As March Madness is almost here, we take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the best viral moments in NCAA tournament history. Here is Mid-Major Madness’ take on the memorable Bryce Drew buzzer-beater for Valparaiso:
When you think of miracle March Madness buzzer beaters, a handful of plays come to mind. Christian Laettner sending Duke to the Final Four against Kentucky. Kris Jenkins winning the national championship for Villanova over North Carolina. Jordan Poole lifting Michigan to the Sweet 16 over Houston. And Bryce Drew creating a Cinderella story for Valparaiso against Ole Miss.
The 13th-seeded Beacons trailed the No. 4 seed Rebels from the SEC by two points with 2.5 seconds remaining and had to go the length of the court.
Jamie Sykes inbounded from the baseline near the corner and heaved it past halfcourt to Bill Jenkins, who passed it to Drew streaking down the sideline. The 6-foot-2-inch senior guard caught it in rhythm and launched what would become known simple as “The Shot.”
The shot gave Valpo the 70-69 victory in Oklahoma City on March 13. Two days later, the Beacons punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 with an 83-77 win over 12th-seeded Florida State. Their magical run came to an end against Rhode Island.
This play happened long before social media, so it did not become a viral sensation in the moment, but its impact has been felt throughout the basketball world in the years since. It is featured in every historical March Madness highlight video and has been copied by teams across the country in need of a shot in the final seconds.
Drew scored a team-high 22 points and tallied eight assists and three steals in the win over Ole Miss. For the season, he led the team in scoring at 19.8 points per game and dished out a team-best 5.0 assists per contest.
After playing for his father Homer, Drew was the 16th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets ahead of Tyronn Lue, Al Harrington and Rashard Lewis. He played six seasons in the NBA with the Rockets, the Bulls and the Hornets.
So where are they now?
Drew is finishing his second season as the head coach at Grand Canyon. In his first season, he led the Lopes to their first WAC title and first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. He succeeded his father as the head coach of Valparaiso in 2011. He coached the Beacons for five seasons and won the Horizon League regular season title four times. They went to the NCAA tournament twice. He also spent three seasons coaching at Vanderbilt.
Homer Drew spent 21 years as the head coach of Valpo and posted a .547 winning percentage. The Beacons won the Mid-Continent Conference regular season and/or tournament championship in nine out of 10 years from 1995 to 2004. After retired from coaching, he became an associate director of athletics at Valparaiso.
Sykes was a two-sport athlete at Valparaiso. Baseball was his better sport as he was a first team all-conference selection and was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 11th round. He played several years in their organization.
Jenkins sought a career in basketball. He founded Jenkins Elitehoops and serves as the director of player development.