Louisville Men’s Basketball Picks Up Commitment From 2021 F Eric Van Der Heijden

While Louisville Football has been taking up most of the recruiting press, Louisville Men’s Basketball has been quietly working under the radar. However, today they popped up on the radar with a commitment from highly skilled 2021 4 Star F Eric Van Der Heijden.

The 6’9 205 lbs player out of Raleigh, NC chose the Cards over offers from Cincinnati, Clemson, Boston College, Iowa, Maryland, Texas, and Xavier, among others. 247sports ranks Van Der Heijden as the 72nd best prospect nationally and 15th best at his position of SF. Dino Gaudio was Eric’s primary recruiter for UofL.

Van Der Heijden stuffed the stat sheet when playing for Millbrook High School. He averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game according to MaxPreps. He shot 46 percent from the field and 45 percent from the arc. With his height and skill, it’s easy to see why he contributed in every major statistical category in a meaningful way.

Eric Van Der Heijden Higlights

Shawn’s Film Breakdown

Watching Eric Van Der Heijden’s highlights, it’s very easy to see why Coach Chris Mack wanted him in the fold. At 6’9, Eric has length and a big wingspan that he couples with guard-like skills. On the floor, he’s a perimeter player that the offense could theoretically run through. He can pass, handle, and shoot like a guard, but has the athleticism and length of a PF. He can shoot off the catch or bounce and attack the rim for dunks.

The first thing that really stands out is Eric’s passing ability. He can make all kinds of passes, lobs, no-looks, one-handed, etc. He has pinpoint precision hitting cutters when he’s at the top of the key. His lobs are a thing of beauty. Guys like Jaelyn Withers and Aidan Igieghon should enjoy playing along side Eric. That passing ability is aided by his court vision. It is marvelous how well he sees the floor and sees cutters and big men get position down low. I attribute a lot of his court vision to his size. At 6’9, he can pretty much see over any defender.

Another interesting trait is Eric’s ball handling. For being so long and lanky, he handles the ball well. You won’t be afraid watching him bring the ball up the court and he has sufficient quickness to beat guys off the bounce and get to the rim. Having a 6’9 guy that can be relied upon as a good ball handler is a luxury in college basketball.

Where Eric really is deadly is shooting. He’s especially adept at hitting the 3-point shot. His height gives him immediate advantage because his long arms and high release make him difficult to block. The stroke is smooth and the release is quick. Eric is at his best shooting off the catch. He’s excellent at being in position and ready to shoot. However, he can take a couple of bounces, especially to his right, and make threes. When challenged, he usually is just too tall for a defender to make the shot difficult, but with taller defenders, he’s able to shoot with a little fade action. Eric is also good at shooting off balance when necessary, able to square up in the air.

The athleticism and basketball IQ Eric possesses is excellent. He can get up and dunk. Around the rim, he will try to finish with dunks and he’s a guy that can catch the lob and finish. The IQ comes into play when moving without the ball. He understands how to cut and when to cut. He knows where to move to be open for a driving guard to be able to hit him with a pass for open shots. He understands when to pass,when to shoot, and when to drive.

Defensively, I think he can guard a SF or PF, depending on the style of the PF. He has good lateral quickness, but he needs to improve it some. What will help him is his length and athleticism. He should be able to bother and block shots of 6’7-6’8 SFs he will likely play a lot in the ACC. Even if they drive by him, he should be able to become a threat to block shots from behind. Defense, as with any high school prospect transitioning to college, is where he will need to make the most improvement. The ability to be a good defender is there though.

Sam’s Film Breakdown

Chris Mack and his coaching staff have done it again, this time with the 6’9 205 lbs Eric Van Der Heijden out of Raleigh, NC.

The versatile 6’9 forward is exactly coach Mack needed in this class. Van Der Heijden can be used as a point forward if need be, can be used as a spot-up shooter coming off screens, and he’ll be able to catch the defense sleeping a time or two and throw down a backdoor lob.

Eric Van Der Heijden can definitely space the floor for Louisville. The 6’9 forward can definitely shoot the ball. As a spot up shooter, Eric is deadly. Coming off screens, he’s still better than most. Eric can get his shot off with relative ease over shorter defenders. Van Der Heijden has a very nice pull-up game. You can see similarities to Kevin Durant and Tracy McGrady in the way he is able to pull-up in transition and catch defenders off guard. What he needs to work on is getting his shot off quicker, the openings close a lot quicker at the collegiate level than they do in high school.

One particular skill that I’m very impressed with is Eric’s ability to shot fake. He constantly
gets defenders to leave their feet on his shot fakes. It is very rare to have a high level athlete with a fundamental shot fake. We have all seen how important and a good shot fake is especially for a shooter.

The highly skilled Van Der Heijden has a great feel for the game. He has the uncanny ability to not only pass to the open teammate, but to the open spot where his teammates need to be. Van Der Heijden is very good passer. He’s incredibly good at seeing and creating passing angles in the defense. With Van Der Heijden’s ability to pass the ball, he’s very capable of having the offense ran through him on the perimeter or high post. CardNation will love the many ways Eric passes the ball: no looks, look always, wrap arounds, and over the head; the young man can do it all.

Eric Van Der Heijden is the perfect fit for Chris Mack’s 4 out 1 in offense. At 6’9 Eric is able to change speed and direction rather fluidly, which gives him a slight advantage when attacking opposing big men. He can slide up to the three, but will most likely play the four. Van Der Heijden is high IQ player, that will definitely keep the floor spaced for guards to the penetrate or for the post player to have room to operate freely.

Playing the four will provide a challenge for Van Der Heijden, as he’ll most likely be playing against bigger and stronger power forwards. Eric will definitely have to get stronger and work on his rebounding more effectively when he gets to Louisville.

Eric Van Der Heijden is a perfect Chris Mack player because he’s a highly skilled big man. I imagine he will play SF and PF for Coach Mack. His skill set is unique for a 6’9 player and makes him a truly intriguing prospect. While he will obviously need to add more muscle, I don’t see that being an issue under Andy Kettler. I think Cards fans will enjoy watching Eric shooting lights out from 3 and making some spectacular passes. He will be a starter at some point during his career and has potential to be special. A great pickup by Coach Chris Mack and staff.

With Eric Van Der Heijden’s commitment, Louisville now has 4 commits for 2021. 247sports ranks the class 5th nationally and 2nd in the ACC.


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