Valpo, Purdue Meet on Friday Night on Big Ten Network
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Valpo, Purdue Meet on Friday Night on Big Ten Network
Mileek McMillan is the only player on remaining on either team who played in the last Valpo/Purdue matchup.

Valparaiso (0-2, 0-0 MVC)
at Purdue (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Game No. 3 – Friday, Dec. 4 – 6 p.m. CT
Mackey Arena (14,804) – West Lafayette, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo BasketballThống kê xổ số Tây Ninh: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will conclude a season-opening stretch of three straight road games on Friday night in West Lafayette. Valpo will be on the national television airwaves against a Power 5 opponent for the second straight Friday, this time battling Big Ten foe Purdue on Big Ten Network in the team’s first trip to Mackey Arena since 2017-18.

Last Time OutThống kê xổ số Tây Ninh: Led by a Teyvion Kirk double-double of 14 points and 14 assists, host UIC topped Valpo 66-50 on Tuesday in Valpo’s first regular season game against a Horizon League team since departing the league for the Missouri Valley Conference prior to the 2017-18 season. Kirk became the first Valpo opponent to record a double-figure assist total in a game since Duane Gibson of Evansville had 10 on Nov. 20, 2013. It marked the highest assist total by a Valpo opponent since Oakland’s Mychal Covington also had 14 on Feb. 21, 2002. Valpo was limited to 1-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc with freshman Connor Barrett accounting for the lone triple with his first collegiate basket.

Following Valpo Basketball: Television – Big Ten Network – Wayne Randazzo (play-by-play) and Ben Brust (analyst)

Thống kê xổ số Tây NinhRadio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Brandon Vickrey (analyst)

Thống kê xổ số Tây NinhTwitter updates - @ValpoBasketball

Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (73-62) is in his eighth season overall at Valpo and fifth as head coach in 2020-21. 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.

For Starters

  • Valpo is off to its first 0-2 start since 2009-10, when head coach Homer Drew’s team incurred a season-opening setback to Ball State before falling at No. 4 North Carolina.
  • Twice Valpo has started the season 0-2 and gone on to reach the NCAA Tournament – 2001-02 and the famous Sweet 16 season of 1997-98.
  • This marks the first time Valpo has started the season with three straight road games since 1996-97. Coincidentally, that season also began at Vanderbilt. The 1996-97 campaign culminated with an NCAA Tournament berth. Before that, Valpo hadn’t started with three straight true road contests since 1933-34.
  • Valpo is looking to avoid its first 0-3 start since Homer Drew’s squad dropped the first five games of the 2004-05 season.
  • Valpo had won eight consecutive season openers prior to this year’s season-opening setback at Vanderbilt. However, Valpo had opened at home in each of those eight seasons.
  • The last time Valpo started the season with a defeat before Friday was Nov. 7, 2011 at No. 16 Arizona, 73-64.
  • This year marked Valpo’s latest season opener since the 1994-95 season, which also tipped off on Nov. 27.

Sophomore Standouts

  • Sophomore Ben Krikke has been a bright spot so far this season, averaging 12 points per game on an efficient 9-of-15 (60 percent) shooting. He shot 55 percent from the field a year ago, fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference and second among Valley freshmen.
  • Krikke had nine double-figure games last season, but the first two games of this year mark the first time in his collegiate career he has hit double figures in consecutive contests.
  • Krikke has started the first two games this season after coming off the bench for 32 of his 33 appearances a year ago.
  • Fellow sophomore Donovan Clay, a Preseason MVC Second Team pick, leads Valpo in scoring at 13 points per game and has also been in double figures in each contest. Clay has hit double figures in seven of his last eight games dating back to last season.

