Grace’s men’s basketball team has added a local talent to next year’s roster in Warsaw Community’s John Swanson.
Swanson is a 6-foot-4 post player who played a key role in Warsaw’s impressive 2012-13 season. The Tigers won an improbable sectional championship during Swanson’s senior campaign, upsetting 4A No. 8 Concord along the way.
“The atmosphere at Grace is amazing,” Swanson said. “The business school was exceptional, and I really wanted to attend a Christian college.”
As a senior Swanson was given Warsaw’s Most Improved Player Award and the Coach’s Award. He also posted the team’s best two-point field goal percentage.
On Jan. 4 Swanson was named the Channel 46 Student-Athlete of the Week.
“John [Swanson] really improved in the last year or two. He was instrumental in the Tigers having a good season this year as he stepped up his game,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “I think John is a consistently hard worker who understands and plays his role well. He is a strong student and active in his church. Overall he is a great fit for Grace College.”
Swanson is an accomplished student-athlete as a member of the National Honor Society and a consistent presence on Warsaw’s honor roll. He is also heavily involved at his church and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Swanson, who is the son of Jim and Patricia Swanson, hopes to study marketing during his time at Grace.
2012 First Team All-State winner Logan Irwin has decided to transfer to Grace College to conclude his collegiate basketball career.
Irwin, who is transferring from NCAA Division I Stetson University, graduated from Whitko High School as the school’s all-time leader in points, assists, steals and free throws.
While at Whitko, Irwin amassed 2,230 career points which ranks 12th all-time in state history. He also totaled 424 assists, 198 steals and 641 free throws made in his career.
“We couldn’t be more pleased than to have Logan join us,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “He can obviously score, but he does so many things well. He is an excellent defender and great passer. He’s been very well-coached.”
As a transfer, Irwin will sit out the remainder of Grace’s current season. He will play for the Lancers starting in the 2013-14 season with three years of eligibility remaining. Irwin is currently enrolled at Grace and will begin classes this month.
As a junior he was named an Indiana Junior All-Star after tallying 25.1 points, 5.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game.
He increased his totals to 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game as a senior.
“I chose to transfer to Grace because of the people that I would be surrounded with for the next three-and-a-half years,” Irwin said. “Being close to home was a big deciding factor, but the people and academics at Grace are great. I also get to play with some of my old AAU teammates. The guys on the team are very easy to get along with.”
The 6-foot point guard started in all seven games in which he played at Stetson, averaging just under 22 minutes per game.
He averaged 5.9 points per game while making 11-of-15 from the field (73 percent), 5-of-7 from the 3-point line (71 percent) and 14-of-16 from the free throw line (88 percent).
Irwin also posted the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team with 20 assists to 13 turnovers on the season.
Irwin recorded his best game of the season in his last, scoring 13 points without missing a shot to go along with four assists against Florida Atlantic.
“With Bruce [Grimm Jr.] graduating this year, to have another D-1 point guard transfer in is fantastic,” Kessler said. “He is a hard-nosed competitor who doesn’t trash talk, just competes. He’s a fierce competitor and a local player who will bring a lot of local interest. We couldn’t be happier than to have Logan as a Lancer.”
Grace College is located in Winona Lake, Ind., and is a member of the Crossroads League and is affiliated with the NAIA and the NCCAA.
Grace’s men’s basketball team has added another player in the class of 2013 in Jay County High School standout Brock McFarland.
McFarland is a 6-foot-1 guard for Jay County who led the Patriots to a sectional title in 2011. As a junior, McFarland paced Jay County to an 18-4 record with team-highs in both scoring (13.9 points) and rebounding (5.9 rebounds).
“I chose Grace because I felt a very positive connection with the coaching staff and players,” McFarland said. “I was also very impressed with the facilities and the academic opportunity. I am looking forward to being the best player I can be and help lead Grace to an NAIA championship.”
During Jay County’s 2011 campaign, the team featured one of the stiffest defenses in the state by surrendering just 35.0 points per game. The Patriots finished 17-7 during McFarland’s sophomore season.
