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Ole Miss flips former Louisville signee Eric Van Der Heijden

The North Carolina forward brings athleticism and versatility.


Millbrook (N.C.) small forward Eric Van Der Heijden committed to Louisville and Chris Mack last summer. Then, after the dismissal of Cardinals’ assistant Dino Gaudio, the three-star prospect re-opened his recruitment last weekend.

Well, it didn’t take long for him to find a new home now that he has announced that he has verbally committed to the Ole Miss Rebels and Kermit Davis. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward ultimately chose the SEC over notable offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Iowa, Marquette, Maryland, Providence, Texas and Wake Forest among others.

As a junior, the Millbrook product averaged 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, four assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, leading Millbrook to a 23-4 record. Van Der Heijden shot 46 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. This year as a senior, the newest Rebel averaged a double double, scoring 18.2 points and grabbing 11.2 rebounds per game for the undefeated 4A state champions.

Both of Van Der Heijden’s parents played professionally and his brother, Jake, currently plays for Bucknell.

How does he fit in?

There is a lot to like when you watch Van Der Heijden play. The versatile wing is a three-level scorer who excels as much in the open floor as he does as a spot-up shooter. His length helps him get to the rim off the dribble where he is more than capable of finishing through contact. The height can give Ole Miss mismatches with smaller perimeter players as well as being someone who can extend the floor defensively.

With the departure of KJ Buffen, Davis and his staff are going to be looking for someone to fill the void at the three and stretch four positions. Van Der Heijden, despite being a true freshman, might be called upon to lend a hand there next season.

The transition to high-level college basketball is typically difficult for most, but Van Der Heijden’s ability to shoot the basketball from deep will give him ample opportunities to see the floor.