Baylee Vanderdoes is no longer just Big Eddie’s little sister. She’s blazing her own trail for the Hillmen.
By MATTHEW KIMEL | Contribtor
There’s another Vanderdoes doing big things at Placer High in Auburn.
But this one doesn’t sack quarterbacks. And she doesn’t have a burger named after her — yet.
Her name’s Baylee. She is a 6-foot-1 junior post and the little sister of former Hillmen star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, who is currently playing football on scholarship at UCLA.
While Eddie rules the trenches on the gridiron, Baylee makes her mark on the hardwood floor. She’s a shot-blocking, rebound-grabbing, high-scoring force to be reckoned with in and out of the paint.
The three-year varsity hoopster is putting up double digits in the point column on nearly a nightly basis, including a 15-game stretch that lasted from early December until the end of January.
“She’s improving every game,” Hillmen coach Tony Camillucci said of Vanderdoes, who made strides during the offseason playing for the Just Believe Sports travel team against top-notch competition in Georgia, Oregon, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. “She’s working hard and doing the little things that are helping her get more points, like following her shots and attacking for rebounds.
“She broke her pinky three weeks before the season started on her shooting hand. It affected her early but she’s starting to get her shooting touch back.”
Vanderdoes is currently connecting on about 32 percent of her 3-pointers and 76 percent of her free throws.
In a Pioneer Valley League game at Center-Antelope on Jan. 23, she went off for a season-high 25 points, draining 13 of 15 foul shots. She’s averaging three blocks a game, rejecting six shots in a single outing three times this year, and has posted four double-doubles on the season.
Vanderdoes dropped 21 points on Jan. 28 against Lincoln, helping the Hillmen jump out to a promising 4-0 start in PVL play.
Camillucci has enjoyed coaching Vanderdoes for the past three years, noticing improvement in her shooting, footwork on defense and maturity on and off the court. He says her work ethic is always getting better, too.
“She’s a nice kid,” the veteran Hillmen coach said. “She really enjoys playing the game and she’s a nice teammate. She has a good time with it. She takes it seriously and works hard in the offseason but she has fun playing and enjoys the game. She’s fun to be around.”
Vanderdoes currently leads the PVL in scoring and swats. She’s fifth in rebounds, coming up with an average of 7.7 a game.
She credits her fellow Hillmen for her statistical success.
“It’s a team effort,” she said. “It’s not like I grab the ball and go coast to coast. We have great guards this year. Maddy Hernandez, Sidney Wegener, Amber Birchell and Raven Lewis are amazing. Raven is a sophomore and the youngest on the team and is showing up a lot.”
Vanderdoes said Placer’s goal for the 2014-15 campaign is to take the PVL crown. The Hillmen, who see Colfax and Lincoln as their toughest competition but never count Bear River-Grass Valley out, settled for third place last year in a three-way tie after going 5-5 in league play.
“We’re confident but not overconfident,” Vanderdoes said of this year’s squad. “We know that we need to work.
“We’re playing really well. We started league off great. We have chemistry and we’re clicking. In the preseason, we weren’t clicking in games. As soon as we started scrimmaging more in practice, we started to mesh together.”
Like her brother, Vanderdoes is attracting attention from college coaches across the country. Just not to the same magnitude as Eddie, whose recruitment process is well-documented.
“It’s nothing like football, for sure,” Baylee’s father, Eddie, said of the women’s college basketball recruiting process. “It’s not as cutthroat. The level of recruiting is different. Things went bonkers with Eddie.
“The getting down to the nuts and bolts about learning about schools without visiting them — it has helped that they know we’ve been around the block. We’ve dealt with nothing but really great people. It also helps that they know the level of recruitment that Eddie went through. Basketball is more low-key.”
Baylee, who is interested in majoring in communications or history, already has offers from Florida Atlantic, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, San Diego State, University of San Francisco, UNLV and Utah State, while Santa Clara, Fresno State and others are expressing interest.
A school with Placer ties has also been keeping tabs on Vanderdoes.
Gonzaga, whose head coach Lisa Mispley Fortier played under Camillucci at Placer, has attended multiple Hillmen practices this season. Ironically, Fortier’s assistant is her husband, Craig, a Placer alumnus who played for current Hillmen boys basketball coach Mark Lee.
Vanderdoes is also getting mail from plenty of other universities on a daily basis.
“Not as much as Eddie,” she said, laughing.
Added her dad: “The amount of mail that (my son) got, the mailman thought it was funny. We finally met him and now he’s thinking the same thing. (Baylee’s) getting mail every day. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next year.”
Baylee’s excited about competing at the next level — it’s something she’s been preparing for since the third grade when her grandfather, Bernhard Peat, first got her hooked on hoops.
Like his grandchildren, Peat is also rather athletic. He played basketball professionally in Germany for nearly 20 years after suiting up for the Hillmen in his high school days.
Baylee and Peat play 1-on-1 occasionally. But the result is always the same. “I can’t beat grandpa,” she said. “But it’s nice having him coach me in the off-weeks.”
Can Baylee beat her 6-foot-4, 305-pound big brother when he comes home from school on vacation?
“I stopped playing Eddie 1-on-1,” she said. “He tries to dunk on me and plays way too seriously. He doesn’t want to get beaten by his little sister.”
One thing Eddie can boast about to Baylee in a sibling rivalry kind of way is that he’s graced the front cover of SportStars Magazine. In 2012, Eddie, nicknamed “The Floor Safe,” had a photo shoot for this magazine with a — wait for it — floor safe rolled out to the grass of Placer High’s LeFebvre Stadium.
Baylee still has one more year at Placer.
And if she has things her way, a floor safe might be visiting historic Earl Crabbe Gym for a photo shoot next year — just so she can even the score with Big Eddie.
SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.