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LUTHERAN MIRACLE: "Miracle on Union Street": an oral history

2013-12-14T18:00:00Z 2013-12-15T01:15:05Z LUTHERAN MIRACLE: "Miracle on Union Street": an oral historyPaul Oren Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 14, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the “Miracle on Union Street,” a memorable evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center when Valparaiso upset nationally-ranked Notre Dame 71-68 in overtime.

The No. 19 Irish (4-0) had early-season victories over Kentucky and Indiana and held a size advantage over Valparaiso at every position. Notre Dame had an average margin of victory of 31.8 points in the last five meetings with the Crusaders.

The Crusaders (2-6) entered the game led by first-year coach Homer Drew. The former Bethel coach inherited a roster that was filled with local talent, including Valpo High players Scott Anselm, Mike Jones and Todd Smith. Smith was the son of former VU coach Tom Smith. Valparaiso had suffered through 11 straight losing seasons and would go on to finish the year with a 10-19 record. Four more losing seasons would come under Drew before the team broke through with a 20-8 record in 1993-94. Four years later Bryce Drew would hit “The Shot” that would eventually propel Valparaiso to the Sweet Sixteen and the national spotlight.

None of that was a reality when the Crusaders prepared for a rare televised home game against perhaps their toughest rival. This is the story of that night, as told by the players, coaches, administrators, media members and fans that were part of the “Miracle on Union Street.”

Bill Steinbrecher, Valparaiso director of athletics

I had known Homer Drew from before we interviewed him. We had played Bethel two different times and I was really impressed, especially with the way his teams played defense. Homer is a networker and he made sure that he met me. I still remember meeting him outside the equipment room. It’s ironic that he never beat Valpo when he was at Bethel, but when he was at Valpo, he lost to Bethel.

Todd Smith, Valparaiso senior guard

I couldn’t have asked for a better coach to follow my father. Many coaches might not have treated me well given those circumstances or been skeptical of me or my motives, but Coach Drew treated me terrifically from day one. When you’re a 22-year-old kid, you might not even understand that, but it certainly means a lot to me now. My junior year I only played about six minutes, so I actually played more under Coach Drew. I was probably the only guy in the world happy to see his Dad leave.

Scott Anselm, Valparaiso senior guard

Coach Drew did a lot of good things after he got to know the personnel in the preseason. I hadn’t played point guard very much in my career, but then I began playing it much more often. I could rotate into different spots.

Mike Jones, Valparaiso junior guard

Homer did a good job of playing to our strengths. Our biggest guy was 6-foot-7 at the time. All year long our strength was the 3-point shot. We really utilized that part of our offense.

Smith

You’d have games throughout the year, and then you’d have Notre Dame. That one was always different. Everything was always about the Notre Dame game. How good are they? Do we have a chance? Back then we didn’t draw as many people as they do now. It was packed.

Anselm

Playing Notre Dame meant a lot growing up in Valparaiso. Notre Dame was on TV all that time. It’s what you watched. There weren’t quite as many games on TV as there are now so I watched a lot of Purdue and Notre Dame.

Jim Ford, Valparaiso senior forward

Most of my four years we struggled to put a couple thousand people in the seats. That night was the first time we filled the place. The fans were there cheering for us, but they obviously weren’t there to see us. We had never played in front of a packed house like that before. I’d talk to my Dad in the crowd during warm-ups on most games, but you couldn’t hear that night. It had the atmosphere of a big game.

Jones

It was a big deal from the standpoint that it was Notre Dame and they were undefeated. You knew there was going to be a big crowd. Being able to play them at home which was something we hadn’t had the chance to do in a while was something special for us in terms of getting that opportunity. You could tell the fan base was at another level going into it.

Karl Berner, Valparaiso ball boy

Everything about it was big. I can remember walking into the ARC with my Dad and I told him that we were going to win. He said it would sure be fun to watch them try.

Steinbrecher

We always had trouble getting people out before Christmastime because of parties and because our program very frankly hadn’t been good enough to draw people.

Smith

Being at home in men’s college basketball is one of the biggest advantages of any sport. I couldn’t put a number (on how many points) it meant, but I don’t think I could ever touch the rim in my life. I remember I touched the rim that night.

