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Freeman-Liberty, Fazekas earn MVC preseason second-team recognition Marquette

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: October 18, 2019

Two returning standouts on the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team received preseason recognition on Thursday as the Missouri Valley Conference announced its preseason teams and poll in advance of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Fifth-year senior Ryan Fazekas (Chesterton, Ind. / Marquette Catholic [Providence]) and sophomore Javon Freeman-Liberty (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young) were both awarded MVC preseason second-team status based on a survey of the conference’s head coaches, sports information directors and media.

Fazekas started all 20 of his appearances during the 2018-19 season, but missed 13 games due to injuries. He ranked second on the team by averaging 11.8 points per game and led the team by shooting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc and knocking down 2.4 3-pointers per game. He also led the squad in free-throw percentage at 80.6.

Freeman-Liberty is back for his sophomore season after a decorated freshman campaign that included Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team recognition. He started all 33 games in 2018-19, averaging 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals per contest. Freeman-Liberty led the MVC in steals, becoming the first Valpo freshman to lead a conference in one of the five major statistical categories. He was the first Valpo player since at least 1982 to lead a conference in steals. His 60 total steals were the third-most in program history and the most by a freshman. Freeman-Liberty also ranked among Valpo’s most productive freshmen in program history in points (364, fourth) and rebounds (142). He was one of just two freshmen in program history to hold marks among the top five freshman totals in scoring, rebounding and steals.

Valpo was picked ninth in the preseason poll, while Missouri State collected 29 first-place votes and was tabbed as the preseason favorite. Valpo joined Bradley, Missouri State and Indiana State as the only four teams in the conference to have at least two players on the first or second team.

PRESEASON POLL

1. Missouri State (29). . . . . . . . . . . . . 410

2. Bradley (5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368

3. UNI (3). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343

4. Loyola Chicago (6). . . . . . . . . . . . . 340

5. Drake. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243

6. Indiana State. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210

7. Illinois State (1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193

8. Evansville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

9. Valparaiso. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

10. Southern Illinois. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

2019-20 MVC Preseason Teams

FIRST TEAM

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

Tulio Da Silva, MSU F Sr. 6-8 Formiga (Brazil) Arlington Country Day

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

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

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

SECOND TEAM

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

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

Keandre Cook, MSU G Sr. 6-5 Baltimore/Edmondson-Westside

Ryan Fazekas, VU G/F Sr. 6-8 Chesterton (Ind.) Marquette Catholic

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

THIRD TEAM

Zach Copeland, ILS G Sr. 6-4 Oakland (Calif.) Berkeley High

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

Lamont West, MSU F Sr. 6-8 Cincinnati (Ohio) Miller Grove [Ga.]

D.J. Wilkins, DU G So. 6-2 Merrillville (Ind.) Merrillville (FSW)

DeAndre Williams, UE F So. 6-9 Houston (Texas) Klein Forest

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

Preseason Player of the Year: Cameron Krutwig, Loyola

Team determined by panel of league SIDs, media, and coaches.