Storrs’ focus, teamwork key to Lakers’ defense

Courtesy Photo /
Alvin Storrs

Courtesy Photo / Alvin Storrs

Brady Fredericksen

For many basketball players, the only things that matter are three-pointers and dunks. Those are what the crowd loves, but junior guard Alvin Storrs looks at it differently – you might say he is a little defensive about it.

The guard from Northville prides himself on his defense and has been a steady presence on that end of the floor for the Lakers.

“Alvin sets the tone for our defense with his effort and energy,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “Defense is a team effort, but his mindset and individual efforts are a help.”

His effort and enthusiasm for defense are some traits Storrs has possessed since coming to GVSU in 2007. Storrs, who has won the team’s defensive player of the year award the past two seasons, has been a catalyst for the team’s defense during the past two and a half seasons.

“The defensive MVP is a big award within the team,” said Wesley, whose teams have specialized in defense during his tenure. “As (Alvin) has gotten older, he’s started to recognize situations better by being aggressive without fouling.”

Subdued and relaxed off the court, Storrs ability to get into a defensive mindset and do the gritty dirty work in-game can be attributed to his pre-game study and preparation.

“I always prepare myself mentally to work hard,” he said. “I work hard in practice on defense and try to always guard tough and be a good help-defender for my teammates. So, it’s team defense most of the time, but I try to make the right play at the right time.”

Not to be outdone on the offensive end, Storrs currently sits third on the team in scoring at nine points per game. However, while his offensive game is important to the team’s success, his ability to limit the other team on defense is his most valuable asset. He has a team-high 31 steals this season.

“I really try to focus on the scouting report and really try to absorb as much information as I can about the player I’m guarding,” said Storrs, who recorded a season-high five steals against Saginaw Valley State University on Jan. 6. “More or less, you’ve got to just take it personally- you don’t like your guy to score on you or on your team, so you need to focus on your man and on helping your team.”

Leading the team in steals during both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, Storrs’ defense does not only include steals and the occasional blocked shot. The junior’s usual assignment each game is the opposing team’s top scorer, a task Storrs thrives on.

A key to successful defense is effort, something Wesley expects from Storrs every game. Wesley uses words like “tenacious” and “desire” to describe his guard’s defense, and the intensity on the defensive end is not always seen on the stat sheet.

“We keep track of deflections, and really, it’s not even close. (Alvin) probably has two times as many as the next guy on the list,” Wesley said. “He really disrupts the other team, which forces turnovers and leads us to easy baskets.”

Creating offense from defense is one of the main reasons GVSU has seen so much success this season. Storrs’ ability to inspire his teammates defensive play and do his job well during the game will need to continue as the season progresses for GVSU to continue their success.

“I definitely feel like we have a lot of great defenders on our team, and so it might rub off on guys who don’t like defense as much,” Storrs said. “I really feel like our team has a lot of good and great defenders, so it’s kind of just us working together.” [email protected]