On Saturday, February 20, the Hope College men’s basketball team will pay tribute to its graduating seniors. Since fans are not allowed at the event to recognize these student-athletes’ careers, head coach Greg Mitchell honors these seniors in his own words below.
Danny Beckman — Hometown: Shelby, Michigan (Shelby HS); Majors — Business and Religion
Danny Beckman is a relentless, blue-collar player who will never be out-hustled on the court! The pride that he possesses in the work that goes into being a college basketball player is top-notch! Danny battled some significant injuries during his career that he just used as another opponent to overcome. He has been one who sets the standard when it comes to putting time into his game. The disciplined, humble approach that he brings to the court and to our team will be noticeably missed next year. I’m proud of his resilience and overall growth that he has experienced a player and leader!
Ryan Gamm — Hometown: Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS); Major: Business
Ryan Gamm can only be described as the ideal teammate! I’ve never coached a player who is as team-first committed as he is. He takes that philosophy to the court with him in the way he embraces doing the little things that make a team tick. His ability to rebound the ball and his defensive awareness are as good as any player that I have coached. He is another player who has dealt with adversity each year regarding injuries that he sustained. However, his genuine love for the game and his team drove him to persistently fight his way back. He has impacted our team in countless ways and is a key reason for the success that we have had.
Preston Granger — Hometown: Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian HS); Major: Business
Preston Granger earned his way into the starting line-up midway through his freshman year with a tremendous work ethic and ability to compete with toughness and enthusiasm. That accurately describes his approach to his entire career at Hope. His dedication to put in the time both in the gym and the weight room helped him become a 1st Team All-MIAA player and a member of the exclusive 1,000 point club. Preston’s competitive drive helped him become a force in the MIAA….his greatest attribute, however, is his love for Hope Basketball and his teammates.
Cal Hackert — Hometown: Ludington, Michigan (Ludington HS); Major: Physical Education
Cal Hackert has been a steady performer on the court who plays with a high basketball IQ. His versatility allowed us to play him at the point and at the shooting guard where he has had significant success. Cal has impacted Hope Basketball with his continuing ability to battle through the challenges that the game presents, especially injuries. His determination and grit helped him earn his way back on the court numerous times throughout his career. His intelligent, team-first approach is something that will be missed.
Jake Honer — Hometown: Angola, Indiana (Angola HS); Major: Mechanical Engineering
Jake Honer has been one of the hardest workers to ever wear the orange and blue! His workmanlike approach to the game and willingness to do whatever it takes to help us succeed has been remarkable. We missed that infectious toughness last year when an ACL injury ended his season, but Jake battled back to get on the court once again this year, inspiring all of us with his resilience and commitment to play alongside his teammates. We will miss his positive attitude and his ‘leave it all on the floor’ mentality!
Sam Vree — Hometown: Lansing, Illinois (Illiana Christian HS); Major: Business and Exercise Science
Sam Vree has had a huge impact on our team the last four years. Along with his big physical presence, Sam’s knowledge and understanding of the game has been incredibly impactful. He is one who makes everyone around him better because he studies the game and communicates so well! His vast improvement over the course of his career is due to his incredible dedication to off-season work that he put in! In addition, he has assumed a leadership role that has been very effective especially with all of the adversity and uncertainty that this season has brought. He is a stabilizing force both on and off the floor. As coaches, we love to see players grow their game and Sam has done just that during his four years at Hope!