Laker Basketball - Dominating D2 and Beyond

Grand Valley is becoming known for their outstanding athletic programs and a big part of that this year is the basketball team who is off to its best start in school history and are 16-0 thus far.

We all remember how the men's basketball season for Grand Valley started. The Lakers strolled into Michigan State University and pulled off an upset that shook (or silenced, if you will) the rafters of the Breslin Center and was echoed all over national television for the next two weeks.

The team apparently is still upset from Anthony Atkinson's run to glory last year in the NCAA Division 2 playoffs.

Since the Michigan State upset, GVSU has went out to prove that their victory over the Spartans was not a fluke. They have kicked off the season in a record-breaking way for the school...the team sits at 16-0, the best start in school history.

The bulk of the success has come from the two seniors, two of the best players to every step foot in the GVSU Fieldhouse.

Jason Jamerson is among the leaders in the GLIAC in three-point shooting, hitting them at a 47% clip and among the conference leaders with 40 of them made. With that, Jason is also hitting all field goals at a spectacular 52.3% clip. Jameson is currently leading the team in scoring with a 15.4 point per game average. He's also been a stalwart on defense, racking up 27 steals, an average of 1.7 per game. Jamerson has been named GLIAC North Player of the Week twice this season.

We caught up with Jason to get his thoughts on this season's team compared to last season's, and he mentioned that even the "old guard" has been exchanged for the "new guard," particularly off the bench, the output has been just as good.

"Last year we had some key seniors like Mike Hall, Dan Redder and Kyle Carhart but this year we have some new players like Nick Freer and Justin Ringler who are making great contributions to the team." Jamerson said.

Callistus "Bean" Eziukwu has also been dominating on both ends of the floor. On the offensive side, Bean is averaging almost 14 points per game...he's also sixth in the GLIAC at 7.6 rebounds per game and third in the GLIAC at 2 blocked shots per game. Bean has moved into the Top 15 of career blocked shots among Division II players, as well. On top of all that, Bean is currently shooting at 64.5%, good for third in the 2005, Bean led the entire nation in field goal shooting percentage when he hit 73% of his shots.

Bean had some thoughts to share pertaining to losing his partner in crime from last season, Dan Redder. Together, they formed a big combination in the middle that was unanswered throughout the GLIAC and the country. There wasn't another team that could match up with that size. "Redder departing was a message to me saying that I have to bring it every game, because I'm one of the only ones out there with lots of court experience." Eziukwu said.

Nick Freer, a transfer forward from Eastern Michigan, has also made his presence known. Starting all 16 games so far, Freer is averaging 7.2 points per game and is shooting nearly 55% from the floor. He has taken up the role of replacing big Dan Redder (who ironically, transferred from EMU) and as Jamerson also mentioned, Freer is doing a great job. "Redder leaving was a big loss because he had experience but we have other guys on the team who are working hard and doing a pretty good job of filling in for Dan." That's good praise from a guy who may go down as one of the best to ever put on a Laker jersey.

L.J. Kilgore was again one of the best defensive players in the nation so far this year, stealing the ball 20 times in only 12 games...however, he has recently been suspended for unknown reasons.

Justin Ringler and David Thompson have stepped in to replace Kilgore, and Ringler has responded with some electric play and has brought a spark to the team on both ends of the floor. The redshirt freshman is shooting nearly 60%, averaging almost 8 points a game, and is pulling down four rebounds. Thompson has shot almost 48%, including 44% from 3-point range.

Pete Trammell has been his normal consistent self. Shooting 50% from the floor, he's averaging 11 points per game and pulling down three boards. From behind the arc, he's second on the team with 23 shots made.

As a team, GVSU has dominated the floor in nearly all of their games. Besides a 4-point over Stonehill College in their second regular season game, a 7-point victory over Barry in the tournament championship game in Orlando, and a hiccup in a 66-63 win over Aquinas, GVSU has won all of their other games by at least 12 points.

GVSU is on top of their game, defensively. The team is leading the GLIAC and near the top of the country in only allowing the opposition 54.8 points per game. Grand Valley is also leading the GLIAC in opposing field goal percentage, only allowing teams to make 37.7% of their shots against them, while GV on offense is shooting nearly 53% and leading the GLIAC in 3-point shooting percentage.

Grand Valley's biggest remaining game is coming up on January 19th when they take on Gannon University in Allendale. Gannon is currently 12-1 on the year, a huge surprise after being voted to finish last in the conference by coaches in the pre-season poll.

Callistus Eziukwu isn't buying into it though, mentioning that the team doesn't look ahead. "The biggest game we are looking forward to is the next one...We don't over look anyone we take it one game at a time."

The men's team just came back from their upper peninsula trip over winter break, racking up 83-55 and 71-54 wins over Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech, respectively. After a 4-game road stint, they are now back at the Fieldhouse arena in Allendale to take on Tiffin, Ferris State, Mercyhurst, and Gannon in the next 2 weeks.

The GVSU Women's team is currently going through some growing pains of having a new head coach...they are still coping well though, sitting at 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the GLIAC. They started the season 0-2, but then ripped off wins in nine of the next 11 games. They just came back from their U.P. trip as well with a 63-61 win over Northern Michigan and a 72-48 loss to Michigan Tech. Now they are back in Allendale to take on Ferris State, Mercyhurst, and Gannon next week.

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