Medved & Lottich – New Kids on the Block
(St. Louis, MO) – Niko Medved and Matt Lottich are brand new basketball coaches in the Missouri Valley Conference, but for very different reasons. Medved is the new coach at Drake University, and Lottich isn’t in his first year at Valparaiso, but the Crusaders are in their first season in the MVC.
Both are young, wide-eyed, energetic, but not without experience from which to draw. Medved was a highly successful turn around artist as a head coach at Furman, as the Paladins increased their win total four straight years, culminating in last season’s conference championship and 23 wins. Medved was named the Southern Conference ‘Coach of the Year‘ and led Furman into the College Insider.com Tournament the past two campaigns.
Lottich just finished his first head coaching season. 24-9 ain’t half bad for a rookie coach. After playing collegiately at Stanford, Lottich played internationally and became an assistant at Valpo in 2013. The Crusaders won the Horizon League last year and played in the National Invitation Tournament.
Both coaches are excited about the coaching in the Valley. With midwest roots, they have both had long held respect for the Missouri Valley Conference.
Medved adds that his transition into Drake and it’s home city of Des Moines have gone smoothly because his players have been energetic and Des Moines is an exciting and growing city.
Likewise, Lottich, from Winnetka, Illinois understood, followed and appreciated the Valley as a prep player and as a coach at Valparaiso. The second-year coach says he’s been a long time fan of Arch Madness.
Medved’s Bulldogs were the Valley’s worst defensive team in 2016-17 and he has been very vocal about changing Drake’s defensive personality. Drake is a veteran-laden team and Medved says his upper classmen have provided some quality leadership. He says his man-to-man approach is simple, but when the team gets what he calls ‘total buy-in’, not only will Drake be better at stopping their opponents, but they will create fresh opportunities on the offensive end.
Drake, is a program that hasn’t won more than nine games in any of the last three seasons, and the Valley’s pre-season poll has them slotted for last place.
Valpo was picked to finish sixth by Valley pollsters (I picked them fifth for midmajormadness.com), and their preseason second team all conference player Tevonn Walker says he and his teammates are looking forward to the new challenge that comes with joining the Valley. Walker believes the Valpo home court will be a nasty place for MVC visitors to play.
Drake guard Reed Timmer was voted to the preseason all conference first team. The 6’1 senior has scored more than 1,300 points and says he appreciates the energy brought to the program by his new coach and Timmer believes a fresh defensive mindset will help the Bulldogs win games.
Valpo opens the season on November 10th against North Park and Drake begins the following day hosting Coe College.