SAULT STE. MARIE - The 2009-10 basketball season is running a full-tilt, but Lake Superior State men's basketball coaches Steve Hettinga and Trevor Hinshaw can rest easy knowing they have every base covered with next year's recruiting class.
"We started with the guys we wanted at each position and got our top four," said Hettinga, who is in his third season as head coach. "We have guys we feel can step in right away. We were going after guys early and hope it pays off for us. We hope they have great senior seasons and come in hungry. All four kids fell in love with the school and the program, and wanted to be here."
Hettinga signed 6-2, 175-pound point guard William Sams II from Flint; 6-6, 210-pound power forward Cameron Metz from Grand Rapids; 6-3, 180-pound guard Derek Billing from Anna, Ohio; and 6-9, 230-pound center Lucas Holt from Spring Lake.
Holt, a 3.46 student at Spring Lake High School, averaged 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a role player last season.
"He's really improved from last summer to this summer," Hettinga said. "He's starting to grow into his own. His brother played college basketball and his dad was a wrestler at Michigan State. I was very impressed with Lucas when we had him up here."
Billing averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game to help lead Anna High School to a 22-3 record in 2008-09. He is a capable point guard or shooting guard, and his projected strength at the collegiate level is the "Two" position. He also maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is his class valedictorian.
"He is regarded as one of the best shooters in the state of Ohio," Hettinga said. "He has range, shoots with confidence and has an edge about him that I really liked. He has a no-nonsense approach and brings toughness to the court. Teams will not have the luxury of leaving him open."
Sams is described as a true playmaker. He averaged 10 points, five rebounds and five assists per game as a junior at 13-7 Grand Blanc High School.
"Losing Garrett (Konuszewski) and Scotty (Perkins), he'll have an opportunity to step in right away," Hettinga said. "He looks to get people involved and can put pressure on defenses. He can get by people and penetrate. He makes great reads."
Former all-conference forward Tim VanOudheusden (LSSU '09) has tutored Metz, who is a fellow Grand Rapids Northpointe Christian product. Metz averaged 22.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Cougars in 2008-09.
"He brings tremendous athleticism, size and strength," Hettinga said. "He is a well-put-together kid. He is still learning the offensive skills he needs to be a power forward, but he's definitely an inside presence. Metz, Sams and Billings are all guys who really want to push the ball up the floor. We can put them with Kyle (Hunt) and Micah (Hudson) and run a lot more."