Patience is a virtue, they say, and they might just be right.
In his fifth and final season Belgian youngster Andy Van Vliet has found his way back on the NCAA courts after redshirting last year due to his transfer from Wisconsin to William & Mary.
His redshirt season last year marked the second time already that the talented left-handed shooter had to sit out the games and was limited to practice only. Van Vliet actually started his collegiate career at Wisconsin back in 2015 but was sidelined by the NCAA because of an administrative technicality.
Not exactly a confidence boosting situation for the youngster… and it wasn’t about to improve much over the course of the next two years either.
Although he was finally cleared to play NCAA games in his second year at Wisconsin, Van Vliet struggled to find his spot in the rotation and only appeared in 14 games, playing 3.6 mpg. Despite those very limited minutes he still averaged 1.3 ppg & 1.4 rpg and once even managed to score 9 pts & grab 5 rebs in a mere 8 mins of action in a win vs. Florida A&M. The following season came along and Van Vliet on the court in a game continued to be a rare sighting as he that year played in 17 games for 7.7 mpg, averaging 3.4 ppg & 1.4 rpg.
Despite his continued hard-work and the talent he clearly possessed, playing-time at Wisconsin seemed to remain an issue for his junior and senior years and so another transfer was put together as Van Vliet moved to William & Mary, with another redshirt year spent in the gym and on the sidelines as the inevitable result.
But now, in his senior year – his fifth and last collegiate year – his perseverance and hard-work is finally paying off. Not only is he playing a lot of minutes as a starter, he’s also proving to be worthy of those minutes as he has developed into a key player for the currently still undefeated William & Mary. In their 3 games so far Van Vliet has been averaging 15.7 ppg (2nd on the team), 8.7 rpg (2nd on the team) & 1.3 spg (1st on the team).
In the win at American he posted his first double-double of his collegiate career with 18 pts & 10 rebs in 32 minutes, while he set a new high in scoring the following game (a win at Wofford), racking up 21 pts with a 5/9 from behind the arc in 29 minutes of action. Yes, #FreeVanVliet has finally come through.
Throughout all the set-backs, Van Vliet clearly hasn’t given up on his talent and somehow managed to maintain his love of the game. He continued to work hard on his basketball skills and on his wiry body and I think it’s fair to say that the tall skinny kid that left Antwerp back in 2015 has now turned into a fully grown man both on and off the courts.
And at TIB, we couldn’t be happier for him.