Thursday, November 6, 2014

MIAA Coaches Pick Calvin to Win League, Coach Vande Streek Addresses Injury Situation

The annual MIAA pre-season coaches poll was released today with your Calvin Knights sweeping the vote, picking up all seven possible first place votes. Coaches don't include their own team in the vote, so Coach Vande Streek cast his ballot in favor of Hope (who was the unanimous second-place votee).

Michael Applegate of the Holland Sentinel has recorded the vote totals, so check it out there because they'll probably soon disappear from the altogether awful MIAA website*.

*It's a sad state of affairs when one reasonably (and necessarily) directs readers away from your own website and to the Sentinel. Take note MIAA.

But more interesting than the poll -- which offers entertainment value but relatively little in the way of hard-hitting analysis -- is the quote that Applegate gets in his writeup from Vande Streek regarding his perception of the state of the team.

Depsite the vote of confidence, Vande Streek said on a league-wide conference call after the poll was released that his team is struggling with injuries in the preseason.

Daniel Stout, a 6-foot-9 center, is hurt as is guard T.J. Huizenga. Both are seniors.

"I look at our squad and I see a lot of holes," said Vande Streek, in his 19th season at Calvin. "That’s a far cry from a good basketball team at this point."

My understanding via (multiple) second-hand reports is that Dan Stout's injury is considered to be relatively minor. He may be limited early in the season (and miss the exhibition game), but until I hear otherwise, I'm betting on him seeing action in the season opener against Anderson. But injuries -- even those that are ostensibly minor -- are never fun and can have lingering effects, so we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Calvin will certainly need him to come around eventually because the biggest hole on the squad is in the frontcourt where they lost Tyler Kruis, Mickey DeVries, and B.J. Van Loo from last year's team. Until such a time as Stout is 100% (and possibly beyond), we will likely be seeing some of Tyler Dykstra -- who started at the nominal small forward position last year -- at center.

This is the first I've heard of an injury to T.J. Huizenga. That's not great news. But, assuming it's not something that will keep him out for the year (or a chunk of the year), the Knights can weather that storm. If there's one spot on the floor where they're deep, it's the at the 2/3 wing. Jordan Daley, Jordan Brink, and Brad Visser could swallow 70-75 of the 80 available minutes at those spots. That might create a bigger hole behind Austin Parks at the point guard position (if Brink or Daley were to be used at all in that capacity), but they have some options there in sophomores Danny Leach and Nick Kronemeyer as well as freshman Tony Canonie.

UPDATE: The above quote -- or at least a similar one -- is framed a bit differently in a since-posted MLive piece.

"We have a versatile group of players this year," said Vande Streek.  "I think the biggest challenge will be mixing our newcomers in with our veterans because some of our newcomers will be a part of our rotation. That type of mix usually takes some time to jell. We've got a few holes to fill right now so it may take some time for us to become the team we would like to be."

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