VALPARAISO | Bryce Drew insists that his latest recruits weren’t a package deal. That doesn’t mean the Valparaiso men’s basketball coach isn’t happy the pair have experience playing with each other.
Drew announced the signings of Canadian guards Max Joseph and Tevonn Walker on Thursday morning. The Montreal natives are currently teammates at Vanier College, a prep school in Quebec.
“They are definitely separate players that stand alone from one another,” Drew said. “We would’ve taken one without the other, but we view it as a positive that they can travel together and they’ll bring in a lot of experience with playing together.”
Walker, a 6-foot-1 guard, has spent three years at Vanier and averaged 16.4 points per game. Walker was ranked in the top ten in Canada by both Hoopstars Canada and North Pole Hoops.
“I’ve been coaching for 36 years and I’d never seen a kid who plays as hard on both sides of the court,” Vanier coach Andy Hertzog said. “He’s such an athlete that everyone told him he was crazy for not playing football. He can hit the holes well and really get to the basket with ease.”
Joseph, who also stands at 6-foot-1, transferred to Vanier after his junior year. The two guards will play together in high school for the first time after being AAU teammates for several years.
“Max is a player who has won championships at every level,” Hertzog said. “His old school folded so he’s playing at Vanier now. Max and Tevonn have played together. They’re friends. I don’t know if that was the deciding factor (in both picking Valparaiso), but it doesn’t hurt.”
For Drew, the signings represent the culmination of a lot of work from the Valparaiso coaching staff over the last several years.
“We’ve recruited some Canadian players in the past and we’ve been following a lot of players up there,” Drew said. “It’s rewarding to get in the Canadian market and get two quality players from Montreal.”
With Joseph and Walker in the fold, the Crusaders have two scholarships remaining for the 2014 class. The guards will likely replace LaVonte Dority and Jordan Coleman, leaving a gap in the post.
“With Bobby (Capobianco) and Moussa (Gueye) leaving, we need someone on the front line,” Drew said. “We have two (scholarships) right now and it would be nice to add some post players or bigger wings to this class.”