Showing posts with label Roster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roster. Show all posts

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Calvin Roster and Ferris State Exhibition Preview

What the water tower really said.
We’re 12 days away from the official tip-off of the season – when Calvin heads to Anderson on November 19 – but in some ways this annual Ferris State exhibition game is more fun than the typical early-season game.

For one, Ferris is always as athletic as any team Calvin will see this season. Two, the expectations are low because Division II and Exhibition. And Three, we haven’t seen basketball for like eight months.
So what do I know about Ferris? Besides their continual attempts to ruin a perfectly excellent color combination, not very much. Last year Calvin lost 63-62 up in Big Rapids, the same -1 scoring margin that Massey would have predicted following the season. The final version of Kenneth Massey’s ratings had Calvin as four point favorites over Ferris on a neutral court, eight point favorites at home, and one point underdogs on the road.

What does that mean for this year? No idea. Probably nothing. Massey’s preseason historical-regression-based ratings (that he uses as a starting point but get damped out as the season goes on) has Calvin being two points worse overall but three point favorites at home. These ratings quite obviously have no idea who’s on what roster or how a team might perform with a new coach.

So the dummy-starter Massey ratings say 59%, but I’ll say closer to 40-45% (without really knowing Ferris’ roster). Really you could make an argument anywhere between 35-65% and I wouldn’t care. That’d represent something like a five point game in either direction.

Speaking of rosters, Calvin has a new one. Six players will be playing with the Varsity for the first time – either Freshmen, transfers, or former JV players – and another three have played basically only mop-up time in their young careers. It feels like there’s a lot of newness to the roster, and there is, but they actually return the second most varsity minutes played of any MIAA team this year, and that doesn’t count junior Kyle MacDonald (Jackson CC) and sophomore BJ Van Loo (Grace Bible) who have experience at the college level.

I don’t know a whole lot about MacDonald, but Coach VandeStreek spoke highly of him in the preseason audio interview, and, reading between the lines, it sounds like he will begin the season as the starter at the point.

Grace Bible doesn’t maintain a very comprehensive statistical archive on their website (read: no stats at all), but I was able to search engine my way to 12 of Van Loo’s box scores from last season (against schools like Calvin, Ferris, Davenport, Aquinas, Spring Arbor, Cornerstone, etc). He played 23 minutes per game with 10 points and 5 rebounds on a .522 effective field goal percentage (basically Calvin’s team average last year) in that sample. Those are pretty good numbers for a freshman, and I’m very comfortable with the competition level (average Massey rank of 1177, Calvin’s average MIAA opponents were 1199).

The frontcourt is going to be very strong. I realy have no read on who the starters will be (besides Tyler Kruis), but it almost doesn’t matter. I still think you go with Kruis-DeVries-Dykstra as your three most experienced and talented players even though both of the forwards are more of the ‘four’ types. I was initially thinking that perhaps we could see some of the bigger guards, like the Jordans Brink and Daley, be pushed up to play some three, but I think it might be more of the opposite. Someone like 6-5 Jordan Mast might be pushed down from somewhat of a ‘three’ to more of a ‘two’. If we’re talking 20+ minutes for Tyler Dykstra, Mickey DeVries, and BJ Van Loo plus some time at the ‘four’ for Dan Stout, there might be fewer than 10 minutes to spread around to fewer options. But that’s all well and good because the backcourt, though high in potential talent, is lower in experience level (especially if Jordan Brink is not at full-go).

Probable Starters and Rotation vs. Ferris

C – Tyler Kruis, Dan Stout
F – Mickey DeVries, Tyler Dykstra, Dan Stout
F – Tyler Dykstra, BJ Van Loo, Jordan Mast
G – Jordan (all)
G – Kyle MacDonald, Austin Parks

These are the 10 guys who I think will open the season in the primary rotation. For now that leaves junior TJ Huizenga, and newcomers Danny Leach, Brad Visser, and Eric Brower mostly at the end of the bench, but I wouldn’t be surprised for one or two of these guys to play versus Ferris (and/or eventually crack the rotation) as Coach KVS tries to figure out exactly how the roster fits together.

