Northwestern center Joey van Zegeren, a graduate transfer who spent four years at Virginia Tech before coming to Evanston, is done for the year after injuring his knee in practice on Monday, head coach Chris Collins announced on Wednesday. The backup big man averaged 3.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in 25 appearances.
"It's a tough loss for us just in terms of what he brings as a veteran guy and a big body on the front line in our league," Collins said. "He's done a really good job for us... He's got a good career ahead of him playing basketball."
A native of the Netherlands, van Zegeren started nine games this year, including the first eight of Big Ten play, in the absence of Alex Olah. Although never much of a scoring threat, van Zegeren provided a long, athletic body down low. His most impressive offensive performance came against Minnesota at The Barn, where he scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting with four rebounds. He also contributed a huge block in a wild sequence against Maryland:
Collins added Gavin Skelly might have to play the five in a pinch if Olah and Dererk Pardon get into foul trouble. He also said that Nathan Taphorn has been moved up one rung in the ladder for minutes. While van Zegeren had been moved to third string once Olah got healthy and only got spot duty recently, this does certainly cut into Northwestern's frontcourt depth, leaving the Wildcats with just two true centers in Olah and Pardon.