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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homer unabridged

Former Valparaiso University Head Coach Homer Drew spent some time on the phone with me answering questions and discussing his career, both past and present.  We all heard the questions asked during the press conference, and frankly I was a little disappointed.  I guess maybe the reporters save the good questions for their one on one interviews.  I had a long list of questions for Homer, and he took the time to answer a few of them with well thought out responses.  We touched on a variety of topics; games from this past season, events from years past, his new position, along with a few fun questions mixed in.  Lets get to it.

HC:  You guys had some real good wins at home last season, Butler, CSU, and Missouri State, are the three that come to mind.  Which game do you think the team played their most complete game of the season?

Homer:  Missouri State by far.  We were able to get the lead and hold the lead.  Our offense and defense were both clicking.  Then to have Dick Vitale and the national tv audience just made it that much more special.

HC: At the end of the year the team went through a bit of a rough stretch of games.  After beating Missouri State, you guys fell to Green Bay and then really took a beating at home versus Loyola.  Was it fatigue, poor execution, a combination of things? 

Homer:  We played a lot of games in a short amount of time and we weren't real healthy during that stretch.

HC: Thoughts on the bracket-buster being held in February during the stretch run of conference play?

"Don't like it!"
Homer: Don't like it!  It needs to be held earlier in the year.  Where it is at now in February is right in the middle of conference play.  It is how we do in conference that determines whether or not mid majors make the tournament.  They need to make the bracket buster earlier.

HC: Which player in the H.L. was the toughest to game plan for last season?  Erik Buggs said his toughest defensive assignment of the year was Norris Cole, so I would imagine he is near the top of the list. 

Homer:  Norris Cole, he was very challenging due to him being such a good ball handler.  A guy like that is so hard to double team because you have to bring another defender from so far away.  The other would be Matt Howard from Butler.  He was just so tenacious and strong.

HC: I heard a rumor that you didn't want the floor named after you but that the people who donated the money wouldn't have done so otherwise.  It has to be quite an honor to have your home court named after you. 

Homer: I did not want the floor named after me, but agreed to it for the players.  

HC: On that note, have you ever had anything else named after you? Maybe a sandwich or a newborn baby or a pet?

Homer:  (laughs) No, but I've been called a few names.

HC: Will “The Miracle on Union Street,” when VU beat Notre Dame 71-68 in overtime in 1988, be known as the game that put VU Basketball on the map forever or is it “The Shot” game?

Homer:  "The Miracle on Union Street" put us on the map nationally. "The Shot" was international!  I was getting notes and emails and messages from all over the world after that happened.  The game after that was an overtime win against Florida State.  That game would have made bigger news had it not been for "The Shot".  We've had other big wins as well Seton Hall, Ohio St., Penn St. were all good wins along the way.

Sidenote: Probably my favorite part of the interview was when Homer started telling me about the loss to Rhode Island in the Sweet 16.

Homer:  I'll never forget it.  We were down by 3 with 1:12 left to play. I just new that if we could get this next defensive stop we were going to win this game.  Their back up guard drove into the lane and Bill Jenkins jumped and had his arm outstretched really high in the air.  Their guy hit that awkward nearly impossible shot.  If he misses that shot it would've been a great finish.

HC: What are the difficulties that come with setting up a competitive schedule for a mid-Major school like VU so that when tourney time comes around the committee members take notice?  

Homer:  It is really difficult to get home games.  We've played schools like Duke and North Carolina in the United Center, but it is even difficult to get the better mid majors to do home and homes with us.  We are getting more of these though.  We have Oakland and Bowling Green coming, so we are getting better at getting these on the schedule.

Valpo Players in the community
HC: You and your players spend quite a bit of time in the community so please tell us what has the Valparaiso community meant to you and to your players, many of whom aren't from around here? 

Mike Rogers working with the kids
Homer:  We like to give back.  We want the players to realize how blessed they've been by God for allowing them to have the talents and abilities that they have.  We've done reading programs in schools, bagged groceries for cancer, and participated in heart walks.

HC: Coach, I worked at Opportunity Enterprises one summer and I remember you brought the team through there.  The clients there talked about that day for weeks after that.

Homer:  Yes, thank you for reminding me about that!  That was a great time, those are amazing people over there.

