Joe Vroom - Man of Action

Men’s Basketball
Third Year

Joe Vroom should not have to apologize. At 6’9 and 200 pounds, the post on the Trinity Western University men’s basketball team has been an imposing presence on the low block this season for a Spartans team that has desperately needed it. He’s taken everything the bruising Canada West conference has thrown at him, and he’s given it right back. In this his third year as a Spartan, he’s done everything you could ask of a basketball player, and in some cases more. Yet here he is, sounding apologetic for giving an answer that he feels is a cliché. Although what he’s saying could sound like one coming from someone else, the fact he cares this much about an answer in an interview shows it’s no cliché at all. Joe is truly that man of few words that let’s his actions do the speaking for him.

To call Joe quiet and reserved is a complement. As he sits in a coach’s office in a lemon yellow Cheerios t-shirt and blue jeans, he takes his time answering every question, giving pause and thought to each one. His answers are articulate and most of the time understated. He makes it sound like this breakout year for him is no big deal, but of course, it’s anything but. Last year Vroom was a valuable role player in his second season with the Spartans, starting 12 of 28 games, where he averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in just over 14 minutes per game. He put up good numbers in limited minutes, contributing to a team with a deep post rotation.

But this season could not have been more different. David Bron graduated, and fellow post players Michael Brouwer and Lance Verhoeff would start the season on the injured list, working their way back from injuries. The Spartans were looking at Joe and swingman Jason Keegstra as the only two players capable of giving them major minutes in the post. It would be a daunting task for some, but for Joe the solution was pretty simple.

 “There were only two guys for the job, and I had to step up,” he says simply. “I feel like I’m becoming more of an impact player as I become older and more experienced.”

See, there’s one of those understatements. In his first fourteen games this season, Vroom has started 11 times, averaging 9.6 points a game. He leads the team in rebounding (6.6) and blocks (1.3) per game, and is fifth in the Canada West conference with 2.86 offensive rebounds per contest. For Joe, he’s just doing his job and playing his role.

It’s this authentic humility, a quiet confidence, which has made him a great fit at Trinity Western, and will also make him a great coach one day. The human kinetics major would love to influence younger players in the same way that he has been taught.

“I’ve been coached since I was in grade one, and every one of my coaches have shown to be really good role models,” he says. “They’ve demonstrated a positive model of how I want to live my life, and for me that’s something that I’m trying to become. I really respect what they’ve contributed for my life, and if I can have the chance to do that for some kids, that’s really what I’m trying to go for.”
Joe got his first chance to coach high school kids last summer as a counselor at an AIA camp, and is looking forward to more opportunities like that in his future. In his past, Vroom has a pretty good player when he was in high school. He helped Abbotsford Christian win the Single A high school championship, and when it was time to pick a place to play college ball, he loved what he saw at TWU.

“They really focus on character development,” says Joe. “The kind of person and the kind of player they take into the program really attracted me to come here. To be able to play with the guys I get to play with on the team, it’s been really positive for me and I enjoy it.”

He’ll finally get a chance to enjoy playing with two teammates in particular this second semester. Brouwer and Verhoeff look to be healthy, and under interim coach Pat Lee, Joe will even get to do something different things on the court, sometimes moving from the post to the perimeter.

“I think I’ll be playing more outside. I’ll have to start working on my three ball,” laughs Joe. “I like playing outside, so I think it will be a good adjustment.”

There it is again, another understatement from a guy who epitomizes what it means to be a Spartan, and to be successful in Canada West basketball. That’s a cliché we just can’t see use enough.


Last Updated: 2008-04-25
Author: Jeff Kilpatrick

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