Feb 2, 2016
Individual Attention

While most college students are fending off the “freshman 15,” University of Wisconsin freshman Andy Van Vliet has gained about 20 pounds and is hoping to gain a bit more by next week. Upon learning that Van Vliet would be ineligible to play this season, UW strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland has been working with him individually to improve his game off the court–including putting some weight on his lanky six-foot-11, 218-pound frame.

An article from the Wisconsin State Journal explains that after arriving at UW from Belgium, Van Vliet found out that he would not be eligible to play due to having more than one year between graduating from high school and enrolling in college. Rather than letting the disappointment get him down, Van Vliet has been spending time learning how to train in the weightroom with Helland.

Along with getting used to strength training, Van Vliet has been trying to boost his nutritional intake through American food—which is pretty different from the vegetables and potatoes that he’s used to eating in Belgium. Although some of Helland’s suggestions have been tried and denied, Van Vliet is getting used to protein shakes. And after five months, his efforts have been recognized.

“He’s embraced the physical part of it,” UW interim coach Greg Gard told the Wisconsin State Journal. “He’s still not swinging the sledgehammer by any means, but he’s learned how to play and counter people’s physicality with how skilled he is and his footwork. He’ll get better. I think he has a bright future here.”

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