
- Valpo swiped 15 steals in the Nov. 6 win over Trinity Christian, one of only 13 teams nationally with 15 or more steals on opening night.
- This marked Valpo’s highest steal count since Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest.
- The team was led in steals by Isaiah Stafford, whose four represented a career high.
- Stafford became just the third different Valpo player in the last six seasons to boast 20 or more points and four or more steals in the same game, joining Nick Edwards (Dec. 21, 2022 vs. Stonehill) and Javon Freeman-Liberty (six times).
- Valpo scored 41 points off Trinity Christian’s 28 turnovers. The 28 giveaways marked the most by a Valpo opponent since Purdue Northwest also turned it over 28 times on Dec. 17, 2020 at the ARC.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Nov. 6: Valpo 100, Trinity Christian 61
- A dozen Valpo players took the court, including eight who made their Beacon debuts. Four of those saw their first collegiate action.
- Returnee Jerome Palm contributed 11 points, tying a career high in scoring that was established on Dec. 1 of last season at Belmont.
- Ola Ajiboye surpassed his previous collegiate career high of eight points, which occurred against Western Michigan while playing for Central Michigan last season. He poured in 10 in his Valpo debut, eight of which came at the free-throw line.
- Jahari Williamson and Jaxon Edwards had 16 points apiece, behind only Isaiah Stafford’s game-high 20.
- Darius DeAveiro handed out a team-most six assists.
- Cooper Schwieger started in his collegiate debut and scored nine points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. He became the first Valpo freshman with nine or more points and eight or more rebounds in a game since Sheldon Edwards on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE.
- Rookie Kaspar Sepp added eight points off the bench on 3-of-4 shooting.
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.