This archived article was written by: Shala Pitchforth
Standing at a towering six foot ten inches tall, Vander Joaquim is all business on the basketball court. Considering his skill, it may be a huge surprise to many to hear that Vander has been playing basketball for only seven years.
Before playing basketball, Joaquim enjoyed other sports, such as soccer. He grew up not really having an interest in the sport that would eventually bring him from Angola, Africa to Price, Utah. Basketball did not come natural to him. Joaquim says, “No, I was terrible! But I had a coach who helped me.” He also stated that when he first started to play, he wasn’t very tall for his age and that advantage shot up later.
Joaquim is originally from Luanda, Angola which is located on the Coast of Africa. Vander has been in America for three and a half years now, and says that at times he does really miss home. Comparing his hometown to Price, Utah, is like comparing apples to oranges. Luanda has a very hot, humid climate and a population of almost five million. Staying in Price is significantly different while it is covered in snow and has a small-town feel. Joaquim has made the best of the culture-shock situation and is able to face everyday with a positive attitude and humor.
English is his second language. While this could discourage some, Joaquim works very hard in school and enjoys meeting new people of all kinds.
In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies. His favorite type of movies to watch are action because he states, “They’re the only ones that keep me awake.” He also thoroughly enjoys swimming and can be seen at times at the Price Wave Pool, towering over the waves.
While walking around campus there is no doubt that Vander Joaquim is a post player and the “big man” on the court. Teammate Terrance Joyner stated that not only is Vander great under the basket but that, “he has very soft hands and great range on his jump shot. He can defend under the basket and then jump out and shoot a three.” Joaquim is definitely a good man to have around, on and off the court.
His advice to other young boys who want to become college athletes is, “Make sure to work hard in school, and practice hard in basketball too.”