UNI (13-12, 7-7 MVC)
at Valparaiso (6-19, 2-12 MVC)
Game No. 26 – Wednesday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: It’s Valentine’s Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center as the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team hosts the second of back-to-back home contests with UNI in town for a 7 p.m. tip. The Beacons will play consecutive home games for the first time since the start of Missouri Valley Conference action and will have a midweek home date for the first time since Jan. 10 after four consecutive road Wednesdays.
Last Time Out: Belmont was red hot out of the gate, blitzing out to a 20-2 advantage by the time the game was six minutes old on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The two teams played even at 76 all for the remaining 34 minutes, but the fast start for the guests was too much for Valpo to overcome. The Beacons trailed 54-27 at halftime and were down by as many as 30, but eventually cut the gap to as few as 12 in the second half. Four Valpo starters tallied double figures – Cooper Schweiger (16), Darius DeAveiro (14), Jaxon Edwards (13) and Isaiah Stafford (12).
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App –
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Roger Powell Jr.: Roger Powell Jr. (6-19) 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 marks the first of two matchups between these two teams this season as the squads will lock horns twice over the next five games. Valpo is 5-31 all-time against the Panthers, who have won nine of the 12 meetings since the Brown & Gold gained MVC affiliation. UNI swept the two clashes a year ago, beating the Beacons 69-67 at the buzzer on Jan. 4 at the ARC and 77-66 on Jan. 25 in the great state of Iowa.
Scouting the Panthers
- Picked to finish second in the MVC preseason poll. They have not quite lived up to those expectations, but are still in the mix to claim a top-four seed and first-round bye at Arch Madness.
- Led in scoring by Nate Heise and Bowen Born.
- Under the direction of longtime head coach Ben Jacobson.
- Coming off a 71-65 loss on Sunday at UIC. Beat Missouri State 72-65 in their most recent home game.
DeAveiro Joins Top 20
- Valpo’s Darius DeAveiro climbed into the top 20 in program history on Feb. 10 vs. Belmont. He dished out four assists in that contest.
- Entering Feb. 14 vs. UNI, DeAveiro has handed out 249 career helpers, surpassing Ron Howard’s total of 247 for 20th in program history. Daniel Sackey (2018-2021) is 19th at 269.
- In terms of single-season assists, DeAveiro is at 130 and needs to get to 146 to crack the all-time top 10.
Put ‘Em in the Hall… Put ‘Em in the Hall of Fame!
- Two former Valpo men’s basketball standouts were part of the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2024, which was inducted as part of Valpo’s All-Sports Reunion Weekend that took place on Feb. 9-10.
- 2003 graduate Raitis Grafs, a three-time all-conference performer, was part of the four-member class. He currently ranks second in program history in blocked shots (228), fourth in rebounds (841) and sixth in points (1,621).
- The class also featured 1964 alum Jon Robisch, who was a two-sport standout in baseball and basketball. He ranks fifth in program history in rebounds per game at 8.7 and his average of 10.3 rebounds per game as a senior still ranks eighth in program history. Jon is the brother of Dave Robisch, who played in the NBA from 1971-1984.
- The class also features former softball standout Jordan Rutkowski ’12 and former football star Ozzie Young ’96.
Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 10: Belmont 96, Valpo 78
- Cooper Schwieger led the team in scoring with 16 points, his third straight game in double figures. He’s scored nine points or more in 10 straight games.
- Schwieger was joined in double figures by Darius DeAveiro (14), Jaxon Edwards (13) and Isaiah Stafford (12). The 13 points marked Edwards’ highest output in MVC play. He hit an efficient 4-of-5 shooting clip.
- Connor Barrett busted out of a shooting slump, going 2-of-3 from 3-point territory after he was 1-of-15 previously. He tallied a season-high six points.
- DeAveiro grabbed a team-high four rebounds and handed out four assists. Stafford gave out four helpers as well.
- Valpo committed just 10 turnovers, the team’s seventh straight game with 11 turnovers or fewer. Valpo won the turnover battle for the fifth straight game, giving it away just 10 times to Belmont’s 16.
- The Beacons boasted their highest shooting percentage in the last nine games by hitting at a 45.2 percent clip.
- This marked Valpo’s most points in a home regulation loss since an 82-80 defeat to Oakland on Dec. 17, 2011.