Prediction: I think Calvin is very probably the better team, but, I think for this game, the inexperience of the backcourt vs. the generally-more-athletic Division II guards is going to lead to a loss. That’s not a bad thing though, as I think they’ll have better long-term success if they use the game to experiment, learn, and grow rather than simply try to win the game. Ferris 70, Calvin 67

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Predicting the 2014 Depth Chart / Player Rotation

It’s always dangerous to predict a sort of depth chart when we (1) don’t know the roster and (2) don’t even fully know who’s trying out, but nothing that’s completely safe is ever fun, so let’s go. This exercise comes with the caveat that I probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so take any and all necessary precaution.

5 / Center:

Center is the easiest position to figure out because it’s going to be 100% – barring injury or something unforeseen – 100% the same as last year.

Tyler Kruis is obviously not changing here. He received basically 26 minutes per game last year and could/should see a bump up to 27 or 28 (and pushed to 30 in the bigger games), but frontline depth is probably the smallest concern for the Calvin Knights heading into the 2013-14 season so squeezing out extra minutes from Tyler won’t be a huge issue. I’m just saying this off the cuff without really thinking about it, but the senior should start the year on the shortlist of MIAA MVP candidates.

Dan Stout took a big step forward last season. He didn’t see A Ton Of Time – basically 13 minutes – but he proved to be an outstanding rebounder, a good shot blocker, and an very efficient scorer. He can step out and hit a jump shot, but his bread and butter was drawing fouls (particularly off of an offensive rebound) and knocking down his free throws (over 74%). He’s probably earned more minutes, but with Kruis in front of him he’ll be relegated to whatever playing time is left.

4 / Forward:

Mickey DeVries had an excellent year off the bench for the Knights a season ago, and I think he has a very good chance of cracking the lineup this season. He played roughly 19 minutes per game last season, but could see that go up to as many as 24 this year. DeVries was mostly a hard-nosed rebounder in his first year with the Knights, but he developed into an efficienct scorer as well a season ago. He could stand to improve his free throw percentage and probably pass on the longer of his jump shot opportunities, but I shouldn’t get negative here. Mickey was really really good last year.

Tyler Dykstra is probably the nominal backup here. Not because he’s getting bumped from the lineup, but because I have him as the starter at the other forward spot. Tyler didn’t look to shoot a lot last season, but, when he did, he was the most efficient scorer in the starting lineup. He’ll probably gobble up the remaining 16 (or so) minutes at this position unless Coach VandeStreek thinks Dan Stout needs more playing time in which case we might see a small handful of minutes with both he and Kruis on the floor.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Roster Over-analysis: Height, Weight, and Number Changes for 2013

The following table shows the change in each player’s listed height and weight from this year to last year (or two years ago, in the case of Jordan Brink).

New #Old #NameYearHt.Ht.Wt.Wt.
10-David RietemaSenior6-1-190+5 lbs
20-Bryan PowellSenior6-1-190+10 lbs
30-Tom SnikkersSenior6-4-215-
44-Matt DeBoerSenior6-4-1"210+15 lbs
12-Jordan BrinkJunior6-3-190+5 lbs
1424Mitch VallieJunior6-5-220+5 lbs
2414Mickey DeVriesJunior6-7-215-
42-Tyler KruisJunior6-9-230-10 lbs
5052Jordan MastJunior6-4-1"190-5 lbs
4-Ryan NadeauSoph.5-10-165-
2224T.J. HuizengaSoph.6-4-195+5 lbs
32-Tyler DykstraSoph.6-8-190-10 lbs
4034Daniel StoutSoph.6-9-220+15 lbs
--Bryce LutkeSoph.6-9-1"215+15 lbs

There’s nothing new on the height front, but that’s to be expected really. Growth spurts are rare among college students (with the famous exception of Mike Dunleavy Jr. growing three or four inches in his first couple of years at Duke). DeBoer, Mast, and Lutke (the only sophomore on the JV team) all are listed an inch shorter than they were a year ago, but I’m going to guess these 19-21 year-olds aren’t actually shrinking. Must be a new yard stick they’re using this year.

