2011-12 Calvin Men’s Basketball Preview
Sunday, October 30, 2011
2011-12 CALVIN MEN’S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Calvin returns eight letterwinners from a 2010-11 team that finished 16-12 and in second place in the MIAA regular season standings with a 9-5 conference mark. Of the eight returning letterwinners, two have starting experience.
Junior Tom Snikkers (Jenison/Unity Christian HS) headlines the list of returning players. The 6-4 forward was a first team All-MIAA selection last year as well as a second team d3hoops.com Great Lakes All-Region choice. After averaging 15.6 points and 6.7 rebounds a game, Snikkers has already been named a pre-season honorable mention All-American selection by the Division III Newsletter.
Junior guard Bryan Powell (Wyoming/Wyoming Park HS) is the other returning veteran starter. Powell started in all 28 games for Calvin last year while averaging 7.2 points and 2.5 assists-per-game.
Powell and Snikkers are part of six members of Calvin’s junior class with 6-7 center Adam DeYoung (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS), 6-5 forward Matt DeBoer (Hudsonville/Covenant Christian HS), 6-1 guard David Rietema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and 6-9 center Nate Van Eck (Clifton, NJ/Eastern Christian HS) rounding out the group. DeYoung provides bulk inside. He appeared in all 28 games as a sophomore, averaging 1.3 points and 2.2 rebounds a game. DeBoer showed flashes off the bench last winter, averaging 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds a game. During the non-conference schedule, he posted back-to-back double-figure scoring games, dropping in 11 points in a December 11 win at Trinity Christian and 17 points in a December 18 loss to Aquinas. Rietema missed the bulk of the non-conference season last year studying overseas but is expected to push for significant playing time at the point guard position this season. Van Eck spent the 2010-11 season on the Calvin junior varsity, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds a game while blocking 43 shots.
“It’s a good junior class,” said Calvin men’s basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek in a preseason interview. “We’ve built up some depth in our junior class and I think all five guys will have a chance to make positive contributions to this team.”
The lone senior on the Calvin roster is 6-4 wing forward Brian Haverdink (Holland/Holland Christian HS). Haverdink also appeared in all 28 games last winter, posting averages of 3.4 points and 1.5 rebounds a game. “Brian is a very smart player with good leadership skills,” said Vande Streek. “He will definitely be a part of our rotation this year.”
The sophomore class also includes six players. The six sophomores are 6-9 center Tyler Kruis (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS), 6-5 forward Mitch Vallie (Grand Blanc/Goodrich HS), 6-5 wing Jordan Mast (Holland/Holland Christian HS), 6-4 guard/forward Jake Mantel (Chelsea/Chelsea HS), 6-7 forward Brent Henry (Rockford/Rockford HS) and 6-7 forward Mickey DeVries (Lansing/Lansing Christian HS).
Kruis appears poised to nab the starting spot at center after averaging 3.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks-per-game as a freshman. According to Vande Streek, Vallie might be “the most improved player in the program” and will also push for playing time. Vallie spent time on both the Calvin varsity and junior varsity as a freshman. He appeared in five varsity games and averaged 3.0 points a game. He also averaged 9.9 points and 4.3 rebounds a game on the junior varsity. Mast, Mantel and Henry were also strong contributors on the Calvin junior varsity last winter. Mast averaged 9.4 points a game on the JV while connecting on nearly 40 percent of his three-point field goal attempts while Mantel averaged 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds a game and Henry 3.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game. DeVries is a transfer from Wheaton College (IL). According to Vande Streek, the Lansing native could also push for playing time this season.
The freshmen class includes 5-10 point guard Ryan Nadeau (Dearborn/Divine Child HS) and 6-8 forward Tyler Dykstra (Holland/Holland Christian HS). According to Vande Streek, Nadeau is a solid ball-handler, defender and playmaker while Dykstra has excellent all-around athleticism and has the ability to play a variety of roles on the floor.
One player who will not be on the Calvin roster this year is sophomore shooting guard Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) who started in 12 games as a freshman and averaged 7.3 points a game. Brink will miss the upcoming season with an injury suffered earlier this fall but plans to rejoin the team as an active player next season.
A hallmark of the Calvin men’s basketball program this year is its size and length. Combined, the varsity and junior varsity teams have 10 players that stand 6-7 or taller. “We have a lot of size and length. Without question that is a strength of our program right now,” said Vande Streek. “I think we have also increased our strength across the board. In the past I think we have been a little bit on the skinny side but our guys have worked really hard in the weight room during the offseason.”
With the added height and size, Vande Streek admits that Calvin’s style of play may change a bit this season. “I think the last year or so we depended a lot on the three-point shot,” he said. “Sometimes we lived by it (the three-point shot) and sometimes we died by it. I think this year we will definitely make a more concerted effort to get the ball inside. That doesn’t mean we won’t take the three-point shot if its there but I do think we will play to our inside game more this season.”
The Calvin schedule begins on November 15 down in Indiana with a non-conference game at Division III foe Anderson University – a team that reached the NCAA III Tournament two years ago and posted an 18-9 record last season. Calvin will then open its home slate on November 18 and 19 with its own Calvin Tip-Off Tournament with the Knights hosting Grace Bible College in the first round and D’Youville College (Pa.) and Willamette (Ore.) meeting in the other first round game.
Calvin will also see a familiar face on November 23 when former Grand Valley State and Alma head men’s basketball coach Terry Smith brings his Finlandia Lions to Calvin’s Van Noord Arena. The Knights will then face Cornerstone and Aquinas (November 25 and 26) at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Tournament at Cornerstone University’s Mol Arena.
Calvin will also host the annual CCIW/MIAA Challenge with Carthage and Wheaton facing up against Calvin and Hope. Calvin will face Carthage on December 2 and 25th-ranked Wheaton on December 3.
Calvin will host Trinity Christian College (Il.) on December 10 and will then break for first semester exams. The Knights will spend the Christmas break in the state of Washington, facing a pair of formidable Division III opponents in Whitman (Wa.) and Whitworth (Wa.). Whitman posted a 2010-11 record of 19-8 and finished second in the Northwest conference. Whitman has already received votest in the d3hoops.com Top 25 preseason poll. Whitworth was the Northwester conference champion and eventually reached the NCAA III quarterfinals before finishing the year with a final record of 28-2. The Pirates are ranked 12th in the preseason d3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Calvin will face Whitworth in Seattle, Washington, on December 29 and will then meet Whitman on December 30 in Lynden, Washington.
Calvin will open its conference season on January 4 when it travels to Adrian for an 8 p.m. game. Calvin’s regular season games with rival Hope are slated for January 18 (at Hope) and February 11 (at Calvin). On January 21, Calvin will host Trine University. At halftime of the varsity game, Calvin’s 1992 NCAA III Championship team will be honored.
The MIAA Tournament is scheduled for February 24 and 25. The conference tournament will feature a new format as only the top four teams in the final MIAA regular season standings will advance to the tournament this year. The tournament will then feature a semifinal/finals weekend format with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament.