Story by Taylor Hodges, Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of Andris Visockis
The Aquinas Men’s Basketball Team had a season for the books. Finishing with a 21-11 overall record and going 16-6 in the WHAC, there’s a bright future for this team. The Saints will say goodbye to four seniors who have played a huge role the last four years in showing the underclassmen how things are done. Graduating from Saints are seniors Zac VanBeek, Kail Venema, Loren Johnson, and Bryan Mitzner.
VanBeek averaged 14.6 points per game while starting all 32 games and playing 995 minutes, the most on the team. Venema averaged 4.9 points per game while totalling 224 rebounds, of which 173 were defensive, finishing first on the team in that category. Johnson averaged 5.8 points per game, finishing with 185 points for the year. Lastly, Mitzner averaged 9.7 points per game and was second to Venema in rebounds per game with five.
Returning for the Saints next year are juniors Jake Bullock, Ryan Schall, and Brandon Wright. Sophomores Robby Ranville, Ian Cooper, and Rob Deiz, as well as first-years Frank DeVos, TJ Hunter, AJ Atwater, Beau LePage, Taylor White, and Rashaud Orange will all make their return for head coach Dave Hammer’s thirteenth season. Hammer is the second winningest coach in Aquinas Men’s Basketball going 388-225 for a .580 winning percentage.
The Saints entered the WHAC tournament facing off against Madonna in the quarterfinals and winning handily by a score of 70-58. Leading the team in points was Bullock with 18. VanBeek chipped in with 15 and Venema had four blocks. The Saints would have a matchup against rival Davenport in the WHAC semifinals. Aquinas and Davenport traded wins this season with Aquinas winning in January by a score of 75-62 and Davenport winning in February by a score of 65-51. Unfortunately, the Saints lost a close game to the Panthers by a score of 56-67 and would say goodbye to the rest of their season. Leading the team with 17 points was Bullock, while Mitzner contributed with 13.
The Saints will now begin their offseason and take a short break before getting back to the grind and preparing for next season. With the younger players returning and the new recruits coming in, although, no signings have been made as of yet, the Saints should have a great follow-up season. The Men’s Basketball Team plays their home games at the Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center. Fans and students are highly encouraged to attend the games and show some school spirit.
About the writer…
Taylor Hodges is a senior majoring in Sport Management/ Business Administration. He is the sports editor for The Saint and interns with the public relations department for the Grand Rapids Griffins. He hopes to one day break into the hockey business as a General Manager, but until then, encourages you to follow him on Twitter and download his mixtape.