Preseason Outlook For 2013-14 Hope Men's Basketball
The Flying Dutchmen will bid for their 37th Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship and 26th NCAA Tournament appearance during the 2013-14 season.
Hope tips off the season Friday, Nov. 22 at nationally ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Coach Matt Neil's Flying Dutchmen are coming off a 2012-13 season in which they posted a winning record for the 34th consecutive time with an 18-9 mark. Hope finished second in the MIAA standings with a 12-2 record.
Hope's 2013-14 roster of 14 players features four seniors, one junior, five sophomores and four freshmen.
Co-captains of this year's team pictured at right, from left, are are seniors Grant Neil of Holland (West Ottawa HS), Caleb Byers of Allegan (Allegan HS) and Nate VanArendonk of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS), and sophomore Ben Gardner of Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS).
Other returning letter winners from the 2012-13 season are junior guard Corey McMahon of Glenview, Ill., (Glenbrook South HS), sophomore center Brock Benson of Willowbrook, Ill., (Hinsdale South HS), sophomore guard Jordan Denham of Detroit (Southfield Lathrup HS) and sophomore guard Alex Eidson of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS).
Sophomore Sam Otto of Wheaton, Ill., (Wheaton North) is a product of Hope's junior varsity program.
The Flying Dutchmen have five players who started at least seven games last season — Benson, Byers, Eidson, Gardner and VanArendonk.
Gardner, a point guard, is the top returning scorer at 8.1 points per game. He started the final seven games of the season. VanArendonk, a center, is the top returning rebounder after averaging 4.9 per game. Eidson, a guard, scored 7.7 points per game while leading the Flying Dutchmen with 34 3-pointers. Benson, who can play forward and center, shot a team-high 60.9 percent from the field while netting 6.0 points per game. Byers, a forward, scored 5.3 points per game.
Two varsity players have fathers who played basketball at Hope — Nate VanArendonk, son of Craig VanArendonk '81, and Grant Neil — son of Matt Neil '82.
Hope will host one tournament before the start of MIAA play — the Dec. 20-21 Holland Sentinel/Russ DeVette Tournament.
Road action will be highlighted by two trips to Grand Rapids — the annual Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 29-30 and the MIAA/CCIW Challenge on Dec. 6-7.