Our U16 Belgian Lions have finished their U16 European Championship (Div. B) in 5th place with an excellent 7-1 record. Here’s a little highlight reel of their tournament and below are my impressions of the players.
Staff: Yvan de Vreught & Pieter Pas (Raphael Allemand/Jacques Stas)
Thijs De Ridder was impressive throughout the tournament and earned himself a spot in the All-Tournament Team with his averages of 19.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.3 spg & 1.1 bpg in 24.8 mpg. Omni-present on the court and always in attack-mode De Ridder looks like a very promising prospect as a versatile forward who can play both inside and out. Recorded 2 double-doubles in the tournament and scored an impressive 31 pts in the win against the Czech Republic.
Joppe Mennes finished the tournament with 10.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 apg & 2.1 spg. Very efficient scorer inside the 3pt line and also has a decent outside shot although he is very inconsistent with it, ending up with only 27.3% shooting from behind the arc. Runs the floor well and got a whole lot of points and dunks on fastbreak opportunities that he frequently created himself. Recorded the 20 pts & 10 rebs double-double against Romania.
Jo Van Buggenhout recorded averages of 5.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.8 apg & 2.4 spg. Very solid and reliable Point Guard. Struggled with his finishing touch shooting in the lower 20’s (%) on his field-goals but displayed very good decision-making, excellent passing abilities and a flair in his ballhandling and passing that at times reminded me of Jason “White Chocolate” Williams. Was also a menace on the defensive end, leading Belgium in steals.
Sean Pouedet recorded 11.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg & 2.1 spg. Exciting Guard equally adept at creating for his teammates and for himself. Displayed excellent shooting, going for 44.4% from behind the arc and 81.3% on his FT’s. Solid athlete and high basketball IQ. Had 11 asts in the game against Great Britain and showed his scoring abilities against Finland when he finished with 20 pts on 7/11 FG shooting.
Samuel Swolfs averaged 7.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg & 1.0 apg. Along with Pouedet Swolfs provided most of the outside threat and showed to have a quick trigger off the catch. Exploded for 20 pts on 6/8 3pt shooting in the win against Great Britain.
Maarten Vandenbossche finished with 6.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg & 1.4 bpg. Our most established big man. Sturdy and reliable and always did his job on both ends of the floor. Provided a solid target in the paint for our guards to dish off to and showed to possess a solid mid-range jumper. Had his best game in the win against Finland when he scored 12 pts, grabbed 6 rebs and blocked 4 shots. Held his own in each game and was only outplayed in the loss against Montenegro by Vukcevic (just like the rest of our big men).
Douglas Ntesa finished with 6.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 apg & 1.4 spg in his 2nd U16 tournament. Solid athlete who proved to be tough to stop when going to the basket but at times still looks a bit clumsy in his actions. Has a decent outside shot when given time, but launched several air-balls when taking shots under pressure. Very tenacious and strong one-on-one defender. Was feeling it in the win against Great Britain when he scored 17 pts & added 6 rebs.
Jasper Unal played the role as backup Point Guard ending up with 5.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg & 2.8 apg. Started the tournament very strong with 14 pts & 4 asts in the win against Slovakia but slowed down a bit after that. Just like Van Buggenhout did a very solid, reliable job setting up the offense and although Unal lacks the flair of Van Buggenhout he did show nice flashes throughout the tournament in both his passing and his finishing around the rim.
Sander Bollen saw limited playing time with 10.4 mpg but still managed to average a solid 4.0 ppg & 3.9 rpg, showing good hustle on the boards and made himself nicely available underneath the basket for his driving teammates. Had his best game of the tournament in the win against Austria when he recorded the 11 pts & 11 rebs double-double.
Daniel Bula recorded averages of 5.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg & 1.5 apg. Played limited minutes but showed to be a strong one-on-one player who’s tough to stop when going to the basket. Had his best game in the win against Finland with 7 pts & 5 asts.
Nathan Missia-Dio at 14-years old our youngest player. Played limited minutes but definitely showed promising things as he averaged 4.1 ppg & 3.8 rpg in 10.6 mpg. Showed what he is capable of in the win against Austria when he scored 12 pts, grabbed 6 boards and blocked 2 shots.
Xander Vermeulen played very limited minutes as he averaged 1.7 ppg & 2.3 rpg in 7.5 mpg. When on the court the 7 footer looked like a typical youngster who still needs to ‘grow’ into his body and further develop his hand-eye-feet coördination.
Congratulations to all for a very solid tournament! The future of Belgian basketball looks bright.