Now in his third season as head coach at his alma mater, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew has led the Crusaders to 55 wins and two consecutive Horizon League regular season titles. The next step for Valparaiso would be to win the conference’s tournament title and thereby earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Valparaiso was picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll, and a group led by guard LaVonte Dority and forward Alec Peters will look to exceed those expectations.
Thus far it’s clear that they’ve got a coach capable of leading them in that quest, and on Wednesday the school announced its commitment to Drew in the form of a 10-year contract extension.
“Bryce Drew has shown himself to be one of the exceptional young coaches in college basketball,” Valparaiso AD Mark LaBarbera said in the release. “His outstanding record clearly shows his ability to recruit and lead talented student-athletes. We are grateful for Coach Drew’s dedication to Valparaiso University and excited that he will continue in a leadership role here for the foreseeable future.”
Valparaiso’s off to a 7-5 start and they’ve won three of their last four games, with the lone defeat being a two-point loss to Saint Louis as time expired on December 7. Green Bay, which beat Virginia last month, and Youngstown State are off to good starts as is Milwaukee, which was picked to finish last in the preseason coaches poll. Add in preseason favorite Wright State and a solid Cleveland State squad, and the Horizon League race will be a competitive one.
Much may not have been expected of Valparaiso, especially when considering the loss of Ryan Broekhoff, but with Drew at the helm the Crusaders are more than capable of factoring into the race.
Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.
On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.
Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.
The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.
It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.
Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
Florida freshman forward Dontay Bassett is out for the season with a stress fracture, according to a release from the school.
Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.
A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.
Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.
Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on Rivals.com as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.
Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.
This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.
Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.
But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.
As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players. Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.