When Lavonte Dority arrived on campus last season; Ryan Broekhoff was putting the finishing touches on a four-year legacy with Valparaiso.
When Broekhoff and his classmates graduated, they were replaced by another group, led by Alec Peters and Lexus Williams, looking to make their own four-year legacy.
As for Dority, he just doesn’t have that kind of time.
While Broekhoff was able to spend his entire career with the Crusaders and the current group of freshmen will likely do the same, Dority has had just a year-and-a-half to make his mark on the Valparaiso program after transferring from South Florida.
The senior has 20-plus points in four of his last five games and he seems intent on making his own legacy with the Crusaders.
“The most important thing for us is winning,” Dority said. “Everyone wants to play more; to make their mark, but it’s really all about winning.”
Dority, along with Jordan Coleman and Bobby Capobianco, immediately took the reins last season after Broekhoff’s group graduated. The group knew they had a responsibility to act as mentors for the newcomers, but also to lead the Crusaders back to the NCAA tournament.
It’s a task that the group has fully accepted, regardless of how many minutes each have played. Dority is the only senior currently in the starting lineup as Bryce Drew has moved toward starting three freshmen for much of the season.
“Everyone has a great understanding of what our roles are and what our job is,” Dority said. “We all accept what Coach (Drew) puts out there. Our focus is on getting wins. No one has any kind of feelings other than that.”
It’s been Dority who has, in the words of Youngstown State coach Jerry Slocum, “willed” the Crusaders to wins in the last two games. Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter spoke highly of Dority’s performance against the Panthers and then Slocum heaped on the praise following Dority’s 27-point outing against the Penguins on Thursday night.
As Dority has done throughout his time at Valparaiso, he spent more time on Friday talking about his teammates and the overall group than he did commenting on his own performance.
“We’re making some plays now that a couple months ago I don’t think we make,” Dority said. “The (newcomers) are making us (returners) very proud and it’s pleasing to see these guys making plays out there. We’ve been practicing pretty heavy and been through some great learning tools. Now we’ve all got some experience under our belts.”