GVSU has eyes set on GLIAC title
With a combination of established returning players and incoming talent, the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team is optimistic about the 2012-2013 season.
The Lakers will return six letterwinners from last year’s 14-13 team (10-9 GLIAC), including four players who made starts last year.
“We’re very excited,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “We have a lot of depth this year. We have some returners that did some good things last year. We’ve added some transfers and freshman that are all talented young guys. There’s a sense among our team that we have a chance to do something special this year.”
The young Lakers will lean on senior point guard Breland Hogan and senior forward Tyrone Lee for leadership. Hogan returns as a four-year starter to run the Lakers offense and led GVSU in assists (89), steals, (39) and free throw percentage (82.7 percent) last year. GVSU will also look to Lee, who was named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team last year, to anchor the Lakers defense and be one of the team’s top rebounders.
“I expect us to win the GLIAC,” Lee said. “This is my last everything. Last time I’m ever playing basketball in college ever. So you want to lead your team to have the best season possible. It’s all or nothing. All win or go home.”
With transfers and incoming freshman, the Lakers will have a different look this year. Sophomore Ryan Majerle makes his way to GVSU from the University of Toledo and sophomore Kristers Zeidaks is an incoming transfer from Mississippi State University.
“There’s always a learning curve with getting to know each other, but fortunately we had a pretty long preseason,” Wesley said. “I think we’re doing fine. Until we start playing games, there’ll be things we don’t know about ourselves until we’re thrown into that competitive situation. I like where we’re at. I like our chemistry and camaraderie.”
GVSU will also rely on sophomore Ryan Sabin, who started last year as a true freshman. Sabin was the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 7.4 points per game and scored double-digits in nine games.
“With one year of experience, it’ll be a lot easier this year,” Sabin said. “I know what to expect since I’ve been through it before. I feel that I don’t have those nerves that I did last year. This year I’m a little bit stronger and a little bit bigger and I know what to expect because of one year in the program already, so it’s gonna be a lot easier.”
GVSU dropped their season opening exhibition to the University of Cincinnati 80-60, but the Lakers will open their regular season at home tonight against Michigan-Dearborn University.
Coach Wesley is hopeful that his team will be able to open the season on the right foot and maintain a high level of play night in and night out for the entire year.
“Everyone has to maintain focus,” Wesley said. “We’ve got to work together. Guys will have to make sacrifices at times in terms of individual expectations being scoring average or minutes played. Everyone has to give a little bit so that the group as a whole can be as good as they can be and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”