VALPARAISO | Having a roster littered with transfer players is not a new concept for the Valparaiso men’s basketball team.
Players such as Rob Harden (Florida), Dave Redmon (Arkansas-Little Rock) and Casey Schmidt (Arizona) helped put the program on the map. Cory Johnson (Iowa State), Will Bogan (Ole Miss) and Ben Boggs (Virginia Tech) have been among the recent contributors who have come from major programs.
While transfers have come through the program, some staying for multiple years, some for just a season, there has never been an entire senior class of only transfers until this season.
When the Crusaders honor their seniors during their Horizon League regular-season finale against Cleveland State this afternoon, four high-major Division I transfers will address the Athletics-Recreation Center crowd for the final time.
“I’m not sure this is exactly how I saw my Senior Day playing out,” Valparaiso forward Bobby Capobianco said. “Normally you have a group of guys that come in as freshmen, you grow together and then you graduate. That’s not what happened here, but I wouldn’t change anything about the process.”
Capobianco, with his three years at Valparaiso, is the longest-tenured Crusader after transferring from Indiana. Jordan Coleman arrived last season from Hawaii, and Lavonte Dority took the court at midseason after transferring from South Florida. Moussa Gueye joined the program this season after several years at Alabama.
“It’s tough when you have so many different guys from different places, but they’ve really come together and made it work,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “Everyone is patient with the process.”
One of the reasons the four players were able to quickly jell with the rest of their teammates is the recruiting process that Drew employs when he begins looking at a transfer.
“We want any player we’re recruiting to spend as much time with our current players as possible,” Drew said. “We lean on our current players to find out if a guy is a good fit. That has really helped with the camaraderie of the group as it pertains to recruiting.”
Capobianco hopes the quartet has left a lasting legacy on the community.
“We’ve come in here, and I hope people can see the growth and the maturation that we’ve all went through as men,” Capobianco said. “We all came from different places, and we bonded together here. A big part of that are the high-quality people at Valparaiso. This will always be home for us.”