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Valparaiso's Javon Freeman-Liberty

In this Dec. 29, 2018, photo, Valparaiso's Javon Freeman-Liberty goes up for a shot against Purdue Northwest. After initially announcing his plans to transfer, Freeman-Liberty will be back with the Crusaders for the 2019-20 season.

Javon Freeman-Liberty had a simple message on Twitter: “I’m Back.”

Freeman-Liberty has sent a jolt through the Missouri Valley Conference, announcing on Thursday afternoon that he is returning to the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team.

The Whitney Young product averaged 11.0 points and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman for the Crusaders in 2018-19. He was the only player on the roster to start all 33 games.

Freeman-Liberty was named to the Valley All-Defensive and All-Freshman teams and was thought to be one of the future stars of the league before he announced he was transferring on March 19. After a month and a half Freeman-Liberty is coming back to Valparaiso after really only considering Northwestern as a potential landing spot.

Former Valparaiso assistant coach Emanuel Dildy recruited Freeman-Liberty and secured his commitment, but Dildy left for Northwestern in May 2018.

“Talking it over with my mom and my uncle, we all came to the agreement that Valparaiso was the place for me,” Freeman-Liberty said shortly after he posted a photograph of himself in a Valparaiso uniform to Twitter.

Valparaiso’s roster looks quite a different from the day that Freeman-Liberty initially announced he was transferring. Derrik Smits announced he would be playing his final season at Butler earlier this week while Bakari Evelyn, Markus Golder and Jaume Sorolla are all considering graduate transfers.

Micah Bradford’s father, Barry Bradford, confirmed earlier this week that the 6-foot-2 guard would also be pursuing a graduate transfer this offseason. Micah Bradford was suspended indefinitely from the team April 22 following his second violation of the the Valparaiso University Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.

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With the mass exodus of players, fourth-year coach Matt Lottich reloaded the roster with international players, harkening back to 1990s when overseas recruits helped establish Valparaiso as a premier mid-major program.

The Crusaders signed Norwegian point guard Sigurd “Siggy” Lorange and Danish big man Emil Freese-Vilien along with Canadian forward Ben Krikke.

Lottich also added a pair of Illinois products in wing Donovan Clay, currently a senior at Alton, and junior college transfer Zion Morgan. Morgan was a one-time Valparaiso commit before he began his collegiate career at UNLV.

Freeman-Liberty didn’t expand on his reasons for returning to Valparaiso, only saying that he reached out to Lottich last week and told the coach that he was considering a return to the Crusaders. He also had been in constant contact with some of his Valparaiso teammates.

“I talked to Daniel Sackey every day, and I talked to Mileek (McMillan) every day,” Freeman-Liberty said. “They told me they’d welcome me back with open arms. I’m really motivated, especially with all the new faces we’ve got. We’ll be prepared for next year.”

If all of the players who have expressed a desire to transfer end up leaving the program, the Crusaders have one available scholarship remaining for the 2019-20 season. Valparaiso currently has just one true center (Freese-Vilien) on the roster.

Messages left for Lottich were not immediately returned for comment.

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