Michael Redell took two different paths to the Associated Press Class A all-state basketball team the past two years. Last year as a junior for the Rockford boys basketball team, Redell was a point guard on a very talented team that cruised through the year with a 28-0 record and state championship trophy.
His stats weren't flashy (14 points and five assists per game), but they didn't need to be. Redell's main job was to guide all of that talent on the team within the framework of his position. For that, he was rewarded with a first-team, all-state selection. This season, Redell was the only starter returning from the state championship squad, and the player the opposition targeted most.
His stats went up, though, because the Rams needed them to go up this season. Redell averaged 20 points and six assists per game, helping Rockford to a 15-9 record, its third straight O-K Red Conference (Metro) championship and second straight Class A district title. " I wouldn't say this year was a harder year than my junior year, it was just different," said Redell, who already has signed to continue his basketball career at Division I Cleveland State University.
" We had a different group of guys this year, and my role was different. Last year we had six guys on the team that played together forever. This year we had a younger team with no varsity experience, and my role on the floor was different, and my leadership role was different."
Rockford coach Steve Majerle
said while Redell's role changed, his attitude toward the game never did.
In his three years on Rockford's varsity team, Redell helped the Rams compile a 65-10 record. The only regret Majerle has is that he didn't have Redell in his program for four years. Redell transferred to Rockford from West Ottawa after his freshman season. " At first when you have a transfer, you immediately think what baggage comes with the kid that transfers," Majerle said. "That first year I spent looking for that baggage, but I couldn't find it. He was as advertised by his former coach (Paul Chapman) -- the kid loves basketball, and if he could, he would spend 24 hours (per day) in the gym."
Redell is happy his family made the move to Rockford. " It was definitely the right decision to come to Rockford, especially basketball-wise," Redell said. "I won three conference, two districts and a state championships, and coach Majerle really helped make me the player I am today."
Pity the poor nets if the five members of the Grand Rapids Press All-Area Dream Team played together on one court. Can you say sizzle and scorch and sear?
The senior quintet on the 2004 team smoked the nets for an average of 118.2 points per game this season This team -- Todd Koetsier of Calvin Christian, Drew Neitzel of Wyoming Park, Michael Redell of Rockford, Pete Trammell of Jenison and Tyler Wolfe of Cedar Springs -- also combined for 17 years of high school varsity experience. All five led their teams to district championships this season, four captured all-state honors, three claimed conference championships, two are repeat members and signed with Division I schools, and one was named the best basketball player in the state. The only thing missing this season? A state championship.
Not that they didn't try. Wyoming Park, led by Mr. Basketball Drew Neitzel, came up just short, nearly edging nationally ranked and unbeaten Detroit Renaissance in Friday's Class B semifinals. In the game, Neitzel proved he deserved the moniker of the state's top senior hoopster, scoring 36 points and single-handedly rallying the Vikings (22-4) from a huge first-quarter deficit. But scoring is not all Neitzel, a three-year member of the Dream Team and the all-state team, is about. He averaged 33 points, 9.2 assists, 3.1 steals and 4.4 rebounds per game this season as the Vikings won the O-K Gold Conference title. A four-year starter at point guard, Neitzel signed with Michigan State before the season. " With Drew, his priority has always been wining," Wyoming Park coach Thom VanderKlay said. "Whether he had to score 57 points, which he did, or whether he had to score 10 points, he did what needed to be done. He is just a tremendous student (3.95 GPA) and a tremendous person."
Another repeat member on the team, Michael Redell, is
also a two-time Class A all-state player. A year ago as the junior
point guard, he led Rockford to an unbeaten season and the Class A
state championship, averaging 14.5 points per
game. This year, he had to do it all, averaging 18.1 points, 2.8 rebounds,
1.9 steals and 5.7 assists per game. He also had an impressive 2-to-1
assist-to-turnover ratio. Redell, who signed with Division I Cleveland
State, shot over 77 percent from the free-throw line, 40 percent on
field goals and 37 percent
from 3-point range.
Cedar Springs will miss Tyler Wolfe
just as much. A three-year starter at shooting guard, Wolfe pumped
in an average of 25.4 points per game, while grabbing four rebounds
and dishing out
seven assists per game.
The same goes for Todd Koetsier, a two-time Class B all-stater. During the last three seasons, he led Calvin Christian to two O-K Blue Conference championships and three berths in the regional finals. While the Squires (20-4) had plenty of players who could score, Koetsier still managed to pump in 1,227 career points. This season, he averaged 19.9 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and one blocked shot per game. He also shot 67 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free-throw line. " When you hardest worker is your best player, you know that you have something special, that's Todd Koetsier," Calvin Christian coach Ryan Stevens said. "Todd is the best player that I've ever coached. He can score from anywhere on the floor and really has great instincts for rebounding. His best assets are that he is such a hard worker and team player, which makes everyone around him better and want to work harder." Next season, Koetsier will play basketball at Calvin College.
Grand Valley State University will get a boost from another All-Area player, Pete Trammell. Trammell, a three-year starter, helped Jenison (16-9) rally late in the season. The Wildcats were one win short of claiming the O-K Red Metro title, and they won the first regional championship in school history. He averaged 21.8 points, 10 rebounds, two blocked shots, 2.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game this season. He also shot 30 percent from 3-point range, 54 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line. " Well, of course he meant a lot to me and to our team," second-year Jenison coach Brett Dyke said. "Petey's our go-to guy. When we needed a basket, we did look to him. The two years I've known him, how he's developed as a player and a person, is incredible. He's so unselfish now. He gets his kicks out of making a good pass as well as a basket."