FORMER FERRIS BASKETBALL PLAYERS SQUARE OFF FRIDAY NIGHT
A trio of former Ferris State University men's basketball players will square off Friday (April 18) evening as the International Basketball League's (IBL) Grand Rapids Flight host the Holland Blast at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. Tipoff is set for 7:11 p.m. (EDT).
The Blast presently own a league-best 6-0 mark and are led by two-time IBL All-Star and former Bulldog standout point guard Dennis Springs (Toledo/Scott). Meanwhile, the Flight feature one of the league's top scorers this campaign in ex-Bulldog forward Terrance Shaw (Saginaw/Bridgeport). Additionally, former Ferris men's basketball guard Julius Vines (Muskegon Heights) also is a regular contributor in the Blast's playing rotation.
|Battle Of Bulldogs|
|Former Bulldog standout Dennis Springs, shown here playing overseas in Sweden this past winter, directs the IBL's most explosive offense heading into Friday's game (Photo Courtesy www.borasbasket.se)|
Presently, Shaw ranks as Grand Rapids' leading scorer this season with a 30.8 points per game average. Springs is one of Holland's top two scorers at 28.3 points per game and is dishing out a team-high 8.5 assists per contest. Vines has contributed 9.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest for the Blast to date this year.
Friday's meeting between the two West Michigan rivals represents the third series' meeting between the two clubs this campaign. In the initial game (March 29), the Blast posted a 139-126 home triumph at the Holland Civic Center as Springs led the way with 34 points. Holland also tallied a 166-134 victory in the most recent matchup (April 5) in Holland. Shaw led all scorers with 39 points in the first meeting while adding a game-best 32 points and 10 boards in the second showdown. Springs posted a team-high 31 points and 10 assists in Holland's most recent win.
The 5-6 Springs, who recently scored his 1,000th career point with the Blast, received IBL All-Star honors for the second consecutive season a year ago after placing 17th among the IBL's leading scorers by averaging 24.1 points per game over 18 contests in 2007. He recently returned from his first professional season overseas in Sweden where he averaged nearly 30 points and eight assists per game for Boras/Marbo Basket in the Swedish Basketettan League in its six-month winter season. He entered the 2008 IBL season with career averages of 24.4 points and 6.7 assists per game in league competition. Vines is currently in his second season as a professional with the Blast while Shaw spent part of last campaign with Holland before signing with the Flight prior to this season.
Springs concluded his collegiate eligibility by leading Ferris State to its second consecutive NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance in March 2006 and finished his Bulldog career earning all-region honors by being named to the 2005-06 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Great Lakes Region All-District First Team and Daktronics All-Great Lakes Region Second Team. Springs’ career average of 6.2 assists per game ranks tied for 17th place all-time in NCAA Division II history while his 713 career assists not only ranks as the school's top figure, but also presently is listed 13th on the all-time NCAA Division II assists leaders list. During his playing career, Springs led Ferris to back-to-back GLIAC North Division Championships (2003-04 & 2004-05), guided FSU to a runner-up league regular-season finish as a senior and directed the Bulldogs to consecutive NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament appearances his final two campaigns under head coach Bill Sall.
Shaw ranked as Ferris' leading scorer (14.1 ppg) as a senior during the 2006-07 campaign and earned All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Second Team laurels for the second-straight season. The 2005-06 GLIAC All-Tournament Team selection became the 25th player in school history to score 1,000 points as a senior and finished his career ranked 20th on FSU's career scoring list with 1,159 points. He's also among the top all-time contributors with 641 rebounds and is second with 116 career blocked shots at Ferris State. While at Ferris, Shaw started 81 of 116 career contests and helped lead the Bulldogs to two GLIAC North Division Championships and a pair of NCAA-II National Tournament appearances.
Vines spent his final two collegiate seasons with the Bulldogs and tallied 415 points, 218 rebounds, 71 assists along with 57 steals after transferring from Muskegon Community College. He started 31 of his 59 collegiate games at Ferris State. A team captain, he helped guide the Bulldogs to a second consecutive NCAA-II National Tournament appearance along with a GLIAC Tournament runner-up finish as a junior in 2005-06. His 84.5% career performance from the charity stripe ranks as the best figure in school history as he converted 87 of 103 attempts. The Muskegon Heights native averaged 9.8 points per contest in his final collegiate campaign.
The IBL, which played its inaugural season in the spring and summer of 2005, is the newest professional basketball league designed around the concept of a faster, more skilled game. Specifically, the IBL speeds up time between play with a 22-second shot clock, immediate inbounds and allows fewer timeouts. The absence of dead time typically leads to a faster and more entertaining high-scoring game where skilled players shine. The IBL scoring average per team in its first three seasons was over 126 points per game. The league, which is comprised of 18 teams in regional clusters, features three squads in Michigan this season including the locations of Holland, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.
The Blast presently lead the league's East Division standings while Grand Rapids is second in the Midwest Division with a 2-4 overall record. Additionally, with Springs directing the attack, the Blast feature the league's highest scoring offense and are averaging 159.6 points per contest over their last three games to date.