Big Rapids, Mich. - Two talented prep basketball standouts have recently announced their intentions to join the Ferris State University men's basketball program as part of first-year head coach Andy Bronkema's initial Bulldog recruiting class.
The duo includes a local product in Big Rapids guard/forward Quinn Tyson along with one of Northern Michigan's top big men in forward/center Zach Hankins from Charlevoix. Both are currently midst their prep senior seasons and will join the Bulldog program as freshmen in eligibility next fall.
"The is a great start to a recruiting class that will include at least a couple more players in the spring," said Bronkema. "The best thing about both Zach and Quinn is that they both wanted to be Bulldogs. It is so much better to be their first choice rather than bringing in someone who wishes they were somewhere else.
"We look forward to having both of them and their families as a part of the Bulldog Basketball family," he added.
Last season, the 6-1 Tyson helped lead the Big Rapids Cardinals to a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class B State Quarterfinal appearance for the first time in more than 20 years. He claimed Detroit Free Press Class B All-State honors and was among this year's top 100 players on the Free Press preseason list.
A two-time all-area "Dream Team" selection, Tyson also claimed first-team all-conference accolades for the second-straight year last winter under head coach Kent Ingles. He averaged 22 points per game last season and is on track to become a 1,000 point career scorer for the Cardinals tihs season. A year ago, he tallied 523 total points as the Cardinals won district and regional crowns. He was also named the all-area player of the year and was an academic all-state pick.
"Quinn is a great shooter and will look to take a Matt DeHart type role with the team," said Bronkema. "It is always nice when you can pluck a good player from your neighboring school districts. Coach Ingles has had some great teams and good players the past few years and its nice to have one of them with us now."
Meanwhile, the 6-8 Hankins has developed into one of Northern Michigan's top players during his prep career at Charlevoix High School. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game last season as the Rayders finished 14-6 overall under former head coach Adam Wood. Hankins was also a first-team All-Lake Michigan Conference selection and currently midst his senior campaign at Charlevoix under current head coach Bret Erskine.
This past summer, Hankins had an impressive summer of AAU basketball playing for the Parallel 45 program and will join another former standout from the Northern half of Michigan as part of the Ferris State program in Bronkema, who was a multi-sport standout at McBain High School before eventually becoming the Bulldogs' head coach in July. Hankins finished his junior season in 2012-13 shooting nearly 71% from the floor and produced 165 rebounds along with 53 blocked shots as both an all-conference and all-area honoree.
"Zach is a mobile big man and reminds me alot of one of our current starters in Jared Stolicker," Bronkema said. "Zach can really run the floor and protect the basket on defense. His best days of basketball are ahead of him and we look forward to working with him.
"With Charleviox and former coach Adam Wood always coming to team camp in the past, it gave us a great opportunity to see Zach play and this past summer he showed up well against some talented big men who are high-level Division I prospects," he added.
Bronkema became the Bulldogs' 13th head coach this past summer and took over a Ferris State program with a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bulldogs have made five-straight league tournament berths to date and FSU has recorded more victories in the competitive GLIAC North than any other school over the last three years with two titles.
This season, the Bulldogs won their first five conference games in the GLIAC under Bronkema's direction for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign. Ferris State will travel to Michigan's Upper Peninsula this week to face Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 16) along with Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 18).