SAULT STE. MARIE – The Lake Superior State Department of Athletics has announced that junior varsity men’s and women’s basketball teams will be added to the Laker Athletics slate beginning with the 2014-15 season.
The teams will be made up of non-scholarship players and play a 10-game schedule. Coaches will be announced at a later date, but they will be official members of the Laker basketball coaching staffs.
“This is a great addition to our programs and the University,” noted LSSU women’s basketball head coach Shannon Eggers. “It will open more possibilities for student-athletes from many regions to compete at the college level. We can make coaching staff additions and hope to eventually add a graduate assistant position. This will help our program become more competitive.”
Eggers and LSSU men’s basketball coach Steve Hettinga were informed of the JV program’s approval Tuesday and are contemplating staffing needs. Eggers, Hettinga and their current assistant coaches are working on staffing and scheduling, but day-to-day operations will be left to the new head coaches.
Players will come from the current men’s and women’s recruiting pools and from walk-on tryouts held every Fall. Varsity players who see limited playing time will also have the opportunity play at the JV level, provided they stay within the NCAA’s games-played limit. And JV players will have a chance to compete for varsity roster spots.
“I came from a Division III background where we had a JV team, there were always one or two kids who made their way from the JV team to the varsity,” said Hettinga, who spent 11 seasons at Division III Olivet. “There are guys (at LSSU) we’ve deemed ‘tweeners’ between Division II and III, and they will get to play a lot of minutes. And for others on the varsity who aren’t playing as much, they will get the opportunity to do things that you can’t simulate in practice.”
“If they’re coachable, put in the time and develop, this gives them that chance to get better,” Eggers said. “They’ll be coached by quality people, and this will help keep us on a level playing field in the conference.”
Prospective players will have to go through the normal NCAA Clearinghouse process in order to be eligible to compete. -LSSU-