Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

The Missouri Valley Conference has released which men’s basketball games will appear on its three television packages this season, and it’s clear the University of Evansville is one of the programs the MVC plans to showcase.

Here is an updated list of all UE regular-season games that could appear on TV.

(NOTES: All UE home games, plus all conference games not on TV, will stream online on ESPN3. … Games listed as MVC TV Network will air on Fox Sports Indiana/Fox Sports Midwest but will be shown on ESPN3 outside of those markets. … Games listed as ESPNU/ESPN3 are considered “netflex” games; ESPN will choose which game to put on ESPNU and leave others on ESPN3).


Date, Opponent, TV coverage

11/26 — vs. Providence in Wooden Legacy first round, ESPNU

11/27 — vs. Arizona/Santa Clara at Wooden Legacy, ESPN2/ESPN3

11/29 — vs. TBA at Wooden Legacy, ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3

12/8 — at Arkansas, SEC Network

1/2 — at Missouri State, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

1/15 — at Illinois State, ESPN2

1/19 — vs. Loyola, CBS Sports Network

1/24 — at Indiana State, ESPNU/ESPN3 netflex

1/31 — vs. Wichita State, ESPNU/ESPN3 netflex

2/3 — at Northern Iowa, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

2/6 — vs. Missouri State, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

2/11 — vs. Illinois State, CBS Sports Network

2/14 — at Loyola, ESPNU/ESPN3 netflex

2/17 — at Drake, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

2/20 — vs. Southern Illinois, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

2/23 — at Bradley, MVC TV Network (Fox Sports Midwest)

2/27 — vs. Northern Iowa, ESPN/ESPN2/CBS Sports Network*

* — There will be five MVC games on the final day of the regular season. The TV networks will choose which three to air.


To recap, as many of 17 of Evansville’s regular-season games could be televised, including all eight of the Aces’ contests in February. After looking at the other “netflex” alternatives, there is a chance UE gets picked up each time if the teams perform as they’ll be projected in the preseason. All other UE home games and Valley contests will be broadcast on ESPN3, giving the Aces more national exposure than ever before.






Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.


JASON CLARK / COURIER & PRESS — D.J. Balentine drives to the hoop during the first half of Evansville’s win over Northern Arizona in the CIT championship game.

D.J. Balentine is always looking to expand his game.

Already comfortable with the pull-up jump shot while driving to his left, the University of Evansville senior guard has worked this summer to mirror that move to his right. The two-time Missouri Valley Conference scoring leader also looked to improve his ball handling and overall explosiveness.

“Me and (strength) coach Jordan (Stanley) have done so many things to help my athleticism out,” Balentine said. “I’ve gotten a lot quicker, I jump a lot higher now so it’s just a lot of things I’ve been working on.”

Balentine was named the Postseason Tournament MVP after averaging 27.2 points during the Aces’ championship run.

Evansville has loftier goals for 2015-16. The biggest one: making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999.

“It wasn’t just being in the tournament; we want to make some noise in the tournament,” Balentine said. “We don’t just want to say we got there and did nothing.

“This offseason, everybody’s been working extremely hard. This is probably the hardest we’ve worked as a team since I’ve been here. It just makes us really excited for it.”

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

Crown Point High School junior Sasha Stefanovic tweeted this week that the University of Evansville became the first school to offer him a basketball scholarship.

Stefanovic, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, is the son of Lou Stefanovic — a star at Illinois State who was drafted in the 1985 NBA Draft before playing professionally in Europe for 10 years.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

Ryan Stipanovich, a junior small forward from DeSmet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, tweeted Tuesday night that the University of Evansville had offered him a scholarship.

Stipanovich is listed by various websites anywhere from 6-foot-5 to 6-7. He averaged 16.6 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore and already holds a half-dozen Division I scholarship offers. According to his VerbalCommits page, Stipanovich has been offered by Wyoming, IUPUI, Eastern Illinois, Vermont and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Links to a pair of highlight videos can be found on Stipanovich’s Hudl page.

Stipanovich is the fourth known recruit in the Class of 2017 to draw an offer from Evansville. The Aces have three seniors and eight juniors on their roster this season.

Posted by & filed under Baseball.

Kevin Kaczmarski has added another batting title to his resumé.

