IU transfer Capobianco picks Valparaiso
By Mark Lazerus 648-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org July 4, 2011 11:04PM
Indiana's Bobby Capobianco, left, and Northwestern's John Shurna reach for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the opening round of the Big Ten conference tournament in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: January 23, 2012 2:54AM
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college basketball program. But lately, Valparaiso has been recruiting other college kids as much as it’s been going after high schoolers.
And the success of transfers such as Brandon Wood and Cory Johnson hasn’t gone unnoticed.
It was a big reason why former Indiana forward Bobby Capobianco decided this week to come to VU.
“That definitely played a part in my decision,” Capobianco said from Valparaiso, where he was spending the holiday weekend with his girlfriend, an IU student and Valparaiso native. “With (head coach Bryce Drew) having that experience and knowing how to handle that transfer year and how to really evaluate what a player brings to the table, that was definitely a big part of me wanting to be a part of Valparaiso basketball.”
Capobianco, who will sit out next year per NCAA rules but will have two years of eligibility starting in 2012, is the latest addition to an intriguing collection of incoming talent. He joins 6-7 LaLumiere graduate Dino Jakolis, 6-8 junior college transfer Richie Edwards, 6-2 Ole Miss transfer Will Bogan and 6-4 Virginia Tech transfer Ben Boggs. Meanwhile, 6-11 Jamaican forward Vashil Fernandez has verbally committed to VU and is expected to be approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse any day now.
That puts VU at 14 scholarship players for next year, one over the limit. Last week, Drew said everybody from last year’s team was coming back. So either someone is going to pay his own way, or someone’s on the way out. Drew can’t comment on the situation until Capobianco and Fernandez each signs his letter of intent.
In the meantime, Capobianco is just excited to be part of the program. The Loveland, Ohio, native averaged 1.0 poiints and 1.1 rebounds in just 6.1 minutes per game last year for the Hoosiers. As a freshman, he averaged 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.9 minutes a game.
The lack of playing time and his very limited role in Tom Crean’s system prompted the move. Capobianco said he thinks he can be a more well-rounded and productive player with the Crusaders. VU has lacked a big bruiser down low for years. At 245 pounds, Capobianco is just that.
“The situation just wasn’t right,” he said. “I loved everything about Bloomington — the school, the area, all the people there. I really enjoyed it. But basketball-wise, it wasn’t the right fit for me. I was looking for a different quality of life for myself, and looking for a place I felt I fit in better.”
Capobianco also took official visits to Evansville and Appalachian State, but his visit to Valparaiso last week sold him on the school, on Drew and on the program. He said one of the biggest selling points was how much he enjoyed spending time with the players in an open gym setting.
“I really got along well with all the guys and felt like I fit in and definitely could fill a need,” he said. “After having been in college for two years, the second time through (the recruiting process) is different. There’s a different set of parameters you’re looking for. You’re not necessarily caught up in the glitz and glamour that goes into making the decision the first time. You figure out what’s important to you as a student and as a basketball player. And Valpo ended up just feeling right.”