Wednesday, October 30, 2002
The Scott Drew Era begins Sunday when the Valparaiso University men's basketball team hosts International Select in an exhibition game. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. in the ARC.
The Crusaders play their first game under the guidance of Drew, who served as a Valpo associate head coach/assistant for nine years. Valpo, which won a school-record 25 games and a seventh Mid-Continent Conference title last season, returns an experienced squad led by two-time First Team All-Mid-Con center Raitis Grafs. A 6'11" senior, Grafs is Valpo's all-time blocked shots leader and averaged 12.6 points last year.
Grafs is complemented by senior guard Stalin Ortiz, who earned Mid-Con All-Newcomer honors after averaging 11.2 points in 2001-02. Also returning from last year's rotation are senior guard Greg Tonagel, senior center Antti Nikkila, junior forward Joaquim Gomes and sophomore point guard Ali Berdiel.
International Select is comprised of former Division I players, including Greg McQuay and Rodney Smith from Purdue, Charles Macon from Central Michigan, LaSalle Thompson from Ball State, Damon Frierson from Miami of Ohio and Townsend Orr from Minnesota.