VALPARAISO | Much has changed in the world of college basketball since the last time Bobby Capobianco stepped on the floor.
Homer Drew was roaming the sidelines for Valparaiso, coaching Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson in March of 2011. Capobianco was lucky to get more than six minutes a game for an Indiana team that would finish the 2010-11 season on a nine-game losing streak.
Fast forward nearly 20 months and the Hoosiers are the top team in the country while Capobianco is ready to make his long-awaited Valparaiso debut when the Crusaders host St. Joseph’s in tonight’s exhibition game at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
“As hard as it was to sit out last season, I really enjoyed it,” Capobianco said. “I felt like I got better as a basketball player and I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I got to this point.”
Capobianco was an ESPN Top-100 prospect coming out of high school and was good enough in the eyes of Indiana coach Tom Crean to become a part-time starter in the Big Ten. As a sophomore, Capobianco saw his minutes cut in half and his role diminished when he did play. Frustrated, he sought out a new opportunity and found one at Valparaiso.
“I do have a bit of a chip on my shoulder,” Capobianco said. “I had two years of people invested in me and I don’t really feel like they got a chance to see me play. I’m excited now, especially because it’s been so long since my parents and my sister have seen me on the court.”
It’s not like the year off the floor has kept the Ohio native away from the game. Capobianco pushed his fellow post players in practice last season and was the first player in the gym the morning following Valparaiso’s loss in the Horizon League title game. As soon as the season ended in Miami, Capobianco dove head first into getting ready for the 2012-13 season.
Capobianco spent part of his summer vacation playing overseas with Global Sports Partners. The forward averaged 17 points over five games while spending three weeks in China with a USA-based team.
“Playing overseas helped me get back into some game situations,” Capobianco said. “It’s been a long year and I’m just excited to be able to get back out there and play.”