Men’s Basketball Anticipating 2012-13 Campaign
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Coming off of a 13-13 campaign and a third-place finish in the MIAA, the Calvin College men’s basketball team is determined to work for a better outcome this season.
“Last year, we had guys all year long,” Calvin head coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “To start this year, to have some of those guys back is a huge insertion of talent. It’s really nice to have 13 returners out of our 14. Things are going much quicker than in the past.”
Experience had been an issue for the Knights in years past, but not this year. 13 of 14 players suiting up for Calvin’s varsity squad this season were letter winners a season ago.
“We can focus on the small aspects of the game,” said Vande Streek. When people are in the right spot from a defensive standpoint, it’s easier to work on some of the intricacies of the game.”
The senior class, four in number, is looking to make the NCAA III Tournament for the first time in their careers. Tom Snikkers (Jenison/Unity Christian) led the Knights a season ago averaging 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. For his efforts, Snikkers will likely start at the small forward position for Calvin.
“I was really proud of Tom [Snikkers] for leading the league in rebounding last season,” Vande Streek said. “I tell Tom all the time you need to be our best player.”
David Rietema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) started 23 games at the point guard for Calvin last season. He averaged 2.6 points and 3.98 assists per game. Rietema led the MIAA in assist-to-turnover ratio last season. He also averaged just over two steals per game.
“Dave [Rietema] is our captain, and has really stepped forward to take on that leadership role,” Vande Streek said.
Bryan Powell (Wyoming/Wyoming Park) averaged 11.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game coming off the bench last season. Known for his exciting play, Powell had an emphatic dunk in transition against Hope last season.
“Bryan [Powell] is as creative off a player as we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Vande Streek. “He has settled into his offensive role making plays off of screens. His midrange jumper is really good.”
Matt DeBoer started 21 of Calvin’s 26 games at small forward a season ago. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. DeBoer not only scored, but was very efficient as he shot an even 50 percent from the field.
“Matt DeBoer continues to get better,’ Vande Streek said. “He is up about ten pounds from a year ago, and continues to work hard to do whatever we ask of him. He will certainly be a focal point of our team this season.”
The junior class consists of Tyler Kruis (Grandville/Calvin Christian), Mickey De Vries (Lansing/Lansing Christian) and Jordan Mast (Holland/Holland Christian).
Kruis averaged 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game starting at center a season ago. Kruis also led Calvin in free throw percentage for everyone who attempted double-digit free throws (78 percent).
“Tyler was the best center in the league last season in my biased opinion,” Vande Streek said. “He has become more confident stepping out and hitting the mid-range jumper over the offseason.”
De Vries had his season cut short due to inelligibility. In the 11 games he played, De Vries averaged 7.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
“Mickey [De Vries] has a nice combination of strength and athleticism,” Vande Streek said.
Mast (Holland/Holland Christian) averaged 5.2 points and 2.5 points per game coming off the bench a season ago. He led the Knights shooting over 46 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
“Jordan Mast is just a hard worker,” said Vande Streek. “He shoots the ball well from the perimeter.”
The sophomore class, with six members, is the largest class on the team.
Mitch Vallie (Goodrich/Goodrich) is a junior academically, but earned a medical redshirt after getting injured in the ninth game of the season last year. In those nine games played Vallie averaged 7.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
“Mitch [Vallie] is really well rounded,” Vande Streek said. “He can play anywhere from the two to the four. He has really improved his shooting.”
Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian) is in the same boat as Vallie. Brink suffered a season ending injury in summer ball a season ago. During his freshmen year, he broke the school record for free throw percentage by shooting 93 percent from the line. Brink will likely start at the shooting guard for the Knights.
“Jordan [Brink] is a special player,” said Vande Streek. “From an offensive standpoint, he has great range, will put it on the floor and is a very calm presence.”
Tyler Dykstra (Holland/Holland Christian) appeared in 25 games last season at the small and power forward. He will likely start for Calvin at the power forward this season.
“Tyler was more of an athlete than a basketball player last season,” Vande Streek said. “We are going to see some pretty great moments from him this year.”
Tj Huizenga (Randolph, WI/Randolph), Ryan Nadeu (Northville/Dearborn Divine Child) and Dan Stout (Escondido, CA/Escondido Calvin Christian) all saw limited minutes last season. Stout, Huizinga and Nadeu will provide Calvin with depth.
“Ryan [Nadeu] is a smart player who plays good defense,” Vande Streek said. “Dan [Stout] and TJ [Huizinga] both worked hard in the offseason. Both developed a better offensive game this offseason.”
Jordan Daley (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) is the lone freshmen on the varsity fulltime. Because of Calvin’s big list of returners, there were not many spots available.
“I really like our freshmen class this season,” Vande Streek said. “Jordan [Daley] is going to be a great defensive player. He is very versatile on offense.”
The men’s basketball program also welcomes a new coach to the staff. Peter Zigterman, who coach at his alma mater, Trinity Christian College, last season, joins the staff as Calvin’s junior varsity head coach.
“Peter [Zigterman] played for Tim Walker at Trinity, who was an assistant coach of mine,” Vande Streek said. “He played our defensive system and knows what we want to do.”
The non-conference schedule for Calvin this season looks a little different than in years past. Calvin begins with its annual tipoff tournament, where the Knights will play Grace Bible College and either North Park or Cairn University. Calvin will play Anderson (IN), Finlandia and Manchester in single head-to head contests. Other tournaments for the Knights include the annual Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic and the MIAA/CCIW Classic. Both tournaments are hosted by Hope. Calvin will play Aquinas and Cornerstone in the Hall of Fame Classic as well as Wheaton and Carthage in the MIAA/CCIW Classic.
“We play about as good of a nonconference schedule as anyone in the country,” Vande Streek said. “We have gotten away from the NAIA schools. The NCAA has put the pressure on us to play in region games. We have to play 70 percent of our games in region.”
Calvin opens up conference play January 3 with a home game against Adrian, a team that knocked off Calvin twice last season. Other games of note are two matchups with rival Hope on January 16 and February 9. Calvin rill travel to Trine January 19 and to Adrian January 26.
“The league has really involved the past couple seasons,” said Vande Streek. “The parody in the conference has increased. Trine had a good nucleus of three guys, two of which are back this season. Adrian has been flat out phenomenal on defense in recent years. They are a really tough team to matchup with. The days of breezing through the schedule is over.”
The expectations for the 2012-13 men’s basketball team are high, but Kevin Vande Streek puts things in perspective.
“We always start with the kind of people we have,” said Vande Streek. “We want them to be good young men, grow in their faith, in the classroom and on the court. As a coach, you always want a team to become the best they can be.”