John Heisler, Notre Dame sports information

Part of the challenge at Notre Dame, and it’s not any different 25 years later, is that it’s always going to be a pretty big deal for someone to play Notre Dame. You may look at your schedule and think there is more of a red-letter date, a game that you circle. Everyone always circles Notre Dame. Every single opponent brings their best against you and sometimes you learn that the hard way.

Scott Cottos, Vidette-Messenger reporter

The reason Notre Dame was there, it was kind of a favor to Valparaiso. They were helping them open the ARC. It wasn’t the first game there, but they were there to help them get some fans in there. There weren’t all that many more media for the game. People took it as the rout that it was expected to be. There were a few regulars and Sports Vision was there broadcasting the game.

Bill Rogers, Valparaiso sports information director

This was my second year and Valpo was not anywhere near where it is now or even when Bryce was playing. It was in the embryonic stages. That was really the first game that myself as an SID was exposed to a massive amount of media requests. We had them from Chicago, South Bend; from the local media. It was a major step up in volume of work that I needed to do. I wanted to put on the best show possible. I was a 26-year-old at the time, fresh out of grad school and playing Notre Dame was really a big deal for me. I wasn’t trying to impress Notre Dame per se, but wanted to put on a good representation for the media. We were a small program at the time that hadn’t made a name for itself in basketball. That was the breakout game for the program.

Heisler

The challenge as much as anything was to get our guys to understand what the environment was going to be like.

Andrew Bagnato, Chicago Tribune reporter

I had two Notre Dame fans digging their knees in my back the entire time. I couldn’t believe Notre Dame was playing in this place. I was used to covering them playing Indiana in the dome.

Curtiss Stevens, Valparaiso sophomore guard

I walked in to get ready for the game and Digger Phelps was sitting in the stands talking to somebody about the next team that they were playing. To me it seemed like they weren’t even thinking about us. He shot himself in the foot. We’re playing Notre Dame, you think you have a challenge, you think you can win. When coaches give you something to inspire you a bit more…that moment, to hear him talking about the next game, that Valpo wasn’t even a focus, it (ticked) me off.

LaPhonso Ellis, Notre Dame freshman forward

I probably come at it from a different vantage point. I didn’t have that big school/little school mentality. I didn’t understand the history of all of it. When I was in high school I dreamed of playing in college, but I never understood the differences. Twenty-five years later I see the significance, but it just didn’t occur to me at the time.

Smith

Rob Towrey and I were walking to the arena before the game. It was cold and there was snow on the ground. We’re struggling at 2-6. We’re playing a Notre Dame team who is ranked. I don’t know if I said it to him or if he said it to me, but someone said “If the good Lord said we could play a good game and lose by 10, would we turn around and go home right now?” Without saying anything to each other, we both turned around and walked back toward home. We took about five steps and said we better turn around and go play.

Anselm

I knew they were very good. I was a little familiar with some of their players from going against them in the summer league in Plymouth. That helped a little bit.

Stevens

Playing in Michigan City, we’d play South Bend Clay and South Bend LaSalle. I’d drive to South Bend for the summer several times and get in pickup games. Sometimes you’d walk in and they wouldn’t pick you. When you’re in Michigan City, you grow up with Notre Dame in your presence.

Homer Drew, Valparaiso head coach

It was simple: the excitement was there. The players didn’t need any motivation, but I do remember we had a blue jacket and this blue jacket became a good luck symbol for us. (Former athletic director) Dick Koenig was a vice president and he had a relationship with Tommy Lasorda. Tommy gave Dick a blue Dodger jacket and I asked Dick if I could borrow the jacket.

Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager

That jacket was a magic jacket. I told Homer “If you want to beat Notre Dame you’ve got to wear that jacket for three days straight.” That year was unbelievable for the Dodgers. We were able to get past the Mets and then we went into Oakland, a team that had won 102 games, and we beat them in six. It was a miracle; a gift to us, and we passed that miracle gift onto Valparaiso.

John Becher, Valparaiso junior forward

The jacket was a motivational tactic. I guess whatever you can get the team to buy into.

Drew

After the team warmed up they came back in the locker room and I had the Dodger jacket on. We just talked a moment about the Dodgers and Tommy Lasorda. We talked how when great moments came up greatness can happen. Sometimes this Dodger blue jacket can give a little bit of extra…when we left the locker room, as a fun little thing, we all just touched the blue jacket and it was kind of a good luck symbol to start the game with.