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:

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:

Brian Haverdink

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

Tyler Kruis
Mitch Vallie
Jordan Mast
Mickey DeVries

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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TJ Huizenga and Daniel Stout Added to Varsity Roster

I speculated that we would see TJ Huizenga added from the JV roster to the Varsity roster after it was learned that Mitch Vallie would miss the rest of the season with an arm injury (apparently it’s actually a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder).

Today we see (with an updated roster page) that Huizenga will indeed join the Varsity squad, but he’s not the only call up. 6-9 freshman center Daniel Stout will join him in the move (both are still listed on the JV roster as well).

I wouldn’t expect them to see much playing time right away, but in the JV games that I’ve seen, both have shown the potential to make a Varsity impact at some point down the road. Of the two, Huizenga seems to be better suited to play immediately, if the need arises.

Want to stay up to date on the happenings at FFTMAG? Follow me on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and grab our RSS Feed. Need a ride to a game? Check out the Ride Board and post your needs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sneak Peak at the 2011-2012 Lady Knights


First of all, I should thank Matt for letting me join the FFTMAG staff! After spending the last 4 years as a member of Calvin Women’s Basketball team, I’d say I’ve learned a thing or two about Calvin basketball and am excited to share some of my thoughts on the team this season.

To remind you of the great 2010-2011 season Calvin had, here are some highlights:

  • Record of 25-5
  • MIAA regular season co-champs
  • MIAA conference tournament champs
  • 2 huge wins over #1 ranked Hope
  • NCAA Tournament Host
  • NCAA Second Round team
  • Set all time MIAA record for best defense (fewest points allowed to MIAA opponents)

Fortunately, Calvin is returning the majority of its players from last season and is ready to build on the foundation they’ve laid!

Here are just a few of my thoughts on the 2011-2012 roster…


Jill Thomas (5’6, Guard) *Captain

Jill’s athleticism, court awareness, and ability to shoot the 3 from anywhere on the court (remember her shot against Hope in the MIAA championship game?), make her a threat against any team. I think last season proved that Jill is a dependable player who is always ready to step up and hit the big shot or the make the big play. Her leadership on the court is going to be crucial for this year’s team to be successful but I have no doubts that Jill’s up to the challenge.

Courtney Kurncz (5’11, Guard) *Captain

Courtney is the ideal basketball player. She typically plays the “3” but has the ability to play any position out on the court. She’s hard to guard because not many teams have 5’11 guards to match up against her. Her experience the past 3 years will allow her to be a great leader.

Leah Mattson (5’7 Guard) *Captain

Leah was the second most efficient 3-point shooter on the roster, behind Kelsey Irwin. Coming off the bench last year, she was a defensive spark, always ready to work hard and be aggressive. As a senior captain, her teammates are going to look towards her for leadership both on and off the court.

Heather DeKleine

Unfortunately, Heather is out for the season following a knee injury during the 2010-2011 season. Heather provides a lot of leadership off the court that will be instrumental for this team.


Carissa Verkaik (6’2, Forward) *Captain

Two-time MIAA MVP and a 2011-2012 Preseason 1st Team All-American says it all. Carissa has been an integral part of the Knights’ success of the last 2 seasons and she only an underclassmen. Carissa is any team’s dream player; not only is she an incredible post presence, but she has great work ethic, a humble attitude, and sportsmanship mentality. There is nothing more you can ask for in a star player.

Ally Wolfiss (5’11 Forward)

In her sophomore season, Ally led the MIAA in field goal percentage (63%). Ally’s strength, combined with her ability to score efficiently makes it difficult for any team to guard her. I’m excited to see the damage both Ally and Carissa will do inside the paint this year.

Julia Hilbrands (6’0 Forward)

Unfortunately, the basketball team will be without Julia for the first month or so as she is a member of the Calvin Volleyball team which is trying to claim their second consecutive National Championship. But when she returns, her athleticism and aggressiveness will provide a spark coming off the bench. Combine her with Ally and Carissa, and there will be no stopping this frontline.

