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Belgian Student-Athletes in the USA (2021-’22) (16/1/2022 Update)

Much like each year we again have a nice amount of talented Belgian youngsters who have decided to continue their athletic and academic development across the ocean in the United States. In this overview we’ll list all the players we’re aware of and give you an idea on how they’re performing on the courts this season. If you know of any other Belgian youngsters who are currently studying and playing basketball in the States, please let us know so we can add him to our watch-list.

NCAA:

Noel Coleman – 1m85 – G – Hawai’i (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 10 games, 17.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.7 spg (28.9 mpg), 7-3 record

The Leopoldsburg native Noel Coleman is already in his 5th year in the USA, after initially making the step back in 2017 when he joined Sunrise Christian Academy. After 2 solid years at the academy Coleman received a scholarship and joined San Diego in the NCAA. His first season with San Diego wasn’t a big success however as he saw limited playing time with only 9.4 mpg in which he scored 2.4 ppg. It was no surprise then that in the summer of 2020 he decided to transfer to Hawaii (NCAA) where he’s now in his second year as a sophomore. The move to Hawaii has clearly payed off as his numbers saw a significant increase last year with 19.8 mpg, averaging 5.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg & 1.1 apg. This season the athletic left-handed guard has really exploded on the scene, recording his best numbers of his collegiate career so far. In a loss at Vanderbilt (22/12) he went off for a season- and college career-high 31 points on 12-19 FG shooting, including 6-10 from behind the arc. Over the course of the season he is so far shooting an excellent 47.7% from three-point range.

Toumani Camara – 2m03 – F – Dayton (USA – NCAA) :

Stats : 17 games, 10.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 bpg (26.8 mpg), 11-6 record

Probably the most talented Belgian youngster in the USA at the moment is Toumani Camara who first moved to the States in 2017 when he joined Chaminade-Madonna Prep. In 2 seasons with them Camara made a name for himself, averaging a double-double in both seasons. He also shined on the AAU circuit and became a top-100 recruit when he graduated High School. In 2019 he then received a scholarship from Georgia (NCAA) where he regularly fought his way into the starting line-up in his first season, averaging 6.6 ppg & 4.3 rpg (in 24.0 mpg). Last year – his second at Georgia – he turned it up a notch, became the undisputed starting forward and almost doubled his stats to 12.8 ppg & 7.7 rpg, while also adding 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg & 1.1 bpg (in 28.5 mpg) for an excellent all-rounded performance. This past off-season Camara then decided to test the waters elsewhere and joined Dayton where he is so far producing very similar numbers in the early going of the season. He opened the season with a very nice 15 pts & 10 rebs double-double in the win against UIC. He recorded another Double-Double in the win against Southern U. when he recorded 13 pts & 12 rebs in 28 minutes of action.

Steven Verplancken – 1m93 – PG – Southern Illinois (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 17 games, 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 apg (31.5 mpg), 10-7 record

The Belgian youngster with Dominican roots (he has played for the Dominican Republic U18 National Team) went to the States when he joined Teays Valley Christian High School back in 2016. After graduating High School he then moved to Glenville State (NCAA 2nd Division) where he exploded and became a much-sought after recruit for Division 1 schools after averaging 16.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.1 apg & 1.1 spg in 31.9 mpg. In the summer of 2020 he then accepted a scholarship from Southern Illinois and transferred to the D1 school where he’s now in his second season. Although his overall stats are definitely very solid Verplancken has been somewhat inconsistent as their starting Guard. His best game so far has come in the win at Colorado when he went off for 18 points on 7-10 FG shooting. I have no doubt that he will regain his usual form and will continue to put down these type of performances throughout the rest of the season.

Ajay Mitchell – 1m92 – PG – UC Santa Barbara (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 13 games, 7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.0 spg (29.6 mpg), 7-6 record

Another talented young Belgian guard who went to the States this past off-season is Ajay Mitchell. Despite having his place in the Belgian First Division as a professional player with a contract on the table waiting to be signed, Mitchell decided to savor the college experience first and accepted a scholarship to join the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. So far it certainly seems like he’s making the most of it as he’s averaging very solid numbers in the early-going of the season, despite coming off the bench. In his college debut he recorded 11 points and 5 assists and helped his team to the win against San Francisco State. A nice way to start your collegiate career and a clear sign of many more good things to come. In a win against Ark.-Pine Bluff Mitchell dished out a season-high 10 assists to go along with his 7 points. He scored a season-high of 15 points in a loss at Long Beach State (13/01) on 6-12 FG shooting. Gifted with plenty of natural ability and work-ethic (thanks mom & dad), these upcoming years in college might very well mold the youngster into a legitimate NBA prospect. We’re certainly rooting for him.

Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk – 2m03 – PF – Illinois (USA – NCAA) :

Stats : 14 games, 1.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.9 apg (7.4 mpg), 11-3 record

It has been tough going so far for the strong forward Bosmans-Verdonk who first moved to the States in 2019 with a scholarship at Illinois. Now already in his third year with them, actually playing has been a rare occasion for Bosmans-Verdonk as he appeared in only 17 games in his first 2 years combined due to injury issues. Things appear to be looking up for him so far this season though as he hasn’t missed a game yet (knock on wood). And clearly Bosmans-Verdonk hasn’t wasted his previous seasons either but has used that time to seriously bulk up his frame. Something which is showing on the court in his tenacity on the boards. Despite still playing limited minutes he has already recorded 2 games with 10 rebs. His best outing so far came in the win against Arkansas State where he finished with 8 points & 10 rebounds in only 12 minutes of action off the bench. His minutes have dropped significantly since the new year though, only playing a total of 12 minutes in his final 4 games.

Stephan Dibongue Swenson – 1m88 – PG – Stetson (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 4 games, Stats: 17 games, 4.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.2 spg (24.9 mpg), 7-10 record

Stéphan Dibongue Swenson is another Belgian guard who has found his place in the NCAA after initially moving to the States in 2018 to join Westminster Academy High School. His performances there have gained him a scholarship with Stetson where he is now in his second year. Last year the true play-maker averaged very solid numbers with 4.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.9 apg & 1.1 spg in 23.3 mpg playing time. So far in the early going of his second year at Stetson he has slightly increased those numbers, although his outside shooting is below his usual form with only 26.1 % shooting on his threes. His shooting woes haven’t stopped him from being the starting Point Guard for Stetson though and he continues to excel at his play-making, leading the team in assists with 5.1 apg.

Sam Hofman – 1m96 – SF – Houston Baptist (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 14 games, 8.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg (24.9 mpg), 4-10 record

Sam Hofman has been in the States since 2019 when he received a scholarship with Detroit Mercy (NCAA). Unfortunately he received very little playing time in his freshman year as he only averaged 1.7 ppg & 1.2 rpg in 7.5 mpg and decided to take a step back the following year as he moved to Salt Lake CC (NJCAA) for the 2020-’21 season. It proved a good move as he had very solid numbers with them and helped them to a 20-5 record over the season, averaging 6.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg & 0.9 apg. Solid enough for him to get another D1 offer, this time from Houston Baptist. His hard work on both ends of the floor have solidified him into the starting line-up and he’s gradually increasing his output. He recently recorded a season-high 22 points on 9-15 FG shooting in the loss against Southeastern La. He’s shooting a very solid 38.6% from behind the three-point arc and 61.9% on his 2pt attempts.

Aubin Gateretse – 2m05 – C – Stetson (USA – NCAA):

Stats: 10 games, 3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg & 0.8 bpg (10.8 mpg), 4-6 record

This past year big man Gateretse made the step abroad to join Miami Triple Threat Prep, hoping to earn himself a scholarship at an NCAA school. Mission accomplished and this season Gateretse teams-up with Stephan Dibongue Swenson at Stetson. His playing time so far has been fairly limited with only 12.5 mpg coming off the bench but Gateretse has still managed to show his skills and I’m convinced his numbers will rise as the season progresses. He had his best game of the season so far in the win against Johnson (FL) (13/12) when he finished with 12 pts and added 7 rebs and 3 blks, all season-highs.

Gilles Dekoninck – 1m96 – G/F – UTEP (USA – NCAA) :

Stats : 3 games, 0.7 rpg (1.7 mpg), 3-0 record

Gilles Dekoninck first moved to the States back in 2016 when he joined renowned Huntington Prep and managed to get himself noticed by D1 schools, joining Fresno State the following year. After one year at Fresno State Dekoninck then transferred to UTEP where he’s currently in his 4th year. Playing time however has been hard to come by for the left-handed shooter throughout his college career and this year he has so far only appeared in 3 games, playing 5 minutes in total. Hopefully the youngster can get himself back in the rotation in the time he has left at UTEP.

