There’s something about a coach‘s son.
He gets to dissect the game on the car ride home. He gets the most individual time with the bench boss. He allegedly gets preferential treatment. They say having a high-IQ player is like having a coach on the floor. What better way to do that than to have someone who is literally 50-percent you?
Valparaiso University head coach Homer Drew figured this out.
The coach’s eldest son Scott Drew traveled to Indianapolis to attend Butler. He returned to Valpo as an assistant coach after graduating in 1993. He took over the family business for a season before taking the men’s basketball head coaching job at Baylor. In 2021, Drew led the Bears to their first Final Four appearance since 1950.
Bryce Drew stuck around to play college basketball under his father after a stellar high school career at Valparaiso High, where he was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1994. His play in college elevated the Crusaders to mid-major darlings, winning four Mid-Continent Conference Tournament titles and earning three NCAA Tournament appearances.
The star guard’s crowning achievement ? along with setting several school records and collecting dozens of accolades ? came where college basketball folklore is born:
Bryce Drew’s “The Shot” vs. Ole Miss
Mississippi held a 69-67 lead over Valpo in the first round of the 1998 Big Dance with the clock winding down. Drew had a look from beyond the arc and missed. Rebels forward and SEC Player of the Year Ansu Sesay grabbed the board. The whistle blew with 4.1 seconds remaining.
Sesay headed to the free-throw line with a chance to seal the victory for the four-seed.
He missed. Then he missed again.
(Side note: for some reason four players were allowed in the lane when shooting free throws back then. Opposing players were within a couple of feet and could spark a conversation or blow in someone’s ear right then and there. Lance Stephenson was made born in the wrong era.)
The second miss ricocheted hard off Ole Miss guard Keith Carter. Valpo had possession with 2.5 ticks left and the length of the court to go. Coach Drew went with his go-to play called Pacer.
Jamie Sykes inbounds a beautiful 50-50 ball to forward Bill Jenkins near mid-court. Jenkins whips the ball to a slashing Drew who pulls up for a three-point-shot from the right wing.
CBS broadcaster Ted Robinson on the call from Oklahoma City:
“The inbounder will be Jamie Sykes, Carter pressuring… It’s to Jenkins, to Drew for the win! GOOD!!! HE DID IT!! BRYCE DREW DID IT!! VALPO HAS WON THE GAME, A MIRACLE!! … An absolute miracle! Bryce Drew has won it for Valparaiso!”
The Crusaders dogpiled Drew. Ole Miss players were stunned with blank looks on their faces. Final score: 70-69.
Cinderella danced into the second weekend. The Sweet 16 brought on Rhode Island. The music stopped there in a 74-68 win for the Rams.
Drew’s buzzer-beater cemented itself in March Madness lore. It belongs in the One Shining Moment Hall of Fame.
Bryce Drew’s Coaching Career
Bryce Drew was the 16th-overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. His six-year NBA career included stops with the Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, and New Orleans Hornets.
The star guard then went on to become a basketball coach himself after his playing career.
He coached under his father at Valparaiso and took over the bench in 2011. Five seasons and four Horizon League regular season championships later, he left for Vanderbilt. Three seasons in Nashville led to Drew’s dismissal, where he landed in his current role at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.
In his first year leading the program, Drew led the Antelopes to its first appearance in the Big Dance as a Division I program by winning the WAC Tournament. His squad fell to Iowa 86-74 in the first round.
The coach’s son executed the final play to perfection. It was fluid and in rhythm, just how it was drawn up.