Kelsey Irwin (5’4, Guard)

Simply put, Kelsey is a threat from anywhere along the 3-point line. She led Calvin in 3-point percentage (shooting 37% beyond the arc) last season. Her quick shot and smooth step back provide Calvin with a great inside-out option. Look for Kelsey to put up some big shots in big situations this season.

Logan Marsh (5’6, Guard)

Logan’s biggest contribution to Calvin is her quickness and speed, which plays right into the team’s desire to fast break. Logan led the guards in the most steals last season with 39. Look for her to continue that trend this season and give the defense a big boost this season.


Kirstin Tripp (5’6, Guard)

As a returning point guard, the team is going to look towards Kirstin as a leader out on the court. With one year under her belt and increased confidence, she has the potential to create some great plays for her teammates. Her aggressive attitude on the defensive end played a large part in Calvin’s ability to set the MIAA defensive record mentioned earlier

New to Varsity:

Shelby Sheehan (5’3, Guard)

Quick, left-handed point guard. Played JV last season

Kayla Engelhard (5’7, Guard)

Freshman point guard

Danielle Kapustka (5’7, Guard)

Sophomore guard who transferred from Aquinas.

Breanna Verkaik (5’11, Forward)

Not as tall as her older sister, Carissa, but can play the guard or post position. She has the potential to be a secret weapon due to her chemistry with Carissa out on the court.

Jessica Lang (5’9, Forward)

Although Jess is formally a point guard, she will be playing post at Calvin.

Maria DeKuiper (6’0, Forward)

Maria joins the Calvin post trio (Ally, Carissa, and Julia). She was a great scorer in high school, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do at the college level.

Calvin is currently ranked #8 according to the DIII Newsletter and Carissa Verkaik has been named a preseason All-American. I have no doubt that Calvin will crack the Top 5 in the season and stay there throughout their potential National Championship run.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Look at the 2011-12 Women's Hoops Roster

The Women's Basketball roster hasn't been posted online yet, but it was provided at today's Winter Sports Lunch. Here's what the varsity squad will look like:

#Name Class Ht Pos High School
4Shelby SheehanSO5-3GDearborn Divine Child
10Kayla EngelhardFR5-7GSaginaw Valley Lutheran
11Kelsey IrwinJR5-4GFraser
12Leah MattsonSR5-7GCadillac
15Kirstin TrippSO5-6GBrighton
20Danielle KapustkaSO5-7GNorthview (via Aquinas College)
22Breanna VerkaikFR5-11GHolland Christian
23Jill ThomasSR5-6GWest Catholic
24Logan MarshJR5-6GByron Center
30Jessica LangFR5-9FRochester Adams
32Carissa VerkaikJR6-2FHolland Christian
34Courtney KurnczSR5-11GSt. Johns
40Ally WolffisJR5-11FMona Shores
42Julia HilbrandsJR6-0FGrand Rapids Christian
44Maria DeKuiperFR6-0FBradenton Christian

Julia Hilbrands is obviously playing Volleyball, so the basketball team will be without her as she chases a back-to-back nation title there. They're going to have to get creative when it comes to post players in her absence (coach Ross said it "really strains them").

I'm not expecting Breanna Verkaik to be a carbon copy of her older sister (that would be quite unfair), but according to coach John Ross, the sisters have a special chemistry when they're on the floor together.

Coach Ross also noted that Freshman Maria DeKuiper scored over 2,000 points in high school.

Want to stay up to date on the happenings at FFTMAG? Follow me on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and grab our RSS Feed. Need a ride to a game? Check out the Ride Board and post your needs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spewing My Thoughts on the Men’s BBall Roster

Some semi-speculative/rather uniformed opinions on the Calvin men’s basketball roster which was posted on Friday. Listed by class and then height, for no particular reason.