Anselm

We talked before the game that it was important that we got off to a good start. I tried to help us get off to that good start and I was happy with the way the first half went.

Jones

We got off to a hot start and once the crowd got into the game early, you wanted to stay out there and do everything you could to keep the crowd in it. I had no intention of coming out of the game.

Drew

That start was wonderful for the confidence of the basketball team and it showed that we can compete. Mike and Scott deserve a lot of credit for getting us going early.

• Jones and Anselm combined to knock down five 3-pointers as the Crusaders jumped out to a 35-32 halftime lead. Valparaiso shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half and 55.5 percent from the perimeter. Notre Dame was dominating the boards, but was uncharacteristically sloppy with the basketball.

Drew

Turn the light switch off. The power is out. We’ve won the game.

Smith

I just wanted to get back out there and keep going. I wanted to keep the momentum going. I remember wanting that 15 minutes to end as quickly as possible.

Anselm

We thought they’d try to pound it inside. They certainly weren’t going to go away. I thought we handled their push right out of the gate.

Drew

Our first half was good, but the second half needed to be better. We knew we hadn’t seen their best and we needed to meet that challenge. To pull off a great moment you have to meet the challenge. They’re going to make a run and we have to have someone in this room step up and answer that run and it can be done…it can be done.

Jones

We went into halftime and had a little bit more belief. Because of our lack of size, we played a lot of changing up of our zones. We did a pretty good job of making them shoot the ball from the perimeter. We wanted to keep it like that. You know in game there are going to be runs. They’ll come out a bit harder the first five minutes and we knew we needed to withstand that run and cut it off.

Smith

It’s like any game. When you’re that far into the game, we know we can play with these guys. We played 20 minutes with these guys and we knew we belonged on the same court as they did.

• The Irish began the second half by pounding the ball inside and rattling off a 23-11 scoring run to take a 55-46 lead with 8:32 remaining in the game.

Drew

We looked to our seniors. We’re nine points down and we’ve been behind in other games. We just need to go out and let’s do this in an organized fashion. Let’s not try to get all nine points in the next minute. Let’s get to five points. Let’s get to three points. Let’s systematically work this down to a one-possession game.

Ford

We really only played six guys and I can remember that this game seemed easier because we got the television timeouts. We weren’t used to those. That made it much easier with a couple timeouts here and there. We normally didn’t have that luxury.

Anselm

I twisted my ankle at some point in the second half. I was going by and I could see that (athletic trainer) Rod Moore was telling the coaches that I was hurt and to take me out. I told him that I wasn’t coming out. Don’t worry about me.

• Anselm began the process of getting Valparaiso back in the game with a steal and layup which revived the crowd. Jim Ford knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner and Scott Blum hit his first basket of the game to get the Crusaders within five points. Trailing 62-59 with 1:04 remaining, Anselm, a 92 percent free throw shooter, was sent to the line with a chance to cut the deficit to one point. He missed both shots.

Anselm

Growing up in Valparaiso you shoot the Valparaiso free throw. I just tried to keep shooting the same way and if I remember, they were a little long. I had some adrenaline there so I tried to back it off. I wasn’t happy that I missed them. I knew they were important, but it didn’t faze me. My teammates had a lot of confidence in me.

Drew

My heart sank. He’s our best free throw shooter. I don’t need to say any words. Scott has the confidence. If there was anyone at the line that we needed to make a shot, I’d pick Scott; never a hesitation.

• LaPhonso Ellis’ two-hand slam extended Notre Dame’s lead to 64-59 with 30 seconds left. All looked lost for the Crusaders as they struggled to get a clean offensive look on the next possession.

Drew

Curtiss Stevens was more of our defensive player, a guy that just loved playing defense, but was working on his offensive skills. We were looking for Mike, looking for Scott, looking for Jim on that possession. The shot clock was running down and what I always admired about Curtiss was that he would take the shot.

Stevens

I didn’t know what the other guys were thinking, but we’re down and we need to put it up. We just need to get a shot up. Jamere Jackson and LaPhonso both jumped at me and I had no choice to arc it a little bit because it would’ve gotten blocked. I just threw the shot up there and went to crash the boards.

Jones

Curtiss was a good athlete. We had played against him in high school for two or three years. Banking that shot in, well, it wasn’t drawn up that way. In a game like that, when it is close, you need some luck to happen along the way. You have to take advantage of those situations when it happens.