Other Notes Wrapping Up UIC (Dec. 1)

  • Nick Robison paced the team with six rebounds, leading six Valpo players with three or more. He led the team in rebounds for the fourth time in his Valpo career and first since Dec. 8, 2019 (9 vs. Central Michigan).
  • Valpo saw a 17-game head-to-head winning streak with the Flames that dated back to 2009 come to an end.
  • Under the direction of first-year head coach Luke Yaklich, UIC is 3-0 for the first time since 2001.
  • Valpo will attempt to bounce back from beyond the 3-point arc on Friday at Purdue. In the season opener, the team went 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from distance in the first half. However, over the last three halves of basketball, Valpo is 5-of-34 (14.7 percent) including 1-of-14 against the Flames.
  • Valpo scored 32 of its 50 points in the paint on Tuesday. The 50-point total equaled Valpo’s lowest from last season (Jan. 7 at Southern Illinois).
  • UIC racked up 19 assists on 23 made baskets and had three players score in double figures.

Series Notes: Purdue

  • Valpo is 2-15 all-time against its instate foe with one of the two victories coming in a game that Purdue originally won in December 1995. That contest was later ruled a forfeit in Valpo’s favor due to Purdue’s use of an ineligible player.
  • Valpo’s other victory against the Boilermakers came at home on Dec. 22, 1965, a 114-96 triumph.
  • Valpo’s last matchup with Purdue marked the team’s first loss of the 2017-18 season. The No. 21 Boilermakers prevailed 80-50 at Mackey Arena on Dec. 7, 2017 to snap Valpo’s 8-0 start. Valpo senior Mileek McMillan is the only current player on either team who played in the last Valpo/Purdue matchup.
  • Valpo has lost 14 straight against Big Ten competition dating back to Dec. 28, 2004, a 69-56 victory over Penn State as part of the Arizona State Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

Region Connections

  • Both teams have several players who hail from Indiana’s 219 area code.
  • The Purdue roster features a pair of Northwest Indiana natives – Sasha Stefanovic (Crown Point) and Brandon Newman (Valparaiso). Both Newman (15.3) and Stefanovic (12.3) have started all three games thus far. They are second and third, respectively, on the team in scoring behind Zach Edey at 16.3 ppg.
  • Stefanovic, Newman and Valpo starter Mileek McMillan (Merrillville) all played high school basketball in the Duneland Athletic Conference.
  • Valpo walk-on Steven Helm and Newman are both Valparaiso High School products. Helm graduated in 2016 and Newman in 2019, so Newman was a freshman when Helm was a senior.
  • Former Purdue standout and current college basketball television analyst Robbie Hummel is a Valparaiso native and was a ball boy for Valpo head coach Homer Drew’s program as a child.

Inside the Boilermakers

  • Head coach Matt Painter has led the team to five Sweet 16 appearances, 11 NCAA Tournament berths and three Big Ten regular season titles.
  • For just the third time in Painter’s 16 seasons, Purdue returns its top three scorers from the previous season, led by Trevion Williams (11.5 ppg).
  • The team includes no seniors for the first time in program history and seven of their 15 players are in their first season of college basketball.
  • Purdue is off to a 2-1 start with victories over Oakland and Liberty sandwiched around an 81-70 loss to Clemson.

Formidable Frontcourt

  • The play of forwards Ben Krikke and Mileek McMillan was a highlight of the season-opening defeat at Vanderbilt. Krikke made the second start of his collegiate career and first against a Division-I opponent with his only prior start coming on Nov. 27, 2019 vs. Trinity Christian. It marked the first time Krikke and McMillan started together.
  • The two combined for 31 points, more than they combined for in any one game last season. Their highest combined point total a year ago was 27 on Nov. 17, 2019.
  • Krikke played a career-high 34 minutes in the season opener. The most playing time he received in any one game as a rookie a year ago was 25 minutes in the first round of the MVC Tournament vs. Evansville on March 5.
  • McMillan drained four 3s on his way to 18 points, two shy of a career high that came on Feb. 19 of last season against Drake. He made seven field goals in the opener against the Commodores, equaling a personal best set in the aforementioned game at Drake.
  • McMillan crossed the 500-point threshold for his Valpo career at Vanderbilt and enters Friday as the team’s active career leader with 504.

