Prep boys basketball: Park City's VanDerVeur is the face of a young team
He's the kid who snapped the streak, the kid who with 3.5 ticks left on the clock made every millisecond count, forever engraving his name into Park City lore.
But long before he sank a once-in-a-lifetime game-winning heave against the Miners' most bitter of rivals, the Wasatch Wasps, Bosten VanDerVeur's path to the varsity level was convoluted. Before the 2011-12 season, Park City coach Caleb Fine gushed about a freshman guard who would have the ability to play alongside a tremendously talented senior class, providing depth and earning crucial minutes as such a young player.
But VanDerVeur broke team rules. He broke a contract he signed with Fine.
Fine suddenly found himself cutting ties with the future of his program, not knowing if he'd ever return.
"You never know the perfect answer as a coach, and you do always question yourself a little bit, but at the end of the day, it's bigger than basketball," said Fine, who is in his fourth season coaching the Miners. "Kids have to learn that the rules apply to everyone. It was the right decision, but it wasn't an easy decision."
VanDerVeur came back and is back on track to being the future of the Park City program as a sophomore. He is averaging nearly 14 points through the first 18 games of the Miners' learning-on-the-job season.
Before this season, Park City had just two players seniors Ryan Sherman and Hayden Daily who had previous varsity experience, and it didn't add up to much.
The young VanDerVeur plays his own style. He can break down defenders with his crossover and has a crisp midrange jumper. But the point guard still is young, and as Fine says, the sophomore must learn to correct mistakes on the fly if the Miners (7-11, 3-3 in Region 10 entering the week) hope to be playing in the postseason in a few weeks.
"He is a talented basketball player and he has a very good skill set for a sophomore that has helped us get to where we are," Fine said, "but he can be more consistent."
VanDerVeur proved that in Park City's 47-46 win over rival Wasatch on Jan. 4 at home. The kid playing in his first rivalry game against a team the Miners hadn't defeated in nearly six years swished a 35-foot 3-pointer at the horn that sent Park City and, more important, Fine a former Miner player who continually had run into the Wasatch buzz saw during his time on the hardwood into a frenzy.
"He thought he was going to make [the shot]," Fine said about VanDerVeur. "It never crossed his mind that he wouldn't make it.
"I don't remember all of our wins. I remember most of our losses, but I'll always remember that win."
With a handful of region games remaining, the Miners will need VanDerVeur to produce some more late-game magic if they want a shot at playing for a state crown.