HC: What do you want people to think about the VU program and what you’ve done for it during your illustrious career?  What do you feel is your legacy at Valpo?

Homer:  The type of people that we've had and the players that have come through who have helped make Valpo what is today.  We've had guys come in as freshmen who are unsure and don't have a lot of confidence and see them leave here as graduating seniors with a degree and the confidence that they are going to succeed.

HC:  You've had over 80 players become teachers and coaches and over 30 go on to play professionally.  Which of those stats are you most proud of?

Homer:  All of the above.  To have those guys leave here and do something they are passionate about makes me real proud.

HC: How does it feel as a Father to see your sons follow your footsteps into coaching at the college level? Was it more fun to coach Bryce as a player or to coach alongside him and Scott on the VU staff?
Homer:  Wonderful question.  It was fun to have him on the court.  I could always trust Bryce to handle the ball and make good decisions.  It was a blessing to have them on the coaching staff.  I got a chance to spend a lot of extra time with my sons that many dads do not get.

HC: I heard there is something happening at the ARC just before Thanksgiving.  Can you let me in on what is going down?

Homer:  Coaches vs. cancer tournament is having us a host site.  The teams competing in the event haven't been worked out just yet.

HC: Will you be at the home games this winter or will you try to stay away for a while? 

Homer:  I will be at Baylor and Valpo games. 

HC:  I suppose you’ll have to be there shaking hands with the alums in the Crusader Club as part of your new position.

Homer:  Yes, part of my new position is public relations so you'll be seeing me around.

HC: Will we be seeing you doing some tv analyzing this season for someone like CBS or ESPN? 

Homer:  In the fall, maybe with Comcast or one of the others that you mentioned.  Not sure with who just yet.  

Will we see a Homer Drew/Dick Vitale broadcasting team?
HC:  Have you been working on any catchy sayings like “Diaper Dandy (sensational freshman)”, “Wilson Sandwich (when a player gets the blocked back in their face)”, or “Cream Puff Delight (coach who plays an easy schedule)”?

 Homer: (laughs) No, no I haven't gotten quite the far along in the process yet.

We ran out of time before I could get to a few of my remaining questions.  But I will say this, Homer is going to be great at this public relations/fundraising position the university has put him in.  His voice has a hypnotic calming to it.  Thanks again to Homer Drew for taking 15 minutes of his busy schedule to answer my questions and for 22 years of doing his part to make the city and university of Valparaiso a better place! Feel free to post your comments here or join in the discussion ValpoFanZone.  If you'd like to be alerted when a new post is ready just put your email address in the space above this post and click submit!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

International Trapezoid - Recruiting Post Players

I was listening to some NBA "experts" discussing Dirk Nowitzki's skill set the other day.  They discussed how his touches on offense typically occur well outside the lane.  Dirk is not alone.  It seems that the overwhelming majority of International big men play in this manner.  They rely on their ball handling and shooting ability rather then using their size to be dominant in the low post.  I think the reason for the lack of dominant foreign post players can be attributed to the design of the International Basketball Federation's (FIBA) court.

The court's design has two glaring differences then what most of us are used to seeing, the three point line is much shorter and the key is much different.  The key is going to be what I focus on right now.  From 1950 up until 2010 the international basketball courts featured a painted key area in the shape of a trapezoid.  This trapezoid would widen out more and more the closer it got to the basket.  At the baseline, the trapezoid makes the key 6.0 meters wide (19.68 feet).  In contrast, the NBA key is only 16 feet.  That is only a difference of about 22 inches on either side of the rim. This difference, however minute it may seem, has proven to be a deterrent for international teams and how the develop and implement big guys in the post.

The trapezoid has forced these international teams to become more guard centered, and the big men have been forced to learn better perimeter skills.  With the big men being pushed further away from the hoop, the other players on the team also get pushed out further due to the necessary need for spacing. The number of international players is growing quickly in the NBA and the first mock draft for 2011 has seven international guys going in round 1.  Several of these guys are listed as C or PF, but these should be considered as exceptions (if they are back to the basketball guys like Enes Kanter) to the rule as they are the best of the best at what they do.

