F Eric Van Der Heijden, Millbrook High School
Van Der Heijden is a 6’9″ 205-pound forward that can ideally play the “three” or the “four” position for the Cardinals. Think of him as having a similar role positionally to that of what Jordan Nwora played at Louisville.
Van Der Heijden is the 37th ranked small forward in the nation and the ninth ranked player in North Carolina, according to 247 Sports rankings.
As a junior, Van Der Heijden averaged 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and four assists per game on a Millbrook team that went 23-4 in the 2019-20 season.
What he can provide the team
While Van Der Heijden may be the lowest ranked signee in Louisville’s class, he may be the most intriguing of them all. He certainly possesses an incredible amount of upside. Let me explain.
Van Der Heijden is ranked lower than others because he is much more of a projection than he is a finished project. Van Der Heijden needs to get into a college weight room to put on a lot of muscle. If he can add weight to his frame, he will be a much more viable option on both ends of the floor.
As of right now, he is an extremely skilled big that has an elite passing mindset that very few forwards have at the high school level. If Chris Mack can find a way to utilize that ability, he’ll be known as one of the best passers at forward in college basketball very soon.
Van Der Heijden can catch and shoot and he has the ability to shoot a fading three off the catch or dribble. Van Der Heijden can shoot the lights out and he can do so at similar levels that Nwora could out of high school.
Everyone knew Nwora was one of the best jumbo shooters as a recruit out of high school. However, he needed to shift his body weight around to give himself the ability to move better as an athlete. He did so and became one of the best players in the ACC.
Differently from Nwora, Van Der Heijden needs to gain weight. But, gaining weight could do so many things for his game offensively and defensively. It may not all happen for him as a freshman, but the ability for players to retain eligibility gives the Cards the ability to stash Van Der Heijden for a year of development.
Van Der Heijden is a good athlete for being 6’9″ and moves like someone three or four inches shorter than him in the open floor.
Van Der Heijden is a great option to develop for future years. If it all works out, the payout could be massive.
The Cardinals are bringing in an impressive haul considering what the program has been through with program sanctions from the NCAA looming over their head. This class has a ton of athleticism, toughness, and upside.
There is still potential Louisville could add another signee to the fold in the next six days before the early period is over. Stay tuned.