Coop Can Hoop
- Cooper Schwieger has scored nine points or more in 10 straight games including three in a row with at least 16 points.
- Schwieger is one of three freshmen in the country averaging at least 13.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in conference play. He joins George Washington’s Darren Buchanan and Old Dominion’s Vasean Allette.
- Schwieger is trying to become the first MVC freshman since Creighton’s Doug McDermott in 2010-11 to average over 13.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in league play.
- Schwieger is one of two freshmen in the country averaging the following numbers in conference games – 50 percent from the field, 85 percent from the free-throw line and 10.0 points per game. He joins Troy’s Myles Rigsby.
- There are only four total players in the MVC shooting 50 percent from the field, 80 percent from the free-throw line and averaging double figures in scoring in league play – Schwieger, Indiana State’s Robbie Avila, Bradley’s Malevy Leons and Murray State’s JaCobi Wood.
- Schwieger enjoyed his first collegiate double-double with a 16-point, 13-rebound effort on Jan. 14 at Illinois State before following with another double-double on Jan. 17 at Evansville, turning in 12 points and 10 boards.
- In the game at Illinois State, Schwieger notched the first double-double by a Valpo freshman since Javon Freeman-Liberty on Jan. 29, 2019 vs. Missouri State. He collected the most rebounds by a Valpo player in an MVC game since Donovan Clay had 14 on Feb. 7, 2021 vs. Drake.
- Schwieger became the first Valpo player with back-to-back double-doubles since Sheldon Edwards on Feb. 19, 2022 at Evansville and Feb. 21, 2022 vs. Evansville. Before that, it was Alec Peters on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29, 2017 (vs. Wright State, vs. Northern Kentucky).
- Cooper Schwieger leads all MVC freshmen in conference-only scoring at 13.3 points per game. Drake’s Kevin Overton is second at 9.2 ppg and Evansville’s Chuck Bailey III is third at 8.8.
- In league-only games, Schwieger is also atop The Valley in rebounding average by a freshman (6.0 rpg), well ahead of Evansville’s Joshua Hughes, who is second at 3.9.
- In league only games among freshmen, Schwieger ranks third in the MVC with 1.5 assists per game, tied for second in blocks per game at 0.9 and second in field-goal percentage (minimum 20 attempts) at 51.4 percent.
- In terms of overall numbers, the Overland Park, Kan. native is first in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring average among freshmen at 12.2. He is ahead of Drake’s Kevin Overton at 11.3.
- Schwieger leads the league in rebounds per game among freshmen at 5.4, well ahead of Evansville’s Joshua Hughes, who is second at 4.3.
- He also ranks second among MVC freshmen with 0.9 blocks per game, chasing only Evansville’s Hughes at 1.2.
- Schwieger is one of eight freshmen nationally averaging at least 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
- Schwieger’s overall rebounding average of 5.4 per game is third among Valpo freshmen in the last 30 years behind only Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2024 member Raitis Grafs (5.8, 1999-00) and Valpo Athletics Hall of Famer and current member of the coaching staff, Lubos Barton (5.6).
- Isaiah Stafford had scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games.
- After missing the previous game for family reasons, Stafford made a memorable return on Jan. 31 at Drake, pouring in 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting while drilling four 3s.
- Stafford surpassed his previous career high of 31 that was established while playing for Southern Indiana vs. Lindenwood on Feb. 26, 2022 and matched on Jan. 17, 2024 at Evansville.
- Stafford became the first visiting player to go to Des Moines and score at least 32 points against Drake since Illinois State’s Zach Copeland on Jan. 16, 2020. Copeland and Stafford are the only visiting players in the last 15 years to score 32 points or more at the Knapp Center.
- Stafford has scored at least 30 points in three different road games this season (at Illinois, at Evansville, at Drake). He becomes just the fifth player in the nation with at least three true road games with 30+ points this season, joining Shahada Wells (McNeese State), Zach Edey (Purdue), Dalton Knecht (Tennessee) and Drew Pember (UNC Ashville).
- Stafford, who was seven points shy of cracking the program’s single-game all-time top 10 in terms of individual scoring efforts, became just the fourth different Valpo player with 32 points or more in a single game over the last decade, joining Ben Krikke, Javon Freeman-Liberty and Alec Peters (five times).
