Men’s basketball: Graduate student Tydus Verhoeven looks to make an impact while earning his second masters

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Tydus Verhoeven. The graduate transfer from UTEP will likely play a big role for the Cats this season.

Paloma Leone-Getten, Reporter

Northwestern’s newest transfer has passions that extend far beyond the basketball court.

After a year at Duquesne University and another three seasons at the University of Texas at El Paso, graduate student and forward Tydus Verhoeven joined the Wildcats for his final year of NCAA eligibility. After earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in sociology from UTEP, Verhoeven is currently completing a master’s in sports administration at NU. 

Verhoeven’s basketball career has already seen success. From his first season in El Paso to his last, Verhoeven increased his playing time from 395 minutes to 781. He also finished with a 0.552 career field goal percentage, higher than both UTEP’s team average in 2021-22 and the NCAA’s leader in this stat, Gonzaga University. 

The Daily spoke to Verhoeven about his academic interests, basketball career and hopes for his final NCAA season with the Cats.

This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

The Daily: What drew you to NU in terms both of athletics and academics?

Verhoeven: The opportunity to play in the Big Ten. Also, the pedigree here with Coach (Chris) Collins. They have a great thing going here and I wanted to be a part of that and hopefully make it better. Also, of course, the academic side. (I’m) going for my second master’s at NU. 

The Daily: So you’ve studied sociology and sports administration, and then you also have this interest in history and anthropology. Where did these interests come from?

Verhoeven: A broad spectrum. As a kid, I loved history and then that flourished into anthropology (and) just working with all different types of people, their cultures, their histories. (I) figured that’d be a good thing to get a master’s in. And then, sports administration. Why not? (I) figured, being an athlete, I always could have a future in sports.

The Daily: Throughout your undergraduate and graduate career, what has been a highlight in the classroom and on the court for you?

Verhoeven: In the classroom, (it was) participating in some studies at UTEP. I was able to get out in the field for anthropology, as well as sociology. (It) was really fun working with the community of El Paso, all the different cultures, especially being on the borderline. It’s a very unique anthropological setting. On the court, so far, it’s probably playing in the postseason last year with UTEP. (It) was my first time playing postseason basketball in the Basketball Classic. It was a unique setting and something I want to bring here.

The Daily: You mentioned time in the field. Was that ever hard to schedule around basketball at UTEP?

Verhoeven: Oh, don’t get me started. You’ve got to love going up to the coach’s office and being like, “I might be a little late for practice.” And they’re like, “Oh, why?” “Well, I’ll be out in the field working at this organization or this foundation.” It was a challenge in college (with) very different interests, but I was able to make it work. 

The Daily: Is there anything you’ve learned in a classroom setting, in all of those different subjects, that has translated on the court or in practice?

Verhoeven: Adaptability. Working as an anthropologist, when you’re in the field, you have to know your ethics, you have to know your protocol, but at the same time, you have to be quick on your feet. And that carries over to basketball. Basketball is such a fast-paced sport, you have to be quick on your feet, you have to make quick decisions. So that ability to (do) improv basically, on the spot, that’s huge. 

The Daily: Do you feel like the postseason experience at UTEP has helped set you up here for a leadership role?

Verhoeven: Absolutely. I mean, when you play postseason basketball, it’s just a different feel. (It’s) something you have to participate in (to understand). I feel like, just participating last year, it changed me as a player (and) my mindset. So that’s something I want to really bring back here because this is a great program they have here, everything’s going right for them. We just have to get over that hump. 

The Daily: What are you most looking forward to this season?

Verhoeven: Of course, playing, putting on the Northwestern jersey, all of that. (I’m) really looking forward to playing games, finally. When you’re this old, you just want to play games. But also, just experiencing Big Ten basketball. And getting a second master’s is a pretty good story, too.

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