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Tucker DeVries: a look into the MVC Player of the Year

Tucker DeVries Tucker DeVries has played a key role in the men’s basketball team’s success over the past two seasons. In this past season, one that ended with a March Madness visit, DeVries was named the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year. Photo Courtesy of Tucker DeVries

The Drake men’s basketball team has continued a streak of success over the last few seasons. One player paramount to that success has been rising junior Tucker DeVries. DeVries has played two seasons at Drake, and his impact has shown the Missouri Valley Conference that the Bulldogs are going to be fighting for the title every year. 

DeVries finished the year averaging 18.6 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game and a .373 3-point percentage in 34 games. 

DeVries, along with a strong supporting cast of veteran players, led the Bulldogs to their first MVC title since 2008 and their second NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons. 

Growing up, DeVries was always around high-level basketball. His dad, current Drake men’s basketball head coach Darian DeVries, started his coaching career in 2001 as an assistant coach for the Creighton University Bluejays before moving to Drake in 2018. 

Being around a college basketball atmosphere helped DeVries understand what it meant to be a student-athlete.

“[I was] able to go to college practices and go on road trips with his teams at a young age. It’s something not everyone gets to do, and I was very grateful for that,” DeVries said. “It definitely played a big part in my passion for basketball.”  

Before coming to Drake, DeVries spent three seasons playing basketball at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa, after transferring from Elkhorn High School in Omaha, Nebraska. 

During his senior season as a Warrior, DeVries averaged 18.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game on his way to winning nationally-recognized awards such as Iowa Mr. Basketball and the 2020-2021 Iowa Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year. 

“The biggest thing is the foundation of who I was as a player, and just continuing to work and get better,” DeVries said. “It just pushed me, even more, to want to put more work in and get even better.”

During his first year as a Bulldog, he joined a program that had built a winning culture during his father’s time as head coach. Some of the veteran players helped DeVries feel at home, which allowed him to fit into a strong system. 

“When I came in, I just wanted to help build this program and take it to the next step with those guys,” DeVries said. “I think the last two years, we have done that and continued the winning tradition here.”

This mentality helped DeVries take the Missouri Valley by storm in just his second season. His ability to create offensive chances, lock down defensively and consistently make 3-pointers led him to an outstanding season capped off by winning the Larry Bird Trophy as the MVC Player of the Year.

“It’s a kind of validation of all of the work that you put in for basically your entire life to get to that point,” DeVries said. “I can’t thank the group of guys I was with and just how fun it was to go out there every night and be myself, and play basketball, and the rest just took care of itself.”

While having an MVP on the team is helpful, DeVries couldn’t secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament without help from one of Drake’s most experienced core group of players – Roman Penn, D.J. Wilkins and Garrett Sturtz. 

“Those three guys really laid the foundation for this program. Coming in five years ago, it’s definitely grown a lot and to a big stage,” DeVries said. “I can’t thank those guys enough for putting this together. And just to be able to be a part of it was really special.”

The Bulldogs cruised their way to their first Missouri Valley Conference tournament win in 15 seasons, and Tucker received the Doug Elgin Award as the tournament’s most outstanding player.

The Bulldogs have a few big positions to fill next season, as the graduating class of players has over 450 games of combined experience. But DeVries says he is ready to continue the winning tradition at Drake. 

“That same goal is in mind right now. We’ve accomplished a lot here, but in these next two years, how can we take this program to the next step?” DeVries shared. “I think the competitive eagerness to keep winning and just do whatever I can to help this program succeed.”

As the Bulldogs look to repeat the magic of this season next year, they look towards the reigning Player of the Year to lead them through the new chapter of Bulldog Basketball. 


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1 Comment

  1. Stephen Pettise May 24, 2023

    Good article Ryan….Tucker is on his way to becoming the greatest player in Drake Basketball history, if he stays healthy.
    In your next article, it would be great to cover our next seasons prospect including the new players we have in the fold.
    I went to Drake in the Maurie John’s era, and what Tucker’s Dad has done is second only to Coach Johns, and on pace to eclipse his success.

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