Drew

To bank the shot in…I think to this day he still gets asked if he called the bank shot or not. He had the courage to take the shot. It got the fans; it got everyone on their feet.

Steinbrecher

I remember seeing on the television replay (after Stevens’ shot) and they had a close-up of Digger Phelps and he’s telling the kids, and it’s clear on television: “Don’t worry, we’re going to win this game.”

Cottos

My seat was very close to Notre Dame’s bench and you could see the look on Digger Phelps’ face: this is serious. Valpo isn’t horsing around.

• Stevens’ 3-pointer cut Valparaiso’s deficit to 64-62 with 17 seconds left. With the shot clock off, the Crusaders needed to foul. Television replays show a confident Drew drawing up several plays and encouraging his players before the final moments. The Crusaders fouled Tim Singleton and the sophomore missed his front end of the one-and-one, but the ball ended up in the hands of sharpshooter Joe Frederick. Valparaiso had no choice but to foul again.

Drew

You can never take away hope. That’s what makes sports wonderful for everyone. Just have hope. But we needed someone to step up. I can remember being down and we had to foul. We couldn’t get to the guy that we wanted so now we end up fouling Frederick and he was their best.

Anselm

If he misses and there is a short rebound, I need to get to where I could get the ball from Ford or Becher and try to push it to the middle. If they all focused on me getting to the middle, that’s great, then I can push it to Mike or someone on the side.

Stevens

I’m getting ready to try and box out Ellis and the only thing I can think is how am I going to do this? It’s vertical and there was no way they’d call over the back because he’s already considerably taller than me. I needed to do whatever I could do. He was on my back and the way the ball bounced off the rim, I punched it out of his hands. I don’t think anyone realizes that happened.

Jones

When the ball comes off the rim, I got it somewhere around half-court. I looked up at the clock when I got the ball and I saw that I had some time and that’s when I saw Scott to the left of me out of the corner of my eye and knew that I had an opportunity still to advance the ball.

Anselm

We had roughly five seconds. I know in that time you can sprint the length of the floor and you can move much faster if you’re passing. I just went to the middle again the same way, but I knew from the pass that we’d have a little, not a lot, but a little time, it didn’t have to go up from half-court.

Jones

Scott and I had played with each other since high school and we were very familiar with one another. We didn’t have to say a lot to each other to know where each other was going to be on the floor and I think that was one of those situations when I caught the ball and I saw the clock, saw him to my left, I knew we still had time. Once I passed him the ball, I wanted to run the floor just to make sure. Once he caught the ball, he might not know how much time was left.

• As soon as Jones passed the ball, Notre Dame defender Tim Singleton shifted his body toward Anselm and gave Jones a clean path to the basket. Anselm made a quick one-touch pass back to Jones who converted the layup just before the buzzer sounded, tying the game at 64-64 and sending the two teams to overtime.

Anselm

We always went and tried to finish the play. I wasn’t surprised that Mike kept coming. It was easy to go back to him.

Stevens

When you watch it, you’re just in disbelief. Just like wow. Watching what Scott and Mike did. Wow. You can train; do that in practice every day and to think it would happen in a game? You just don’t think that. For the guys to be in the position to make that play; it’s amazing.

Drew

That moment’s over with. Now we have the real essence of the game. Now we’re down to a five-minute basketball game. Who plays well these next five minutes is going to dictate who comes out the winner. Now the biggest thing is to get them off just tying it with a tremendous play, but now we need to focus on each possession again because five minutes is a short time period.

Jones

After I made the layup, obviously the emotion of the whole building is now to the point where you really believe where the momentum has swung to our side because they had the chance to win it with the free throws. Now maybe we can take advantage of it in the overtime.

Ford

One of our assistant coaches said “We’ve gotten into overtime. We didn’t come here just to make a good showing. Let’s go win this thing.”

• The Irish scored the first four points of overtime before freshman guard Scott Blum knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 68-67. The Crusaders forced yet another turnover, Notre Dame’s 25th of the game, and now Valparaiso had a chance to take its first lead since early in the second half.

Drew

We played very good defense, got the rebound when they missed a shot and we came down and Scott Blum had the shot. I can still see it right there in front of our bench. He had a good look and it looked like it was going to go in but it tipped off the front rim and Jim Ford all of a sudden came up through all these Notre Dame jerseys caught it and dunked it through. It was a beautiful spot. Jim was always one of our best leapers, best jumpers and the timing was magnificent. Now this gives us our first lead in the overtime.