Rookie Report

  • Sheldon Edwards became the seventh Valpo freshman in the last 20 years to start a season opener, joining a list that also includes Alec Peters, Javon Freeman-Liberty, Tevonn Walker, Erik Buggs, DeAndre Haskins and Parker Hazen.
  • Edwards was one of three freshmen to make his collegiate debut at Vanderbilt along with Jacob Ognacevic and Connor Barrett. For a stretch in the second half on Tuesday at UIC, Valpo ran out a lineup that featured all three freshmen together for the first time this season.
  • Goodnews Kpegeol, a junior college transfer who is at his fourth school since high school (prep school, Kansas State, junior college, Valpo), also made his first Valpo appearance at Vanderbilt.
  • Sophomore Sigurd Lorange saw his first game action since Jan. 18 of last season after missing the end of last year with a hip injury.

Other Notes Wrapping Up Vanderbilt (Nov. 27)

  • Fifth-year senior Eron Gordon squeezed a career-high eight rebounds to lead the team in rebounding for the first time in his Valpo career. His previous high watermark was five, reached on three occasions last season.
  • Preseason All-MVC Second Team choice Donovan Clay started his sophomore season with a 14-point, five-rebound effort.
  • Daniel Sackey put together a balanced line of six points, five rebounds and six assists. It was the first time in the junior point guard’s collegiate career that he had five or more in all three categories in a single game. He also swiped four steals, equalling a career high that he had most recently achieved on Dec. 3 of last season.
  • Valpo fell to 0-3 all-time against Vanderbilt, but all three matchups have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Valpo dropped to 4-15 all-time against current SEC members.
  • One key disparity came at the free-throw line, where Valpo went 4-of-8 and Vandy went 23-of-27. Vanderbilt’s Scottie Pippen Jr. made all 14 of his free throws and finished with a game-high 25 points.
  • Valpo knocked down seven of its 15 3-point attempts in the first half, but went just 4-of-20 (20 percent) from distance after the break.

A Look Back at 2019-20Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh: 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, head coach Matt Lottich’s team did more than hold its own, 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. 

Preseason Picks

  • Sophomore Donovan Clay was named to the Preseason MVC Second Team.
  • Valpo was picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll based on a survey of the conference’s head coaches, media members and sports information directors.
  • Valpo exceeded preseason expectations a year ago after being picked to finish ninth. The Brown & Gold tied for sixth in the regular-season standings and went on to finish as the conference tournament runner-up.

Who’s Back, Who’s New?

  • This year’s team features 11 returning letter winners (nine scholarship, two walk-on) to go along with six newcomers (four scholarship, two walk-on).
  • Three letter winners departed from last year’s team.
  • Valpo returns 59.2 percent of its scoring and 64.3 percent of its rebounding from last season. Both numbers are up from a year ago, when Valpo returned just 40.1 percent of its scoring and 35.7 percent of its rebounding from 2018-19.
  • Last season, the entire roster was from either Indiana, Illinois or outside the United States. This year, Valpo has added three additional states to the mix in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida.
  • Still, six players hail from Illinois and four from Indiana. The six Illinois natives are the most since 2015-16.
  • Coincidentally, Valpo’s last player from the state of Florida before Sheldon Edwards shares the same last name. Lakeland native Richie Edwards played for the Brown & Gold during the 2011-2012 campaign.
  • Goodnews Kpegeol is the first Valpo player from the state of Minnesota since Cory Johnson’s final season on campus in 2010-2011.
  • Jacob Ognacevic is Valpo’s first player from Wisconsin since Andrew Ferry in 2008-2009.

Arrow Pointed Up

  • Valpo made its first conference championship appearance since 2015, doing so after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll.
  • Valpo reached the conference title game as only a third-year Missouri Valley Conference member. When Valpo transitioned from the Mid-Continent Conference to the Horizon League prior to the 2007-2008 season, the program didn’t reach the conference championship game until Year 5 and followed by winning its first Horizon League Tournament title in Year 6.
  • The men’s basketball program became the first Valpo team in any sport to reach the Missouri Valley Conference championship game during the department’s young tenure in the prestigious league.
  • Valpo accepted a postseason tournament invitation for the first time since joining The Valley, agreeing to a CollegeInsider.com Tournament berth before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus.
  • The program had its largest win increase from the previous season (four) since jumping from 18 wins in 2013-14 to 28 in 2014-15.
  • Valpo finished with a winning record during the nonconference portion of the season for the 10th straight year. In addition, Valpo continued its history of home dominance and hasn’t finished with a losing mark at the ARC since 1991-92, extending its streak to 28 seasons. Valpo achieved a double-figure home win total for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

