2012-13 Grand Rapids area HS basketball preview

December 7, 2012 in High School

In our college basketball previews last month, we were able to take a close-up look at every college team in the state. Obviously, with mainly a staff of one right now, that same strategy won’t work for previewing high school basketball, so instead, I’ve broken the state up by regions and have asked a few guests who are familiar with those areas to share some thoughts on the best teams and players in those areas for our previews this week in a roundtable format.

Steve Kaminski is a Grand Rapids-based sports reporter for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. Make sure to check out his work at MLive and follow him on Twitter. — P.H.

Top five players in the Grand Rapids area:

1. Joey Blaukamp (Tri-unity Christian SR G) – The 6-foot-0 point guard earned first-team all-state honors a year ago after sparking the Defenders to a 21-3 record, including the River Valley Conference and district tournament championships.

2. Drake Harris (Grand Rapids Christian JR G) – The returning first-team all-stater helped lead the Eagles to the state quarterfinals a year ago and a 20-5 record.

3. Brad Visser (Calvin Christian SR G) – Visser earned Class C honorable mention recognition a year ago after averaging over 15 points a game and four rebounds. The 6-2 senior guard scored 33 points in Tuesday’s season opening win over West Michigan Christian and had a 45-point performance in a game last year.

4. Ryan Schall (Comstock Park SR G) – The 5-9 senior guard averaged over 18points and three assists a game and led the Panthers to their fourth consecutive OK Blue title.

5. Kyle Steigenga (Holland Christian JR F) – The 6-foot-5 junior is the nephew Matt Steigenga, the 1988 Mr. Basketball in Michigan. He is an outstanding athlete who was honorable mention all-state in football as a receiver.

Top five teams in the Grand Rapids area:

1. Grand Rapids Christian – The Eagles return Drake Harris, a junior who earned first-team all-state honors a year ago after averaging 19 points and 5 rebounds a game.

2. Rockford – The Rams were runner-up in Class A a year ago and they return 5-9 senior point guard Chad Carlson, who made the MLive.com West Michigan Dream Team after averaging over 13 points a game.

3. Grand Rapids Catholic Central – The addition of DeMarkus Stuckey, who sat out all of last year after transferring from Union, and the return of Saginaw Valley State University bound Jon Marosi, a 6-5 forward, should make the Cougars a team to watch.

4. Ottawa Hills – The Bengals return 6-foot-5 Abraham Dock from last year’s team that finished 19-5.

5. Tri-unity Christian – Veteran coach Mark Keeler always has the Defenders among the best teams in Division 4.

One under the radar player to watch:

Ryan Wassink (Hudsonville Unity Christian) – a 6-foot-6 senior forward, he enjoyed a breakthrough season a year ago after averaging over 15 points a game. He has signed with Bethel College of Mishawaka, Ind.

One under the radar team to watch:

Comstock Park – Returns all five starters from last year’s team that won its fourth straight OK Blue title.

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