The top hitter in NCAA Division I this spring, the former UE center fielder finished his first professional season with an Appalachian League-leading .355 batting average. He also tallied four home runs, five triples and 18 doubles in 64 games, good for a .512 slugging percentage.

Kaczmarski plays for the Kingsport Mets, a Rookie League affiliate of the New York Mets. Kingsport (40-28) won its division and begins a three-game playoff series with the Greeneville Astros on Thursday.

Here is how other former Aces in the minor leagues are faring:

Kyle Freeland is 2-2 with a 4.64 ERA since moving up to the Modesto Nuts of the High-A California League. He had two consecutive rocky starts, allowing a combined 13 runs in a pair of losses. But he bounced back Saturday with a win in which he threw 7 1/3 innings while surrendering just two runs.

Eric Stamets, a shortstop known for his glove, has struggled at the plate since being traded to the Cleveland Indians organization. He is hitting .190 in his first 28 games with the Double-A Akron Rubberducks.

— Righthander Kyle Lloyd is 6-11 with a 4.90 ERA with the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm. He has logged 130 1/3 innings this season.

— Right-handed reliever Sam Johns has seen his numbers improve since moving from the full-season Single-A Hagerstown Suns to the short-season Auburn Doubledays. After posting a 5.56 ERA with Hagerstown, Johns is 2-2 with a 1.20 ERA in Auburn. Both teams are affiliates of the Washington Nationals.

— Catcher Kyle Pollock is hitting .280 with four home runs in 34 games with the Idaho Falls Chukars, a Rookie League team in the Kansas City Royals organization. Pollock began the season with the Single-A Lexington Legends but was demoted after 22 games.



Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

University of Evansville point guard Duane “Boo” Gibson is recovering well from late-June surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, Aces coach Marty Simmons said Wednesday.

“I talked to Boo today and he feels great,” Simmons said. “I think it’s going to be another three or four weeks before they begin to do some physical activity. I’m just excited at how well he feels. He feels pretty darn good and has no pain. We’ve just got to be cautious.”

Gibson, a 6-foot-3 junior, sustained the injury during a workout over the summer. He played in all 36 games last season, starting 23. He led the Aces with 36 steals while averaging 5.1 points and 2.7 assists per game.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

The University of Evansville plans to release its men’s basketball nonconference schedule Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what I already know about the schedule:


— Home games: Belmont, Southeast Missouri State, Norfolk State on Dec. 17

— Road games: Murray State on Dec. 5, Arkansas on Dec. 8, Fresno State on Dec. 20


The Aces will host NAIA opponent Marian University on Nov. 17. Marian, coached by former UE assistant Carson Harris, is the only non-Division I opponent on Evansville’s regular-season slate.

UE will host Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 12. The Delta Devils finished 6-25 last year, including 5-13 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The Missouri Valley Conference portion of the schedule hasn’t been released, but there isn’t much mystery there. Each team plays the other nine conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road.

Posted by & filed under Recruiting, Women's Basketball.

Benton Central (Indiana) senior Kaylan Coffman picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Evansville women’s basketball team this weekend, according to a tweet from her AAU program, Best Choice United.

Coffman, listed in various places as 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, helped Benton Central hold the No. 1 ranking in Class 3A for most of last season. The Bison’s only loss came to Rochester in the Rochester Regional despite Coffman’s 23 points.

Coffman had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2013-14, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game. She was named the Big School Player of the Year by the Lafayette Journal & Courier. After last season, Coffman was named honorable mention underclass all-state by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

Here’s a look at what Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball teams have been doing this summer, with summaries compiled from beat writers:


After a furiously busy spring in which new coach Brian Wardle replaced eight players with eligibility remaining and senior Auston Barnes with eight freshmen and a transfer, Bradley was hit with another defection at summer’s end.

Senior guard Warren Jones, the Braves’ top returning scorer at 11.9 points per game, was dismissed from the team for a reported violation of team rules. Other early BU departures included Josh Cunningham, Tramique Sutherland, Xzavier Taylor, Omari Grier, Anthony Fields, Nate Wells, Jermaine Morgan and Kendahl Amerson. Jones’ dismissal left senior guard Ka’Darryl Bell, who averaged just 6.1 points last season, as the leading returning scorer.