NCAA2:

Darnell Snyers – 1m83 – PG – North Georgia (USA – NCAA2):

Stats: 15 games, 6.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg (26.5 mpg), 11-4 record

Darnell Snyers had his first experience abroad in 2017 when he joined Combine Academy where he managed to showcase his skills and got himself a scholarship at North Georgia (NCAA2) where he’s now in his 4th year. It took him no time at all to establish himself as the starting guard for his squad and he still remains so, even though his numbers this season have dropped compared to his previous years. He had his best outing so far in the season-opener when he dropped 14 points and helped his squad to the win against North Greenville.

Nicolas Dierynck – 1m91 – F – Erskine College (USA – NCAA2):

Stats: 10 games, 1.8 ppg, 0.4 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.2 spg (5.8 mpg), 0-10 record

Nicolas Dierynck has been around in the States for quite some time now as he initially made the move back in 2016 when he joined Lee Academy High School. The following year he then joined Lindenwood-Belleville (NAIA) and then transferred to Cuesta CC (NJCAA). With almost no playing-time at Cuesta, Dierynck went back on the move, this time joining Central Maine (NJCAA) where he finally got to show what he’s capable of, averaging 13.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 apg & 0.9 spg in 25.8 mpg. His solid season got him another offer and on he went, this time headed to Glenville State (NCAA2) only to find himself back on the wrong end of the bench (2.8 mpg). This year he has now settled down at Erskine (NCAA2) but his minutes remain very limited. He had his best outing in the season-opener with 8 points in the loss against Limestone. Dierynck has now left the school and signed a contract with Cantbasket 04 in the Spanish EBA.

Gilles Vrancken – 1m73 – PG – Erskine (USA – NCAA2):

Stats: n/a

Gilles Vrancken comes from Liège Basket where he was competing in the Regional team when he got the chance to go to The States and join Combine Academy. After his solid performances at Combine he was given a spot at Erskine (NCAA2) where he joined the team in January 2022 and will now try to find his spot in the rotation.

Omar Thielemans – 2m01 – SF – Glenville State (USA – NCAA2):

Stats: 9 games, 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.1 apg (9.0 mpg), 4-5 record

Another Belgian youngster that has seen his fair share of different schools is Omar Thielemans, who left for the States back in 2018 when he received a scholarship from Arizona (NCAA). He never actually suited up for Arizona though as he decided to leave the program before the season even started. He was then announced by several other schools but ended up not playing for any of them. The following year Thielemans was then picked up by South Plains (NJCAA) but received very limited playing time with only 6.4 mpg. This past season we finally got to see Thielemans back in action after another transfer. This time to Polk State (NJCAA) where he played 21 games and averaged 4.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg & 1.0 apg in 13.5 mpg. Enough for him to get himself yet another transfer, this time to Glenville State (NCAA2). After a decent start of the season his playing time has again suffered a serious dip and he hasn’t reached 10 minutes of playing time in his last 6 games.

NCAA3:

Mickael Eluki – 1m85 – PG – Castleton (USA – NCAA3):

Stats: 1 game, 2 pts, 4 rebs, 1 ast (7 mins),

The native from Brussels has joined Castleton University this year after a season at Combine Academy. So far he has only played 1 game for Castleton, a win against SUNY Cobleskill where he played 7 minutes and scored 2 points, while also grabbing 4 rebounds.

NJCAA:

Tom Mark – 1m98 – F – Eastern Wyoming (USA – NJCAA):

Stats: 13 games, 13.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg & 2.2 bpg (23.9 mpg), 6-7 record

The athletic all-rounded forward Tom Mark made the move to the States last year when he joined the number 1 ranked Salt Lake CC (NJCAA), teaming-up with Sam Hofman. Unfortunately for Mark it turned out a real short-lived debut in the States as he suffered an injury in the season-opener and remained sidelined throughout the season, eventually only playing in 2 games. This season Mark has gotten himself a fresh start as he transferred to Eastern Wyoming and is showcasing his tremendous skills, leading his team in scoring, rebounds and blocks. So far he has already recorded 6 Double-Doubles, including a 24 pts, 11 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stls & 2 blks performance in the win against Real Salt Lake Prep. If he keeps this up I have no doubt Mark will find himself on a D1 school in no time.