McFarland, who has also played football for three years at Jay County, was invited to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Top 100 Showcase in 2011.
Academically, McFarland has been on Jay County’s honor roll each year. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.
“Brock [McFarland] has been an outstanding basketball player for us at Jay County. More importantly, he has been a great role model for our community’s youth,” said Jay County head coach Craig Teagle. “He is a true student-athlete who has excelled both academically and athletically.”
McFarland, who is the son of Chad and Kim McFarland, plans to study exercise science at Grace.
Grace head coach Jim Kessler has signed his first player for the 2013-14 season in Carroll High School’s Eric Miller.
Miller is a 6-foot-7 forward who earned All-Conference and honorable mention All-Area honors as a junior. He averaged 9.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a junior.
“The players at Grace were very welcoming, and the coaches are great,” Miller said. “Grace’s gym is the best in the conference. The environment is great not only on the court but on the campus as well.”
According to VarVee.com, Miller ranked in the top 15 in the state for rebounding. He shot 40 percent from the field and also showed long-range marksmanship by draining 20 3-pointers on the season.
As a sophomore Miller tallied 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
“Eric is a versatile play who can play in or out. His unique skill set is a matchup problem for anyone we play,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “His upside is tremendous. He’s had as much D-1 prospects as probably anyone we’ve ever had. He is a terrific young man and a solid Christian kid who is just a good fit for Grace.”
Miller has played soccer and also competed in the long jump and high jump during his time at Carroll High School.
While at Grace, Miller plans to study sport management. He is the son of David and Tracy Miller.
Mishawka High School standout Brandon Vanderhegghen has decided to continue his basketball career at Grace College for the 2012-13 season.
Vanderhegghen was a Second Team All-Conference selection in the Northern Indiana Conference as a senior and was also honorable mention on the Senior All-State Team by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.
"I chose Grace because I liked the players and coaches that I talked to on my visit. Grace has a friendly atmosphere," Vanderhegghen said. "I am looking forward to playing my role and helping the team out in any way that I can."
Vanderhegghen is a 6-foot point guard who averaged 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game at Mishawaka. At the conclusion of his career, he was selected to play in the Michiana McDonald's all-star event.
"Brandon had a tremendous career at Mishawaka. He is the true representation of a student-athlete," said Mishawaka head coach Ryan Watson. "He led the team in many statistical categories, but his best leadership quality came from his work ethic. This work ethic will lead him to many great things at Grace College."
Vanderhegghen, who is the son of Crystal Vanderhegghen, graduated with academic honors from Mishawaka. He plans to study physical therapy during his time at Grace.
The Grace College men’s basketball team has signed Oakland Christian (Mich.) standout Drew Perrin for the 2012-13 season.
Perrin is an outstanding athlete who has garnered All-State mention in basketball, soccer and track. The 6-foot point guard was First Team All-Conference and special mention All-State as a junior for Oakland Christian’s basketball team.
“I chose Grace because I felt that God was leading me there,” Perrin said. “It’s an amazing atmosphere, and the people are extremely kind and made me feel so welcome. I plan to grow into the best athlete I can be while always glorifying God with the talents He gave me.”
Perrin, who is the son of Walt and Patti, was one of the top defenders in the state on Oakland Christian’s soccer squad. He earned two First Team All-State honors and helped the team win a state title as a starter his freshman season.
He also earned First Team All-State honors for the school’s track team, where he competed in sprints and the long jump.
“Drew [Perrin] is a great fit for Grace. He is a good student and an even better person,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “He’s a really good athlete so his basketball still has a lot of upside. He adds speed and quickness to our lineup. We are happy to have him join our team.”
Perrin was a member of the honor roll at Oakland Christian and also received the Philips Award which is given for outstanding Christian behavior.
Oakland Christian head coach Dennis Hopkins had this to say about Perrin: “Drew is a special player with a great knowledge of the game. Drew is all out, all the time. His great passion, knowledge and ability has made him a special player.”
Grace’s men’s basketball team has announced the addition of Oakland Christian’s (Mich.) Josh Peterson for the 2012-13 season.
Peterson is a 6-foot-7 post player who was named First Team All-Conference as a junior and senior. He made honorable mention for All-Conference as a sophomore as well.
“Grace had everything I was looking for in a college: strong engineering and athletic programs and a Christian environment,” Peterson said. “I’m looking forward to helping Grace win another conference championship.”
Peterson was a weapon on both ends of the hardwood for Oakland Christian, leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.
He also won All-Conference honors twice and was a two-time state qualifier for Oakland Christian’s cross country squad.
“Josh’s length and rebounding ability will be a great asset to our team,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “With some hard work, he will make a smooth transition to college basketball. We are glad to have him as a part of our team for next year.”
Peterson, who is the son of Bill and Kathy Peterson, plans to study mechanical engineering during his time at Grace.
Oakland Christian head coach Dennis Hopkins had this to say about Peterson: “Josh is a very dedicated player that worked hard to develop into an excellent player over his career. He is very passionate and competitive, which will drive him to play well.”
Grace’s men’s basketball team has added its second 2012-13 recruit from the same school they added their first. The Lancers have announced the signing of Norwell guard Caleb Featherston.
The 6-foot-3 standout helped lead Norwell to the school’s first appearance in the Class 3A State Championship Game in 2012. He was named Second Team All-Northeast Hoosier Conference after averaging 11.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game as a senior.
“I loved the coaching staff and players that I interacted with at Grace,” Featherston said. “The school’s business program is great, and I am also looking forward to helping the basketball team in any way I can.”
Featherston will join fellow Norwell senior Kyle Fillman on the Lancers next winter. Featherston was a Second Team All-Northeast Indiana honoree.
“Caleb is very athletic and versatile and can do a lot of different things for our team,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “He has obviously had a lot of success in high school, but we believe his best days are still ahead of him. He’s got the skills and athleticism to be very good at the collegiate level. He’s a good Christian kid who comes from a strong family.”
Featherston, who is the son of Mark and Julie Featherston, plans to major in business while at Grace.
“Caleb was an enormous asset to our team this year. His athletic ability on the offensive end made it difficult for teams to guard him, and he was always assigned to guard the other team’s best offensive player,” said Norwell head coach Randy Hawkins. “He has the ability to attack the rim, hit the outside jumper or pass to teammates as he sees the floor very well. He will be a great contributor for Grace, and his work ethic on and off the court will help him succeed.”
The Grace College men's basketball team decided on its first recruit for the 2012-13 season in Norwell High School standout Kyle Fillman.
Kyle averaged a double-double as a junior at Norwell with 10.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to go along with two blocks a contest. He was named to the First Team Northeast Hoosier Conference in 2011.
"I really like the Christian family atmosphere and the great players and coaches at Grace," Kyle said. "My goal is to work hard every day to get better while working to provide a great future for myself after college."
Kyle helped lead Norwell to a sectional championship in the spring - Norwell's first sectional title since 1995. The 6-foot-7 forward led the team in rebounding all season.
"Kyle is a fine young man who will accomplish success on and off the court," said Norwell head coach Randy Hawkins. "He is a player who is willing to learn and get better. Grace has a great addition to their program."
In the academic realm, Kyle was equally impressive. He was a member of the National Honor Society and has maintained an "A" average throughout his career.
"Kyle is a great fit for our program here at Grace in all aspects -- spiritually, academically and athletically," said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. "He is a very versatile player who knows how to defend and rebound. We are excited to add him to our family."
Kyle was also a key player on Norwell's tennis team, which has won three sectional crowns in a row during his career. He was an All-State Honorable Mention performer while playing No. 1 doubles as a junior.
While at Grace, Kyle plans to major in sports management as well as accounting or business. Kyle is the son of Joel and Anne Fillman.
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