We’re back to the Top-100 list of returning ACC players. Technically we are not back, since we never left. Anyhow, we began this list with a North Carolina State walk-on and we’re back with the tallest player on the countdown.
PLAYER: Jordan Vandenberg
TEAM: North Carolina State
TAPE: 7'1", 250
2010-11 STATS: 1.6 PPG, 1.7 RPG (.652/.545/.000)
Meet Jordan Vandenberg, nominated for America’s Dumbest Student-Athlete, nicknamed by some the Dunker from Down Under. At 7'1", he’s the tallest kid in the ACC. However, like so many foreign big men, Vandenberg thinks he’s a guard and prefers to roam around the perimeter.
Now last season he did show flashes of being a decent space eater and shot blocker on the defensive side, especially in late February where he saw nearly 15 minutes per in the final five games of the season. The problem is Vandenberg doesn’t really have any post moves, let alone a go-to move on the offensive side. He basically stands near the rim, relying on crisp passes from others for easy baskets or put backs off the boards.
Here in lies the problem for Vandenberg. Standing in his way you have C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell and DeShawn Painter. All three are so much better, so much more developed, so much more athletically gifted than Vandenberg, it’s a huge drop off in talent when any of the three is replaced by the seven-footer.
On top of that, the Wolfpack have two freshman power forwards (Tyler Harris and Thomas De Thaey) joining the roster in 2011-12. De Thaey is a 20-year-old Belgian who likes to get physical inside, while Harris is a bit small (6'8",185), but is a more gifted scorer from 10-15 feet.
If a player is going to show improvement, the sophomore-to-junior jump is the most likely time to do it. If Vandenberg doesn’t develop a mean-streak under the basket now that he’s a junior, then he’s going to get left behind again on the bench.
No. 91 – Tyrone Garland, Combo Guard (Virginia Tech)
N0. 92 – Catalin Baciu, Center (Clemson)
No. 93 - Raphael Akpejiori, Forward/Center (Miami)
No. 94 – Pierre Jordan, Point Guard (Florida State)
No. 95 – Deirunas Visochas, Guard (Boston College)
No. 96 – Nick Foreman, Guard (Georgia Tech)
No. 97 – Keil Turpan, Power Forward/Center (Florida State)
No. 98 – DeAndre Hopkins, Guard (Clemson)
No. 99 – Kyle Speller, Guard (Georgia Tech)
No. 100 – Jay Lewis, Guard (North Carolina State)]