A new era in Hope men's basketball is being launched this season which for the first time in four decades is under the leadership of a new coach. However, new coach Matt Neil is hardly a newcomer to the program. A standout Hope player in the early 1980s and a member of the Hope coaching staff since 1985, Neil succeeds Glenn Van Wieren who retired after the 2009-10 season.
The Flying Dutchmen are coming off back-to-back 21-8 campaigns in which they finished second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and competed in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Coach Neil's first team of Flying Dutchmen evolves around players who are very familiar with the program. There are no freshmen on the pre-season roster which is comprised of 11 returning letterwinners and four players who were on the 09-10 junior varsity team. The roster consists of five seniors, three juniors, and seven sophomores.
The Flying Dutchmen are included in two pre-season national polls of NCAA Division III teams. They are ranked 14th in the DIII News poll and 17th in the D3Hoops.com poll.
Tri-captains of the team will be senior Will Bowser of Midland (H.H. Dow HS), senior Peter Bunn of Lansing (Lansing Christian HS), and junior David Krombeen of Grandville (Grandville HS).
The other seniors on the team are Adam Dickerson of Muskegon (Mona Shores HS), Ty Tanis of Jenison (Jenison HS) and Andy Venema of Hudsonville (Tri-Unity Christian HS). Other juniors are Nathaniel King of Sterling Heights (Henry Ford II HS) and Logan Neil of Holland (West Ottawa HS), Sophomores returning with varsity experience are Josh Holwerda of Gallup, N.M. (Rehoboth Christian HS), Jared Mysliwiec of Wyoming (Tri-Unity Christian HS), and Nate Snuggerud of Zeeland (Zeeland East HS). Sophomores moving to the varsity after a year of jayvee experience are Colton Overway of Holland (West Ottawa HS), Chris Ray of Fort Wayne, Ind. (Homestead HS), Billy Seiler of Chililicotte, Ill. (Illinois Valley Central HS), and Corey Williams of Traverse City (Traverse City St. Francis HS).
Peter Bunn is a two-time All-MIAA player who received first team honors a year ago and second team recognition as a sophomore. He led the team in scoring last season at 16.0 points per game and carried a 17.1 ppg average in league games. He was in the top ten among MIAA players in field goal shooting (52%) and free throw shooting (91%). Bunn has been included in a pre-season listing of players with All-America potential.
Will Bowser is a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter who has averaged in double figures as both a sophomore (11.7 ppg) and a junior (12.1 ppg). Ty Tanis is also a three-year letterwinner. A year ago David Krombeen ranked among the leaders in the MIAA in assists (3.8 pg) and steals (1.6 pg). Logan Neil, son of head coach Matt Neil, is a two-sport athlete who is the goalkeeper on the soccer team.
The 2010-11 schedule poses some unique challenges. The first five games will also be on the road, including a pair of tournaments. The home opener will be the Holland Sentinel Community Tournament (Dec. 10-11) which this year will be a salute to coach Glenn Van Wieren. Two more December tournaments will put the Flying Dutchmen in Florida and then back home for the traditional Russ DeVette Holiday Tournament (Dec. 29-30). The league season begins for the second year in-a-row with the traditional rivalry game against Calvin at home on Jan. 5. A quirk in league scheduling finds the Flying Dutchmen playing all their Wednesday game at home and their Saturday contest on the road.