Friday, November 2, 2012

Thoughts From Calvin’s Scrimmage With GRCC

This is a photo from the scrimmage in question (click to biggify)
Thoughts From Calvin’s Scrimmage With GRCC The Calvin men’s basketball team participated in a scrimmage against the members of the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team on Wednesday, October 31. That was the night of Halloween, which was not tonight, and was not last night, so I am indeed brining you these thoughts well after the fact.

Included in the scrimmage were, in fact, three 20-minute segments. Three faux “halves” of basketball, if you will. The scores of which were 48-33, 33-33, and 35-31 (Calvin did not “lose” any of them). The scores are not the important factor in a scrimmage, not even remotely, however they do reflect, one supposes, the degree of quality with which each team played. But the only comment I will make on the scores is that the second two are concerning, but the second two “halves” were not “halves” in which the Calvin starters started (or even played the majority of minutes in.

On we go.

The aspect of the scrimmage I was most interested in seeing was the sort of starting lineup and/or playing rotation that coach Kevin Vande Streek would implement. The starting lineup – for this particular game – was as follows:

C – Tyler Kruis
F – Tyler Dykstra
F – Tom Snikkers
G – Jordan Brink
G – David Rietema

The only real surprise here was Tyler Dykstra. Not that he isn’t a good player, or that his prospect status didn’t profile as being capable of making this sort of jump, it’s just that he was mostly an 8th- 9th-10th type off the bench last year. Mitch Vallie, Mickey DeVries, and Matt DeBoer each made multiple appearances in the starting lineup a season ago, and all three are on the team, but none made such an appearance on Wednesday as I thought they might.

This may or may not represent a (or THE) “real” staring lineup, but it is obviously one about which coach Vande Streek has thought. And it’s the one he wrote down on Wednesday, as I’ve very clearly just stated.

One could understand why this would be an intriguing lineup after watching them in this scrimmage. They appeared to be the group that was most comfortable together. The first five to ten minutes of the first “half” of the scrimmage were easily Calvin’s most dominant. They scored the first eight points of the “game” and looked solid on both sides of the ball. They had some struggles – as did every rotation group – at points, but they played very well together for the most part.

The subsequent substitution pattern was:

Bryan Powell in for Rietema
Mickey DeVries in for Dykstra
Matt DeBoer in for Snikkers
David Rietema in for Brink
Dan Stout in for Kruis
Jordan Mast in for Powell (a bit later – 8:53 mark)

Of note might be the fact that Jordan Brink played strictly in the off-guard role, and Bryan Powell maintaining his spot as the reserve point guard (but also moving off the ball when both he and Rietema were on the floor). I argued against this previously, but I think I like it upon further reflection. Powell isn’t really a shooter (from distance), and he’s best when he can more wizard-y things with the ball. Brink, on the other hand, can handle the ball, but he is also a very good spot-up shooter from range, so he might be better served by handling the ball less frequently, and simply waiting for it to come to him (so to speak).

If one was to name a scrimmage MVP, an occurrence of which I’ve never hear, Mickey DeVries would be named as such. He was all over the glass – on both ends – took about a hundred charges (probably only three or four), and showed a nice scoring touch around the hoop (including, I believe, a nice one-handed flush). He’s Calvin’s scrappiest player, but not scrappy in a David Eckstein or Nick Punto sense (of which it’s spell sCRAPPY), but in more of an “but he’s actually also quite good” sense.

Matt DeBoer continued to show his excellent in-the-lane jump hook, and his enthusiasm for the game made me smile.

Dan Stout looks to be improved. He’s probably shouldn’t be a 15+ minute guy yet, but he should be effective for 10 or so minutes a game. He maintains very good potential, in my mind, down the road this year, and also the next couple years.

The second “half” saw the reserves act as the starters, and the starters act as reserves, with the only exception being Mitch Vallie also getting into the action for the first time at the 11:53 mark. The second “half” was the sloppiest half, and it discouraged me a bit, but I believe this was the first time this team played against someone in different colored shirts this season. That’s how I’m justifying it anyway.

Their biggest downfall, probably, was the propensity to dribble out of trouble and attempt to thread the needle with too many passes. It was like they were more interested in making the pretty play than the sound play. Coach was visibly peeved by this, but I’m willing to chalk it up to the players trying to get out of summer league mode and back into “real” basketball mode.

The third period was started by Ryan Nadeau, TJ Huizenga, Matt DeBoer, Jordan Daley, and Dan Stout (with the second stringers, as I’ll call them, coming off the bench – starters didn’t play). Calvin cleaned up their play for the most part in this "half" which was good to see, although GRCC threw out many of their reserves here as well. Overall it was good to see the type of depth that this Calvin team will be able to throw out.

It was my first look at freshman Jordan Daley, and he impressed me in his limited action. He appears stronger in the upper body than most first year players, and displayed good poise and court vision in helping to handle GRCC's full court(ish) pressure. He didn't really shoot the ball much, so I didn't see his scoring touch, but he could be an exciting player down the road.

If 10 is where Calvin needs to be in order to make a deep tournament run, then I'd say they were only a three or a four, so there's still a lot of work to do, but they were definitely no worse than last year, and they showed flashes of what they can become.

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