2019-20 Team Statistical Feats

  • Led the Missouri Valley Conference in assists per game at 15.2, the first time Valpo led a conference in that area since pacing the Horizon League in 2011-2012. The 15.2 assists per game was Valpo’s highest total since 2010-11 (15.8 apg) and the team’s second-highest output over the last 13 seasons. The squad ranked 29th nationally in assists per game and 12th in total assists.
  • Averaged 7.7 steals per game to rank second in the MVC and totaled 270 steals, a number that ranked 18th The team had its highest steals average since 2010-11 and the second-highest over the last 16 seasons.
  • The team averaged 72.3 points per game, second in the MVC. That was the team’s second-highest scoring average over the last eight seasons. In addition, the team jumped 5.5 points per game from 2018-19 to 2019-20.
  • Valpo made 287 3-pointers, the team’s second-most since 2008-09 and the third-most over the last 30 years.
  • The team had 922 made field goals, its third most over the last 30 years.
  • Valpo committed just 12.7 turnovers per game, the team’s lowest total over the last 30 seasons.

2020 Arch Madness Accomplishments

  • The Valpo/Loyola quarterfinal was the 18th overtime game in MVC Tournament history and the 20th game decided by a single point. It was the first one-point game in the MVC Tournament since Indiana State’s 51-50 victory over Evansville in 2013.
  • Valpo’s 89 points in the MVC semifinal against Missouri State were the seventh-most in a game in the 30-year history of Arch Madness. It was the highest scoring output in any MVC Tournament contest since Creighton put 99 on Evansville on March 3, 2012.
  • Valpo scored 287 points in the MVC Tournament, the third most in the history of the event and the most since Indiana State scored 310 in 1978.
  • The team’s 138 rebounds were the fourth most in MVC Tournament history and the most since Tulsa had 143 in 1978.
  • The 107 made field goals were the third most in MVC Tournament history and the most since Indiana State in 1978.
  • The 29 made 3-point field goals tied for the second most in MVC Tournament history (despite going 0-for against Evansville), joining 2009 Illinois State (32) and 1999 Evansville (29).
  • The 90 3-point field goal attempts shattered the previous tournament record of 76 (Drake 2008, Illinois State 2009).
  • Valpo made 10 3-pointers in the conference championship game, tying for the fourth most in the history of the MVC Final just a few days removed from hitting no 3s in a win over Evansville. Valpo became the first team to make zero 3s in an MVC Tournament Game since Southern Illinois went 0-for-6 on March 5, 1994 vs. Missouri State.
  • Valpo’s 29 3-point attempts in the MVC final tied for the second most in the history of the title game, joining Illinois State in 2009 (35 vs. UNI 2009) and Illinois State in 2012 (29 vs. Creighton).
  • Only one team since 1994 had made 15 or more field goals in the first half of an MVC title game (Drake 16 vs. Illinois State in 2008), and Valpo and Bradley had 15 apiece in the first half of this year’s championship game.
  • Valpo made seven 3s in the first half of the title game against Bradley, tying the MVC Tournament title game record of seven set by Southern Illinois on March 7, 1989 vs. Creighton. Valpo set the conference title game record for 3-point attempts in the first half with 16, eclipsing the previous mark of 15 set by Illinois State on March 8, 2009 vs. UNI.
  • Ryan Fazekas’ 21 3-point attempts in the MVC Tournament tied for the ninth-most in the history of the event.

