October 9, 2012 in Division III
At a glance
- Coach: Jody May, fifth season
- Last year: 11-14, 7-7 MIAA
- Conference: Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA)
- Key losses: Sean Hendon, Luke Walker, Bob Wernet
- Key additions: Chris Hutton (senior who returns after missing last season due to injury), Damon Eldridge (freshman from Berkley), Lucas Marble (freshman from Sparta)
- Team website
- Albion news on BallinMichigan
Albion returns a strong lineup that managed a .500 finish in the MIAA last season, plus they’ll get a nice experienced boost from a returning senior who missed last year.
I wrote about Hutton’s unfortunate and painful accident that nearly cost him his playing career in the spring:
Hutton, a guard on the Albion basketball team, was at his summer job at a golf course last spring when the injury occurred while working on a lawnmower.
“It (the blade) jammed and recoiled on me and the blade spun around when my hand was in there,” he said. “I couldn’t get my hand all the way out and it just spun around and scraped across the top of my hand. It did a lot of damage, but still could’ve been worse.”
What followed were multiple reconstructive surgeries and months of rehabilitation.
Hutton elected to take a redshirt season, serving as an assistant coach last year while he rehabbed. Now, he’s recovered and the Albion lineup will get a senior who averaged 11.5 points per game (second on the team) and made 35 percent of his 3-pointers as a junior. He had some big moments during that season, including a two-game, 44-point performance at a tournament in Texas that helped earn him MIAA player of the week honors and a game against Adrian College in which he made 6-of-8 3-pointers.
Joining Hutton in the lineup will be Kolin Kazen, an all-league selection who led Albion in scoring last season at 15.6 points per game. Kazen also led the team in rebounding at 7.0 per game. The team also returns several other players who started games last season.
Hutton should only add to a 3-point attack that shot 36 percent as a team last season.
Albion was out-rebounded by opponents by about four per game last season. Kazen’s presence will help, but no other player on the team averaged more than 4.2 rebounds per game last season. Finding him some help on the boards will lead to more Albion possessions and more chances for their offense.
Albion got to the line a respectable 21 times per game last season, but shot just 66 percent. For a team that will definitely play a number of close games in the MIAA this season, improved free throw shooting could be key.
Circle these dates …
- Nov. 5, 9 and 12 – After opening the conference season against Olivet, Albion’s next three games are against teams that finished fourth, first and third in the conference respectively. If the team is going to break into that upper-echelon of teams this season, they’ll get a chance to prove they belong early.
- Nov. 19 – Alma finished 5-9 last season in the MIAA, but one of those wins came against Albion. They would’ve moved into a tie record-wise for third place in the conference had they not split with Alma.
- Feb. 16 – Albion closes the regular season agains Adrian, another team that returns a lot of talent and has aspirations of competing for the MIAA title.
Albion went 2-6 against Hope, Adrian, Calvin and Trine, the four teams that finished in front of them last season. They’ll have to come away with a much better record against those teams if they’re going to move out of the middle of the pack in the MIAA.
- Key players all return as Adrian looks to build on second place finish
- Alma College has to replace two MIAA All-Conference players