Tydus Verhoeven was a significant last-minute recruiting haul for Duquesne head coach, Keith Dambrot, and if practices are any indication, the Manteca, California, native is set to have a big role for the Dukes this season.
The lengthy 6-foot-9 forward has recently spent time running with returning starters Mike Lewis II and Tarin Smith, suggesting the three-star recruit has worked his way into a starting role. Verhoeven played opposite of Jordan Robinson, manning the four spot, where he can showcase his best asset, his versatility.
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“He’s versatile,” Dambrot said. “I think for a freshman, he’s very good defensively. He’s very good with the ball for a 6-foot-9 guy. He’s good around the rim.”
Verhoeven posted 25 double-doubles as a senior in high school last season and averaged 16.5 points and 12.7 rebounds for Manteca. He chose Duquesne in late April, picking the Dukes over Fresno State, Loyola Marymount, Nevada and San Francisco among others.
“He’s really changing the culture here, Coach Dambrot,” Verhoeven said. “He’s on everybody. That’s how it is, holding us to a high standard, because he wants to come in and make an impact and win games—that’s huge for us.”
In the early going, Dambrot has pushed Verhoeven to be a complete player, one that can impact both ends of the floor.
“He [Coach Dambrot] wants me to be all-around player,” Verhoeven said. “He wants me to do everything, and that’s the type of player I am. I just want to help the team any way I can. He’s on me about everyday, whether it just be rebounding, defense, scoring, and all facets of the game—just make an impact.”
Verhoeven’s length—he has a 7-foot-2 wingspan—will be an added boost to Duquesne on the defensive end. The Dukes ranked second to last in defensive scoring last year but figure to better under Dambrot, whose teams at Akron were known for their defensive prowess.
In Dambrot’s offensive system, post players are often asked to step outside and hit perimeter shots, an area Verhoeven will need to improve in over the course of his career.
“I think his biggest weakness is his perimeter shooting, but he’s so good at other places, I think he can offset that a little bit,” Dambrot said. “We’ll continue to work on that.”
Verhoeven has dedicated additional time to hoisting up extra shots in an effort to refine his outside touch, and he’s gradually adjusting to the repetitiveness of the college game.
“At first, you’re doing two-a-days, you’re lifting, doing that, and you’re like, ‘Whoa!” Verhoeven said. “But eventually you get used to it, and now I’m starting to get into a routine.”
Verhoeven Dambrot believes once Verhoeven grows comfortable with the speed of the college game and trusts his instincts, the freshman will flourish for the Dukes.
“Once he believes in his ability, he’ll be a really good player,” Dambrot said. “He’s such a modest kid that he doesn’t realize how talented he really is.”