#112 Valparaiso Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Valparaiso Crusaders
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #112
Conference Rank: #5 Missouri Valley
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Valparaiso’s debut campaign in the Missouri Valley Conference did not go particularly well. But outside of Loyola with their run to the Final Four, the rest of the conference was a mess of teams that finished the regular season with records between 11-7 and 6-12. It was the Crusaders though that finished all alone with a 6-12 mark. That was a group that relied very heavily on underclassmen though and Coach Matt Lottich’s squad should be much more consistent and competitive in 2018-2019.
2017-18 Record: 15-17, 6-12
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Matt Lottich
Coach Record: 39-26 at Valparaiso, 39-26 overall
Key Departed Players:
Trevonn Walker, Guard, 14.8 ppg
Max Joseph, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Marten Linssen, Forward, 2.0 ppg
Parker Hazen, Forward, 1.0 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Bakari Evelyn, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Derrik Smits, Junior, Center, 7.5 ppg
Mileek McMillan, Sophomore, Forward, 3.2 ppg
Markus Golder, Junior, Guard/Forward, 9.5 ppg
Micah Bradford, Junior, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Jaume Sorolla, Junior, Center, 4.9 ppg
John Kiser, Junior, Guard/Forward, 2.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Ryan Fazekas, Junior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Providence
Javon Freeman-Liberty, Freshman, Guard
Daniel Sackey, Freshman, Guard
Eron Gordon, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Seton Hall, not eligible
Bakari Evelyn transferred in from Nebraska and turned into a very dangerous scorer with the Crusaders. On the year he averaged 12.6 points and a team high 2.9 assists, while connecting on 38.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Micah Bradford has played an important role for this team over the last two seasons. The 6-2 junior is not a major scoring threat, but he can knock down some three’s and find his teammates. Markus Golder, a 6-6 wing, averaged 9.5 points per game in his debut season at Valparaiso and proved to be a very difficult player to defend due to his size and shooting ability. The frontcourt returns both starters with center Derrik Smits and sophomore forward Mileek McMillan. Smits is 7-2 and obviously a massive presence in the paint, while McMillan can do some of the dirty work. The addition of Providence transfer Ryan Fazekas will add another dynamic to the frontcourt. During his two seasons with the Friars, Fazekas started 19 games and proved to be a capable outside shooter. Coach Matt Lottich does not have a senior on his roster. If this group can show improvement, as they should, they will be looking forward to 2019-2020 when they have a senior heavy squad.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.4 (260th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.2 (65, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (167, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (67, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (273, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.2 (216, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (198, 6)
Rebound Margin: 1.3 (143, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (262, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (311, 10)