LostLettermen.com, the college sports fan site and former player database, regularly contributes to The Dagger. Here's a look at the current whereabouts of NCAA tournament legend Bryce Drew.
Fourteen years after making one of the most famous shots in NCAA tournament history, Valparaiso's Bryce Drew is on the verge of another March miracle: He's one game away from leading his overachieving alma mater back to the Big Dance in his first year as the team's head coach.
The Crusaders were picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League and the chances of an NCAA tournament berth seemed slim before the season. Valpo's last visit to March Madness was in 2004, the team's best player, Brandon Wood, had transferred to Michigan State and it had a rookie head coach whose parents had both recently been diagnosed with cancer.
Drew has overcome all of that, helping the Crusaders overtake Horizon League nemesis Butler, win the regular-season crown and earn a spot in the conference tournament title game. The Crusaders host third-seeded Detroit on Tuesday night with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line.
Drew credits his father Homer, his former coach at Valpo, for helping him become an instant success.
"My dad has given me great advice," Drew said. "When I first got the job, he said, 'Just be yourself.' And I think that was really great advice. I really relied a lot on that this year in certain situations, in things that I might say or might not say - and to just be myself and my own personality."
If Valpo (22-10, 14-4) can defeat Detroit (21-13, 11-7) for the third time in three meetings Tuesday night, Drew will return to the March Madness stage for the first time since the play known at his alma mater as simply "The Shot."
With the 13th-seeded Crusaders trailing by two and 2.5 seconds left in their first-round game of the 1998 NCAA tournament, Jaime Sykes heaved an inbound pass across midcourt to Bill Jenkins, who immediately tapped it to a running Drew. The ensuing 3-pointer at the buzzer from Drew gave Valpo a 70-69 victory and helped the Crusaders eventually reach their first-ever Sweet 16.
College hoops fans surely remember the shot, from Drew's spontaneous belly-flop on the hardwood that served as the base for his teammates' celebratory dog pile, to the indelible image of father and son hugging afterward.