One of the most pleasant surprises from last night’s Primetime With The Pack “Midnight Madness”-style practice had to be…Jordan Vandenberg. The Redshirt senior has lost around forty pounds, is in the best shape he’s ever been since coming to NC State from Australia, and was a definite contributor in the White Team’s 39-38 victory over the Red squad: he scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the scrimmage, something far exceeded expectations for the player who averaged 0.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in his 123 minutes in 2012-13.
Granted, that was only a short scrimmage, but Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried was impressed.
“I like the fact that Jordan has put himself in a position to have a good year,” Gottfried told gopack.com after the contest. “He’s in the best shape of his life, he’s got good stamina and conditioning and it shows. He’s running up and down the floor and not getting tired and he can affect the game because he won’t tire so much.”
That would be good news for a Wolfpack team that wouldn’t have a true center without Vandenberg. At 7’1″, he could be a formidable presence on defense and if he can exercise some will in the paint, he could be a scoring option that opposition defenses would have to take into account. That in turn would help prevent defenses from focusing completely on forwards like T.J. Warren, the player who will likely be the Wolfpack’s most consistent scoring threat whenever he is on the floor. In short, Vandenberg’s play could help his entire team be more effective.
That’s a lot of expectations, sure, and like all players he’s sure to have his ups and downs throughout the year, but if Jordan Vandenberg has more ups than downs in the upcoming hoops campaign, Wolfpack basketball will certainly benefit and will definitely surprise everyone who has low expectations for a team in transition.