Ford

I don’t have a video of the game. I can remember LaPhonso Ellis was this super freshman and he was a beast. I can remember Homer letting us hoist a lot of 3’s. The guys from Indiana knew the game better than I did. Both Scott and Mike, Todd, they were so mature. It was an extremely special moment. You appreciate it.

Ellis

I know that we lost a close one. I hate losing. Period. I didn’t lose a lot in high school and I didn’t plan on losing a lot in college. We started shooting perimeter jump shots and getting away from what we could do best.

Becher

I remind myself and I tell my kids every time I see a game on ESPN where LaPhonso Ellis is the broadcaster. I tell my kids that he’s the guy I guarded. That’s special.

Drew

The key now was to rebound the basketball. With our size, we just needed to put a body on a person. Then they foul us and we go to the free throw line, and it’s Scott.

Anselm

It was nice to go back and make them when the outcome was a win. Some of the competitor in you knows I should’ve made those earlier free throws. I wanted a chance to redeem myself.

Drew

Those shots gave us a three-point lead. Now we still have more excitement. We had six-to-eight seconds where they have the ball. They miss a 3-pointer, get a rebound and take another. They get it again. Those are the long, long seconds.

Jones

The last play was hectic back and forth. Then the buzzer went off and everyone started rushing the floor.

Anselm

When the buzzer sounded I knew the game was over. At first it was a little relief. I was a little tired and it was a little bit of relief. Then almost immediately I remember one of the football players came up from behind and hit me on the floor. I just was trying to make my way to the locker room and I was running into guys I went to high school with, some of my friends and then I ran into my Mom.

Stevens

My first thought was I threw my arms up. We did this. Can you believe we did this? I wanted to see my Mom. I wanted to catch her eyes and see her reaction. Then I wanted to see how Homer was going to react. I was in a state of just wow.

Jones

I ran as fast as I could to get out of the crowd and ran into the locker room. Todd Smith and I were the first ones in the locker room and then we realized, kind of look at each other, and we’re kind of in here by ourselves. Then we end up going back out there, but my first reaction was here comes the stampede and I wanted to get out of the way.

Dot Nuechterlein, Valparaiso official scorer

The most excited that I’ve ever been in my life. In all the commotion, the first thing I did was hug the people next to me. One of them was the Notre Dame sports information director. He was very gracious.

Drew

It was one of those special moments. I was excited for the players. I was excited for the fans. I wanted to make sure I made it over and shook hands with Digger, and then I went to go celebrate with the players.

Rogers

I was trying to get Homer to the TV interview. I can remember getting bumped and knocked around. I never had any kind of barometer for what kind of extra work it would be like. I was too green; too naïve. It just kind of hits you. The moment happens, you go with it and you enjoy it.

Bagnato

There was a mob scene after the game. I remember John Heisler waving me down telling me that Digger Phelps was waiting to start his press conference. Chaotic is the way I would describe it. It felt to me what college basketball should be all about. It was one of the moments and I’ve never forgotten that night.

Cottos

It was the same thing as any game. I talked to a few extra players. I knew Homer was going to be Homer. He was very happy and I could tell it was a big win for him. Coach Phelps was pretty gracious as well. He seemed pretty stunned.

• A majority of the assembled media stayed courtside after the game to interview players and Homer Drew. Very few made it to the predetermined media room where Digger Phelps was waiting to start his press conference. After several minutes of waiting, an agitated Phelps stormed out of the room. Valparaiso sports information student assistant Bill Wilharms stopped Phelps and said “Don’t worry Coach, they only want to talk to the winning coach tonight.”

Bill Wilharms, Valparaiso sports information student assistant

I can remember being a smart-aleck and I remember Digger getting very upset. I’m not sure what he exactly said, but he wasn’t happy with me. I couldn’t believe that a grown man would act like that. I mean, I know you lost, but it’s still just a basketball game. Lose with some class. I wound up doing my Masters work at Notre Dame. I’m a high school teacher now and a basketball coach, so I think I’d react a little differently, but I can still remember being such a smart-aleck after the game.