So what was the point of this post?  With the Valpo typically bringing in guys from overseas (5 on the roster last season, and probably that many again this coming year) or with international experience I think it's important to understand why we might be lacking an inside presence.  They just aren't there for recruiting.  Sure we have Kevin Van Wijk, but I don't think anyone would say he arrived at Valpo with a solid post game.  This isn't to say these players can't be taught how to play a traditional post position, but more so that we shouldn't expect to find that international big man who can make an instant impact on the inside.

Now FIBA has just recently (October of last year I believe) gone away from the trapezoid for the more recognizable rectangle.  Over time this should help teams like Valpo who recruit heavily in foreign countries find those big post players who have been developed to play with their backs to the basket.  For the next few years however, I would look for Coach Drew and his staff to look for post players in the States if that is what the new VU Coach's game plan calls for.

Feel free to post your thoughts and comments or join in the discussion here.  Also, if you'd like to be alerted when a new post is made on SectionEE please put your email address in the space provided above this post and click submit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Passing the torch (full post)

At today's press conference in the new Harre Union the coaching torch was passed from the legendary Homer Drew to his son, and local hero, Bryce Drew.  The promotion of Bryce from Associate to Head Coach comes as no big surprise to Crusader nation.  The fact that it happened this year and not next, when Homer's contract was set to end, is a bit surprising.

The press conference was well attended.  University President Mark Heckler, Athletic Director Mark LaBarbera, VU alumni, current and former players, as well as VU staff were all present for the announcement.  President Heckler was the first to the mic.  President Heckler gave us a statistic that over 30 former players had gone on to professional basketball careers and, maybe more impressive and more a representation for what Coach Drew stood for, 80 of Homer’s former players had gone on to become teachers and coaches.  President Heckler also announced that Homer Drew would be retained as Associate Athletic Director.  These duties will include working closely with the AD and President, public relations, fundraising (which I hear he is very good at), as well as allow him to pursue possible opportunities with ESPN and CBS (to name a few news outlets).

My take: anybody you talk to on campus has only rave reviews for President Heckler.  His personality, vision, and charisma are clearly inspirational to everyone who cares about Valparaiso University.  I believe that this new role for Homer Drew will be greatly beneficial for the university.  Raising money from former athletes is a great challenge, but if anyone can accomplish this it would be Coach Drew.

After President Heckler we got to hear from Homer Drew.  Homer told us how looking back he feels like he now can see the plan that God had laid out before him. He talked about his first job as a high school coach in St. Louis and how that lead him to a tournament and coaching clinic at Valparaiso University.  He spoke of his meeting with legendary Coach John Wooden, not once but twice.  Finally he talked about all the things that he wanted to accomplish at the university, nearly all of which he accomplished (I think the only one I heard him say that wasn’t accomplished was winning a postseason tournament).  Homer closed his turn at the podium with this quote, “It has been my honor to be your coach for the last 22 years.”

My take: Homer always has portrayed himself as humble and approachable.  I think this is why he is so well liked by nearly everyone.  His story about realizing years later God’s plan for him and how everything has fallen into place should be an inspiration to us all.  I truly believe that he wouldn’t leave Valpo in anything but capable hands.  I was happy to hear, as all of us were, that his health was not a factor in his decision to step down.

Next up was AD Mark LaBarbera.  While introducing Bryce Drew he made mention of what he looks for in head coaches at Valparaiso University.  Some of the attributes he mentioned (I think I caught them all) were; has competed at the highest level, is a teacher of the game, holds up the values of VU, and has been a winner.

Finally, Bryce Drew took the mic and explained his vision and what he hopes to accomplish with his new role as Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Winning the Horizon League and conference tournament as well as getting back into the NCAA were at the top of his list.  He made mention that he wants to continue having the team be a mainstay in community activities, noting that this past season the team spent nearly 200 hours doing community service.  Bryce calls this new opportunity his “dream job” and went back to when he was 14 years old and how since then he has wanted only see Valpo succeed.

My take: I like this move.  I think with the young core group of talented players on the roster now was the perfect time for Bryce to take over. I do wonder how the fans and alumni of the university will accept the lack of a nationwide search.  It seems like they had a nice plan of succession in place.  Bryce has plenty of experience on the bench and should be ready to make his own legacy at Valpo.  Young coaches all across the country are experiencing great success at mid major colleges.  Two names that should quickly pop into everyone’s minds are Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens.  With success will come rumors of moving on to “greener pastures”, but I see Bryce more as a mainstay at VU.  Barring an opening at place like UNC, Duke, IU, or Kentucky (or a select few other major jobs).  What will Bryce do differently from Homer?  Faster tempo, different defensive schemes, more animated on the sideline?  Only time will tell.  I for one am excited to usher in this new era in Valparaiso Crusader basketball and am even more excited now for the upcoming season.

