Holland Christian’s Ethan Alderink stays local, prepares for freshman season with GVSU basketball


Courtesy: GVSU Lakers

Joshua Carlson, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University men’s basketball recruit Ethan Alderink has set sail on becoming a Laker.

Alderink will be joining the Lakers and Head Coach Ric Wesley, who is going into his 17th season at the helm for the Lakers. GVSU is coming off their best season (23-7, 15-5 in conference) for the Lakers since 2007-2008, when he was named GLIAC Coach of the Year.

Standing at an intimidating 6’6″, Alderink was a multi-purpose force in the OK Green conference with the ability to play every position on the floor.

He led the Holland Christian Maroons with 14.2 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game in his senior season. The three-year-starter on varsity earned All-Conference honors for the second year in a row, along with being named Associated Press All-State for Division II, and Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan All-State honors as well.

Being a versatile player is something that Alderink thinks gives him an advantage when he steps on the hardwood and will be a help to the Lakers,

“I think I’m skilled for my size,” Alderink said “I’m 6’6″ and getting bigger, I can shoot the three-ball, can handle the ball, and when I need (for certain matchups) move positions.”

When asked why he pursued basketball in high school, Alderink’s answer involved something vital to him: family.

“My dad played it; a lot of my family members played when I was little,” Alderink said. “I remember watching a Lakers game and just asking around about it, and it just always been there my whole life.”

While many grow up playing sports, not all athletes know that they want to play at the next level, let alone know they want to do it at a young age. Alderink was different.

“It was probably 6th grade and early middle school,” Alderink said of his introduction to basketball. “That’s when I started to enjoy it and to get into it a lot.”

If you’re wondering what kind of kid Alderink is, no one will refute that he is hardworking. GVSU assistant Coach Taylor Johnson praised him for putting in work whenever he can, even during the times of the COVID-19 quarantine.

“He sent me a video of him shooting outside in the snow, he had gloves on, and he was out there (his driveway at home) doing ball handling drills.” Johnson said. “That’s just the kind of kid he is. Loves working, and he loves basketball. He’s super fired up for this opportunity, and we are too.”

It takes a special mindset to shoot baskets in unforgiving Michigan snow, but Alderink persisted.

“I want to be great,” Alderink said. “It just takes hard work every single day. I try not to find excuses and just try to find a way to get better every day.”

Johnson said Alderink initially caught the eyes of the Lakers when he was just a sophomore at a team camp.

“He had great size at 6’6″, he made plays at both ends of the floor and hit some clutch shots.” Johnson said. “We thought he was going to keep getting better, and we offered him after his sophomore year, going into his junior year. We were able to get him to commit halfway through his senior year, and we are just super excited about him.”

Grand Valley State stood out to Alderink because they were one of the first schools to reach out to him and show interest.

“Every time I’ve been on campus, and every time I’ve talked to them, it’s just always kind of felt like family, and family is really big for me,” Alderink said. “I’m looking to jump in right away and just help in any way that I can. However much I get to play, just helping the team win is what I’m looking to do.”

Alderink has already had the chance to learn from the likes of recently honored Division II All-American Jake Van Tubbergen. Alderink said he’s excited to play alongside with the honoree.

“The past two summers he’s worked out with my high school coach and I’d always jump in on the workouts with him.” Alderink said, “I’ve played in quite a few open gyms with him, and it’s always been a good time. He’s just got a great work ethic; he just wants to win as much as anybody. (GVSU) have an awesome thing going on, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Off the court, Alderink was described by Johnson as someone who wants to be everyone’s friend, a people person, who’s super likable with great energy and intelligence.

 “We can see him being a leader down the road,” Jonson said.

The awards don’t show the athleticism and motor that is apparent when watching Alderink play.

Whether it was a high-flying dunk, blocking a shot on the defensive end, or hitting a big three, fans will learn to appreciate the little things that every coach loves to have in a player like Alderink.

Grand Valley State will be getting exactly that: a West Michigan kid who loves the game and is ready to get to work.