Rogers

I’m not sure Digger made it five minutes. That was one of the things on my mind. I need to take care of the whole process. At the same time, it was chaos. I think that made the moment even more special.

Stevens

It was so much pandemonium. I literally got in a fight. I’ve always been a humble guy and fans were coming up to us in such awe and some guy hit me telling me how great we were. I really just tried to deflect that and tell him that the fans were the ones who were great. We could’ve stolen a police car and driven around Valpo that night and nothing would’ve happened to us.

Smith

Coach Drew gave us two days off and I’d like to tell you I was a very dedicated student-athlete. I can remember getting home at 4:30 in the morning and people were still keeping the party going.

Jones

At the time it was a big deal. Homer in his first year, we had struggled in a tough conference. I think it boosted the community in general. For the rest of the season it was a huge lift.

Rogers

We had some lean years shortly thereafter, but it was one of those games where you say this is what is possible. It stunned our community. Our community still had a lot of years that they doubted where we were at. Should we be Division I? When I came on board, those were a lot of the questions that we talked about. We answered that question throughout the year. The victory served the purpose of shutting the naysayers up and providing a ray of hope for what could be on the horizon.

Steinbrecher

There were a lot of questions at one time and a lot of sentiment around campus that maybe we shouldn’t be Division I. I think that made people realize that maybe there is a place for Valpo here. We certainly tried to capitalize on that. I think we probably got some national publicity.

Drew

It definitely helped us with recruiting. People now knew Valparaiso from seeing us on television. We needed something positive in the program that first year.

• The Crusaders lost their next three games to the Irish by an average of 16 points before winning 80-66 at Notre Dame on Mar. 3, 1993. Valparaiso had its first winning season in 15 years in 1993-94 and added another 20-win season the following year when Bryce Drew arrived on campus. Both seasons began with losses to the Irish and then Notre Dame was off the schedule as a regular opponent by 1995. The two teams have met on just two occasions since, including Notre Dame’s 55-53 win at the United Center on Jan. 4, 2003 when the Irish were the sixth-ranked team in the country. The schools have not played since.

Steinbrecher

We tried to have a visit with the Notre Dame athletic director one time and we thought it was all setup to go to lunch. He met us in his office while he was putting on his tie and his coat to go to another meeting and there was no lunch. It was a very brief meeting.

Drew

We would love to play them. It’s a 45-minute drive. It’s Lutherans vs. Catholics; can make a storyline of that. Would love a chance to play them again, but it’s a hard game for Notre Dame. They’re expected to win and if they don’t, it hurts their program more than it hurts us if we lose.

Ellis

I have become very close friends with the Drew family. Bryce was in Charlotte when he was in the NBA and I was playing in Miami. He used our workout facility and there was some music in the CD player, some Christian Hip-Hop, and he asked around and found out it was mine. That’s when we created our relationship. South Bend has become my second home and during that time I’ve learned so much about Coach (Homer) Drew. We’ve kept in contact and I have the privilege of calling him my friend. It’s nice when casual relationships grow into something stronger.

Drew

I can always humble LaPhonso when the game comes up. He’ll talk about how many points he scored and how many rebounds he grabbed against us. But then I’ll ask him “So what was the final score? Who won?” He gets really quiet after that.

Berner

It was like Christmas a week early. My parents had to go to a Christmas party after the game and I’d normally be going to bed, but the game was on tape delay on TV. Before my Dad left for the party he told me to stay up and make sure I recorded the game. We watched it so many times that first month. It’s just a moment you relish. I’ve seen the end of the second half and the overtime at least a thousand times. I’ve probably watched the whole game all the way through about 40 times. I’ve been around Valpo basketball my entire life and if you were around then, it’s something you talked about for a long time.

Jones

I’ve probably watched the game three or four times. Now that I’ve got kids, I’ll go back and show what the old man used to do. Having played in high school with some of these guys, this was my best experience as far as being a player. I think it was just a great fitting end to a college career really.

Anselm

I really enjoyed sharing it with the guys. I’m still friends today with a lot of them. I still talk to Mike Jones, Todd Smith, Rob Towery. That’s the biggest memory I have, just being with my teammates.

Drew

All of their (Anselm, Jones, Smith) family, friends, past Valpo High teammates and students could remember the three of them playing. It’s a special moment for them. They grew up in Valparaiso. They were stars in high school and they brought that same focus to the university. To share a moment like that with them is still special today.

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