Freeman-Liberty Earns All-MVC First Team, All-Defensive Team; Clay Named to All-Freshman Squad

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: March 3, 2020

A pair of Valparaiso University men’s basketball underclassmen were recognized as the Missouri Valley Conference unveiled its all-conference teams on Tuesday.

Sophomore Javon Freeman-Liberty (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young) was named to the All-MVC First Team and the All-Defensive Team, while freshman Donovan Clay (Alton, Ill. / Alton) earned All-Freshman Team honors.

Freeman-Liberty finished the regular season second in the league in scoring at 19.3 points per game, first in steals per game at 2.24, sixth in assists per game at 3.2 and seventh in rebounds per game at 6.0. He has 65 steals for the year, a number that shattered the single-season program record that had stood for nearly two decades. He is in position to become the first player to lead The Valley in steals in consecutive seasons since Hersey Hawkins of Bradley did so in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Freeman-Liberty enters the conference tournament with 561 points this season, nine away from matching Alec Peters’ school record for points by a sophomore (570 in 2014-15). That is also the threshold for entrance into Valpo’s all-time Top 10 for points in a single season. Freeman-Liberty has scored in double figures in all 29 games he has played this season.

Clay, named the MVC Newcomer of the Week for his efforts over the final week of the regular season, scored in double figures in 16 of his 31 games during his rookie campaign. He finished in double figures just once over the first seven games of his career, but did so in 15 of the final 24 regular-season contests. After coming off the bench in the first two games of his career, Clay started the final 29 games of the regular season. He enters the MVC Tournament averaging 9.2 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and has a team-high 30 blocked shots.

Inside the Honors

-        This marks the second straight season Valpo has boasted a member of the All-Freshman Team after Freeman-Liberty earned a spot a year ago. Valpo has had a player on either the All-Newcomer Team or the All-Freshman team in every season since joining The Valley.

-        Valpo has boasted a member of the MVC All-Defensive Team in each season since joining The Valley. Tevonn Walker earned a place on the 2017-18 All-Defensive squad before Freeman-Liberty grabbed a spot a year ago. Freeman-Liberty and UNI’s Isaiah Brown are the only players to earn MVC All-Defensive Team status in each of the last two seasons.

-        This marks the sixth consecutive season Valpo has placed a player on the all-defensive squad. Vashil Fernandez (2014-2015, 2015-2016) and Walker (2016-17) earned Horizon League all-defensive recognition over the school’s last three years in the league before Walker and Freeman-Liberty have continued the string of defensive standouts over the first three years in The Valley.

-        Freeman-Liberty became the first Valpo player since joining The Valley to achieve first-team status. He became just the sixth Valpo player over the last 30 years to earn first-team all-conference as a freshman or sophomore, joining Alec Peters (2014-15), Raitis Grafs (2000-01), Lubos Barton (1998-99), Bryce Drew (1995-96) and David Redmon (1993-94).

-        Valpo had at least one first-team all-conference performer in each of the program’s last seven seasons in the Horizon League, but Freeman-Liberty’s honor ended a two-year drought that coincided with the move to The Valley.

The MVC major awards will be announced on Tuesday at 2 p.m., the All-Bench and Most Improved teams will be announced on Wednesday and the MVC Scholar-Athlete squads will be unveiled on Thursday. 

First Team                        Yr.   Pos.  Ht.      Hometown

Javon Freeman-Liberty, Valpo   So.     G     6-3       Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young

AJ Green, UNI                         So.     G     6-4       Cedar Falls (Iowa) Cedar Falls High

Tyreke Key, Indiana State       Jr.      G     6-2       Celina (Tenn.) Clay County High

Cameron Krutwig, Loyola         Jr.      C     6-9       Algonquin (Ill.) Jacobs High

Austin Phyfe, UNI                   So.      C     6-9       Waverly (Iowa) Waverly-Shell Rock

Second Team

Darrell Brown, Bradley            Sr.      G    5-10     Memphis (Tenn.) Germantown

Elijah Childs, Bradley               Jr.       F     6-7       Kansas City (Mo.) Lee's Summit West

Keandre Cook, Missouri St.    Sr.      G     6-5       Baltimore (Md.) Edmondson-Westside High

Marcus Domask, S. Illinois     Fr.      G     6-6       Waupun (Wis.) Waupun High

Liam Robbins, Drake              So.      F     7-0       Davenport (Iowa) Assumption

Third Team

Jordan Barnes, Indiana St.     Sr.      G    5-10     St. Louis (Mo.) CBC High

Tate Hall, Loyola                     Jr.      G     6-6       Greenfield (Ind.) Greenfield-Central/UIndy

Nate Kennell, Bradley             Sr.      G     6-6       Metamora (Ill.) Metamora Township

Roman Penn, Drake               So.     G    5-11     Calumet City (Ill.) Bishop Noll / Siena

Gaige Prim, Missouri State     Jr.       F     6-8       Aurora (Colo.) Grandview High

All-Newcomer Team

Marcus Domask, S. Illinois     Fr.      G     6-6       Waupun (Wis.) Waupun High

Tate Hall, Loyola                     Jr.      G     6-6       Greenfield (Ind.) Greenfield-Central/UIndy

Jake LaRavia, Indiana St.        Fr.      F     6-8       Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central High

Roman Penn, Drake               So.     G    5-11     Calumet City (Ill.) Bishop Noll / Siena

Gaige Prim, Missouri State     Jr.       F     6-8       Aurora (Colo.) Grandview High

All-Freshman Team

Donovan Clay, Valparaiso        Fr.    G/F   6-7       Alton (Ill.) Alton High

Marcus Domask, S. Illinois     Fr.      G     6-6       Waupun (Wis.) Waupun High

DJ Horne, Illinois State           Fr.      G     6-1       Raleigh (N.C.) Trinity Christian

Marquise Kennedy, Loyola      Fr.      G     6-1       Chicago (Ill.) Brother Rice

Jake LaRavia, Indiana St.        Fr.      F     6-8       Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central High

All-Defensive Team

Isaiah Brown, UNI                    Sr.      G     6-7       Flower Mound (Texas) Flower Mound High

Javon Freeman-Liberty, Valpo   So.     G     6-3       Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young

Liam Robbins, Drake               So.      F     7-0       Davenport (Iowa) Assumption

Christian Williams, Indiana St.    Sr.        G       6-6         Decatur (Ill.) St. Teresa High / Iowa

Lucas Williamson, Loyola         Jr.      G     6-4       Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young