Been doing some research on Maryland basketball's newest player, Berend Weijs. While I'll be doing one of the traditional introductions later, let's do some summarizing of Weijs to get everyone on the same page, randomly in a Q&A format because I had no other way to logically organize this smörgåsbord of information.
Let's get this out of the way...he's Dutch. He was born just outside of Amsterdam, and his name is pronounced
Weijs Wise. And yes, this means I will be rooting for Oranje in the World Cup. Holland stand up!
What's the big draw? He's a shotblocking machine, a sort of mini-Jarvis Varnardo. He set all kinds of records for blocks for Harcum, and it's mostly attributed to his height (6-10), long wingspan, and athleticism. The idea (to me) is that he'll be able to provide a solid defensive presence that would complement the more traditional post guy, Jordan Williams.
So how'd he do at Harcum, aside from the blocks? Well, not great, statistically speaking. He only averaged 17 minutes a game, and put up 6 points and 5 boards. That's not bad considering how little he played, but his lack of playing time might scare off some.
Is that indicative of his skills? Probably not. He claims that Harcum's system is guard-oriented and that he had to share time with other PFs (2 of whom are going to other D1 schools), which resulted in 1) little playing time, and 2) little scoring opportunities. And, as Patrick Stevens points out, Boom Osby had almost identical stats when he played JUCO for a year. He turned out okay, didn't he?
Is he just a defensive stopper? No, actually. His coach was pretty complimentary of his skills and potential:
"His best strength is that he's 6-10, really coordinated and really athletic. He runs the floor like a guard and he can do some things that most people his size can't do," Kelly said.
That type of athleticism should fit in well with Maryland's system. Whether or not he can actually handle the ball is another question, but at the very least it sounds like he can run the floor and is athletic enough to get the occasional putback jam. The blocking ability, athleticism, and length should translate to plenty of rebounds, too.
How'd Maryland find about him? Cool story, actually: he went with a friend to play pickup with the Maryland basketball team, and impressed the players and coaches so much that the staff began recruiting him. That should speak volumes of his game and certainly indicates his talent as a practice player, if nothing else.
Who else was recruiting him? Officially, Longwood, Northwood, and UMES. Unofficially, Virginia and North Carolina. I've heard other high-majors bandied about. Sounds like he blew up late, so it isn't as bad as it may sound. In fact, UNC should make you feel kinda comfortable.
So why'd Maryland take him on? Depth purposes first and foremost. Ashton Pankey isn't guaranteed to be healthy - in fact, his injury is almost foreboding - so having more than three healthy big men is a good idea. If he busts, he only takes up two years of a scholarship, so it's a low-risk decision.
Where will he fall in the rotation? Good question; it probably depends on Pankey. Ash should be given the opportunity to beat out Weijs in practice before the season starts, but his health is a huge question mark. If he's not good to go, Weijs will be the third big man and probably get plenty of playing time. If he's healthy, then it becomes a battle between the two for playing time. If that doesn't work out, he'll still get playing time spelling Jordan Williams, as he's the only backup big man with any type of height.
I don't know why, but I like Weijs. Have a good feeling about him.