Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roster Roulette

I get really antsy for any sort of roster information this time of year. We’re less than a week away from the start of practice (just a few days really), so we don’t have long to wait, but I still feel like I’m constantly mulling the possibilities over in my mind. We have the guys that were in the playing time rotation last year, we have the guys who were on the bench and didn’t really see much time on the court, we have guys that were on JV, and we have guys that will be coming in as freshmen. What will the roster look like? What will the rotation look like? These are the things that constantly run through my head this time of the year. We’ll know for sure soon enough, but part of being a fan is making unfounded guesses, right?

My standard assumption is usually that each of the contributors from a season ago will be approximately 50% better than the were the previous year, that each of the bench players will become bona fide MIAA starters, that two or three JV players will be able to step up and contribute significantly, and that all of the rumored freshmen will make an immediate impact. Have you ever found yourself lost in thought about what you would do if you won the lottery? That’s pretty much my entire October, but with the Calvin roster.

I drive myself crazy with these impossible ideas until I take a step back and look at what roles will be filled by “knowns” and which roles are open for “unknowns” to fill. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, because sometimes a known doesn’t come out for the team (Joel Hoekstra and Josh Engelsma both made us very sad this way) and sometimes an unknown will bust through and take playing time away from a known (this makes us happy because it’s usually not because the known has gotten worse). Either way, it’s a more rational way to anticipate the upcoming year than letting your mind run wild.

Point Guard
This position is pretty much locked down. Trent Salo and Bryan Powell were the two-deep at the position last year, and both return, so the bulk of the time is spoken for. There could be room for someone to break in (moving Powell off the ball at times), but shooting guard isn’t necessarily a position of need either. Lane Waters was third on the depth chart a last year, and while I like him just fine, he’s a candidate to be left off the roster this season if someone else (freshman or JV) makes a push for the varsity roster. Basically, this unit should be at least as good as (but probably better than) it was last year.

Shooting Guard
The line between the two and three spot is often blurred, so forgive me if I don’t make a clear distinction. I thought about lumping them all into one group and calling them ‘wings’, but I decided to keep the traditional five-spot breakdown. I’ll say that last year’s starter was Tom Snikkers but he’s probably not a true two-guard; he’s probably more of a two-three combo. You could easily make the case that Calvin started a one, three threes, and a five last year. Brad Schnyders, who started early on in the year, was the primary guy off the bench, so again we see both guys on the two-deep returning. Matt Capel was the third string player at the 2/3 spot, but, as a senior, I would be surprised to see him make the team this year.
I think Calvin has a lot of roster flexibility here. Tom and Brad both have the size play bigger if one or two guard-y type guys were pushing for time. They’re severely lacking a Kyle Trewhella or Derek Griffin type three-point shooter at this position, but I’m trying not to think about that right now. I like the aggressive style that Snikkers and Schyders bring to the table.

Small Forward
I’ll consider Danny Rodts the nominal starter from last year, but the two deep was really composed of him and fellow starter (at the ‘4’) Matt Veltema (who graduated). Brian Haverdink saw minutes early in the season when the Knights went with a ten man rotation (and struggled), but he only saw mop-up time late in the year. Matt DeBoer, who also only saw garbage time, probably also fits in as a small forward. In my opinion, both Haverdink and DeBoer should make the roster without much of a problem.

Power Forward
And ‘power’ is thrown out generously. Matt Veltema was the starter at this position, but he really played the small forward spot once the game got rolling and substitutions were made. I would consider the real two-deep to be Brent Schuster and Paul Cambell (who graduated). Schuster is the obvious candidate to be the starter, unless he’s the ‘center’, in which case the spot is wide open. A freshman or JV impact player here would be welcomed greatly.

This could be Brent Schuster, or it could be Adam De Young, who saw mostly mop-up time a year ago.

As listed above, the rotation would be:

5De Young

But I could easily envision a scenario in which they elect to go small* with a starting lineup/rotation of:

5SchusterDe Young

*I’m not sure how many D-III teams would consider 6-6, 6-4, 6-6, and 6-10
small, but in this case I would.

The front court and backcourt are extreme opposites in terms of returning personnel. They’re in the fortunate spot of not needing a player to step up and contribute from the 1-3 spots, although they have the rotation flexibility to accommodate such a player if they have one. This group will either be better than they were last year or much better than they were last year. There’s not as much to choose from in the front court (4 and 5). Schuster will start at one of the spots, and the other will either be filled by a relatively unknown commodity, or the team will go small.

The offense concerns me a bit. I’m not sure where all of the points are going to come from, but I guess that’s to be expected. You’re going to feel the hurt any time you lose two 1,000 point scorers. I’d be interested in hearing any other perspectives from my ones of readers.

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