In the midst of its best start in school history, the Calumet College of St. Joseph men’s basketball team is showing no signs of slowing down with a pair of big games on the horizon.
The Crimson Wave have won their first four games of the year, including a 95-67 win over Moody Bible Institute last Saturday and they’re doing it with experience.
CCSJ returned four of its top seven players from last season, including Chicago natives Devin Harrison, Michael Brooks and Jose Ramirez.
“We’ve won a couple of games early because of our experience,” CCSJ coach Ryan Sexson said. “You don’t win games without good players. Devin Harrison is playing really well right now, Michael Brooks is as good as any guard in the conference and Jose Ramirez is really coming into his own. We have a good inside and outside game right now and we’ve added a couple of pieces to replace what we lost from last season.”
The Crimson Wave went 17-14 last year and made an appearance in the NAIA Division II tournament, falling to Bethel in the opening round. Sexson believes his team has the experience to get back to the postseason this year, but the Crimson Wave face a pair of big tests in the coming week.
CCSJ will travel to IU-Kokomo on Saturday afternoon before opening conference play against nationally-ranked Trinity International on Wednesday night in what will also be the home opener at the Rittenmeyer Center in Whiting.
“We won 19 games two years ago and got beat at Kokomo. We won our conference and went to the tournament last year and got beat at Kokomo,” Sexson said. “We’ve had some really good teams that have gone in there and gotten beat.”
“Then, I hate to look ahead, but it’s a big game (against Trinity International). They were picked to finish first in our league, they made it to the Elite Eight in the tourney last year. That’s a heck of an opponent to start with, but we’re trying to win this thing and to do that, you got to beat them.”
Freeman-Liberty to Valpo: Highly-touted Whitney Young product Javon Freeman-Liberty officially signed his national letter of intent with the Valparaiso men’s basketball team on Tuesday afternoon and will join the Crusaders for the 2018-19 season.
Freeman-Liberty averaged 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the defending Illinois Class 4A state champions last season and he chose Valparaiso from more than a dozen offers.
“It was love at first sight,” Freeman-Liberty said of his first time on Valparaiso’s campus.
Freeman-Liberty is the nephew of former NBA player and Illinois star Marcus Liberty. The pair interact often on Twitter, with Liberty sending daily motivational messages.
“He just keeps telling me what I should be thinking and what I should be doing to get ready,” Freeman-Liberty said.
Following the upcoming graduations of Max Joseph and Tevonn Walker, along with the addition of Freeman-Liberty, the Crusaders have one remaining scholarship for the 2018-19 season. With much of the roster in place, the Valparaiso coaching staff has some flexibility for the final spot.
“I’ve told our guys that it’s either going to be a home run or we’re going to wait for a transfer,” Valparaiso coach Matt Lottich said.