Belgian Lions: Our top five

Belgian Lions: Our top five after the bubble in Vilnius.

Retin Obasohan

He was the lion who roared loudest during this qualifying window. Obasohan has always been a great athlete, driving powerfully to the basket and sometimes finishing spectacularly.

Against the Czech Republic and Lithuania, Obasohan showed he has improved his previously iffy shot selection. He follows in the footsteps of the natural leader of the Lions, Sam Van Rossom.

Alex Libert

One of four point guards on the Lions roster, Libert is in a hell of a fight to make it to EuroBasket 2022.

Perhaps the most underrated player donning the red and black, his games against the Czech Republic and Lithuania proved once again you can’t count him out, even with competition as fierce as Van Rossom and Tabu.

Jean-Marc Mwema

The Belgian Lions came out with the right attitude and mentality. That’s the work of the whole team, including the coaching staff. On the court Jean-Marc Mwema is the natural extension of  Gjergja-Foucart-Wilmot.  Given the absence of Van Rossom (34), De Zeeuw (33), Tabu (35), Jean-Marc Mwema, who turns 31 this week, was the oldest player of this team.

He led by example throughout both games, helping out on defense, doing the little things (think: deflections!), and being very unselfish – Mwema loves the extra pass. To top it all off, he didn’t miss a single shot in the first game. 

Hans Vanwijn

Belgium was a whopping +25 with Vanwijn on the court against the Czech republic. He ran a masterclass on both sides of the ball during the second half of that game, finishing alley-oops, posting up and running the floor.

Vanwijn’s trade to the French competition helped him raise his game, even during COVID. He couldn’t repeat his performance against Lithuania as he got into foul trouble and couldn’t find his rhythm. 

Kevin Tumba

Why the heck is Tumba in this list? Let me explain: his presence under the basket is still vital. We still need his inches and power, even if in today’s game the center position is dying. The Belgian Lions can’t solve everything with team defense.

During EuroBasket, we will face teams with a dominant seven-footer under the basket. They still exist. Remember Marjanovic of Serbia during the EC in 2017. In my point of view, to have success during an EC, you will need one player (not two or three) capable of defending a back-to-the-basket titan. In that regard, it was good to see Tumba, the only real center we have, – we will see if Boukichou can relaunch his career with coach Crèvecoeur in France – doing his job (most of the time) against big men Balvin and Birutis.

Maarten Weynants

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