Vandenberg: "These Are My Rules"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jordan Vandenberg will be the first to tell you that he hasn't been affected by the new rules that impact the way players can defend in the paint and on the perimeter.

Jordan Vandenberg will be the first to tell you that he hasn't been affected by the new rules that impact the way players can defend in the paint and on the perimeter.

"I didn't have to make any [adjustments] because I didn't play much last year," said Vandenberg. "These are my rules. I play to these rules just how they are.

"You just don't need to swipe at the ball. The more you swipe or jump into someone's body the more fouls you get."

Whether it's on defense or offense, Vandenberg has given a huge boost since returning from an ankle injury four games ago.

The 7-foot-1, 245-pound center is averaging 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 1.3 assists while shooting 70.8% from the field. Perhaps the biggest stat to Vandenberg is 26.8... his minutes per game.

He's right, coming into this season he hadn't played much. Vandenberg had never averaged more than 12 minutes per game, and his 17 made field goals is more than he has ever had previously in a full season.

He understands that it's a team with a bunch of new faces around him. Lennard Freeman is one of those guys, and he is lining up beside Vandenberg each night at power forward. A redshirt senior, Vandenberg talks highly of his much-younger teammate.

"I like working with Lennard," he stated. "He reminds me a little of Richard Howell. He's not as skilled as Richard was but he definitely can rebound. It gives me the freedom to go and contest a shot and I know that someone is going to get the rebound.

"He's been playing really well. He just turned 18 so as long as he keeps doing what he's doing and I'm doing what I'm doing we should keep teams from scoring inside."

One area where Vandenberg, and the entire team, has improved is in taking care of the basketball.

Last year's team averaged 12.4 turnovers per game, the fifth-most in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Through eight games the Wolfpack is now averaging just 9.4 per game, the fewest in the ACC.

"I'm not sure how much the other players do but I've noticed we don't turn the ball over as much as we did last year," said Vandenberg. "If we do, we snap out of it really quickly instead of staying in a slump.

"A lot of our players aren't afraid to share the ball and they are smart when they share it too. They are not trying to throw passes through the wrong gaps and everything. Players are cutting and moving, so it's a lot easier to get assists this year."

"We have guys that value the ball," added Mark Gottfried. "Our guys do a pretty good job of not trying to force plays that aren't there."

Next up for the Wolfpack is a home game this evening against Detroit in Reynolds Coliseum. What are Vandenberg's thoughts on playing in Reynolds?

"It's nice, especially when it gets packed," he said. "It's loud and has a different feel to it.

"I've injured myself three out of the last five games I've played there so I'm looking forward to not injuring myself in this next game, just getting through the game and hopefully coming out with the win."


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