GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Kim Elders begins his 26th season as Cornerstone's head coach but this year could bring different challenges for the soon-to-be NAIA hall-of-fame inductee. The Golden Eagles only return two upperclassmen this season including lone senior Sam Vander Sluis, who is ready to take on a leadership role.
"Well I've been blessed to have been understudies and just be part of teams with great leadership," Vander Sluis stated. "The year we made the national championship, we had great leadership and even last year with Kyle [Steigenga], Kyle was an amazing player and amazing leader. It's really different this year for me personally. I'm actually responsible for leading others and I've enjoyed it.
Vander Sluis, who played his high school basketball at Holland Christian, says he can see his personal growth over the past few years at CU.
"It's cool to see how I've changed from a freshman to this year. I can see it in myself," he said.
Coach Elders is embracing the team's youth and is ready to see what they look like when the season actually begins.
"We've got some good pieces and some new players coming in, we're excited about the year and looking forward to what it's going to bring. The conference is going to be really, really tough, everybody seems to be getting better every year," Elders said.
The Golden Eagles open their season against Spring Arbor on October 26 in the WHAC/CL Challenge at Aquinas College.