Danny Rodts Stepping Up for Knights
Thursday, February 26, 2009
By Bruce Van Baren
GRAND RAPIDS – Danny Rodts quietly slid into the starting lineup at the start of the season.
After flying under the radar through most of the regular season, the sophomore has burst onto the scene as one of Calvin’s most lethal scoring weapons.
Rodts led the Knights for the third straight game, scoring a career high 21 points in Wednesday’s 89-54 first round MIAA Tournament win over Trine at Van Noord Arena.
“Danny is so confident right now,” coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “He’s certainly found a comfort zone and played well in the last half dozen games.”
Rodts has been emanating so much confidence that Vande Streek jokingly called him out in practice Tuesday.
“I was kidding him yesterday, saying, ‘We’re just lucky Danny didn’t defer and go right to the NBA,’” Vande Streek said. “Right now he thinks he’s the best player on the planet.”
Vande Streek wasn’t knocking his new offensive threat. In fact he’s encouraged Rodts to be more aggressive.
“We talked about me being more aggressive on the offensive end,” Rodts said. “It’s worked out great. Coach has just kind of let me go.”
Rodts has been a staple in Calvin’s starting lineup since the beginning of the season.
“Even though he’s younger, he’s been through the battles,” senior forward Tyler Zoerhof (Holland Christian) said. “He’s probably not the quickest guy out here. He can’t jump the highest. He’s not the flashiest type of player. But he just knows how to get it done.”
Rodts emerged in a win against Albion in the second to last regular season game. Rodts scored a career high 16 points, including hitting three shots from downtown.
“He’s been the benefactor of some good players around him,” Vande Streek said. “Teams aren’t marking him on the scouting report, saying ‘That’s the guy we have to stop.’
“When John and Caleb draw attention and kick it out to (Danny), instead of passing, he’s going out and scoring it himself.”
Rodts averages 7.8 points-per-game, but has averaged 17 points-per-game in Calvin’s last three games. Rodts scored a team-high 15 points in Saturday’s loss at Kalamazoo.
“I’ve been talking to him about being more assertive, not passing up opportunities and looking to create some things,” Vande Streek said.
Rodts led the junior varsity team in scoring last season.
“The biggest thing is just a comfort level,” Vande Streek said. “It’s like a transfer. You come in and it’s going to take a semester… before they really feel comfortable and can play without thinking. Danny’s certainly doing that.”
Rodts started off perfect Wednesday night against Trine, hitting his first five shots, including three triples. The 6-6 forward didn’t miss until the five minute mark of the first half, fueling Calvin’s offense to a season high 52 first-half points.
“It was just one of those nights,” Rodts said. “I felt good going out there. Everything just happened to go in for me tonight.”
Just a sophomore, Vande Streek is hopeful Rodts will have many more of “those nights.”
“We’ll see what happens down the road, but we’re certainly excited to have him for a couple more years,” Vande Streek said.
Rodts also led the team in rebounds and minutes and tied Matt Veltema (Calvin Christian) with five three-point field goals against Trine.
“I would be very pleased if I could give them a performance like this every night for the next two years,” Rodts said about wearing maroon and gold for two more seasons. “I’ll be working my hardest.”