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Snikkers Finishes Career With Goal Attained

Sunday, June 02, 2013

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By Lynn Bolt Rosendale

“Calvin challenges you a lot,” said Tommy Snikkers, senior forward on the men’s basketball team. “The classes are not easy; the workload is not easy; the sports are not easy. Calvin’s very demanding in all aspects, and that’s something you should embrace if you’re up for the challenge.”

Snikkers certainly has. As a three-time All-MIAA first team selection, Snikkers has led the team in scoring each of the last three years. Averaging 13.4 points per game this season, Snikkers led a balanced scoring attack with three other players in double digits for the Knights.

Despite the well-spread scoring, Snikkers was able to crack the top-ten in all-time scoring leaders in Calvin’s history, joining a list of impressive players like Steve Honderd, Mark Veenstra, Bill Sall, Jeremy Veenstra and Aaron Winkle, among others.

“I never had any expectations like that when I first came to Calvin,” said Snikkers, who finished in eighth place with 1,464 points. He later received all-region honors from D3hoops.com, all-district honors from the NABC and honorable mention All-America honors from DIII News.

“To finish in the top ten in scoring at Calvin feels like a huge accomplishment just because of the names of the other players that are on that list. There have been great teams and great players here, and it’s an honor to be a part of that tradition.

“But it’s really a credit to my teammates,” he said. “I’ve had great players around me the whole time I’ve played here.”

Yet, Snikkers and his teammates had never made it to post-season play until this year. Advancing to the NCAA III Tournament had been one of Snikkers’ top goals each of his four years here. “Last year was emotionally draining because of all the injuries,” he said. “We had a lot of guys out and that was tough, but as a result of that other guys stepped up. This year everyone was healthy, and we were deeper because of all of the experience guys got last year.”

The Knights advanced to the Sweet 16 round, led by Snikkers, who led the Knights with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in an opening-round victory over Rose-Hulman (Terre Haute, Ind.), and 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in a second-round victory over University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point.

Coach Kevin Vande Streek said Snikkers will be missed: “On the court I’ve never had a player with the combination of strength and explosiveness that he possesses. He can beat a bigger player to the basket off the dribble or post-up against a smaller player. The fact that he has demonstrated the versatility to score over 1,000 points, be one of the best rebounders in the league and shoot 38 percent from the 3-point line is truly amazing.”

Snikkers, of Hudsonville (Mich.) Unity Christian, hopes his playing days are not over though. “I’d like to play overseas,” he said. “I’ve talked to a few other Calvin players who have done it; I think it’s a possibility.” Then he’d like to attend graduate school with a goal of becoming a college athletic director and possibly a coach.

He thinks his Calvin experience, particularly his participation in the Gainey Leadership Retreat last summer, will help him achieve his goal.

(The Montana retreat brings together leaders from all of Calvin’s sports teams for a week each summer with the purpose of providing time and space for student-athletes to focus on knowing God and themselves better, to equip varsity leaders with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to effectively lead their teams and create a Christian community among student-athletes that extends beyond individual teams.)

“That helped me realize the person I want to be,” Snikkers said, “that I’m privileged to have a platform that other people look up to, that I can be a role model to young kids. It’s something I think about every day—about representing Calvin well.”

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