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Jens 1,000

Alek Wolfe, Assistant Editor

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Most athletes at BFA work hard at playing their sport. Whether it be on ice, snow, or the court, the aim is to play the game or sport at the highest level possible.

Many of BFA’s athletes have been playing sports since they could walk. One of these athletes is on the BFA Bobwhite Varsity Basketball team, and his name is Jens Ulrich-Verderber (‘18).

Ulrich-Verderber is no stranger to the sport of basketball. It is a sport that has run through two generations of his family.

“A lot of it was my dad and my family. My dad played at the University of Kentucky and also played professionally in Spain. I learned a lot of my basketball skills from him. He was a big influence, along with the rest of my family,” Ulrich-Verderber said.

Ulrich-Verderber has been on the BFA Varsity basketball team since his freshman year.

“It was all a learning curve for me because I’ve never played at that level before. The game is elevated in the varsity level so I had to work out a lot,” Ulrich-Verderber said.

However, with every sport, comes a major rival. The BFA Bobwhite basketball team is no different. The Bobwhites have been playing neighboring school Missisquoi Valley Union (MVU) for a very long time, and on Feb. 2, the two teams went head to head in front of a packed house at BFA.

“It’s always great to play MVU: it’s a great rival. I’ve always enjoyed playing them the most either going there or them coming here. And it never matters how they’re doing or how we’re doing, it’s always going to be a good game,” Ulrich-Verderber said.

But that night, there was something even more special about it than two teams coming together. Going into the contest, Ulrich-Verderber was 16 points away from making his 1000th varsity point. And in the third quarter, Jens went up to the 3 point line and shot the ball up to the rim to record the 1000th point in the books.

“When he came up as a freshman, he was strictly a back to the basket type of player so he was very limited in what he could do. I still thought he was a great player, but the way he’s transformed his body physically and his game over the past four years has been really impressive. We’re all proud of him to get that mile stone here against MVU,” Matt Toof, BFA Bobwhite Varsity coach, said.

Coach Toof has been coaching since 2015, and he has worked with Ulrich-Verderber his whole varsity career.

“A lot of people that come to the games see that he is a big kid, that he can score inside, he can score outside, and I think that we know that he loves basketball but he is a straight A student. He cares a lot about his academics. He works really hard both on the court and in the gym. He gets the most minutes on the team because he is a great player but he can also physically do that because he does a lot of work in the off season. He can physically handle it,” Toof said.

Fans in the stands showed their support for Ulrich-Verderber by holding signs in the crowd that said, “BFA, 1000.” The clock was stopped during the game and Ulrich-Verderber was joined on the court by his mom and dad to celebrate the moment.

“It was really special, I know how hard Jens has worked and put in the time. It just doesn’t come without putting in the time, and I know that meant so much to him and it was a high point for me as a dad,” Dr. Chuck Verderber said.

“Dr. Chuck,” like his son, grew up playing basketball.  In his case, it was often with his two older brothers. Now, a second generation in the family, Ulrich-Verderber continues to carry on the tradition of basketball by not only playing in regular season games but playing with his cousins and other family members in his free time.

“It’s been a long standing family tradition. We’re very competitive; every time we go to my mom’s, the boys and Jens always play basketball when they are together,” Dr. Chuck said.

Ulrich-Verdeber joins an elite group of male basketball players in Vermont who have scored 1,000 points or over, as the ninth BFA Bobwhite to do so. (http://vbca.info)

Bobwhite Darren Callen’s career topped out at 1,077 points in 2013, and he was the last Bobwhite to earn this distinction until Ulrich-Verdeber on Feb. 2.  

The top Bobwhite on the state list is Matt Johnson, who played from 1984 to 1987.  Johnson’s career scoring total was a whopping 2,121.  That is among the highest ever attained in Vermont high school history.

With only a few games left in the regular season, Ulrich-Verdeber has already gained his place in the record books. Only time will tell where his BFA legacy will top out!

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