Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winter Sports Media Day

I had the opportunity to attend the Calvin Winter Sports Media Luncheon. Here's what the coaches had to say about their upcoming seasons.

Dan Gelderloos - Swimming and Diving
On the women's side, they're still the team to beat. Repeating as MIAA champions gets tougher as time goes on. They lost a lot of talent, but they still have a lot of hard workers on the team. They should be just fine.

They're very young on the men's side. It will be fun to see how far they can go. They didn't win an event at the relay meet a couple weekends ago, but they were consistently second in most events. Probably the most consistent team. The league should be very balanced this year. Probably the most balance it's been in a long time.

John Ross - Women's Basketball
They're coming off a nice season, but they lost three seniors. The key will be in trying to replace them.

All 27 players on Varsity and JV spend a lot of time together, and they get along well. Good chemistry. That's a big positive for this group. They'll get a lot of leadership from seniors Leah Morrison and Allie Duernburger even though they didn't play much. That's a big positive for this team.

The team is small. Courtney Kurncz will have to play some post this year along with transfer Heather DeKleine, who played point guard at Gordon College. There's lots of depth in the junior class.

Sophomore class is most talented ever. Excited about the development of Carissa Verkaik as a leader. She's been an excellent teacher for the Varsity players and also to the JV players in inter-squad practices and scrimmages. Julia Hillbrands is playing volleyball right now, they'll get her back when the season's done, but she'll have a lot to make up. She should have a nice season. Logan Marsh should be an impact transfer from Aquinas. She can really defend.

Kevin Vande Streek - Men's Basketball
We should all be proud of this institution. It takes a lot of work by many people to get students (and student athletes) to come to Calvin. Everyone from President Byker, to physical plant staff, to those who pray for the institution.

Often got asked how to replace John Mantel. Short answer: you don't. Still haven't replaced Aaron Winkle, Jeremy Veenstra, Dan Aultman, or Caleb Veldhouse. Long answer: they teach four principles to every player at Calvin, faith, behavior, work ethic, and fundamentals of the game and team chemistry.

Need to replace a lot on defense. Experience is the key factor here. Two goals of every season are to lead the league in defensive field goal percentage and rebounding margin.

The key to any offense is penetration. Some teams toss it into the post, some teams dribble drive, and some teams play a Princeton style with lots of back cutting. Calvin will try to do something different this year than they have in the past. A bit of a combination of methods. The plan is to spread the floor and use athletes. They will get lots of guys into the post on offense, Brad Schnyders, Danny Rodts, and Tommy Snikkers can all score from there; it won't be just one guy.

The schedule is tough this year. Hates to lose, but likes the accountability because that's when you get to fix things. Heading to Elmhurst this year over Christmas; there's plans to go to Washington next year.

Olivet probably had the most talent last year. If they had had a history of success, they probably would have won the league. Adrian looks good under coach White. Should be the tightest conference race we've seen. MIAA coaches poll will come out on Thursday (11/4).

Time will tell, but could have the deepest class of freshman ever. That includes some quality guys on JV that should figure into the future. Jordan Brink should figure significant minutes. Jake Greene is a perimeter player and Mitch Vallie is more of a slasher; both will have to work there way into the rotation. Tyler Kruis has a nice jump hook with either hand and a nice touch on his shot. He's a good defensive center with good lateral movement; he'll play.

Sophomore David Rietema is spending a semester abroad, so that's why he's missing. It's a requirement for Spanish majors, so he won't dress until next semester. They won't hold the loss of time against him, but it will be tough for him to learn everything after missing so much. He's possibly the quickest guy on the team. Might not play a lot, but expect him to play a lot in the next couple years.

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