The Bradley scholarship roster for 2015-16 is now painfully young — eight freshmen, one sophomore and two seniors. Some of the more promising first-year players during summer workouts included 5-11 point guard Joel Okafor, 6-8 forwards Luuk van Bree and Scottie James and 6-3 combo guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye. Sophomore forward Donte Thomas also showed improvement before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in July. He is expected to be fully recovered before the start of fall workouts.

The program’s nearly complete facelift has allowed Wardle to establish a new culture at BU, which was 46-86 during Geno Ford’s four years as head coach. The 35-year-old coach, who won 48 games the past two years at Green Bay, has preached hard work, passion and intensity to his young team.

— Dave Reynolds, Peoria Journal Star


Drake wrapped up its European tour this week with a 2-1 record. Kale Abrahamson, a West Des Moines native who transferred back from Northwestern, scored a team-high 18 points in the Bulldogs’ last and toughest game, an 84-79 loss to BC Atletas.

C.J. Rivers contributed 10 points. Drake bolstered its depth in the post with the addition of Dominik Olejniczak, a 7-foot freshman from Poland who runs the floor well. Sophomore point guard Reed Timmer continues to be the “face” of the program.

Having 10 extra practices over the summer should help the Bulldogs, who have 11 underclassmen, including four true freshmen, four true sophomores and three guys coming off of redshirt seasons. Coach Ray Giacoletti expects the team to make a jump this season and it could move into middle of the pack within the Valley. But these guys are still young, so it feels like it’ll be another year before Drake is ready to join the Valley’s upper-division.

— Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register


Point guard Duane Gibson tore the meniscus in his knee at the beginning of summer workouts and had surgery in late June. He is expected to return in September or October.

The rest of the summer news regarding UE is mostly positive. The Aces signed Ohio University transfer Ryan Taylor with their final scholarship, and he’s expected to contribute immediately once he becomes eligible in 2016-17. Taylor, a 6-foot-5 guard, started 28 games at Ohio as a freshman, averaging 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

UE center Egidijus Mockevicius competed in the World University Games, averaging 11 points and more than five rebounds in the group stage to help Lithuania advance to the quarterfinals. He sprained his ankle in the quarterfinal loss to the United States – represented by the University of Kansas – and didn’t play in Lithuania’s final two exhibition games. Aces swingman Mislav Brzoja participated in a training camp with the Croatian national team.

UE is still finalizing contracts for its non-conference schedule, but what is already completed is a marked upgrade from last season. The Aces have added a road game against Arkansas and will play Providence in the first round of the Wooden Legacy, which also features 2015 NCAA tournament participants Arizona, Michigan State, Boise State and UC Irvine. Evansville will also play a pair of respected mid-major programs in Belmont and Murray State.

— Daniel Allar, Evansville Courier & Press

Illinois State

The Redbirds went 3-1 on an exhibition tour in Spain, playing two games each in Madrid and Barcelona during a 10-day trip in August. ISU had an 17-point lead in the only game it lost, 89-87 to the Madrid All-Stars, when play was halted after Quintin Brewer broke the rim on a dunk. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell was “spectacular and very efficient” on the trip, said ISU coach Dan Mueller, and looks poised for a huge season. The 6-5 senior guard averaged 20.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Muller suspended sophomore forward Deontae Hawkins after the second game in Madrid for violation of team rules and sent him home to Dayton, Ohio. However, Hawkins was back on campus and attended the first day of classes this week. When the suspension will be lifted is not clear, but players usually practice and weight lift during past Muller suspensions.

Otherwise, Muller was pleased with everything about the trip. He thought the team bonded well with five freshmen, Brewer (graduate transfer from Bethune-Cookman) and Nick Banyard (transfer from New Mexico) getting on the court with the six returners. Three freshmen — point guard Keyshawn Evans (pulled muscle in hip), guard Matt Hein (pinky finger) and center Daouda “David” Ndiaye (foot) — missed some game action, but Muller expects all to be 100 percent when practice officially begins in October.

— Jim Benson, The Pantagraph

Indiana State

The injury bug destabilized Indiana State’s 2014-15 season when Brandon Burnett, expected to play a big role, was knocked out for the season after he injured his foot in a car accident just before the season began. When T.J. Bell ruptured his Achilles and was lost for the season on July 29, Greg Lansing decided he needed to act quickly to avoid a similar fate.

