In today’s summer shoot around we feature center Joel Vander Pol. In the 10 games JVP missed due to injury last season, Liberty went 2-8. In the 26 games he played, the Flames were 13-13.
Throughout Joel’s career he has been a solid and steady performer in the post. For his career, he is averaging just over 4 points and just under 4 rebounds per game with no significant deviation in any particular year. Joel did have a career high in rebounds this past season with 4.8 per game. Following his second back surgery, which forced him to miss the first 9 games of the season last year, Joel played in 26 games while averaging 14 minutes and 4.5 points per game on 49% field goal shooting.
The majority of Vander Pol’s field goal attempts have always come at the rim; however, after shooting 77% of his field goals at the rim during his sophomore season, he only attempted 62% of his field goal attempts last season at the rim. This is mainly to blame for his field goal percentage dropping from over 56% as a sophomore, to less than 49% last year. On the extra field goal attempts Joel attempted away from the basket, he only shot 33% compared to 57% at the rim. In order for Joel to improve his offensive output, he must either improve his shooting away from the rim, or get back to shooting over 70% of his field goal attempts at the basket.
With forward Antwan Burrus returning from injury as a scoring threat in the paint, Joel’s primary focus will again be on the defensive end of the court. Due to his 6’10” frame and long wingspan, Vander Pol has always been a presence in the paint on defense. Surprisingly, this has only resulted in 0.66 blocks per game, but he has surely altered many more shots with his length.