College basketball is just better when Valpo is good

Ben Krikke - Valparaiso. Photo courtesy of the MVC.

Valparaiso has loaded up on Big 10 transfers looking to rebound from a sub-par 10-18 record last season.

College basketball just seems better some years when certain programs are good. The newly named Valparaiso Beacons are one of those teams who always seem to make March Madness that much more exciting over the past few decades.

Valpo hasn’t been back to the NCAA tournament since 2015 finding a tougher path to the dance since joining the Missouri Valley Conference back in 2017.

However, there is a beacon of hope ahead of the 2021-22 season under sixth year head coach Matt Lottich who has gone to the transfer market to revamp his line up.

Valpo has five transfers coming in this season including four players from the Big 10. Three are former Wisconsin Badgers including Trevor Anderson, Kobe King and Joe Hedstrom along with Thomas Kithier a 6’8 senior forward from Michigan State.

Hedstrom is a 7-foot junior who played in 15 games over two years while King is a 6’4 senior guard who averaged 10 points per game last year for Wisconsin. Anderson is a 6’3 senior who is expected to get plenty of minutes at point guard this season at Valpo.

Lottich spoke about the addition of Anderson to his line up and said, “He played a lot of back up point (guard) at Wisconsin and we’re pretty familiar with him back when he was on Green Bay’s team when we were in the Horizon League and he was pretty good there.” He added, “He thinks like a point guard and speaks like one and he is a leader on the floor.”

Lottich also spoke highly of incoming freshman point guard Darius DeAveiro from Ottawa, ON who helped lead his high school team to three straight consecutive national championships. DeAveiro is one of five new freshman at Valpo and is the son of a head coach with his father David at Toronto’s Ryerson University as well as being involved with the Canadian national team program.

Valpo has eight returning players highlighted by another Canadian 6’9 junior Ben Krikke who was named third team All-MVC after leading the team with 12.3 points per game along with 6’4 sophomore guard Sheldon Edwards who was named to all the MVC All-Freshman team.

Drake is expected to be the favourite to win the MVC along with defending champion Loyola-Chicago. However, Valparaiso certainly has the talent to compete for a title in the MVC and perhaps surprise some people come March.