Bell, a power forward/center in 2015, was projected to be a starter at the five-spot. Rather than recruit a big man late in the summer, ISU exploited a loophole to bring guard Trey Knight to ISU from Cedar Park, Texas. Immediately eligible, Knight will likely redshirt in 2015-16, given the depth of ISU’s backcourt. The idea was to make sure ISU had enough practice players to get through the season.

To get Knight, ISU put Bell on a non-participant scholarship similar to that given to injured football players who serve as managers when they’re hurt. Bell will regain his athletic scholarship in 2016-17. Since classes had not begun when this transpired, ISU could take advantage of this rarely-used-for-basketball option.

Knight is a combo guard, and along with guard St. Louis-based guard Jordan Barnes, who signed in mid-July, ISU’s scholarship allotment is maxed out for the 2016-17 season (for now).

Sophomore Brandon Murphy, junior college transfer Niels Buncschoten and freshman Emondre Rickman will fill Bell’s role by committee. Aside from Bell, Bronson Kessinger — ISU’s top true freshman recruit — will sit out the season as a redshirt. Kessinger is still recovering from a broken leg and wrist suffered during his senior high school season when he pushed from behind on a dunk attempt and fell awkwardly.

All other Sycamores are healthy and there have been no defections or dismissals since the spring.

Citadel transfer Matt Van Scyoc is the likely starter at power forward with Burnett to get significant minutes. Some combination of Khristian Smith, Brenton Scott, Devonte Brown and Everett Clemons will fill the small forward, shooting guard and point guard starting positions, respectively. Burnett will also play the three. Grant Prusator and Laquarious Paige fill out a crowded guard contingent.

ISU completed its non-conference schedule. Highlights include Wyoming’s visit in the Mountain West-MVC Challenge, participation in the Paradise Jam, and trips to Butler, Western Kentucky and Saint Louis. SLU bought ISU. Unlike their most recently two-year series, there will be no return game.

— Todd Golden, Terre Haute Tribune Star

Missouri State

It’s probably an ominous sign when fall semester classes are underway and the roster is not written in ink. That’s where Missouri State finds itself, losing one player and adding another as school begins.

Junior college guard Kevin Baker apparently did not make his qualifying grades out of Pensacola State College and has been removed from the roster. But the Bears, anticipating the scholarship opening, added 6-6 wing forward Aldonis Foote out of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas.

Foote is billed as an athletic type who could provide immediate help to a team that will have a much-different roster after an 11-20 season in Paul Lusk’s fourth year. Two other juco transfers and four freshmen join seven holdovers – but two of those veterans had offseason surgery.

Junior center Tyler McCullough had shoulder surgery for a torn ligament in June and might not be able to play until December. Senior guard Dorrian Williams had surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder in the spring and should be back by the start of the regular season.

— Lyndal Scranton, Springfield News-Leader

Northern Iowa

The major news over the summer dealt with the schedule Northern Iowa will play in 2015-16.

Earlier this week, the Panthers learned they would once again be part of the field for the ESPN 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. UNI’s opponent on Nov. 17 will be a familiar one — Stephen F. Austin. This time, though, the game is set for the McLeod Center at 7 a.m. Nov. 17.

Last season, UNI ended SFA’s 34-game home winning streak with a 79-77 win during the Tip-Off Marathon.

Head coach Ben Jacobson’s team also learned it will face host Hawaii in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22.

The non-conference portion of the Panthers’ 2015-16 was completed with the announcement that North Texas will come to Cedar Falls Nov. 30.

Overall, UNI will open with four straight home games, a stretch that includes the Nov. 21 matchup with North Carolina and Iowa native Marcus Paige.

— Jim Sullivan, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois had a busy last two months of the summer as it finalized its roster, coaching staff and schedule.

SIU’s three main newcomers, junior college guards Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent and prep school forward Rudolfs Stradnieks, were unable to come to Carbondale over the summer to work out with the returnees. Rodriguez and Vincent were finishing up academic work at their respective schools and Stradnieks, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward, played for the Latvian National Team at the FIBA Under-20 Championship in Italy. Stradnieks played sparingly, but competed against NBA lottery pick Kristaps Porzingis in practice and got some good international experience.

The Salukis are counting on redshirt freshman forward Austin Weiher (6-8, 205 pounds) and Stradnieks to help them inside, along with returnees Bola Olaniyan and Ibby Djimde. Junior Sean O’Brien also may play more inside this season.