Comeback Kids

  • Valpo came from 18 down to beat Loyola in the 2020 MVC quarterfinal, becoming just the fourth team in the history of the MVC Tournament to climb from 18 or more down to win. It was tied for the second biggest comeback in MVC Tournament history behind Missouri State erasing a 23-point deficit to beat Southern Illinois in 2005. The other two teams to erase 18-point deficits were Bradley in 2019 and UNI in 2015.
  • Six times during the season, including four against Valley teams, Valpo came from double figures down to win. There was also one double-figure comeback during the team’s preseason tour in Canada.
  • Valpo came back to tie or take the lead after trailing by double figures 11 times during the season.
  • In the first four years of Matt Lottich’s coaching tenure, Valpo has trailed by double figures and won on 15 occasions and led by double figures and lost just once.
  • Six times under Lottich, including twice this season, Valpo trailed by double figures and went on to win by double figures.
  • Valpo became the second team in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference to erase deficits of 17 points or more twice in one season, joining Creighton from 2007-2008.

Erasing Double-Figure Deficits Under Lottich

Year                Opponent                    Largest Deficit            Outcome

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2019-20           Loyola                         18*                              W 74-73 (ot)

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2019-20           Bradley                       13                                W 90-78

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2019-20           Illinois State               17                                W 65-62

2019-20           Indiana State               11                                W 86-77

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2019-20           SIUE                           10                                W 89-76

2019-20           Toledo                         14                                W 79-77

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2018-19           Illinois State               12                                W 58-56

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2018-19           George Washington    10                                W 82-79

2018-19           UNLV                         11                                W 72-64

2017-18           Bradley                       10                                W 77-64

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2017-18           UNCW                        10                                W 79-70

2016-17           Wright State               10                                W 84-74

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2016-17           Cleveland State           12                                W 78-67

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2016-17           BYU                            12                                W 92-89

Thống kê xổ số Tây Ninh2016-17           Trinity Christian         16                                W 89-75

*largest comeback since Jan. 17, 2012 vs. Detroit Mercy

Staff Sidebars

  • Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 19th 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 10 years and was on staff for the three winningest seasons in program history. He oversees the team’s post players in addition to leading Valpo’s scheduling and scouting efforts.
  • Assistant coach Rob Holloway is back for his third season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
  • 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.
  • Director of Basketball Operations Jason Karys is in his second season in that capacity, but has been around the program in a variety of roles, spending two years as a graduate assistant, one as a walk-on player and three as a manager.
  • Bob Brooks is in his 17th year as Valpo Director of Strength & Conditioning at Valpo and has returned to oversight of men’s basketball strength & conditioning in 2020-21. He has worked with Valpo teams since 1994.
  • Graduate Assistant Peter Funk is in his second year in that role after three years as an undergraduate manager.
  • Athletic trainer Ken DeAngelis is in his second 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 10 years, including last year 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 three 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.

#0 Goodnews Kpegeol, R-So. (St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Made his Valpo debut in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt.
  • Joins the program as a junior college transfer after averaging 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds at Southwest Mississippi in 2019-20.
  • Started the 2018-19 season at Taylor Made Prep in Pensacola, Fla., then transfered to Kansas State at the semester break and sat out the remainder of that season due to transfer rules.
  • Was a four-year letter winner at North High School in St. Paul, leading his team to a 22-5 overall mark and 15-1 conference record as a senior.
  • Played his high school basketball for Damian Johnson, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota before going on to a professional career from 2010-2016. Johnson was teammates with Valpo head coach Matt Lottich when both played for the Oita Heat Devils in Japan in 2010-2011.
  • First name comes from his parents’ belief that he could bring something good into the world.

#1 Sigurd Lorange, So. (Tronheim, Norway)

  • Appeared in nine games in 2019-20 before having his rookie season cut short by a hip injury.
  • Averaged 2.9 points per contest while shooting a robust 60 percent (6-of-10) from 3-point land in limited action.
  • Played all kinds of sports as a child. His best three sports were soccer, handball and basketball. There were phases of his life where he wanted to pursue soccer or handball, but eventually figured out that basketball was the most fun sport for him.