#22 Brian Haverdink, 6-4, Guard/Forward
Brian is regularly lauded by Coach Vande Streek as a superb team defender. That alone plus the fact that he’s the only senior on the team will likely land him a spot in the starting lineup. Brian didn’t look to shoot very often last year, and he was a league-average scorer (in terms of efficiency) when he did, but the Knights probably need him to up his scoring average (and shooting percentage, especially from long range) this season. Loose comparison from the past: Brad Sall.

#20 Bryan Powell, 6-1, Guard
Despite the insistence of many that Bryan Powell is a shooting guard, I believe that he’s as “pure” of a point guard as they come. Last season, Bryan put up the best assist rate (20.0%, percentage of teammate’s field goals assisted on while on the court) that we’ve seen since 2005 when Ricky Shilts (21.6%) and Josh Vriesman (20.8%) were running the point. According to my data (using Calvin’s online statistical records that go back to 2002) Bryan Powell is fourth in career assist rate behind only Ricky Shilts, Jeremy Veenstra (only including data from his Junior and Senior year), and Josh Vriesman.

Bryan came to Calvin as a scorer from Wyoming Park, but his scoring efficiency levels just aren’t where they need to be (I hate to say it this poignantly, but no player who received at least 25% of the available minutes has been less efficient as a scorer than Bryan has been in his Calvin career with just 0.88 points per weighted shot). For 2012 he needs to shoot fewer threes, and concentrate on distributing the ball. Loose comparison from the past: Dustin Smith.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Michael Fabiyi To Don The Mythical Number 35 Jersey

As predicted by yours truly, Michael Fabiyi was added to the varsity roster due to the loss of Trent Salo (broken foot). I was fighting mixed emotions when I checked the updated roster to find him listed as number 35. I was a little bit surprised, excited, maybe a little bit scared, definitely angry, but also mostly happy with this discovery.

You see, there's always something slightly unusual about the Calvin men's basketball team's uniform numbers. They are always all even numbers. Actually, they're nearly always even numbers. The archives on go back to the 2000-2001 season, and since then, there has only been one minute of play by a Calvin player in an odd numbered uniform. It's difficult to find; you gotta dig deep on the stat pages.

Danny Rodts was brought up from the JV squad for some late season action as a freshman in in 2007-2008 season. He appeared in one game, for one minute, that season (acquiring no further stats). His uniform number? 35.

Maybe others have suited up with the loch ness monster of uniform numbers and haven't seen the court, but we're less than two weeks away from discovering irrefutable proof that odd numbered uniforms do in fact exist at Calvin College. If Fabiyi can find the floor in even two minutes of regular season game action, he'll shatter all of the previous records. He is carrying a large weight on his shoulders.

Myth: confirmed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MIAA Roster Dump

I wanted a consolidated place where I could quickly access MIAA team roster information. Here it is.

Adrian Bulldogs

Albion Brittons

Alma Scots

Calvin Knights

Hope Flying Dutchmen

Kalamazoo Hornets (doesn't distinguish between Varsity and JV)

Olivet Comets

Trine Thunder

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Former MIAA-er Latches on in ACC

Basketball fans that read this blog probably make up the most hardcore of the hardcore. Even so, the name Spencer Jennings might not ring many bells.

Jennings initially enrolled at Hope College last fall after completing an accomplished basketball career at Midland Dow H.S. He arrived with some fanfare due to his youtube video in which he hit 47 of 50 three point shot attempts, see video below.

The hype wasn't enough to land Spencer a spot on Hope's varsity roster as a freshman. He left the team rather than playing on the JV squad and ended up at Albion College, where he finished the year with their JV team.

Fast forward to yesterday and word was getting around that Division I Wake Forest had a new walk-on: Spencer Jennings. The Divsion III JV to DI walk-on story seemed far-fetched at first but I knew the rumor had legs once it popped up on the message board and separately in my email inbox.

