Monday, Wisconsin redshirt junior Andy Van Vliet announced his decision to transfer to William and Mary. Van Vliet, who announced his intent to leave the Badgers and transfer after the 2017-18 season, is listed as 7-foot and 203 pounds. He will be a forward or center for the Tribe once he is eligible to play in the 2019-20 season.
At Wisconsin, Van Vliet averaged 2.5 points per game over his career, along with 1.4 rebounds per game. He also shot nearly 48 percent from three-point range on limited opportunities during his career at Wisconsin. This past season, he played in 17 games, starting in four of those. He averaged 3.4 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game. He posted career highs of 18 points and eight boards in a matchup with South Carolina State November 10, 2017. However, he did not start after the first four games of the season and decided not to return to the Badgers.
Last season, the Tribe signed graduate transfer Cole Harrison for one season of eligibility, adding depth to a depleted frontcourt after the departure of Jack Whitman ’17. However, with Harrison leaving, the Tribe only has two experienced players in the frontcourt, sophomore forward Nathan Knight and junior forward Paul Rowley. Sophomore Justin Pierce is also listed as a forward, but in the Tribe offense, he tends to function more as a third guard.
Van Vliet will be forced to sit out for the 2018-2019 season per National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. During that season, Van Vliet will be able to practice with the team and work on conditioning and strength training. He will be eligible for only the 2019-2020 season, in which Knight will be a senior. He needs to put on weight but has the potential to be a difficult player to guard in the post with athleticism to stretch the floor and length to provide shot-blocking on the defensive end.
This year’s recruiting class includes four talented players, but no one listed as taller than six-foot-six. The College will once again struggle with depth at forward and center. If Knight gets into foul trouble, Rowley will likely be forced to play at the center position unless the Tribe can bring in another player at that position who is eligible for the 2018-2019 season. The College will still have limited frontcourt depth this season, but the acquisition of Van Vliet sets the Tribe up for possible frontcourt success outside of Knight in the 2019-2020 campaign.