#2 Zion Morgan, R-Sr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Appeared in 28 games during his first season at Valpo in 2019-20.
  • Joined the program as a junior college transfer after two seasons at Wabash Valley College.
  • Started his collegiate career by playing in 27 games and making five starts at UNLV in 2016-17.
  • Was teammates with Valpo’s Nick Robinson at Kenwood Academy in Chicago.

#3 Steven Helm III, R-So. (Valparaiso, Ind.)

  • Spent the last two years in Japan serving a mission for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Started his collegiate career at Carroll College, where he competed in both basketball and track & field.
  • Connected at a 47.1 percent clip from 3-point range and a 94.2 percent clip from the foul line.
  • Qualified for nationals in track & field and helped his basketball team to the national tournament while at Carroll.
  • Transferred to Valpo and sat out the 2017-18 basketball season while competing in track & field that spring.
  • Led his Valparaiso High School team to a 20-7 record as a senior, averaging a team-high 16.1 points/game along with 3.5 assists/game.
  • Mother is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Valpo. Father Steve Jr. was an NAIA Third Team All-American at Montana State University-Northern and went on to play for the American Basketball Association’s Indiana Legends after his collegiate career. Steve Jr. followed his playing days with a coaching career that featured four seasons as an assistant on the Valpo women’s basketball staff.
  • Considers himself a "movie buff" and "Star Wars nerd." Saving Private Ryan and Star Wards Episode 3 are his favorite movies.

#4 Daniel Sackey, Jr. (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

  • Put together a balanced line of six points, five rebounds and six assists in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt - the first time in his collegiate career that he’s had five or more in all three categories in the same game. Also swiped four steals, equaling a career high.
  • Ranked fifth in the MVC and second among sophomores at 3.6 assists per game… Had a team-high 121 assists to go along with 6.3 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game and 35 steals while averaging 25.5 minutes over 34 contests (25 starts) as a sophomore in 2019-20.
  • Made a buzzer-beater to upstage Canadian powerhouse Carleton in overtime in August 2019, making an appearance on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays at No. 9 that evening.
  • Has been a drummer since elementary school. The basement of his family’s home in Canada includes a small recording studio. He has a deep passion for music.
  • Became just the sixth Manitoban to earn a scholarship in Division-I men’s basketball since the NCAA reorganized into its current competitive format in 1973.

#5 Donovan Clay, So. (Alton, Ill.)

  • Named to the MVC Preseason Second Team
  • Leading into the season, put a lot of time into his shot, agility and being able to run faster and jump higher.
  • Was one of two Valpo players to compete in all 35 games and made 33 starts during his freshman campaign.
  • Was third on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (4.6 ppg) while leading the team in blocked shots with 36 in 2019-20.
  • Earned a place on the MVC All-Freshman Team in 2019-20.
  • Scored in double figures on 19 occasions including eight outputs of 15+ points and two of 20+ points. He scored in double figures just once over his first seven games and then did so in 18 of the next 28.
  • Is a high-level video game player, following in the footsteps of former Valpo sharp-shooter Ryan Fazekas. Enjoys playing NBA 2K games online all the time. Also enjoys tossing a football or baseball in his spare time.

#10 Eron Gordon, R-Sr. (Indianapolis, Ind.)

  • Led the team on the glass for the first time in his Valpo career by squeezing a career-high eight rebounds in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt.
  • Was one of two players on the team who appeared in all 35 games in 2019-20.
  • Made the go-ahead layup with three seconds left in overtime in Valpo’s 74-73 upset win over Loyola in the MVC quarterfinal to help the Brown & Gold complete an 18-point rally. That was the 25th time since the start of the 1992-93 season that Valpo prevailed on a game-winner in the final five seconds.
  • Became the third Valpo player to hit a game-winner in the final five seconds of a conference tournament or postseason game since 1992-93, joining Ryan Broekhoff (2013 vs. Green Bay) and Bryce Drew (1998 vs. Ole Miss).
  • Joined the program in 2018-19 but sat out due to transfer rules. Appeared in 48 games over his two years at Seton Hall.
  • Oldest brother Eric was the seventh pick of the 2008 NBA Draft and has played 11 seasons in the NBA. Father Eric is one of the Top 20 all-time scorers at Liberty. Brother Evan is playing in the CBA after scoring over 1,300 points at the Division-I level at Liberty, Arizona State and Indiana.
  • Enjoys filming and editing videos and podcasting.
  • Enjoys travel and features his destinations on one of his YouTube channels.
  • Future plans include playing professional basketball, pursuing broadcast journalism and contributing to the family business, E3 Basketball Academy.