Join in on the discussion at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homer's Legacy

Homer Drew leaves behind a long and successful career in coaching at Valparaiso University.  Few coaches stay at one school as long as Drew has, few coaches last in the profession for as long as Drew has, and even fewer coaches have won as many games as Drew has.  What legacy will Homer Drew leave as he hands over the reigns to the Crusaders to his son Bryce?  Consistency and championships (VU hasn't won one of these in a while, but their past successes warrant it).  

Let me blow your mind with some statistics real quick.  Homer led the Crusaders to at least 20 wins 10 times, including a span of 8 times in nine years.  Coach Drew helped guide VU to the NCAA tournament a total of 7 different times, including a run of 5 consecutive years.  Homer has coached at the collegiate level for 34 seasons; spending time at Bethel College, IUSB, and Valparaiso.  Coach Drew has won a Coach of the Year award on 9 different occassions!  Valparaiso is one of just a few schools (Kentucky, UNC, UMass) to ever win both their conference round robin and conference tournament at least five years in a row.  Drew will finish 41st on the all time winningest coaches list with 640 career victories.  Coach Drew also had the honor of having his home court named after him.

Drew led teams aren't only successful on the basketball court.  They make numerous appearances in the Valparaiso community every year.  From visiting schools, daycare centers, helping the police with crowd control at Popcorn Festival, hosting basketball clinics for the YMCA, attending fundraisers for the Boys and Girls Clubs, and they have served meals to the hungry at St. Teresa's Cafe Manna.  Coach Drew hasn't just coached these young men in the game basketball, but he has helped them become better people as well.  He has turned the basketball players from a team into a family.  Current Crusader point guard Erik Buggs on how to succeed at Valpo, "We are all about having a family atmosphere at Valpo and that makes it hard to let others down. We all expect the best effort out of each other, so giving all the effort that you can give is all that we ask for here."

During Homer's coaching career at Valparaiso he has helped 32 players move on and play at the professional ranks. There are two games in VU history during Coach Drew's tenure that you could point at as putting Valparaiso on the map in the college basketball world.  The first was in 1988.  Valparaiso welcomed Notre Dame to the ARC, and in front of a packed house went on to defeat the Irish 71-68 in OT in a game now known as "The Miracle on Union Street".  Notre Dame would enter the NCAA tournament that season as a #10 seed.  Valparaiso would again take down ND in 1993, this time in South Bend, 80-66.  The other game you may have heard of happened in 1998 in the NCAA tournament.  In a first round match-up against #4 Mississippi, the #13 Crusaders found themselves trailing by 2 points with 2.5 seconds left on the clock.  The rest is history:

Valparaiso announcer Todd Ickow was court side for the radio broadcast, almost directly behind Drew on press row as he made the call:  They gotta go the length of the court, with 2.5 left...Sykes long pass...Bill Jenkins...Drew's three for the win....GOOD!!! GOOD!!! VALPO WINS! VALPO WINS! VALPO WINS! BRYCE DREW! HITS A THREE! AND THE CRUSADERS HAVE MOVED INTO THE SECOND ROUND! BRYCE DREW HIT A THREE-POINTER TO WIN THIS GAME, 70-69! THE KID...PERFORMS ANOTHER MIRACLE!

Relive "The Shot" here.

Passing the torch
The Drew story at Valpo is not over.  As Homer steps aside his son Bryce will take over the helm.  This is another post for another day.  Thank you Homer for all the work you've for Valparaiso University and the Valparaiso Community!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The newest Crusader: Will Bogan

All Valpo fans recently learned about the NCAA transfer loophole for graduating students seeking a Master degree in a program that their institution does not offer.  Shortly after losing Brandon Wood to Michigan State, the Crusader welcomed Will Bogan in from the University of Mississippi.  Like Wood, Bogan will be eligible to play immediately, but unlike Wood he will have two years of eligibility left.  You see, Bogan took full advantage of his time at Ole Miss completing his undergrad in three years!

