Thursday, October 25, 2012

Calvin Releases 2012-2013 Men’s Basketball Roster

Back in March I took a guess at what the roster would look like at the start of the upcoming season. It was a pretty simple process really: take the 15 men on last year’s final roster (including the injured Mitch Vallie), subtract senior Brian Haverdink, add in Jordan Brink to the mix (who, as you most likely recall, missed last season due to injury), and end back up with 15 players. Then remove Adam DeYoung and Nate Van Eck – two would-be-seniors who, although valuable in their size, played only sparingly last season – because keeping two seniors on the end of the bench didn’t seem like the best way to develop the future of the program.

That left us with 13 “locks” to make the roster, and one opening (seeing as Coach Vande Streek typically elects to go with 14 players to start the year). Vande Streek had particularly expressed interest in the development of 6-10 forward Bryce Lutke (that’s a Schuster-like 6-10, mind you), who had an impressive nose for the basket as a freshman last season on the JV squad. Lutke appeared to be a candidate to make the team along with any number of freshmen who showed up on campus.

Calvin’s roster contains a number of versatile players, so there wasn’t a great need (or much playing time available) at any of the five positions, but, outside of probably point guard, there was probably enough wiggle room with how you could rotate players that any deserving candidate could find his way on to the team.

Anyway, since you’ve probably skipped all this rambling and simply scrolled to find a link to the roster page or see list of names, here it is:

Seniors (4)
Matt DeBoer (6-4) F
Bryan Powell (6-1) G
David Rietema (6-1) G
Tom Snikkers (6-4) F

Juniors (5)
Jordan Brink* (6-3) G
Mickey DeVries (6-7) F
Tyler Kruis (6-9) C
Jordan Mast (6-4) F
Mitch Vallie* (6-5) F

Sophomores (4)
Tyler Dykstra (6-8) F
T.J. Huizenga (6-4) G
Ryan Nadeau (5-10) G
Dan Stout (6-9) C

Freshmen (4)
Jordan Daley (6-3) G
Austin Parks (6-0) G
Nathan Landsgaard (6-0) G
Eric Brower (6-8) C

*Jordan Brink and Mitch Vallie will both be in their third year on campus, but aren’t necessarily Juniors in terms of eligibility. Brink, who didn’t play at all last year, still has three more seasons left should he elect to take a fifth year, and there were strong rumors that Vallie, who was injured for much of the year, would be granted a “medical redshirt”.

So, yeah, 17 guys. Didn’t see that one coming. Freshmen Landsgaard, Brower, and Parks aren’t listed with uniform numbers, so it appears that they might be on the squad for seasoning but are unlikely to actually see much (if any) time on the floor (including mop-up duties).

Starters and Rotation
I would have to believe that Jordan Brink, Matt DeBoer, Tom Snikkers, and Tyler Kruis are all locks to start, with any of Mickey DeVries, Mitch Vallie, or David Rietema filling in the fifth and final starting spot.
Bryan Powell, who had been a regular starter in the past, will likely come off the bench. Jordan Mast and Tyler Dykstra both averaged double-digit minutes a season ago, so both figure to be features in the playing rotation as well.

Fun fact: Calvin has nine guys on the roster that have started four or more games in their college career. That sounds like nice depth.

So that’s ten guys (nine of which have some degree of starting experience) that could easily gobble up 98% of the minutes without even factoring in the possibility that Dan Stout, TJ Huizenga, Ryan Nadeau, or either of the freshmen could play their way into minutes. Sophomores Stout, Huizenga, and Nadeau each acquitted themselves fairly well in limited action a year ago, but none of them screamed “breakout star of 2013” with their play on the court. I’ve heard very good things about Daley, but any speculation at how he’d perform as freshmen in the MIAA on my part would be wild guess work. He’s obviously good enough to make the squad.

Really, as I see it, there are three possible probable starting lineups.

G – Rietema
G – Brink
F – DeBoer
F – Snikkers
C – Kruis

This lineup would be very good at handling the ball, but may be weak on the boards and has only four scoring options instead of five as Rietema was not really any sort of scoring threat last year. My hope here would be that Brink doesn’t get labeled as purely a “two guard” because having his scoring ability from the point position would be incredibly valuable (especially in the next year or two). But even if Brink isn’t the nominal starter at the point position, I expect that he and Rietema share the duties there, with Brink moving over when they’re on the floor together.

G – Brink
G – DeBoer
F – Vallie
F – Snikkers
C – Kruis

Matt DeBoer was listed on the roster as a “G/F” last year, but he’s strictly listed as a forward this year (same for Jordan Mast and opposite for TJ Huizenga). I’m thinking that distinction means very little in practice, so DeBoer might see some time as a “guard” this season, especially in a lineup like this where he and Vallie would really be “wing” type players. The two/three distinction is probably one that’s not worth making much of the time. Even Snikkers isn’t really a true “four” so they’d really be running with three “threes”.

G – Brink
G – DeBoer
F – Snikkers
F – DeVries
C – Kruis

This was the lineup that Coach Vande Streek employed from Thanksgiving through Christmas (with the noted swap of Brink for Rietema), so it’s one that could very well be used again. It’s a big lineup (6-3, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-9), and contains a more traditional frontcourt with Snikkers, DeVries, and Kruis. This lineup appears to be the best combination of scoring and rebounding (on paper, at least).
If I was to try to guess a depth chart, I might create this:

David Rietema
Ryan Nadeau
Austin Parks
Jordan Brink
Bryan Powell
Jordan Daley
Nathan Landsgaard
Matt DeBoer
Mitch Vallie
Jordan Mast
Tom Snikkers
Tyler Dykstra
TJ Huizenga
Tyler Kruis
Mickey DeVries
Daniel Stout
Eric Brower

But I think trying to force it into a chart of this type is overly simplistic. Players’ positions will probably be fairly fluid, and it’s going to be a chore to find playing time for everyone. There are players that figure to “take the next step” in their development (which would be a welcome sight), but to do so they’d have to displace a more “proven” player.

I can really see Coach Vande Streek going 12 deep in the early going of the season, and then reigning in his rotation to 9 or 10 guys once he’s sorted everything out. This will likely mean that 1-3 pretty good players aren’t really getting minutes, but that would be a good thing because it would mean that they guys in the regular rotation beat out said good players.

Way too early and ill-informed prediction for the regular season
19 to 21 wins heading into the MIAA tournament with a 12-2 or 11-3 conference record and a league championship. They’ll grab an NCAA tournament berth and make a Sweet 16 appearance.

That seems like a huge jump “for a team that went 13-13” a season ago, but this roster is really not that much like that .500 team. I mean, it is, but with a year of experience, Jordan Brink back in the mix, and full seasons from Mickey DeVries and Mitch Vallie. So, yeah, big jump, but you could make a fairly compelling case for five or six losses turning into wins had these players been available the whole season, and this upcoming season appears to have a softer schedule.

That’s enough for now.

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