Heading into the 2015 season, Northwestern features one of its deepest teams in years. While head coach Chris Collins has said his preference would be to play only eight or nine players, he acknowledges that he might have to coach this Northwestern team a lot like Iowa's Fran McCaffery has coached in recent years, using a deep bench. At least at the onset, few players -- other than the Wildcats' established starters -- have appeared to separate themselves. Thus, we are going in-depth on each of Northwestern's scholarship players, providing insight into each players' potential role.
We continue with senior transfer Joey van Zegeren:
Stats to know (13 games with Virginia Tech in 2014-15)
|Points||Minutes||Assists||Rebounds||Blocks||Off. Rating||FG%||3pt FG%||eFG%||Usage|
Shot chart (via ShotAnalytics.com)
The shot chart of Van Zegeren, who spent the first three years of his college career with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC, says about all you need to know about the big man. When he's attempting shots, they're probably in the paint and right around the rim.
Back in January, van Zegeren left Virginia Tech amid a suspension from the team due to an incident in practice, leading him to transfer to Northwestern in June. The native of Zimbabwe and The Netherlands improved his scoring efficiency greatly in his junior season, converting on 60 percent of his shots and posting nearly 10 points per contest. But where he will help Northwestern the most will be on the glass and on the defensive end of the floor.
With his 6-10 frame and long arms, van Zegeren is very good at altering opponents' shots in the paint as well as blocking them. He's also a very good rebounder on both offense and defense, which should really help out the Wildcats who -- outside of Alex Olah -- don't have the requisite depth necessary to go toe-to-toe with the more physical, rebounding-and-defense-focused teams in the Big Ten they play throughout the year.
He's never going to be a player that strikes fear in the hearts of the opposition while he's on offense, that's for sure. Without much of a shooting game outside of the painted area, van Zegeren is a one-dimensional player who isn't skilled enough to have plays run for him and gets a lot of his points off of the offensive glass. Also, as a career 38-percent free-throw shooter, teams can just foul him instead of letting him get high-percentage shots off.
More on van Zegeren
More on van Zegeren
Although he probably won't be a starter for Chris Collins' team, he should be able to rather quickly become a reliable bench option for the Wildcats, especially against teams like Purdue that boast multiple effective centers. A much different player than Jeremiah Kreisberg, a graduate transfer from Yale who joined Northwestern prior to last season, Collins has said he expects van Zegeren to play a much bigger role than Kreisberg did. He's also a nice foil to the more offense-focused Olah, who has had his fair share of rebounding and defensive issues during his time in Evanston, although he picked it up in a big way last season.
What to expect
While van Zegeren is no star by any means, he provides Northwestern with a type of player the program hasn't had in awhile: a true leaper and explosive interior defender. Also, as a three-year rotation player at fellow power-conference school in Virginia Tech, he has experience playing against highly talented bigs, like those he'll face off with in the Big Ten. He doesn't have to go through the growing pains underclassmen experience in their first few college seasons so he should able to contribute right away from get go. On a team that is mostly composed of freshmen and sophomores, van Zegeren has the chance to be a key contributor as well as mentor to his younger teammates.