The MightyMite Sydney Kings have signed promising young big man Jordan Vandenberg as an injury replacement for Julian Khazzouh.
While NBL veteran Ben Knight was initially brought in as extra cover in Khazzouh’s absence, his inclusion provided the Club with some extra time to assess all available options before making a decision on a replacement player.
After looking at a number of options, the Kings’ brought in Vandenberg to trial with the team this past week so the Kings’ coaching staff could take a closer look at the big man.
“After trialing with the team for the past few days, our coaching staff feel that Jordan could be a valuable replacement as a true centre with size and a specific skillset that fits out needs,” said Tim Hudson, Sydney Kings Head of Basketball Operations.
The 25-year-old Vandenberg is a native of Melbourne and product of the Australian Institute of Sport. He spent five seasons playing for NCAA Division One school North Carolina State University where he averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 68 per cent from the field as a Senior.
Standing at 216cm (7’1”) and weighing 111kg (245lb), Vandenberg is an imposing presence in the paint that Sydney Kings Head Coach Joe Connelly is thrilled to have on board at such short notice.
“For where we are at this point in the season, it’s a great pick-up,” said Connelly.
“He is an exciting prospect that we, as a coaching staff, feel is going to help us in the short term and could potentially turn out as a player for us in the long term.”
After graduating from North Carolina State University, Vandenberg was briefly signed by the New York Knicks before being assigned to their NBA D-League affiliate side the Westchester Knicks.
Following his stint in the D-League, Vandenberg returned to Australia to sign with the Bendigo Braves for the 2015 SEABL Season.
“He obviously has some great experience playing at a high level both in the NCAA and in the D-league, but the biggest upside about Jordan is that he is 7’1” with a great feel for the game and he’s only still young,” said Connelly.
In addition to Vandenberg, the Kings have also added talented young guard Indiana Faithfull as a replacement for Steve Markovic.
After a successful four year college career split between Wofford College and West Liberty University, the 183cm (6’4”) and 88kg (195lb) Sydney-born guard joined the Kings as a train-on player at the start of the 2015/16 NBL Season.
Faithfull suited up in a preseason game against Louisiana State University while also serving as a replacement for the then-injured Josh Childress at the NBL Blitz.
The young guard continued to train with the injury-hit Kings throughout the season with Kings management and coaching staff recognising the young guard’s hard work and dedication.
“We put a strong emphasis on developing our home grown talent so we are excited to give Indiana an opportunity to test his skills and readiness at the NBL level,” said Hudson.
Both Vandenberg and Faithfull are expected to suit up for the Kings when they take on arch-rivals the Illawarra Hawks on Saturday, 9 January at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre with tipoff set for 7:30pm.