By Sue Moore
The 2019-20 edition of the Schoolcraft Eagles boys basketball team has the right chemistry holding it together to become champions if all goes well, according to long-time Coach Randy Small. “When you are winning, everybody is having fun.”
“You know if you don’t have that glue that makes for a winning team,” Small said. “This group gets along together, hangs out together and works out together in the weight room. It helps to include the role players alongside our starters. It’s all about their work ethic. It gains credibility with the players when they see each other working so hard with their conditioning.”
The team is 19-0 with one more game to play before entering the tournaments, with high expectations. “Senior Kobe Clark sets the tone and knows what to do and what is expected of him. Junior Bryce VanderWiere, at 6’7”, runs the floor well, works hard and gives the most consistent effort. He doesn’t take plays off and is averaging 9 ½ rebounds per game,” said his coach, adding that his stat line and performance reflect his work ethic. “Tyler Rykse and Tyler DeGroote play the wings with Trevor DeGroote and VanderWiere in the post.”
Offensively, the team is getting better and on defense plays do the little things well as the season has worn on.
It’s hard not to compare this team to Small’s other two championship seasons, one in 2009 and the other in 2011 when they won the state class C championship. The 2011 team was fast and scrappy. This one resembles the 2009 team because they are a lot taller and their style of play is similar.
Small has 30 years of coaching experience. He coached the Marcellus varsity until coming to Schoolcraft as an assistant coach in 2000. He took over the varsity in 2004 and coached the girls one year when his dad was sick. He’s been back with the boys since 2015. “Maybe it’s my relationship with the kids as I like to relate to them as people, seeing how important the little things are within our system and the respect we build. We have two hours of practice each day. It is highly structured. We time everything. I’ve learned over the years not to go overtime. The kids want to know when they will be done,” Small declared.
“I want the kids to be committed, come to every practice and be coachable. This group has the chemistry to succeed. It’s the glue that holds them all together,” Small said.