A Salute to Calvin’s Six Seniors In Men’s Basketball
Sunday, March 01, 2009
By Bruce Van Baren
Coach Vande Streek Audio Interview: Senior Salute
GRAND RAPIDS – Calvin’s 69-59 loss to Hope Saturday at Van Noord Arena likely marked the end of a seasoned senior class.
Caleb Veldhouse (Sioux Falls Christian), Dustin Smith (Hamilton HS), Tyler Zoerhof (Holland Christian) and Tim Katt (Brookfield East HS) are all four year varsity players. Mike Zwier (Tri-unity Christian) and Mischa McCray (Harbor Light Christian) are three-year varsity players.
“To have this number of guys in one class and to have them as long as we’ve had them is unusual,” Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “You take six guys like that and you have to replace leadership, toughness, commitment, accountability and great communicators.”
Veldhouse, Smith, Zoerhof and Katt combined for two MIAA championships, going 23-7 as freshman in 2005-2006 and 19-8 as seniors, and one MIAA tournament championship game in 2007.
“It’s great to see them win a couple of conference championships and to get one done here as seniors is something they’ll be proud of for the rest of their lives,” Vande Streek said. “I’m really happy for them.”
Since 2005-2006, Calvin compiled a 76-36 record. The Knights also went 5-10 against rival Hope College.
A 6-2 point guard and co-captain, Veldhouse is one of only three players under Vande Streek to ever start all four years. Veldhouse started 109 out of 111 games for the maroon and gold, missing his only two games with an ankle injury this season.
“It’s been a privilege to be able to coach him,” Vande Streek said. “In my 13 years we’ve had three players- Jeremy Veenstra, Chris Prins and Caleb Veldhouse start all four years. As a player that pretty much sums up the impact he’s had.”
Veldhouse led the Knights in scoring as a sophomore and a junior, averaging 17.2 points-per-game a year ago and 15 points-per-game in 2006-2007. Veldhouse was second on the team in scoring with 12.9 points-per-game this season and with 12.9 points-per-game as a freshman.
“I’m not sure I have enough time to say all the great things about Caleb that I’d like to,” Vande Streek said. “First and foremost, he’s just a great Christian young man. He’s going to be a great servant in the kingdom no matter what he decides to do.”
Veldhouse will be remembered for his ability to rise to the occasion in clutch situations. His buzzer beating three-pointer to beat Hope 59 -58 as a freshman cemented his legacy and still plays on the hanging scoreboard prior to each game inside Van Noord Arena.
A 5-9 shooting guard, Smith was the ideal complement to Veldhouse for the previous two seasons. Smith was fourth on the team in scoring with 8.2 points-per-game and third on the team in rebounds with 3.8 rebounds-per-game.
“He worked so hard in the offseason on his game,” Vande Streek said. “He’s just very scrappy and a very good anticipator and that’s really where the rebounding aspect comes in. And he’s probably our leading steal guy in his time here because of his quickness.”
Smith led the team in steals each of the last two years. Smith had a team high 39 steals this season and a career-high 57 steals a year ago.
A 6-6 forward and co-captain, Katt averaged 3.7 points-per-game and 3.3 rebounds-per-game this season. Katt started ten games for the Knights as a junior, averaging 2.7 points-per-game and 3.0 rebounds-per-game.
“When I think of Tim, I think of leadership,” Vande Streek. “He’s worked really hard, has a great attitude and is a team player. If it meant sweeping the floor every day, that’s what he would do. He’s made so much progress in his play. He probably starts for every other team in the league except us at this point.”
A 6-6 forward, Zoerhof was third on the team in rebounds, averaging 4.1 rebounds-per-game, and sixth on the team in scoring, averaging 4.7 points-per-game. Zoerhof started two games this season and 10 games as a sophomore.
Calvin’s most athletic player, Zoerhof could be counted on to bring the crowd to its feet with a major block or a thundering dunk. Zoerhof’s energy often transferred from inside the locker room onto the court.
“You just love to see the dunks out of Tyler and the big plays,” Vande Streek said. “But I would say he’s really become a solid player and not just a gambler. He had an outstanding senior year.”
A 6-6 forward, Zwier proved that hard work and determination pays off. A three-year varsity player, Zwier worked his way into the starting lineup this season, starting 19 games this season.
Zwier averaged a career-high 3.2 points-per-game this season and was fourth on the team in rebounds with 3.9 rebounds-per-game. Zwier was second on the team in offensive rebounds with 44 offensive boards this season.
“I give him a great deal of credit for solidifying our rotation this year and helping to lead us to a conference championship,” Vande Streek said. “You wish you had all the guys back another year, but I wish I had him back another year.”
For a feature about Zwier’s progress published earlier this season go to: http://www.calvin.edu/sports/news/comments/mike-zwier-emerges-as-key-member-of-calvin-mens-basketball-team/
A 6-2 guard, McCray, also a three-year varsity player, didn’t see the minutes that Zwier did, but his work ethic proved invaluable behind the scenes.
“His work ethic in practice (is great),” Vande Streek said. “This fall he came into to see me and said, ‘Coach I want to make sure that you hold us accountable that we work as hard as we’re supposed to work.”
McCray averaged 0.9 points-per-game and 0.9 rebounds-per game this season.
“Mischa, certainly in the general public, is going to be one of those persons that are going to be under appreciated,” Vande Streek said. “Every year he has played significant minutes in significant games.
“He’s never really been in the rotation all the time, but there have always been games – tight games and big games – where we have needed him to come through in a three to four minute stretch and he’s always come through and delivered.”
Calvin’s seniors will find out Monday morning whether or not Saturday’s MIAA championship game loss was their final collegiate game.