Preview: GVSU men’s basketball confident in new additions, upcoming season

GVL/ Luke Holmes - Head Coach, Ric Wesley, huddles with his players. Grand Valley defeated Ferris State 78-69 in the Fieldhouse Arena Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

GVL/ Luke Holmes – Head Coach, Ric Wesley, huddles with his players. Grand Valley defeated Ferris State 78-69 in the Fieldhouse Arena Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

Louis Ricard

Grand Valley State football may be the sport currently getting the most attention from Laker nation, but behind the scenes, the work never stops for other teams here at GVSU. 

One of those teams quietly grinding to get better before the start of the season is the GVSU men’s basketball team, which has been preparing since last spring. 

The biggest motivation for the Lakers to get better comes from the team’s season-ending loss against the University of Findlay in the quarterfinals of the GLIAC tournament last winter. Head coach Ric Wesley reflected on how that loss has affected his team.

“You never want to end your season with a loss,” Wesley said. 

The Lakers will have some gaps in their lineup to fill, as the team lost three of its five starters from the past season, including one of the leading scorers, forward Trevin Alexander, who averaged 11.1 points per game last season. Although the loss of veteran experience will be felt this year, the program has been actively recruiting, acquiring five new players. 

One of the two young, promising guards GVSU recruited is Central Michigan transfer Hunter Hale. The sophomore guard from Kalamazoo, Michigan, has three years of eligibility remaining with the team, which gives promise for the upcoming future.

“He’s a good shooter and can play both guard position(s),” Wesley said. 

The 2015 All-American nominee’s offensive abilities will help GVSU in setting the tone early in games and possibly help close out tough games down the stretch.

Wesley also mentioned the addition of freshman point guard Brett Lauf, an All-State point guard who averaged 26 points per game as a senior last season at Napoleon High School in Napoleon, Ohio. The 6-foot-1-inch point guard has shown a lot of potential through his skills as a playmaker and passer at the point guard position. 

These additions give Wesley a lot to think about for his lineup. 

“We have pretty good competition at all five spots,” Wesley said. 

However, the GVSU head coach is not too worried about basketball right now, as the season does not start until early November. The main focus of this offseason is to get everyone better physically. 

“Let’s get back in the swing of things and be in the best shape we can be,” Wesley said. 

Senior Chris Dorsey, who ranked second on the team in assists last season, explained what Wesley expected from him as he began training in the offseason. The Troy, Michigan, native guard averaged just below seven points per game and is looking to improve in that area.

“He wanted me to become stronger and continue to improve my shot,” Dorsey said. 

As much as Wesley enjoys the competition for a starting position, he will have to make a choice sooner than later before the start of the season. 

“It will be interesting to see who emerges,” Wesley said. “Everything is up in the air as to what the lineup will look like and who’s going to be in that rotation.”

Although the lineup hasn’t been decided, Dorsey has big plans this season. 

“The program has been in the middle of the pack for the past four years,” Dorsey said. “We hope to change that and become the top dog in the GLIAC.” 

For their first game, the Lakers will play at the University of Michigan Friday, Nov. 3. This is one challenge Wesley is looking forward to. 

“It’s going to be a great experience, and hopefully we get to show what we’re all about,” he said.