Zach Hankins’ hot streak

ZACH ATTACK: Ferris State forward Zach Hankins (35) has earned GLIAC player of the week honors. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

ZACH ATTACK: Ferris State forward Zach Hankins (35) has earned GLIAC player of the week honors. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Charlevoix native giving FSU men’s basketball team key contributions on court

BIG RAPIDS —- It’s been an impressive start so far this season for sophomore 6-foot-10 center Zach Hankins (Charlevoix) of the Ferris State University men’s basketball squad.

But it’s a scary thought for FSU opponents that the best may be yet to come for Hankins and his teammates.

Hankins earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Player of the Week honors earlier this month after leading FSU to back-to-back wins.

Hankins averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest as the Bulldogs stretched their winning streak to three consecutive games with a pair of home wins over Ashland and Tiffin. The sophomore standout scored 31 points with 23 rebounds, 12 blocked shots, two steals and two assists in the two games.

“We’re clicking well,” Hankins said. “We’re playing great team basketball.”

He scored 13 points with 13 rebounds and four blocks in FSU’s 82-77 victory over Ashland on Saturday at Big Rapids High School before coming back with a team-high 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in a (Dec. 19) 96-65 victory over Tiffin at Wink Arena.

“We’ve been trying to get back to how we play basketball,” Hankins said. “We’ve been playing slow the past couple of games. (Coach Andy) Bronkema has been trying to get us back to being a fast-break team. We’ve been working on getting the stop and then go. We’re deep on the bench so we can do that all game.”

Presently, Hankins leads the Bulldogs this season with 17.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game in 11 contests.

“I’ve exceeded my expectations so far this season, but that raises my own expectations,” he said. “I still expect more out of myself. My strengths, I feel, are positioning. Knowing where to be at the right time, and working in the post.”

FSU’s strong perimeter game is complementing Hankins’ post efforts.

‘They know where to find me when they drive and know when to pass to me when I’m open,” he said.

Before coming to Ferris, Hankins had a stellar career at Charlevoix High School. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds a game as a junior as the Rayders finished 14-6 overall under former head coach Adam Wood. Hankins was also a first-team All-Lake Michigan Conference selection.

Hankins had a strong impressive summer of AAU basketball playing for the Parallel 45 program and joined another former standout from the Northern half of Michigan as part of the Ferris State program in head coach Andy Bronkema. Hankins finished his junior season in 2012-13 shooting nearly 71 percent from the floor at Charlevoix and produced 165 rebounds along with 53 blocked shots as both an all-conference and all-area honoree.

FSU which is currently 8-3 overall and 4-2 in the GLIAC to date this year, is at Ohio Valley for a non-league game Friday night.
“We have to keep improving the whole way,” Hankins said. “We can’t peak too early.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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