Barton isn't just a quick three. He scored 27 points in his collegiate debut, a 67-61 upset of South Carolina, and through Sunday he was averaging 15.1 points and 5-9 rebounds while hitting 43.6% from beyond the arc for the 7-1 Crusaders. "What makes Lubos special is that he does so many things well," says Bryce, who has been working out at Valpo during the NBA lockout. "He shoots well, defends well, has great court vision, and he has arms that go on and on. And his teammates love him because he passes the ball."
The son of an elementary school headmaster, Barton values family, which is one reason he spurned Cal, Clemson and Virginia and signed with the Crusaders. (He was soon joined by his older brother, Jerry, who is now a team manager.) Aside from offering a good education and a safe, small-town setting in northern Indiana, Lubos says, Valparaiso is close to Chicago's large Czech population and O'Hare airport. "From here I can get on a plane home quickly," he says.
For now Barton is doing his part to help take the Crusaders, who have nine newcomers, back to the NCAAs. And if any last-second heroics should be required in the tournament? "I'm not promising anything," says Barton, "but I'll try to be ready for it."