In his senior season, Jordan Katje averaged a double-double, leading the Kalamazoo Christian boys’ basketball team in points (16.3) and rebounds (11.6).
Katje’s performance on a nightly basis was a key reason the Comets finished 23-3 and made it to the Class C quarterfinal for the second season in a row.
And he did it all without being the focal point of the offense.
“He propelled the program, and we lose a lot with him gone, but we didn’t revolve the offense around Jordan,” said head coach Brennan Davis.
Katje certainly made the most of the opportunities he was given, and for his efforts, Katje is the staff choice for the Joe Insider.com 2018 Kalamazoo County Player of the Year. While his double-double totals are impressive, perhaps equally notable is the fact that Katje shot 64.8 percent from the field, and only attempted 10.2 field goals per contest.
“A lot of that has to do with the people I play with,” Katje said.
“I definitely didn’t expect to get this far. I just put in the time and tried to get better every year.”
That work ethic has been evident to Davis since watching Katje play during his freshman year.
“He’s just a really hard worker. He tries to do everything to the best of his ability,” Davis said. “His defense improved as much as his offense, but nobody looks at defensive stats.”
Sure enough, Katje averaged 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks per game, and hauled in an average of 6.5 defensive rebounds.
“I think one thing I never questioned was his mental makeup on the court,” Davis said. “He is always level-headed and patient. He could play the 1 through the 5 if we asked him to.
“That kind of player is hard to replace. He’s a really special kid.”
Aside from his presence on the floor during games, Katje also played a valuable leadership role with the Comets this season.
“I definitely realized I was put in that position – people looked at me as a leader,” Katje said. “It was a lot of pressure at times, but it went well.”
Katje won’t be playing any spring sports, so his athletic career at Kalamazoo Christian has come to a close. A 4.0 student in the classroom, Katje has yet to select a college, but says he wants to pursue something in an engineering-related field. Now that his time with the basketball program has come to an end, Katje takes pride in restoring a proud Comets tradition.
“I’ll remember what Kalamazoo Christian is about – playing hard as a team, and not as an individual,” he said. “Knowing our history, it’s good to get back to being a dominant program in basketball.”
Davis, of course, will be left with the charge of keeping the wheels moving next year. He knows one thing for certain: there will be no replacing Jordan Katje.
“You can’t replace a player like that,” Davis said. “It’s not possible.”
In our Player of the Year Fan Poll, the Portage Northern supporters came out in droves to vote for junior guard Devin Marshall. With 8,056 votes, Marshall beat out Climax-Scotts’ Cole Eshuis (4,656 votes) for the fans’ choice. Marshall had a spectacular season for the Huskies, accounting for 60 percent of the team’s offensive production. He averaged 15.2 points, five assists and four rebounds per game and made the All-SMAC West Division First Team.