|Jordan Vandenberg is a must see, it seems.|Jordan Vandenberg
, North Carolina State, Senior, 7'1 245lbs2013/14 stats:
22.1 mpg, 4.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 1.0 apg, 0.3 spg, 3.2 fpg, 0.6 TOpg, 68.0% FG, 52.2% FT
Vandenberg was a useful but frustrating presence in his five years with NC State, a tantalising prospect who never developed and who only ever offered glimpses of what he could be. Never all that dependable, Vandenberg barely played at all for the first four years of his Wolfpack career (including redshirting his true freshman season), and managing only 430 minutes across the four of them. The stats above are as good as it got. That said, as a senior, Vandenberg performed a role.
That role was a defensive one. 7'1, athletic and mobile, Vandenberg is at times a pest at the rim, an intimidating force for opposing guards to take the ball at. Although his man to man defense in the post is less effective given his lack of core strength and penchant for fouling, Vandenberg is springy and mobile, a deterrent around the rim and as a help defender.
Offensively, however, Vandenberg remains highly limited. Aside from a very occasional short lefty jumpshot, everything is taken from a range topping out at one foot, and normally off of the work of others. Vandenberg is not a post up creator at all, and indeed shies away from post play and contact in general. His uses offensively come from occasional offensive rebounds (something he is not actually all that good at), dunks from drop-off passes, the occasional pick-and-roll play, and lob passes. Vandenberg is extremely efficient from the field and keeps turnovers down, but only at the cost of normally being no threat at all on offense. He cannot handle, post, create, shoot with range, shoot from the line, take contact, or even pass that will. He is certainly willing to pass given that it beats taking contact, yet he is more of a willing passer than he is a capable one. His strengths lie on the defensive end, and even they are limited.
Vandenberg, then, remains a project. As an upperclassmen, he shed lots of weight and had some moments as a rebounder, shotblocker and deterrent, yet there remain big holes in the skillset. More worrying are the inconsistencies, injury history and foul rates, which remain like those of a freshman. (And so do the nature of the fouls - the bumping of cutters, the needless grabs, the moving screens, leaving his feet every time.)
It took a long time for Vandenberg to show anything, and when he did, he showed there was still a lot to do. Whoever takes him on is (or should be) taking on a long term commitment. Nevertheless, if he can continue the improvements he did at least start to make, whoever takes him on will be getting that rarest of beasts - an athletic 7 footer.