New Bern | GoDuke
When one thinks of Valparaiso, one thinks of Homer Drew and his wonderful
smile, of the remarkable play Valpo used to upset Ole Miss in 1998, and of, in
general smart basketball. In more recent times, one has also been forced
to think of Kenny Harris, Valparaiso's big man who collapsed last summer and
spent a long time in the hospital, and who, as of July, still didn't have a firm
explanation for what happened to him.
Obviously it was traumatic for everyone around the Valparaiso program, but
the team has come together nicely for Drew and is playing fairly well.
The Crusaders have won the games they should win - IPFW, Indiana South Bend,
at a Katrina devastated Tulane, and they have lost to Iowa and Marquette,
reasonable losses, all things considered. They also won at Charlotte, and,
very rarely these days, started five seniors.
They also have a bit of size, even without Kenny Harris. Dan Oppland is
6-8 and averaging 20.3 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Mohamed Kone is 6-11 and 240 and
getting 12.8 ppg and 8.3 boards and also getting some NBA looks.
Ali Berdiel is 6-6, Ron Howard is 6-5, and Seth Colclasure, who Drew calls
"secure"with the ball, is 6-2.
One of the hallmarks of a Homer Drew team is that they play smart, just on a
basic level: they pass well, they shoot well, they handle the ball well, they
play defense well. That really speaks well of their coaching, of course.
This is not a team which is going to lose because they throw the ball away or
they start chucking up 35 footers or getting frustrated and fouling everyone in
If you want a good analogy, think Davidson, or maybe Boston University.
This is a team which, while less talented than Duke, is certainly capable of
sticking very close to the Devils, and, if they opportunity is there, well who
knows? They've been there before. Duke has had an extensive break for
exams, of course, and may be a bit off their feed. So while no one would
predict an upset outright, we feel very safe in suggesting that Duke may get
more than it bargained for. Homer's have had it rough since The Simpson's
came along, but this Homer is very smart and competitive and his teams certainly
reflect that. Expect nothing less.