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McKay Signs Vander Pol to NLI

November 12, 2008  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ritchie McKay signed Joel Vander Pol to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.

Ritchie McKay signed Joel Vander Pol to a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday.

Liberty head men's basketball coach Ritchie McKay announced that Joel Vander Pol has signed a national letter of intent for the 2009-10 academic year.

"Joel is exactly the player and person we want representing our program," said McKay. "He is a lot like the guys we currently have on our team, possessing tremendous parents with a solid upbringing in his church and current program. Joel will add a lot of value to our team and the Liberty campus, and we are elated to sign him today."

Vander Pol is a 6-10 forward/center out of Fort Myers, Fla., where he preps at Evangelical High School, the same school where former Liberty linebacker Brandon Duke played his high school football.

During his junior season, Vander Pol earned honorable mention all-state honors in Florida, after helping his squad to a 20-8 district runner-up finish in 2008. Vander Pol averaged 16.0 ppg and 10.9 rpg, while tallying 19 double-doubles. A viable shot blocker, Vander Pol blocked 197 shots as a junior, good for a 7.3 bpg average, enabling the Liberty signee to record six triple-doubles in 2008.

Vander Pol ranked No. 1 in blocks and rebounds in the Southwest Florida region, earning second-team all-area by News Press. Vander Pol also ranked in the top 10 in the region in scoring.

"Joel is like a sponge," said Evangelical High School Head Coach Nate Travis. "He is very coachable and a great leader. Joel offers so many intangibles you never see on the stat sheet. "I expect great things from him this year, not only his leadership in the box score, but on and off the court as well. On the floor, Joel has the ability to run the floor in a fast-paced offense with great ease for a big guy, and his numbers speak to his strength as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker."

"As a player, Joel is physical, tough and highly skilled," stated McKay. "He is only a shadow of what he will be four years from now. We are blessed to add him to the Liberty basketball program and to Liberty University."

Vander Pol chose Liberty over Tulsa, The Citadel and UNC Wilmington.