Hoops Squad Returns

Men’s basketball begins regular season with a new look

by Published: Oct 23, 2013

Ferris sophomore center Jared Stolicker goes up for a shot against Lewis defenders during the 2012-2013 season. The Ferris basketball team will start its season Oct. 24 against Madonna. Torch File Photo

Ferris sopho­more cen­ter Jared Stolicker goes up for a shot against Lewis defend­ers dur­ing the 2012–2013 sea­son. The Ferris bas­ket­ball team will start its sea­son Oct. 24 against Madonna.
Torch File Photo

With the 2013–14 sea­son approach­ing, the Ferris State men’s bas­ket­ball team will start a new era under head coach Andy Bronkema.

Bronkema, who has been the lead assis­tant to the team for the past six sea­sons, was tabbed Ferris State’s 13th head coach early in the off­sea­son fol­low­ing the sud­den exit of Bill Sall.

Bronkema then hired Jim Lake as his assis­tant coach, with Bill Killian stay­ing on as the team’s vol­un­teer assistant.

“It’s been a good off­sea­son and we have strong lead­er­ship,” Bronkema said. “We are in an exper­i­men­tal stage, but you’re gonna see guys that play with pas­sion, play­ing an excit­ing brand of basketball.”

This sea­son, Ferris returns ten play­ers from last year’s club that ended the sea­son with a 14–13 record, but there are a few notice­able faces missing.

The first two are  grad­u­ated stand­outs Kenny Brown and Daniel Sutherlin. An unex­pected depar­ture occurred when up-and-coming junior for­ward Trent Messer left the pro­gram to “seek a busi­ness oppor­tu­nity,” accord­ing to Bronkema.

To fill the vacant spots, the Bulldogs will turn to junior guard Drew Lehman and sopho­more for­ward Josh Fleming, who are the prob­a­ble starters at shoot­ing guard and small for­ward, respectively.

Forward Raymoan McAfee, the lone senior on the team, is likely to see play­ing time at power forward.

To com­pli­ment Ferris’ returnees, the Bulldogs added five new play­ers in the off­sea­son. Junior guards James Chappel and Matt Poches and sopho­more for­ward Jayone Troutman arrived by way of trans­fer. Forward Robert Hudson and guard Kyle Oden are Ferris’ two fresh­man that Bronkema men­tioned will be red­shirted for the 2013–14 season.

“We mesh really well, and every­one com­pli­ments each other nicely,” sopho­more cen­ter Jared Stolicker said. “We look solid; we’re adapt­ing to the new offense and coach­ing staff, and the pre­sea­son pre­pared us really well for the first week of practice.

At 6-foot-10 inches, Stolicker will help anchor a Ferris unit that ranked 13th in the GLIAC last sea­son in points with 66.6 ppg. The Bulldogs hope to take a solid step up from last year’s offen­sive per­for­mance, as the team now has no short­age of playmakers.

“We are beyond solid at every posi­tion, and I think that makes us a very dan­ger­ous team,” Fleming said.

With a new coach­ing staff and an updated team regime, Ferris will com­pete for the GLIAC crown in the 2013–14 sea­son. The Bulldogs will host Madonna University in their first exhi­bi­tion game of the year on Thursday, Oct. 24, with tip off slated for 7 p.m.