- Stafford had the second-highest scoring output by a Valpo player in a league game since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, behind only Krikke’s 34 last season at UIC. Besides Stafford and Krikke, the last Valpo player to score 32 or more in a road game was Peters on Jan. 10, 2016 with 39 at Detroit Mercy.
Stafford Going Strong
- Isaiah Stafford has led the team in scoring (outright or tied) on 13 occasions this season.
- Stafford, who ranks eighth in the MVC in scoring at 16.3 points per game, has scored 15 points or more in seven of his last 10 contests.
- Stafford is averaging 17.2 points per game in MVC play, which would be Valpo’s fifth-highest league-only scoring average in the last 15 years behind Ben Krikke’s 2022-23 (21.0 ppg), Alec Peters’ 2016-17 (20.9), Peters’ 2015-16 (17.9) and Javon Freeman-Liberty’s 17.4 (2019-20). Stafford ranks fifth in the MVC in league-only scoring average this year.
- Although points scored at the junior college level are not officially recognized, Stafford is closing in on 1,000 points as a college basketball player if those scored last season at John A. Logan College are considered.
- He scored 436 points for the Vols to go along with 203 as a freshman at Southern Indiana and 359 this year with the Beacons. All told, he has scored 998 points as a college basketball player, needing two to get to 1,000 points across all levels.
- Darius DeAveiro ranks 32nd nationally and second in the MVC with 130 total assists and ranks 43rd in the country and second in the league at 5.2 assists per game.
- On Jan. 27 vs. Missouri State, DeAveiro had 20 points and seven assists, becoming just the second Valpo player to achieve that stat line in the last 15 years and the first in that time period to do so in a conference game. Nick Edwards turned the trick twice last season, including a points-assists double-double of 20&12 on Dec. 21, 2022 vs. Stonehill.
- DeAveiro has scored seven or more in 12 of his last 13 games and is averaging 11.3 points per game in MVC play. This comes after he averaged 1.4 points per game in conference action last season.
- Overall, the Valpo point guard is averaging 8.8 points per game this season after averaging 1.8 ppg a year ago.
- His 10 assists in this season’s game vs. Samford tied a career high set on Nov. 13, 2022 vs. Western Michigan.
- DeAveiro scored in double figures in four straight games from Dec. 29 to Jan. 10 after entering that stretch with two double-figure scoring outputs in his first 66 collegiate contests. He scored 18 or more in two of those contests.
Sepp Steps Up
- Valpo debuted a new starting lineup on Feb. 7 at Indiana State, as Jaxon Edwards and Jahari Williamson joined Darius DeAveiro, Cooper Schwieger and Isaiah Stafford.
- Edwards made his first start in his last eight games, appearing in the starting five for the first time in nearly a month. Williamson made his fifth start of the season.
- The shakeup meant that Sherman Weatherspoon IV and Kaspar Sepp came off the bench. Weatherspoon had started the previous seven games, while Sepp had made a dozen straight starts. He came off the bench for the first time since Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State.
- Sepp responded in a big way by tallying a season-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting after he had been held scoreless in three of his previous four games.
- This marked Sepp’s third double-figure scoring output of the season and first since Jan. 6 at UIC. He outdid his previous season high by five points.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 7: Indiana State 101, Valpo 61
- The team’s top four scorers were all freshmen as Kaspar Sepp’s season-high 15 points was eclipsed only by Cooper Schwieger’s team-high 17. Jahari Williamson was the third rookie in double figures with 13.
- Freshmen and sophomores combined for 91.8 percent of the team’s scoring.
- Schwieger notched his ninth straight game with nine points or more. He was 8-of-11 from 2-point territory but 0-for-5 from 3. He hauled in five rebounds.
- Jaxon Edwards elevated for a team-high nine rebounds including three offensive boards. He had his highest rebounding output in the last nine games and his second-highest in MVC play behind 11 on Jan. 6 at UIC.
- Williamson enjoyed his ninth double-figure scoring output of the season.
- Junior point guard Darius DeAveiro swiped four steals, a season high. This tied his career high, reached twice, most recently Feb. 26, 2023.
- This marked the first time a Valpo opponent scored triple digits since Valpo’s 117-108 triple overtime loss to Mercer on Nov. 29, 2013. This was the first time Valpo allowed 100 in regulation since Nov. 20, 2013 at Evansville.
