Posted On: 02/13/18 1:01 PM
Over the coming months, the recruitment surrounding 6’5” wing Derek Van Vlerah (2019) will likely take a dramatic turn. The explosive athlete from Dublin Coffman will play his first season of highly competitive AAU with Nova Village — a chance to go from unknown to emerging prospect.
Van Vlerah told us that he’s not being recruited by any schools right now. Although he’s had isolated conversations with coaches at Michigan and Dennison, those aren’t ongoing relationships.
In springs and summers passed, Van Vlerah has mostly focused on his high jump career and stayed away from the AAU circuit. As far as track is concerned, it’s worked out. He has a personal best of six-foot-two-inches on the high jump, placing 11th in States as a sophomore.
However, with the hopes of playing both sports at the college level, he’ll take a different approach this year.
“This coming spring and summer, I’m going to try and work it out best I can … I feel like it will be good for me to get out there more,” Van Vlerah said in reference to balancing his AAU and track schedule.
A versatile defensive player with workable shooting mechanics, expect Van Vlerah to grab the attention of D-II and NAIA scouts soon.
“I like to think that I kind of bring a lot to the table. Being able to play multiple positions, I feel like that’s kind of my strong suit,” Van Vlerah said.
Maybe even more important is how coachable Van Vlerah is — an important quality for someone with his physical tools.
“It’s really just whatever Coach [Jamey] Collins has me doing, whether it’s guarding Dane Goodwin who’s obviously really good or if I need to score the ball,” Van Vlerah explained.
Yet, there’s pieces of his game that haven’t quite come into fruition.
“I’m working on a pull-up jumper. I feel like that could be useful for me being 6’5” and long. I’m still working on tough finishes around the rim. I feel like I can get better in that department. Three-point shooting, I feel like I’ve been a little inconsistent too,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how an offseason of purposeful training will affect his offensive game. Continuing to show promise in that area of the game will influence his recruitment as a perimeter wing.
For the time being, the 3.2 student-athlete (25 ACT score) has the opportunity to contribute a postseason run with the Rocks. They were assigned a district that could would pit them against Upper Arlington in the final, a potential third game between the two.
Coffman has dropped four of their last seven games and Van Vlerah told us that their coaching staff is emphasizing toughness as they prepare for the postseason.
“We’ve had some struggles here and there rebounding the ball … The UA game and then another one, I think we were giving up 16 or 18 offensive rebounds, which isn’t a very good formula for winning a game. So, our coach has really been stressing that part of the game and just the whole toughness factor,” Van Vlerah said.
They’ll have the chance to turn those problems around on Friday at Upper Arlington at 7:30 p.m., their final game before their postseason opener against Hamilton Township.