According to Scott Wortman, Wake Forest's Assistant Director of Media Relations, Spencer Jennings joined the team as a non-scholarship player yesterday, although he will not be eligible to dress for games because he is considered a transfer. Scott is in the information gathering phase and Spencer's name will be added to the roster when that is complete.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thoughts From the Varsity/JV Scrimmage

I got a chance to catch some Saturday's scrimmage between the Varsity squad and the JV team. No official score was kept, but from my count Varsity "won" 44-15. To be expected I suppose.

Trent Salo (2 points)
Bryan Powell (6 points)
Tom Snikkers (11 points)
Danny Rodts (4 points)
Brent Schuster (4 points)

1st Subs:
Brian Haverdink (12 points)
Adam DeYoung
Brad Schnyders

2nd Subs:
Tyler Kruis
Jordan Brink
Jake Greene
Mitch Vallie (5 points)

Matt DeBoer was in street clothes, and David Reitema was MIA.

I don't know if we can read anything into the subbing pattern yet or not. I'm guessing the starters are the nominal starters at this point, but the first wave of subs was the rest of the returning players and the second wave was the new guys. I'm sure their respective roles are still in the process of being defined.

Three point shooting was a concern of mine heading into this season, but they were hitting this afternoon. Tom Snikkers nailed three (I think he was 3-3), Brian Haverdink made four (he may have been 4-4), and Bryan Powell added two more (2-4).

The freshmen didn't really make much of an impact, but they didn't play poorly either. Mitch Vallie showed some nice touch on his shot.

The Knights still need to find an offensive presence in the post. DeYoung was active, but he still doesn't seem like a polished offensive player. In general, the team wasn't able to finish many shots in traffic. That won't always be the case, but I'm getting the feeling that they'll live and die with their mid-range and longer shooting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Calvin Mens’ Basketball Roster is Official

I’ve been hearing whispers and rumors for a few days now about how the final roster was shaping up, and now the official list is now available for public consumption. You can find it here.

SR - Trent Salo, 5-9, G
SR - Danny Rodts, 6-6, F
SR - Brad Schnyders, 6-6, F
SR - Brend Schuster, 6-10, F/C
JR - Brian Haverdink, 6-4, F
SO - Bryan Powell, 6-1, G
SO - Tom Snikkers, 6-4, F
SO - Matt DeBoer, 6-5, F
SO - Adam DeYoung, 6-7, F/C

SO - David Rietema, 6-1, G (From JV)
Unfortunately I didn’t catch much JV action last year, so I don’t have anything to say on Rietema. I promise to watch more JV games this year.

FR - Jordan Brink, 6-3, G, Illiana Christian HS
Junior year/AAU highlight video:

FR - Jake Greene, 6-5, F, Rockford HS
I don’t have much info on Greene, but a Google search turned up a sweet picture.

FR - Mitch Vallie, 6-5, F, Goodrich HS
Senior year highlight video:

Junior year highlight video (Grand Blanc HS):

FR - Tyler Kruis, 6-9, C, Calvin Christian HS
No highlight videos, but here's an mlive article about Kruis overcoming an illness to lead Calvin Christian to victory.

Depth Chart By Class

GSalo PowellBrink
G  Reitema 
FRodts DeBoerGreene
CSchuster DeYoungKruis

Lots of names packed into the end of the chart. That's both scary and exciting at the same time. Young teams can be an adventure, but they look to be set up well for the future. We'll have to wait and see how these young kids end up playing, but they could be entering a nice three year window of success.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roster Roulette

I get really antsy for any sort of roster information this time of year. We’re less than a week away from the start of practice (just a few days really), so we don’t have long to wait, but I still feel like I’m constantly mulling the possibilities over in my mind. We have the guys that were in the playing time rotation last year, we have the guys who were on the bench and didn’t really see much time on the court, we have guys that were on JV, and we have guys that will be coming in as freshmen. What will the roster look like? What will the rotation look like? These are the things that constantly run through my head this time of the year. We’ll know for sure soon enough, but part of being a fan is making unfounded guesses, right?