Ain’t Nothing But a Heartache
- A valiant effort came up just shy as Valpo fell 63-62 to Evansville on Feb. 3 at the ARC. This marked the team’s 10th straight defeat in games decided by four points or fewer with its most recent win by four points or fewer coming on Nov. 27, 2022 vs. James Madison.
- Valpo has five setbacks this season decided by four points or fewer.
- This was Valpo’s second loss by the slimmest of margins this season. The Beacons fell by the identical score of 63-62 on Dec. 16 vs. Chicago State. Valpo has dropped its last five one-point games with its most recent one-point win coming 66-65 on Feb. 21, 2021 at Southern Illinois.
The Baby Beacs
- You’ve likely heard of the 2004-05 “Baby Bulls,” but it’s time to officially dub the 2023-24 Valpo basketball team the “Baby Beacs.” Like the 2004-05 Chicago Bulls featuring rookies Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Chris Duhon and Andres Nocioni, this year’s version of the Beacons is filled with promising young players.
- On Jan. 27 vs. Missouri State, four true freshmen were part of the Valpo starting lineup – Sherman Weatherspoon IV, Kaspar Sepp, Cooper Schwieger and Jahari Williamson. This marked the first time in 40 years that Valpo had started four freshmen.
- Valpo’s 2023-24 roster is a new-look group that is among the nation’s most inexperienced teams. The Beacons rank 356 of 362 in the KenPom “experience factor” at 0.54. The experience factor is calculated using eligibility class weighted by minutes played.
- This marks Valpo’s least experienced group since the farthest back KenPom data in 2006-07. Valpo’s two most experienced teams in that time period were the 2012-13 team, which ranked 15th nationally at 2.30 in experience and went to the NCAA Tournament, and the 2015-16 group, which ranked 48th nationally at 2.01 and went to the NIT title game.
- The season most similar to this one in terms of KenPom experience factor was the 2013-14 campaign, when Valpo ranked 338th nationally at 0.66 during Alec Peters’ freshman year.
- The only more inexperienced teams nationally, per KenPom, are Notre Dame, Boston, Saint Francis, Siena, Northwestern State and Idaho.
- Valpo has four freshmen with multiple double-figure scoring outputs this season – Jahari Williamson, Kaspar Sepp, Cooper Schwieger and Sherman Weatherspoon IV. The last time that occurred was 2013-14 – Alec Peters, Clay Yeo, Lexus Williams and Jubril Adekoya.
- Cooper Schwieger was named the MVC Freshman of the Week for the second straight week and third time this season on Jan. 22. This came after he averaged 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over two contests that week.
- Schwieger had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds at Evansville before turning in a 19-point, nine-rebound effort in a come-from-behind win over UIC.
- This was the fifth time a Beacon has captured an MVC weekly honor this season. Schwieger was previously named MVC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 27 and Jan. 15, while Jahari Williamson earned that award on Jan. 2. Isaiah Stafford was tabbed MVC Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 20.
- Valpo has already secured its highest total of MVC weekly awards since joining the league.
Sciarroni on Scholarship
- Head coach Roger Powell Jr. presented former walk-on Anthony Sciarroni with scholarship papers on Jan. 16 as part of “Team Time.” He has earned an athletic scholarship for the Spring 2024 semester.
- Sciarroni spent three seasons on the Valpo football team, a member of the Division-I, nonscholarship Pioneer Football League, before joining the basketball program – first as a manager, then as a walk-on and now as a scholarship player.
- At St. Francis de Sales High School, Sciarroni was a four-year letter winner in basketball and was a team captain each of his final two seasons.
- Justus McNair signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his basketball career at Valpo during the November signing period.
- The Joliet West senior and Joliet, Ill. native has a deep connection to head coach Roger Powell Jr. His parents grew up with Powell in Joliet.
- McNair, a 6-foot-3 guard, lists going to state in eighth grade as a favorite basketball memory. He also highlighted last season’s Joliet West sectional championship appearance, fueled by a late-season, 14-game winning streak and a 29-6 record.
- Powell on McNair: “I’m extremely excited about this young man from Joliet, Ill., my hometown. He’s a tough, physical and athletic guard who will add even more athleticism and ability to shoot the ball to our team next year. I’m fired up and can’t wait to get him here and help us continue to build a winning tradition.”
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.