#11 Emil Freese-Vilien, Fr. (Copenhagen, Denmark)

  • Appeared in 16 games and averaged 6.6 minutes per contest while totaling 16 points, four blocked shots, five assists and 15 rebounds (six offensive boards) during his rookie campaign in 2019-20.
  • Started playing basketball in November 2014 after playing badminton during his younger years.
  • Played for Denmark at both the U16 and U18 FIBA Euro Championships in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
  • Shortly before coming to Valpo, played for Vaerlose in the Danish Basketligaen, the highest professional league in Denmark.
  • Majoring in civil engineering
  • Has been very interested in drawing for many years. Wanted to become an architect for a long time and still has that dream in the back of his mind. Spends a lot of time drawing blueprints and houses.

#12 Tyler Fricke, Fr. (Arlington Heights, Ill.)

  • Joined the Valpo program as a walk-on for the 2020-21 season.
  • Father Scott coached Valpo head coach Matt Lottich at New Trier High School during Lottich’s playing days.
  • Brother Zach pitches for the Valpo baseball team.

#13 Sheldon Edwards, Fr. (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

  • Became the seventh Valpo freshman in the last 20 years to start the season opener on Nov. 27 at Vanderbilt.
  • Averaged 21.2 points and 7.6 rebounds as a senior at Palm Beach Lakes High School in 2018-19.
  • Spent a postgraduate year at TLAP Sports Academy in Port St. Lucie, Fla. during the 2019-20 season, averaging 32 points per game and five rebounds per contest while turning in two games of 40+ points.
  • Favorite NBA player is Steph Curry, but he models his game after the likes of Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal. When he’s not playing basketball, the Valpo freshman spends much of his free time watching it.

#15 Luke Morrill, So. (Lombard, Ill.)

  • Joined the program as a walk-on prior to the 2019-20 season.
  • Saw action in five games, totaling nine minutes and accruing five points and two rebounds during his first season on campus.
  • Majoring in computer engineering.
  • Considers Valpo teammate Donovan Clay "like a brother" to him after the two were roommates as freshmen and during the spring 2020 COVID-19 quarantine.
  • Enjoys fishing and wakesurfing, which is surfing in the boat’s wake without being directly pulled by the boat.

#21 Brock Pappas, Jr. (Valparaiso, Ind.)

  • Nursing major who joined the program as a walk-on in 2018-19.
  • Is a Valparaiso, Ind. native and a graduate of nearby Washington Township.
  • Mother (Lisa) has worked on Valpo’s campus for 32 years, currently serving as an administrative assistant in the Department of Education. Brother (Bryce) and father (Steve) are both Valpo graduates.
  • Is the first boys basketball player in Washington Township High School history to play at the Division-I level.
  • Grew up attending Valpo games and remembers being a young child who looked up to Valpo basketball players.
  • Has always been interested in working with kids. Initially wanted to be a teacher but decided pediatric nursing is the field for him.

#22 Mileek McMillan, Sr. (Merrillville, Ind.) 

  • Drained four 3s on his way to a team-high 18 points on opening night at Vanderbilt on Nov. 27, when he finished two points shy of a career high and equaled a personal best with seven made field goals.
  • Was named to the MVC Most-Improved Team after upping his scoring average from 2.8 points per game as a sophomore to 8.8 points per game as a junior in 2019-20.
  • Started all 34 games that he played as a junior after making just one start and averaging 8.1 minutes per game as a sophomore.
  • Over doubled his rebounding average from the previous season, going from 1.5 to 3.2 in 2019-20. After making 10 3-pointers as a sophomore, he made 40 during his junior campaign and shot 42.3 percent from distance during conference play.
  • Enjoys playing with his dog, roller skating and playing chess... Likes to look at the sky, especially prior to rainfall or during a sunset... Is a big fan of nature and the sound of trains.
  • Twin brother Mahqueese attends Cal State Los Angeles.
  • Was cut from his middle school basketball team in seventh grade, made the "B" team in eighth grade and missed his freshman year of high school with an injury.

