Valparaiso’s success at placing players into professional basketball after graduation continues, as both Jarryd Loyd (Latvia) and Calum MacLeod (Japan) have signed professional contracts. With the pair of signings, all three members of the Crusaders’ 2007-2008 senior class will be playing pro basketball this year.
Loyd has signed with BK Valmeira of the Baltic Basketball League in Latvia. Valmeira competes in the league’s Elite Division, which is comprised of the league’s ten strongest teams. Loyd played for Valmeira head coach Ainars Bagatskis in the Italian summer league in Treviso in July, helping his squad to the league’s championship game with a 25-point, eight-assist effort.
Loyd finished his four-year career with the Crusaders with 930 points and 405 assists, becoming one of just four players in Valpo history to register at least 400 career helpers. He also appeared in 121 games, among the top-ten Crusaders all-time in the category. As a senior, he was named the Horizon League Sixth Man of the Year, while his 143 assists ranked tenth in a single season in Valpo history.
“It was wonderful to watch Jarryd’s consistent improvement over his four years here,” said Valpo head coach Homer Drew. “All the extra time he spent in the gym has really paid off for him. It’s great to see Jarryd graduate and move on to play at the next level, and we’re all very happy that he has this opportunity.”
MacLeod has signed with the Niigata Albirex BB of the Basketball Japan League (bj League). Niigata has finished at least eight games above .500 in the bj League in each of the last two years, including a second-place league finish in the 2006-07 season. MacLeod suited up two years for the Crusaders, appearing in 49 games in a Valpo uniform.
“”I wish we could have had Calum at Valpo longer,” said Drew. “In the two years Calum spent here, he made some giant strides in his game, and I have no doubt that his best basketball is still ahead of him.”
The duo joins graduated senior Shawn Huff, who signed a three-year contract with the Greek club Maroussi Athens BC, and Samuel Haanpää, who reached a three-year agreement with Orlandina Basket of the Italian Serie A league, as Crusaders from last year’s squad that are playing pro basketball this year. Over the last 14 years, 29 Valpo basketball players have advanced to the professional ranks.