Another former Valparaiso University basketball player will look to make his mark in the NBA this season, as 2013 Crusader alum Ryan Broekhoff agreed to a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday evening.
Broekhoff joins the NBA after playing the last five years internationally, including the last three years for Lokomotiv Kuban of the VTB United League – the top tier of professional basketball in Russia. He helped lead Lokomotiv to the Russian Cup championship this past season and was the champion of the 3-Point Contest at the VTB United League’s All-Star Game. Broekhoff also was instrumental in Lokomotiv’s run to a runner-up finish in the EuroCup this year, averaging 12.3 points per game and hitting at a 50.6% clip from 3-point range in the competition.
Prior to joining Lokomotiv, Broekhoff played his first two post-collegiate seasons with Besiktas in the Turkish Basketball Super League. He also had an NBA Summer League appearance with the Denver Nuggets in the summer of 2015 before signing with Lokomotiv, and has continued to represent his native Australia at the highest level internationally, appearing in every game for the Boomers at the 2016 Olympics and averaging nearly eight points per game.
One of the most decorated players in Valpo basketball history, Broekhoff was the 2011-12 Horizon League Player of the Year as a junior and was selected by the Associated Press as an Honorable Mention All-American that season. A two-time First Team All-Horizon League honoree, Broekhoff ranks seventh in program history in points scored (1,591), tied for third in rebounds (841), third in 3-pointers made (252) and fifth in blocked shots (100).
Broekhoff led the Horizon League in 3-point percentage as a sophomore and paced the league in rebounding as a junior, as he earned league Player of the Year honors and helped Valpo to its first Horizon League regular season title.
Then, as a senior, Broekhoff enjoyed his best collegiate season, averaging 15.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in guiding Valpo to a second straight regular season championship. The Horizon League Tournament at the ARC in his final season was the site of one of the most indelible moments in Valpo Basketball history, as Broekhoff connected on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Green Bay in the tournament semifinals to lift the Crusaders to a 70-69 victory. Valpo would go on to claim its first Horizon League Tournament title, as Broekhoff closed out his Crusader career with an appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Broekhoff will become the second former Crusader to join the NBA ranks in the last two years, as Alec Peters was drafted by the Phoenix Suns out of Valpo last season and appeared in 20 games for the Suns as a rookie. If Broekhoff and Peters both appear in the NBA in 2018-19, it will mark the first time two Valpo alums have played in the NBA in the same season – Bob Dille, John Janisch and Milt Schoon all played for the Detroit Falcons of the Basketball Association of America, the NBA’s predecessor, in the 1946-47 season.