Kyle Stidom has come to realize being a college freshman can exaggerate one’s distance from his or her comfort zone.
Car or no car, cellphone or no cellphone, the 6-foot-3 guard who eclipsed 2,000 points during his outstanding boys basketball career at Greenwood Christian Academy remains on an island of sorts.
That is if Grand Rapids, Mich., can be referred to as such.
“I like it here,” said Stidom, who comes off the bench for Davenport University, an NAIA Division II men’s basketball program ranked 10th nationally with a 19-4 record. “The hardest part is the distance from home, being four, four-and-a-half hours away from my family. But it’s a very good program, so I’m working and learning every day.”
THE STIDOM FILE
Name: Kyle Stidom
High school: Greenwood Christian Academy (2012)
College: Davenport University
Weight: 190 pounds
Averages: 4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1 spg, 0.6 apg
Season-highs: Minutes (28 vs. Lawrence Tech on Dec. 8), points (11 vs. Goshen College on Dec. 29), rebounds (6 on three occasions), assists (3 vs. Miami-Hamilton on Nov. 2), steals (2 on six occasions)
The college experience bears only a vague resemblance to the prep level for Stidom, who served as Option A and sometimes even B and C on offense for Greenwood Christian, which posted a 32-11 record during his junior and senior seasons.
From a basketball standpoint he was a huge fish in a small pond. Now Stidom, who averages 15 minutes and 4 points per game, is of the mindset of doing what’s required to help keep the Panthers successful.
“I’d be lying if I said it was completely easy,” said Stidom, who majors in sports management. “But with all successful teams you have to sacrifice for the good of the team. It’s just doing whatever it takes to win.”
Stidom is Johnson County’s all-time scoring leader with 2,059 points. He also finished his career with 1,040 rebounds. On a Davenport team in which a total of 11 players average between 3.5 and 15.3 points, Stidom’s well-rounded game includes averages of 2.7 boards and 1 steal. He’s also converted 6 of 23 3-point attempts and 22 of 32 free throws.
The coaching staff is taking notice.
“I know in high school Kyle was constantly putting up phenomenal numbers and had to in order for his team to be the best they could be. Here, he has been able to come and learn and not get thrown to the wolves from Day 1,” said Davenport head coach Burt Paddock, a 1997 Manchester College graduate who played his first two seasons for former Spartans coach Steve Alford.
“Kyle is surrounded by an incredible team that is currently tied for first in our conference. This has allowed him to get meaningful minutes and make significant contributions while learning from older players who’ve been through a lot of tough battles the past few years.”
Stidom logged 19 minutes of playing time in Saturday’s 64-56 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) victory against Cornerstone, finishing with five points, three boards, an assist and a steal. His role varies as sometimes he plays the “2” or “3” positions for Davenport and even has helped out at the point.
“Part of being a freshman is getting used to the speed and strength of the game. It’s a process, and when you start to be negative everything goes with it, so you have to stay positive,” Stidom said. “Confidence in a game comes from knowing you’ve put the work in.”
Stidom knew going into his first college season he wouldn’t be putting up numbers even remotely close to what he did at Greenwood Christian. Davenport last season made it all the way to the NAIA’s Fab Four after advancing to the Elite Eight the year before. A good number of current Panthers’ players were major contributors to both teams.
Thus, anticipate Stidom’s role expanding during the coming seasons.
“The great thing about Kyle is that he is consistently wanting to get better. No matter if he plays great or average, he comes the next day with a great attitude to get better. I am really excited to see him in a Davenport uniform for the next three years, and we all know as he continues to get stronger and more confident the sky is the limit for how he can help our program,” Paddock said.
“Kyle is and will be a huge factor in everything we do both now and in the future. As is the case with all our players, his success can’t be judged on stats. The only numbers we worry about here is wins and losses, and with us currently being in the top 10 and 19-4, it is evident he is off to a great start to his college career.”
This isn’t to say it’s been easy for Stidom, who misses his family and friends back home. He wishes he could see them more often than his schedule permits, yet realizes personal growth isn’t always a stroll in the park.
“I’m a family guy, so that’s one of the big differences. In high school I could look up in the stands and see my parents at every game,” Stidom said. “Being this far from home kind of forces you to grow up sooner.”