Will took a few minutes of his time to answer some of my questions to help myself and all Valpo fans get a better understanding of the new guy on the team.

HC: How's the wrist? What kind of injury did you sustain?
Bogan: The wrist is all good now. I fractured a bone in my left hand.
HC: What led you to Valpo, besides the Master degree?
Bogan: Aside from the Master degree, I really liked the coaching staff, players, style of play. It seems like an all around good fit for me.
HC: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your game? What should Valpo fans expect to see when Will Bogan is on the court?
Bogan: Valpo fans can expect to get a competitor who plays hard all the time and wants to win. I am a combo guard who can play the one or the two spot. They can expect to see a guy who plays defense along with a solid offensive skill set.
HC: We have a plethora of guards, should be some real good competition for playing time. What has Coach Drew told you about your role on the team?
Bogan: Coach Drew recruited me as a combo to play both on and off the ball.
HC: Valpo's roster is a bit undersized, any chance you can grow 7 or 8 inches by the fall?
Bogan: Haha I wish I could grow that much..I guess we are just going to have to get out and run and shoot a lot of 3's.
HC: What schools recruited you out of high school?
Bogan: Out of high school, I was recruited by Air Force, Stanford, Ole Miss, and a number of other mid majors. This second time around my decision came down to UC Davis, Utah, and Valpo.
HC: Any nicknames or pregame rituals you can let us in on?
Bogan: I do not really have any pregame rituals but if we get on a winning streak I will keep doing the same pregame I guess you could say I'm a little superstitious.
HC: So you're from Idaho, lot to do out there?
Bogan: I am from Idaho and I love it there. There is plenty to do.
HC: Anything else you'd like the Valpo fans to know about you?
Bogan: Something kind of high school colors are the same as Valpo..I tried to get away from them but I just come right back haha. I'm excited to get there and do big things.

Bogan is listed as a 6'1'' guard.  Watching this video from his high school years, he seems to be a very capable scorer from anywhere on the court who should provide the Crusaders and Coach Drew with yet another threat from the outside.  I wonder if Hrvoje Vucic will give up his #3?Thanks Will for taking out some of your time to let us know a bit more about you.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Should Valpo fans be upset with Brandon Wood?

This, I hope, will be my last post on Brandon Wood.  It is time to look ahead!
As we are all well aware by now, Brandon Wood has left Valpo for the opportunity to play at Michigan State University.  The discussion of whether or not Valpo fans should be upset with Wood has been discussed at length on message boards with many people on both sides of the argument.  Brandon was able to use a loophole in the NCAA rules that allows student athletes the opportunity to transfer without losing a year of eligibility if they have graduated and the school they are currently attending does not offer the Master's program they are looking for.

Before we get started, I'm all for a guy doing what he has to do to maximize his earning potential.  Brandon put his name in the NBA draft so that he could go to some workouts and gauge what he needed to work on in order to succeed at that level.  What the NBA scouts want to see from Brandon, according to his father Anthony is how Brandon is at "matching up defensively against bigger, stronger and NBA ready players is the number one concern along with the ability to play with and against other NBA ready players on a night in and night out basis."  With that in mind it was determined that it'd be in Brandon's best interest to transfer to a bigger school that would face better competition on a nightly basis.  Schools in play besides MSU included: Purdue, UConn, Providence, and Florida State.

I asked Anthony Wood what made Michigan State the winner in the sweepstakes for his son's talents. He responded, "not one single thing was a deal maker. Grad program, coach, tournament chances, top 25 team, exposure, BIG MEN, etc."  I have a problem with his "grad program" reason, I don't think anyone truly believes this was ever about academics.  Then there is the "BIG MEN" part.  This was the first I'd heard of this as being a reason from the Wood camp as a reason to go to MSU.  It has been discussed to great length by the fans for VU to land a recruit who can play in the paint and be a force to recon with under the basket.  Perhaps him leaving is the fault of the Crusader coaching staff for failing to recruit an inside presence (I don't believe this to be true at all)?

