posttrib
SPARKLE 
Weather Updates

No. 24 lifted to rafters at Valpo in honor of Lindner, Drew

Former Valparaiso player Bruce Lidner (left) current head coach Bryce Drew admire jersey retirement banner before it is hoisted during

Former Valparaiso player Bruce Lidner (left) and current head coach Bryce Drew admire the jersey retirement banner before it is hoisted during the jersey retirement ceremony before the start of their game held at Valparaiso University on Wednesday January 29, 2014. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 61337221
tmspicid: 22185527
fileheaderid: 10531857
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: March 3, 2014 4:34PM



VALPARAISO — The No. 24 will forever be hanging in the rafters of Valparaiso’s Athletics-Recreation Center after a ceremony before Wednesday’s Horizon League game against Green Bay.

And it will be up there twice — one for Bruce Lindner, the former star of the Crusaders from 1967 to 1970, and the other for Bryce Drew, who still garners plenty of star gazing from loyal VU fans as the head coach.

Oh yeah, and he hit “The Shot” that still lives in Valparaiso lore, and was shown on the video board again before Bryce was formally introduced by his dad, Homer.

“There’s another thing both Bruce and Bryce have in common — neither can still dunk a basketball,” joked Homer before he told a personal story about his son who still holds the Valparaiso career scoring mark of 2,142 points.

“There was one night after a game at around 11 o’clock at night and I hear a basketball on the court, and Bryce is out here shooting. So I ask him, ‘Bryce, why are you out here? You scored 20 something points, had seven or so assists and it’s 11 o’clock.’ And he said to me, ‘Dad, my shot just didn’t feel right.’ That shows the common trait between Bryce and Bruce — the passion, dedication and love for the game of basketball they had.”

Lindner, who holds the career scoring average mark at Valparaiso with 19.5 points per game, said he was humbled to be included in the jersey retirement with Bryce, who he admired as a player and as a coach the last three seasons.

“Words can’t express how I feel about this,” Lindner said. “I enjoyed playing here, had a great coach and had a great senior season. What really stands out to me is being inducted with Bryce. He’s the epitome of what a basketball player here at Valpo should be.”

That senior season he referred to still stands as the greatest individually by a Crusaders player. He scored 725 points that year, including 51 points in a game that is still a program record. But what longtime Valparaiso University athletic trainer Rod Moore — make that 50 years as the trainer, so he was on the sideline watching Lindner — remembers most is the next game after the 51 points.

“He followed it up with 50 points against Evansville in a loss, and he did it in about 20 minutes because for 10 minutes he was sitting next to me, and the other 10 minutes no one was passing him the ball,” Moore joked.

Drew was the only Valparaiso player drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft (by the Houston Rockets). But Lindner also has a pro connection, and faced some legendary players while at VU.

“I had a tryout with the New York Nets (of the ABA) and was in the Atlanta Hawks’ rookie camp,” Lindner said after the ceremony. “I got to play against JoJo White, Calvin Murphy, Austin Carr, Alvin Hayes. It really was a great experience.”

Lindner is also a local guy to this day, living in Portage after starring for Portage High School in the 1960s.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.