#23 Ben Krikke, So. (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

  • Scored in double figures in each of the first two games of the 2020-21 season (at Vanderbilt, at UIC), the first set of back-to-back double-figure outputs in the sophomore’s collegiate career. His second straight double-figure showing featured 11 points on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting on Dec. 1 at UIC.
  • Made his second career start and first against a Division-I opponent in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt. Finished with 13 points, all in the second half, in a career-high 34 minutes.
  • Leading into the season, spent time working on improving his shooting and hitting shots at a higher rate, especially from 3. Also worked on bulking up and improving his strength, dribbling and ball-handling. Hopes to be versatile enough to play on the perimeter if needed.
  • Appeared in 33 games and made one start during his freshman season… Averaged 6.7 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per contest while blocking 15 shots, coming away with 15 steals, shooting 79.2 percent at the foul line, draining 14 3s and handing out 22 assists… Shot 55.0 percent from the field, finishing fifth in the conference and second among freshmen in field-goal percentage.
  • Hails from Edmonton, a very devout hockey city, but says basketball there is on the upswing.
  • Never played ice hockey, but did compete in badminton, volleyball and various track & field events.
  • Loves to go fishing in the summer. Also enjoys mountain biking and chess, which he learned from his grandfather.

#25 Nick Robinson, R-Sr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Pulled down a team-high six rebounds on Dec. 1 at UIC, leading the team in rebounding for the fourth time in his collegiate career and first since Dec. 8, 2019 (9 vs. Central Michigan).
  • Played in 25 games and made 19 starts while missing nine games due to a back injury.
  • Joined the program as a transfer in 2018-19 and sat out due to transfer rules after playing two seasons at Saint Joseph’s and appearing in 62 games, starting 30 times.
  • High school teammate of Valpo’s Zion Morgan at Kenwood.
  • Enjoys taking photos of nature in his spare time.
  • Has his own small business that involves buying and selling shoes, is a stock investor and plans to start investing in real estate.

#34 Jacob Ognacevic, Fr. (Sheboygan, Wis.)

  • Made his collegiate debut in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt, knocking down a 3 with his only shot attempt of the game to account for his first career points.
  • Named to The Associated Press All-State First Team following his senior season at Sheboygan Lutheran in 2019-20 while also earning Herald Times Player of the Year, All-Big East Conference Player of the Year and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State First-Team status.
  • Was a finalist for Wisconsin Mr. Basketball.
  • Led his team to a 27-2 record and the state championship in Wisconsin Division 5 during his junior season in 2018-19 and was on the way to a repeat before the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19.
  • Became the 38th player in the history of Wisconsin high school basketball to accumulate 2,000 career points, reaching the milestone on Jan. 23, 2020 with a 54-point game against Ozaukee
  • Shattered the Sheboygan Lutheran scoring record that was previously held by Sam Dekker, who played in the NBA from 2015-2019 with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards…
  • Is a big fan of mixed martial arts and roots for all Boston professional sports teams.

#35 Connor Barrett, Fr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Accrued his first collegiate points (3), rebounds (3) and assists (2) on Dec. 1 at UIC. His 3-pointer marked Valpo’s lone made triple of the contest.
  • One of three Valpo freshmen to make his collegiate debut on Nov. 27 at Vanderbilt.
  • Spent a postgraduate year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire during the 2019-20 season.
  • Averaged 11.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game at Loyola Academy as a high school senior during the 2018-19 season while knocking down 64 3-pointers and shooting at a 37.9 percent clip.
  • Led his high school team to back-to-back regional championships and sectional final appearances. Winning roots go back to his middle school days, when his team won three straight championships in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Says winning at a young age helped him mature for the next level.
  • Is an avid golfer whose best score is 73.