Balentine lands spot on All-MVC first team
ST. LOUIS — Evansville sophomore D.J. Balentine on Tuesday earned All-Missouri Valley Conference first-team selection.
The 6-foot-2 guard, a Kokomo High School product, is the sixth Purple Ace in program history to earn a nod to the first team. He was selected after averaging a league-best 23.3 points per game, a scoring average which also ranks seventh overall in NCAA Division I.
Starting in all 31 of Evansville’s games, he also led the conference in free throw shooting at 85.2 percent (201 for 236), averaged a team-leading 4.3 assists per game and shot 40 percent from 3-point range (70 for 175).
League champion and No. 2-ranked Wichita State put three players on the six-player first team — guard Ron Baker, forward Cleanthony Early and guard Fred VanVleet. Indiana State guard Jake Odum and Northern Iowa forward Seth Tuttle also are on the first team.
Evansville (13-18) opens MVC tournament play Thursday against Drake (15-15) at 6 p.m. at St. Louis. The winner will face Wichita State (31-0) at noon Friday.
Heart condition ends career of Boiler player
WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter announced on Tuesday that redshirt freshman big man Jay Simpson’s career is over due to the heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
“Obviously, this is very tough and upsetting news to take. You never want to see a young athlete’s career end in a fashion like this. Jay had a very bright future in our program and we are disappointed that he will not be able to continue his basketball career,” Painter said. “We are very fortunate that our doctors were able to detect this condition early, which will enable Jay to live a long and healthy life.”
Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, Kevin Duckworth and Jason Collier all died from the same heart condition.