Allen Mukeba – 2m00 – PF – Colby CC (USA – NJCAA) :

Stats : 15 games, 13.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.3 bpg (25.3 mpg), 11-4 record

Allen Mukeba left Spirou Charleroi in 2020 to join Golden State Prep for his first experience in the USA. After graduation he was now ready to start his collegiate career and joined Colby CC (NJCAA) where he is putting down impressive numbers here in the early going and has helped them to a 11-4 record. He has already recorded 4 Double-Doubles this season including a 25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals & 1 block performance in 26 minutes of action against Dodge City. Over the season he is currently shooting a very impressive 71.1% on his 2pt attempts. Much like Tom Mark, I clearly expect Mukeba to find his way on a D1 school very soon.

Alan Dibongue Swenson – 1m83 – PG – Northwest (USA – NJCAA) :

Stats : 15 games, 5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.0 spg (22.6 mpg), 9-6 record

The older brother of Stephan, Alan Dibongue Swenson is also playing collegiate basketball in the States as he moved to Northwest (NJCAA) in 2019. Much like his younger brother he’s also a true play-maker and has led his team in passing in each of his three seasons so far. This season he’s also being a nightmare for opposing ball-handlers as he’s averaging a team-leading 2.0 steals per game. He had his best overall game so far this season in an Overtime loss at W. Nebraska when he finished with 16 points (season-high), 2 rebs, 5 asts & 7 stls (season-high) in 47 minutes of action. He has also recorded a Double-Double this season when he went for 10 points & 10 rebounds in the win at Miles CC. His best passing performance so far came in the loss at Lamar when he dished out 9 assists to go along with his 10 points.

Manu Musemena – 1m90 – PG – Mineral Area CC (USA – NJCAA):

Stats: 17 games, 5.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 13-4 record

Manu Musemena left Gistel-Oostende in 2020 to get his first experience abroad at Mineral Area CC and had a very solid first year with them. Now in his second year at Mineral Area he started off strong, scoring in double-figures in the first 2 games of the season, with a season-high 15 points in the season-opening win against Lake Land. His numbers then dipped significantly and he lost his spot in the starting line-up. He’s now slowly fighting his way back into the starting-five and has added 2 more games of double-figure scoring in the wins against Southern Arkansas Tech (11 pts) and Southeastern Illinois (10 pts).

Noah Anthony Boffel Baka – 1m82 – PG – Clarendon (USA – NJCAA):

Stats: n/a

Noah Boffel left Spirou Charleroi in 2020 when he signed on with Combine Academy HS where he graduated this past year. In July this year he accepted a spot at Clarendon (NJCAA) as a walk-on and hopes to get himself into the rotation. So far this season, he hasn’t played any minutes for them yet.

NAIA:

Alan Kikwaki – 2m01 – F – Dakota Wesleyan (USA – NAIA):

Stats: 15 games, 5.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg (17.3 mpg), 7-8 record

Alan Kikwaki left United Basket Woluwe behind in 2017 for his first experience in the States as he joined Iowa Lakes CC (NJCAA) where he remained for 2 years. In his second year at Iowa Lakes he put down very solid numbers with 9.6 ppg & 5.1 rpg, which got him a scholarship at Southeastern Oklahoma State (NCAA2) for the 2020-’21 season. Unfortunately for him he very rarely came off the bench at SE Oklahoma State playing only 4.7 mpg in a total of 10 games. This past summer he was therefore on the lookout for a new school and was eventually picked up by Dakota Wesleyan where he’s again enjoying solid playing-time so far this season. He had his best outing so far in an Overtime loss against Valley City State when he scored 18 points on 6-7 FG shooting.

HS/Academy:

Nathan Missia-Dio – 1m98 – F – Team Overtime (USA – OTE/HS):

After 2 seasons in the French Espoirs league with Limoges, the talented forward Nathan Missia-Dio has made his way to the States as he was picked up by OTE academy. Overtime Elite is a newly launched academy/League that has assembled the top High School players in the States and some international talents as well and is paying them like professional players. Coached and trained by former NBA players such as Kevin Ollie and Ryan Gomes the goal is to get these young men prepared for the NBA by putting them in an NBA-like environment. Daily rigorous training sessions and games are followed up by photo shoot sessions, media events and camera’s following their every move. The future will decide if the new league will be successful and if Missia-Dio will be able to enjoy its benefits.