SIU added three players late, 6-5 guard Sean Lloyd out of Mount Zion Prep in Baltimore, walk-on guard Aaron Siler from Lincoln Trail College and 6-6 junior college guard Jeremy Postell, and hired Brad Autry from Hawaii as its last assistant coach.

Lloyd is the nephew of two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Lewis Lloyd, who has his number retired at Drake. Sean Lloyd averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game this past season and, according to coach Barry Hinson, will help SIU out on the perimeter, defensively. Postell could also help SIU on the perimeter and is its fourth junior college transfer.

One of the youngest teams in the country this past season, SIU suddenly has three seniors, seven juniors and four freshmen, two of them redshirt freshmen.

SIU also announced its non-conference schedule, which includes seven home games, the most in school history in that portion of its schedule. The Salukis play almost all of their toughest opponents on the road: Sam Houston State, either Portland, Colorado State or UTEP at the Corpus Christi (Texas) Coastal Challenge, Murray State and Saint Louis.

–Todd Hefferman, The Southern

Wichita State

The summer ended on a down note when Wichita State’s coaching staff committed a minor NCAA violation for contact with a recruit one day before permitted. WSU reported the violation to the MVC and NCAA and will take a small hit to its recruiting calendar.

Peyton Allen, a transfer from Texas A&M, committed to WSU the next day while on his official visit, providing one of the highlights to the summer. Allen, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, will sit out this season and have three seasons of eligibility remaining. He canceled his look at schools such as Butler, Illinois State, Drake and Northwestern. Along with Conner Frankamp, he should give the Shockers a good start on their 2016-17 backcourt, when Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are no longer around.

Reports from practice and pickup games highlight transfer center Anton Grady and freshmen Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet as the fastest-rising newcomers. McDuffie projects as a talented scorer with significant athletic potential.

Baker played for Team USA in the Pan Am Games, starting all five games, and drew praise from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla as the top college athlete on the roster. VanVleet made the final 16 for the 12-man roster before getting cut. He is using that to fuel summer workouts and wants to come back quicker and more athletic.

— Paul Suellentrop, The Wichita Eagle

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

Three members of the Indy Hoosiers AAU basketball team plan to visit the University of Evansville in early September, according to Jeff Rabjohns of

All three in-state, Class of 2017 prospects have received multiple Division I scholarship offers. Neese and Adaway have already been offered by UE.

The 6-foot-5 Adaway averaged 18.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots last season. The 6-foot-3 Neese averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals.

Posted by & filed under Baseball.

Former University of Evansville pitcher Kyle Freeland threw three hitless innings Friday night in his 2015 debut, helping the Grand Junction Rockies defeat the Ogden Raptors 5-0.

Freeland, the Colorado Rockies’ first-round draft pick a year ago, had been rehabilitating from shoulder fatigue and minor surgery to have bone chips removed from his arm. He finished the 2014 season in Single-A, but went back to Rookie League on the rehab assignment.

The left-hander got the start Friday but was on a pitch count. He struck out three batters and walked one.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

The University of Evansville basketball program has offered scholarships to Class of 2016 guards Tarkus Ferguson and Zac Saddler, according to Twitter reports.

UE is also one of 14 schools to offer 6-foot-9 rising senior power forward John Fulkerson, according to Andrew Pearson of the Asheville Citizen-Times. As a junior, Fulkerson set a single-season record with 93 blocks for Christ School in Arden, North Carolina, while averaging 10 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Saddler tweeted the news Monday. The 6-6 Saddler averaged 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior at New Braunfels (Texas) High School.

News of Ferguson’s offer also hit Twitter on Monday, first reported by a coach with his AAU program, the Southwest Illinois Jets.

Ferguson helped Althoff Catholic to its first appearance in the Illinois Class 3A state championship game as a junior, averaging 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Evansville’s Missouri Valley Conference rivals Southern Illinois and Missouri State are also among Ferguson’s six Division I scholarship offers, according to his Verbal Commits page.

Saddler also holds an offer to Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which is set to join the Western Athletic Conference in 2015.

Saddler has a fairly comprehensive highlight tape published after the 2014-15 high school season.

Ferguson has several video snippets on the internet, including this impressive recent dunk.