Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin’s men’s and women’s basketball seasons are underway

Lauren Nyong
Calvin has begun practicing for the 2023-2024 season.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams’ seasons are off as they prepare for their season openers.

The men’s team began official practice on Oct. 16 but were able to  practice a few times during September. In August 2023, the NCAA switched from allowing teams a limited number of weeks to officially practice with a coach before the season starts to now allowing only a specific, limited number of days of practice, which means increased flexibility for the team. Head coach Bill Sall said he feels it was nice to have those days.“It’s been great, just that opportunity to have guys in the gym a little bit to work on some things,” Sall said.

Last season, the team relied on multiple freshmen as three of their top five scorers for the Knights, all of whom return as sophomores and look to be key pieces of the offense this season. Sall believes his roster is filled with talented players, thanks to a lot of hard work and training over the summer. “I think we have some amazing depth, we have 12 to 13 guys I think that can play, really some great improvement from the returners,” Sall told Chimes. Much of said improvement happened during the offseason. “Owen Varnado had a really good summer, Trevin Winkle has really done some great things,” Sall told Chimes.

The returners are highlighted by All-American 6’10” sophomore center Jalen Overway, who looks to return to being a key focal point of the offense, according to Sall. “It’s going to start with Jalen Overway, so we certainly are going to want to get the ball into the interior as much as we can.” 

Heavy summer training and last year’s play has led the Knights to being ranked 10th in the nation in the preseason polls. The conference preseason polls haven’t been officially announced yet, but Coach Sall believes Calvin will be the top team in the poll. 

Despite high poll rankings, though, Sall is not terribly concerned with preseason national or conference polls. In the past five years, no team ranked number one in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) preseason coaches poll went on to win the conference. For that reason, Sall said he is more concerned with, “Are you first when it’s all done? You’re one of the supposedly better teams in the NCAA, are you able to get a tournament bid?”

The women’s team, which began practice on Oct. 2, is also young; they don’t have any seniors on their roster. However freshman guard Katelyn LaRue doesn’t think a lack of seniors equates to a lack of leadership. “The juniors really stepped into that role, and they’re doing a good job at filling the shoes of seniors,” LaRue said.

Energy during the women’s team’s first practices has been high, and the team has been connecting, according to LaRue.“It’s been really good, it’s competitive,” she said. The women have “done a good job of connecting outside of practice too. They’re some of my closest friends already,,” LaRue told Chimes.

But the young team is dedicated to excellence — “ Everybody wants to be there and wants to work hard. People show up to practice an hour early to get shots up,” LaRue said — which she hopes will pay off when they start the season.

The men’s team will kick off their season hosting Denison University on Nov. 11, and the women’s team will start their season by heading down to Lake Forest, Illinois on Nov. 10 for the Lake Forest Tournament.

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