Valparaiso University beats Illinois State in men's basketball

Valparaiso University guard Markus Golder (right) shoots over Illinois State forward Rey Idowu during the regular season at Athletics-Recreation Center.

The mass exodus could continue for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball program after Markus Golder told The Times on Thursday morning that he was “exploring a grad transfer.”

Golder becomes the fourth Valparaiso player to announce intentions to leave or explore leaving the program this week. Fellow graduate transfers Derrik Smits and Bakari Evelyn, as well as freshman Javon Freeman-Liberty, have announced their intention to leave.

Golder, who spent two years at Valparaiso after beginning his collegiate career at North Idaho College, will have one year of immediate eligibility once he graduates. Golder stated on Thursday that he would have no further comment on his decision.

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The Portland native averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 25 minutes per game this season. Golder’s production slipped in every statistical category after his first season with the team in 2017-18.

The 6-foot-6 guard/forward provided one of the highlights of the season by hitting a half-court buzzer-beater to knock off Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference opener on Jan. 2. Golder scored a team-high 18 points in Valparaiso’s 77-55 win over Indiana State at Arch Madness on Mar. 7. In between, Golder was slowed by an ankle injury that he suffered midway through the conference slate which eventually kept him sidelined for two games.

There has been no comment from Valparaiso coach Matt Lottich about the specific players that have exited the program. The university released a statement from Lottich following Freeman-Liberty and Evelyn announcing their transfers and in it, Lottich referenced spending time this spring working “to identify other young men who can help us achieve success moving forward and are excited to be at Valpo.” The Crusaders now have four open scholarships for the 2019-20 season.