Friday, March 2, 2012

Projecting Calvin’s 2013 Roster

Humor me here. I just wanted to talk out loud for a moment to lay out what Calvin’s roster will probably look like for next year.

The final roster this year was:

Seniors
Brian Haverdink

Juniors
Tom Snikkers
Matt DeBoer
Bryan Powell
David Rietema
Nate Van Eck
Adam DeYoung

Sophomores
Tyler Kruis
Mitch Vallie
Jordan Mast
Mickey DeVries

Freshmen
Tyler Dykstra
Ryan Nadeau
Daniel Stout
TJ Huizenga

That’s 15 guys. Lop off the lone senior Haverdink, and we have 14 spots “spoken for”. Add in Jordan Brink, who will be returning after missing this past season due to injury, and we’re back up to 15. But I don’t think all 15 will make the team.



The “easy” cuts to figure are Van Eck and DeYoung. Not that it wouldn’t be useful to have their size and strength on the bench, but they played sparingly down the stretch, even with big man Mickey DeVries out during second semester. Kruis averaged 25.5 minutes per game as the starter, so Calvin only ‘needs’ about 14 minutes per game off the bench at the center position. A combination of DeVries (even if he primarily plays more of a ‘power forward’ position) and a sophomore Dan Stout should be more than capable to fill those minutes. Coach Vande Streek also even mentioned his desire to see how Bryce Lutke (6-10, but built like Brent Schuster) looks next fall in his final post game interview. When push comes to shove, any coach would rather fill the last four or five spots on his bench with youth than with a senior who likely wouldn’t play.

The final two-deep depth chart (based on the final two games of the season) looked like this:


1
2
G
Rietema
Powell
G
Haverdink
Mast
F
DeBoer

F
Snikkers
Dykstra
C
Kruis
DeYoung

A healthy Mitch Vallie, and an eligible DeVries would be in the mix for playing time, along with the addition of Jordan Brink. I would think, then, that the same depth chart would look something like:


1
2
G
Brink
Rietema
G
DeBoer
Powell
F
Snikkers
Mast
F
DeVries
Vallie
C
Kruis
Dykstra

Don’t get hung up on this-guy over that-guy or actual listed position, but this is likely the ten guys that will factor into the playing rotation to start the year. It’s probably also likely that Stout gets minutes in the mix as well, but as you can see, Coach Vande Streek isn’t looking at a ton of extra minutes to give away. Of that potential ten-man rotation, nine players have started at Calvin at some point in their career. That’s a ton of depth. And that’s without mentioning that three ‘end of the bench guys’: Nadeau, Huizenga, and (possibly) Stout all received time off the bench as part of the ‘normal rotation’ at different stretches in the conference season. I’m not willing to discount any of those three playing their way into the mix next year – they all appear to be very capable players. That brings us to this:


1
2
3
G
Brink
Rietema
Nadeau
G
DeBoer
Powell
Huizenga
F
Snikkers
Mast

F
DeVries
Vallie

C
Kruis
Dykstra
Stout

So, assuming no catastrophic injuries or other unexpected attrition, we’re left with one or two roster spots. Each of the last two seasons have ended up with 15 players on the varsity roster, but that was only after injury situations (Salo and then Vallie) necessitated a player or two being moved up from the JV squad. If Streeker decides to stay with 14, then we’ll only have one spot for a freshman or current JV player. Or possibly for Nate Van Eck, should Coach decided to put all of his eggs in the depth and experience basket (still don’t see this as likely at all).

I’m betting that the fourteenth (and probably final) spot goes to a freshman who will likely split time with the JV as well. That seems to be the pattern for talented youngsters who are good enough to make the team, but probably won’t see regular minutes. I would also bet that there’s a good shot at seeing more than the usual number of sophomores on the JV team. Recently, there have been only one or two sophs on the junior squad, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see at least three players return to the JV squad. I’ll especially call out Josh Chamberlain, Bryce Lutke, and Jordan DeBoer as being talented enough to warrant keeping in the system for another year (if any of them are unable to crack the varsity squad) – especially considering the fact that next year’s varsity team will likely feature eight or nine upper classmen. There’s playing time to be had the following two years, even if there doesn’t look like there will be much next season.

But however the final few roster spots are handed out, it’s clear that next year’s squad will have two huge advantages over this years’ team. The first advantage will be in top-end talent. Jordan Brink has the potential to be an All-MIAA type player next season, and he’s a guy who you expect to reach a double-digit scoring average by simply plugging him into the lineup with 20-25 minutes per game. After making 46% of his three point attempts in 2011, he will immediately become Calvin’s biggest threat from long range (something they sorely lacked this year).

And the rest of the top-tier scoring talent isn’t expected to go anywhere either. Snikkers, Kruis, Powell, and DeBoer all averaged more than 10 points per game, and they’ll bring an extra year of experience to the gym with them next season.

The second huge advantage will be in the depth department. Obviously the biggest factor here is the return of Vallie and DeVries to the rotation, but the overall experience level is going to take a thru-the-roof jump. 2012 saw seven new players to Calvin’s varsity roster – DeVries, Mast, Van Eck, Stout, Nadeau, Huizenga, and Dykstra – plus two players who only saw mop-up minutes – Vallie and Rietema. So, nine of fifteen guys were really seeing their first ‘real’ college varsity action. That number will drop to only a small handful in 2013.

On the Starting Five
I’m sold on Snikkers, Kruis, DeBoer, and Brink as four of the five starters heading into next season, but I think that fifth spot could be very much up for grabs. Three likely scenarios:

(1)    David Rietema starts at the point, bumping Brink to the two spot. This would only be a nominal change, as I think Rietema and Brink would go on to split the PG duties for the season, but perhaps they do see some time on the court together.

(2)    Mickey DeVries starts at one of the forward spots. He was in the starting lineup until eligibility issues forced him to miss the second semester, so it’s natural to assume he’ll be a front runner for one of the spots next year. Mickey’s scoring touch came and went in flashes last year, but he was tough on the glass – especially on the offensive end.

(3)    Mitch Vallie starts at one of the forward spots. Vallie began 2012 in the starting lineup, but became more of a sixth man after a few games. He’s a versatile player with the ability to score in a variety of ways. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he re-cracks the starting five.

Other (less likely) possibilities: Bryan Powell in the two spot or Tyler Dykstra in the four spot. I’d be very surprised to see either of these, and shocked to see anything else.

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