Some Valpo fans have this feeling of betrayal.  Brandon Wood did not betray Valpo.  While him leaving hurts for the time being, Valpo will move on.  It shouldn't take long for fans to get over his departure as he never led a Valpo team to postseason or even conference glory.  Brandon came to Valpo, played his two years, achieved academic success by graduating with his bachelor's degree in sports marketing and business, and received many awards for athletic performances.  Personally, I think this move will prove a poor decision, but I'm no NBA talent scout.  I still see Brandon as an instant offense kind of guy at the next level, and going to MSU he is going to see his shot attempts drop (last season he averaged 13.5 shots per game).  He may, or may not, have a difficult time adjusting to a new offense and all new teammates.  I just think that if you are a scorer, you want to have your entire arsenal on full display every night when you are the target of the opponents defensive scheme.  I just don't see how that is going to happen playing at Michigan State.

Good luck Brandon.  I wish you success and a long and prosperous career in the NBA.  Also, don't forget to send in those alumni donations!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My new favorite Dino

There are many famous Dino's out there; Dino from the Flintstones, Dino Bruni (Italian cyclist), Dino Cicarrelli (former NHL player), and who can forget Dino Merlin (popular singer from Bosnia and Herzegovina).  You can have all those great Dino's, my new favorite Dino is incoming Valparaiso University Freshman Dino Jakolis.  From LaLumeire Prep School in LaPorte, Indiana the 6'7'' Jakolis comes in ranked 87th at his position by ESPN.  Jakolis took a few minutes to answer some questions for me.

HC: Dino, what sold you on Valpo? 
Dino: The coaches are great people who understand players and are willing to help them every moment.
HC: What other schools were recruiting you?
Dino: Northwestern, Marquette, La Salle, UIC and Duquesne.
HC: What do you think will be the toughest adjustment from playing at LaLumeire to playing at a D1?
Dino: I do not think that there should be any major problems. Just some minor corrections here and there and I will be set.
HC:  Who is your favorite Dino, Dino Raja, Dino from the Flintstones, or a different Dino?
Dino: Dino Raja and Dino from the Flintstones. The first Dino is great inspiration and the second one was the one I used to watch a lot when I was younger.
HC: What role do you expect to fill for the Crusaders your freshman year?
Dino: My expection is that I will play as guard. Guards penetrate, shoot and assist. Exactly what I like to do.
HC: Valpo is a bit undersized, are you concerned about potentially having to match up with some of the bigger guys in the Horizon League?
Dino: There is always a threat from big guys, but as long as I block them out, it shouldn't be a problem guarding big guys.
HC: According to ESPN, you have pretty good range and a nice pull up jump shot. They also note you are a pretty good ball handler for such a big guy. What part of your game will you work to improve on this Summer?
Dino: I will mostly work on shooting and ball handling. I believe that these two components are the keys. You always make a basket with your shot, either lay up or pull up jump shot, so why not add some extra effort.
HC: Do you have any pregame rituals/superstitions?
Dino: Not really. I have never bothered with that.
HC: What do you ultimately hope to achieve during your 4 years of playing at Valpo (personally, as a team, on/off the court)?
Dino: I would like to continue growing as a stable person, make connections with people, learn as much as I can about my studies and lastly, get basketball level to the higher stage.

Thank you Dino for taking the time out to answer these questions for me and the VU fans.  We are anxiously waiting to see you and the rest of the 2011-2012 Crusaders take to the court.  As always, if you'd like an email alert when a new post is made be sure to put your email address in the space provided above this post and click submit!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wood to MSU

Seems it is official and we can all finally move on.  Best of luck to Brandon at Michigan State.  Hopefully he can make it to the professional ranks, and his alumni donations back to VU will be substantial!

Only time will tell if this proves to be a good move for Brandon.  There are both positives and negatives for him leaving.  Personally, I'm glad this has come to an end and Valpo can look for another player to fill the voided scholarship left by Wood.  Maybe they can pick up a 1 year transfer of their own.  One name being tossed around is Mike Bizoukas from Munster who has a year of eligibility left.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brandon Wood Update 2.0

A quick update about the status of Brandon.  It is becoming more and more evident that he has played his last game as a Crusader.  In a message received from Anthony Wood this evening (5/1) he states that Brandon will visit with Michigan State tomorrow.  Mr. Wood also states, "Brandon is requesting permission to contact letters to be sent to UCONN, Providence and Florida State."

I'm told the Purdue visit has not occurred yet.

Stay tuned....