My standard assumption is usually that each of the contributors from a season ago will be approximately 50% better than the were the previous year, that each of the bench players will become bona fide MIAA starters, that two or three JV players will be able to step up and contribute significantly, and that all of the rumored freshmen will make an immediate impact. Have you ever found yourself lost in thought about what you would do if you won the lottery? That’s pretty much my entire October, but with the Calvin roster.

I drive myself crazy with these impossible ideas until I take a step back and look at what roles will be filled by “knowns” and which roles are open for “unknowns” to fill. It doesn’t always work out perfectly, because sometimes a known doesn’t come out for the team (Joel Hoekstra and Josh Engelsma both made us very sad this way) and sometimes an unknown will bust through and take playing time away from a known (this makes us happy because it’s usually not because the known has gotten worse). Either way, it’s a more rational way to anticipate the upcoming year than letting your mind run wild.

Point Guard
This position is pretty much locked down. Trent Salo and Bryan Powell were the two-deep at the position last year, and both return, so the bulk of the time is spoken for. There could be room for someone to break in (moving Powell off the ball at times), but shooting guard isn’t necessarily a position of need either. Lane Waters was third on the depth chart a last year, and while I like him just fine, he’s a candidate to be left off the roster this season if someone else (freshman or JV) makes a push for the varsity roster. Basically, this unit should be at least as good as (but probably better than) it was last year.

Shooting Guard
The line between the two and three spot is often blurred, so forgive me if I don’t make a clear distinction. I thought about lumping them all into one group and calling them ‘wings’, but I decided to keep the traditional five-spot breakdown. I’ll say that last year’s starter was Tom Snikkers but he’s probably not a true two-guard; he’s probably more of a two-three combo. You could easily make the case that Calvin started a one, three threes, and a five last year. Brad Schnyders, who started early on in the year, was the primary guy off the bench, so again we see both guys on the two-deep returning. Matt Capel was the third string player at the 2/3 spot, but, as a senior, I would be surprised to see him make the team this year.
I think Calvin has a lot of roster flexibility here. Tom and Brad both have the size play bigger if one or two guard-y type guys were pushing for time. They’re severely lacking a Kyle Trewhella or Derek Griffin type three-point shooter at this position, but I’m trying not to think about that right now. I like the aggressive style that Snikkers and Schyders bring to the table.

Small Forward
I’ll consider Danny Rodts the nominal starter from last year, but the two deep was really composed of him and fellow starter (at the ‘4’) Matt Veltema (who graduated). Brian Haverdink saw minutes early in the season when the Knights went with a ten man rotation (and struggled), but he only saw mop-up time late in the year. Matt DeBoer, who also only saw garbage time, probably also fits in as a small forward. In my opinion, both Haverdink and DeBoer should make the roster without much of a problem.

Power Forward
And ‘power’ is thrown out generously. Matt Veltema was the starter at this position, but he really played the small forward spot once the game got rolling and substitutions were made. I would consider the real two-deep to be Brent Schuster and Paul Cambell (who graduated). Schuster is the obvious candidate to be the starter, unless he’s the ‘center’, in which case the spot is wide open. A freshman or JV impact player here would be welcomed greatly.

This could be Brent Schuster, or it could be Adam De Young, who saw mostly mop-up time a year ago.

As listed above, the rotation would be:

5De Young

But I could easily envision a scenario in which they elect to go small* with a starting lineup/rotation of:

5SchusterDe Young

*I’m not sure how many D-III teams would consider 6-6, 6-4, 6-6, and 6-10
small, but in this case I would.

The front court and backcourt are extreme opposites in terms of returning personnel. They’re in the fortunate spot of not needing a player to step up and contribute from the 1-3 spots, although they have the rotation flexibility to accommodate such a player if they have one. This group will either be better than they were last year or much better than they were last year. There’s not as much to choose from in the front court (4 and 5). Schuster will start at one of the spots, and the other will either be filled by a relatively unknown commodity, or the team will go small.

The offense concerns me a bit. I’m not sure where all of the points are going to come from, but I guess that’s to be expected. You’re going to feel the hurt any time you lose two 1,000 point scorers. I’d be interested in hearing any other perspectives from my ones of readers.