October 1, 2012 in NAIA
At a glance
- Coach: Tom Kempf, first season
- Last year: N/A
- Conference: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC)
- Key losses: N/A
- Key additions: Anthony Sisson (Mott Community College transfer); Brandon Keur (Muskegon Community College transfer); Jon Harden (freshman from St. Johns); Josh Puroll (freshman from Boyne Falls)
- Team roster
- Team website
- Lawrence Tech news on BallinMichigan
With Lawrence Tech re-launching its basketball program for its first season since the early 1960s, the team’s biggest challenge has simply been filling out an entire roster in one recruiting season. Coach Tom Kempf has managed to do that with a mix of incoming freshmen and transfers who hope to make the Blue Devils competitive. I talked to Kempf in April for a story and, not surprisingly, his goals are more focused on the team simply improving and forming an identity rather than focusing on wins and losses:
“Number one, I want us to be better at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the year,” he said. “If we’re better at the end than the beginning, then the next year you start off at that level.”
Lawrence Tech did manage to recruit some length in its frontcourt. Jon Osantowski is 6-foot-9. Brad Watterworth is 6-foot-7. Keur is 6-foot-5 and Puroll is 6-foot-4. If those players develop quickly, it could create matchup problems in favor of the Blue Devils.
The team will also have the element of surprise working in its favor. With no scouting available on most of the roster at the college level, it’s tough to prepare for the unknown.
Experience. Even the team’s transfers are not particularly experienced at the college level. Sisson played on a national championship team at Mott, but he played in a bit role behind Mott’s exceptional guards. Keur played a bit more than that at Muskegon, but still averaged fewer than five points and five rebounds per game there. Jordan Deane, the team’s lone senior, has experience at Indiana Tech, but he played on the JV team there.
Circle these dates …
- Oct. 30 – Lawrence Tech’s season opener on the road at Kuyper College.
- Nov. 12 – The team travels to Rochester College. If Lawrence Tech develops into a solid program as Rochester has already done, Oakland County has the makings of a great NAIA-level rivalry down the road.
- Nov. 17 – The team plays its first home game in roughly 50 years as the Blue Devils host Lourdes College.
- Nov. 28 – Lawrence Tech plays Marygrove, a team that is also new to the WHAC this season.
As great a story as a team forming from scratch and being competitive off the bat would be, with no track record to speak of yet and playing in a perennially tough league, it’s hard to pick the Blue Devils to finish outside the bottom the conference this season. That doesn’t really matter, though. Adding another option for athletes in Michigan to play college basketball is already a great start.