It was four years ago that Grand Haven’s Nate VanArendonk made a name for himself by shattering a glass backboard during a basketball game at Grandville High School, but to this day, he still gets asked about his famous dunk.
“I still get that a fair amount from kids in my classes,” VanArendonk said with a laugh.
These days, VanArendonk is terrorizing backboards at the college level. He and fellow GHHS graduate Alex Eidson have taken the MIAA by storm this winter, each earning first-team all-conference honors. In the process, the former Buccaneers helped Hope College earn a berth in the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The Flying Dutchmen (20-7) will host Penn State-Behrend (23-4) in a first-round game at DeVos Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
VanArendonk hopes the NCAA Tournament will be a great send-off to his basketball career.
“I really can’t believe it,” he said of this being his final season at Hope. “The time has just flown by. I’m pretty sure this is the end of the road for basketball for me. I’m going to get my degree in geology, and I’m excited to attend grad school and get a masters in hydrogeology.”
Before worrying about furthering his education, the senior would like to extend his basketball career for a few more weeks.
It’s been a fun ride, with several highlights along the way. As a senior at Grand Haven, VanArendonk made national headlines — and earned a spot on ESPN —when he shattered the backboard with a vicious dunk during a regional championship game win over Rockford.
The Bucs advanced to the Class A state semifinals, where they lost to a loaded Kalamazoo Central team at Lansing Eastern High School.
“I was just thinking yesterday about the game in Lansing when we played Kalamazoo Central, and I feel the same way now — that same sense of urgency,” VanArendonk said. “It’s sad, but this is also the most fun time of the year. We’re looking forward to it.”
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