For our second Men’s Basketball player review, we’re going to take a look at a player who was a frustrating watch at times, but showed his worth at others. It’s the most formidable fouler around, the fifth-year grad transfer from UTEP, Tydus Verhoeven.
The following stats are from sports-reference.com:
Overall, you can’t sugar coat Verhoeven’s production. The numbers weren’t good. He shot 54% from the field, which was second on the team behind Matthew Nicholson, but he averaged just 2.4 points per game and 2.6 rebounds. Expectations weren’t enormous, but they were higher than that for a guy who averaged 6.6 and 4.6 last year, respectively. He also saw a dip in free throw percentage, from 68% to 61.9%. Obviously, some of these numbers stem from a lack of playing time, but Verhoeven never did enough to prove that he deserved more run.
The 6’9” big man also averaged 2.6 fouls per game this season. Amazingly, it was the second lowest mark of his college career.
Wildcat fans grew accustomed to seeing Verhoeven lose post battles, aggressively foul opposing bigs and then throw his hands up in disgust as if he didn’t just commit an obvious infraction. However, there were other times when Verhoeven stood out, impacting the game with his shot blocking and relative quickness for a post player. It truly was a mixed bag.
The following stats are taken from hoop-math.com:
Verhoeven’s numbers here don’t jump off the page. They look like the numbers of a backup big man, which is what he was. As mentioned earlier, his free throw percentage was troubling, especially when you take into account that when he wasn’t on the floor, Matthew Nicholson and his 47.8% FT percentage were.
He took most of his shots at the rim, as he should’ve, and didn’t try to take too many two-point jumpers. Overall, Verhoeven’s shot selection was solid this season, and he made enough buckets to keep you happy.
Verhoeven’s role, for much of the season, was to lengthen the bench and be serviceable enough while Nicholson got rest. But as time wore on, it seemed like Chris Collins discovered exactly what made Verhoeven valuable. He could keep up with smaller, athletic forwards who would give Nicholson trouble when teams opted to deploy quicker lineups against the ‘Cats.
Against Penn State at the end of the regular season, Verhoeven saw a season-high 30 minutes of playing time. It was clearly the right call. Northwestern lost the game, but Verhoeven played his role well, holding down the fort in a game in which Nicholson was rendered ineffective.
Had the ‘Cats advanced further in the tournament, they absolutely could have run into a team built like that. Having Verhoeven as a defensive option for games against those teams was a nice bonus of having him on the roster.
Verhoeven still spent most of the season struggling to establish himself as a real Big Ten offensive option in the post. He made open shots, and converted on lobs and dunk attempts, but he never seemed to have enough moves in his bag to score when guarded. He often looked overmatched on both sides of the ball against other team’s starting centers, which made it difficult for Collins to put him on the floor for extended periods of time. Verhoeven was often a noticeable step down from Nicholson.
Additionally, he just never really looked comfortable out there. Verhoeven had his cool moments in a Wildcat uniform, but he could never sustain success, and he sometimes looked like he was thinking too much on the court. The fouling issues, his tendency to disappear on the floor and his dip in free throw percentage all likely stemmed in part from an apparent lack of confidence.
The Bottom Line:
While stats do matter, basketball isn’t just a numbers game. Despite his lack of playing time, Verhoeven played every game with intensity and emotion, and it often did appear to rub off on his teammates. The whole season, it felt like he was doing all the right things from a veteran leadership perspective. You can’t undervalue that when talking about a college basketball senior.
As he moves on towards whatever comes next for him, Verhoeven will always have been part of the greatest Northwestern team in the history of the school. He only played one year in Evanston, but he will be remembered fondly just because he was on this roster. When you overachieve the way Northwestern did this season, every piece of the puzzle matters. Verhoeven is no exception.