Vic De Wilde – 2m00 – G/F – SPIRE Academy (Cleveland):

Another Belgian youngster that has joined a well-known academy to further develop his individual skills is Vic De Wilde. The nephew of Ann Wauters has gone through the Elite Academy of Joerik Michiels and then signed with Filou Oostende before getting an opportunity at SPIRE academy where he joined on August 18th and will remain until the end of March. De Wilde is a talented left-handed shooter who can also take it strong to the basket.

Guillaume Bogaert – 1m85 – PG – McCallie Tennessee (USA – HS) :

Guillaume Bogaert has left the youth ranks of Filou Oostende to join McCallie Tennessee High School where he hopes to get the attention of D1 schools and further develop his game.

Osahon Obasohan – PG – 1m93 – The Skill Factory (USA – Prep):

The younger brother of Retin Obasohan is attempting to follow in his brother’s footsteps and has made the move to the USA this past summer to sign up with The Skill Factory Academy (TSF) to further develop his game and hopefully draw the attention of D1 colleges. Osahon has previously played for Elite Academy and Red Vic Wilrijk in Belgium and much like his brother he’s a gifted and talented athlete with a lot of upside. I’m curious to see how far he can take it.

Lex Van den Bergh – 1m83 – PG – Combine Academy (USA – Post Grad):

Lex Van den Bergh is another youngster that has had his development at the Elite Academy in Antwerp and has now made the step abroad to join Combine Academy (Post Grad) in search of a scholarship at a (hopefully) major college.

Douglas Ntesa – 1m83 – PG – Veritas Academy (USA – Prep):

Douglas Ntesa is another young Belgian Point Guard that has found his way across the ocean in search to develop his game further. The youngster – who has also been a two-time member of the Belgian U16 National Team competing at the EuroBasket tournament – has started his basketball career at Anderlecht at 7 years old before moving to United Basket Woluwe where he moved up to the Belgian third division. This season he has gone to Veritas Academy in Orlando to hopefully earn himself a scholarship at a good university.

Martin Vandam – Combine Academy (USA – Post Grad):

Martin Vandam left JS Luttre this past summer to join a large group of Belgian players at Combine Academy in North Carolina where he competes in the Post Grad class, hoping to draw the attention from US colleges.

José Antonio Martinez Tejero – Combine Academy (USA – Post Grad):

José Martinez comes over from Royal IV Brussels to join Combine Academy in the hopes of drawing the attention of US colleges.

Chris Smekens – Combine Academy (USA – Post Grad):

The 18 year old Chris Smekens comes over from United Basket Woluwe where he has competed these past 6 years to now move to the USA to join Combine Academy in the Post Grad class.

Max Postiglione – 1m93 – G – Lee Academy (USA):

The 18 year old Max Postiglione also comes over from United Basket Woluwe and joins Lee Academy this season thanks to European Gladiators Basketball.

Thorsten Cobbaut – Lee Academy (USA):

Thorsten Cobbaut comes over from Kangoeroes Mechelen and thanks to Overboarder joined Lee Academy in Maine for the season.

Alexis Smekens – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

The younger brother of Chris Smekens, Alexis Smekens has followed his brother to Combine Academy where the 14 year old will finish out his High School. He also comes over from United Basket Woluwe.

Ethan Nsiona – 1m88 – G – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

The 18 year old Ethan Nsiona Di Vunda has gone through BBC Brainois, the AWBB Academy and Spirou Charleroi to now join Combine Academy in North Caroline where he plays in their High School Global class.

Hugo Lefevre – 1m83 – G – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

Hugo Lefevre is another Belgian youngster that traded Spirou Charleroi for Combine Academy where he teams up with his fellow Belgian youngsters in the HS Global class.

Teo Fanelli Renson – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

Teo Fanelli Renson is another youngster that got in contact with the people at European Gladiators Basketball and moved to the States this year to join Combine Academy. Fanelli previously played for Spirou Charleroi and Mont-Sur-Marchienne.

Léo Arnould – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

16 year old Léo Arnould joins the Belgian legion at Combine Academy after having played these past couple of season at Liège Atlas.

Shemsedine Boughaleb – 1m93 – F – Combine Academy (USA – HS Global):

Shemsedine Boughaleb is a Dilbeek-native who comes over from Fresh Air Jette to join Combine Academy this season.

Hugo Lambert – 1m73 – PG – Combine Academy (USA – HS):

Another Belgian youngster that found his way to Combine Academy via European Gladiators Basketball is 18 year old Hugo Lambert. He previously played at Centre Gaume.

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