Belgian Student/Athletes in the USA – 2023-’24 Season Overview

Ajay Mitchell going past his defender.
  • Ajay Mitchell – UC Santa Barbara (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 44.2
    • Season Stats: 29g, 19.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.4 bpg, 31.5 mpg
    • Season record: 16-13

Coming into the season the expectations were high for Ajay Mitchell and he did not disappoint as he led the team in scoring and assists and finished as the 3rd best scorer in the conference with his 19.9 ppg. He recorded 4 games in which he scored more than 30 points, including a career-high 39 points in a loss at UC Riverside on Dec. 30. For his performances throughout the year he was awarded with a selection to the Big West Conference First Team. The only question now remaining is whether Mitchell will decide to stay with UCSB for another year or if he will already declare for the NBA draft this upcoming summer.

  • Stéphan Dibongue Swenson – Stetson (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 32.6
    • Season Stats: 35g, 13.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 33.3 mpg
    • Season Record: 22-13

In his fourth season at Stetson Stéphan Dibongue Swenson continued to be an extraordinary floor general, while also stepping things up on the scoring end, averaging career-highs with 13.9 ppg & 5.8 apg. He scored a career-high 29 points on 2 occasions this year and also recorded 3 Double-Doubles. He helped his team to the A-Sun Championship and the NCAA Tournament where they were eliminated by UConn, despite his 20 points. Dibongue Swenson was selected to the A-Sun Conference Second Team and also to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team. It was recently announced that Dibongue Swenson will transfer out of Stetson and will join UCSB, either joining Ajay Mitchell or replacing him in the backcourt.

  • Aubin Gateretse – Stetson (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 29.9
    • Season Stats: 35g, 11.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.5 bpg, 24.1 mpg
    • Season Record: 22-13

In his third year at Stetson big man Aubin Gateretse really came into his own, dropping college career-highs in pretty much every aspect of the game. He excelled during the A-Sun Conference tournament, earning himself a selection to A-Sun All-Tournament Team as Stetson defeated Austin Peay to crown themselves as the A-Sun Champions. They also got a berth to the NCAA tournament where they were defeated in the first round by powerhouse UConn. Gateretse scored a career-high 26 points in a win vs. Milwaukee on Nov. 20 and recorded 8 Double-Doubles throughout the season, including a 13 pts & 17 rebounds performance against Coastal Georgia. Rumor has it that he will transfer out of Stetson this off-season but it’s still unclear where he’s going.

Noel Coleman attacking the basket
  • Noel Coleman – Hawaii (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 22.4
    • Season Stats: 34g, 13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 32.6 mpg
    • Season Record: 20-14

In his fourth and final year at Hawaii Noel Coleman continued to be a constant scoring threat, leading the team with his 13.6 ppg as he started all 34 of his games. He recorded a 31 points performance in an overtime win against UC Riverside on March. 2, tying his college career-high. He shot a solid 35.4% from behind the arc and 81.8% from the FT-line. His team reached the semi-finals of the Big West Conference tournament where they lost to UC Davis. Coleman also received a Big West Conference honorable mention.

  • Steven Verplancken – Weber State (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 14.8
    • Season Stats: 32g, 12.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.0 bpg, 32.9 mpg
    • Season Record: 20-12

In his second year at Weber State, Verplancken again recorded a very solid season as he finished as the team’s second best scorer behind Dillon Jones who led the conference in scoring and was selected the conference player of the year. Starting in all 32 of his games, Verplancken had his best performance of the season when he dropped 30 points in the loss at Sacramento State on Jan. 11, tying his college career-high. He shot a very solid 39% from behind the arc, while also netting his FT’s at 82.5%. Verplancken received a Big-Sky Honorable mention.

  • Sam Hofman – Temple (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 7.3
    • Season Stats: 36g, 5.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.1 bpg, 30.0 mpg
    • Season Record: 16-20

For his final year at college Hofman transferred to Temple where he immediately became a starter in 35 of his 36 total games played. With his hard work and hustle Hofman has certainly had a big impact on the court for Temple as he averaged 5.8 ppg & 5.7 rpg and helped them reach the American Athletic Conference Finals, where they lost to UAB. He had his best scoring output in a loss at VCU when he dropped 17 pts on 6-8 FG shooting, including 5-7 from behind the arc. Hofman will now be looking to start his professional career.

  • Tom Mark – Cal State Bakersfield (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 5.9
    • Season Stats: 31g, 5.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.1 bpg, 21.5 mpg
    • Season Record: 13-18

In his first year at Cal State Bakersfield, Tom Mark continued to show off his athleticism and overall versatility as he quickly worked himself into the starting line-up, eventually starting in 20 out of his 31 total games. He helped his team to reach the Big West championship finals where they unfortunately lost to UC Riverside, despite a solid performance by Mark with 11 pts & 6 rebs in 28 minutes. Mark had his best scoring output this season in a win vs. Cal Poly when he finished with 16 pts on 7/9 FG shooting.

Allen Mukeba protecting the rim.
  • Allen Mukeba – Missouri-Kansas City (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: 5.4
    • Season Stats: 32g, 7.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.9 bpg, 14.9 mpg
    • Season Record: 16-16

In his second year at Missouri-Kansas City, Allen Mukeba saw a slight decrease in playing time as he came off the bench most of the time – only starting 8 games – and averaging 14.9 minutes per game. Despite seeing his playing time practically halved compared to last year Mukeba was still able to have a large impact on the court and scored in double-figures 8 times and even recorded a Double-Double in the loss at Bowling Green when he finished with 16 points & 11 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. He had a season-high 18 points in a win against Portland State on Jan. 6.

  • Daniel Bula – Western Nebraska (NJCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -1.3
    • Season Stats: 31g, 7.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.2 bpg, 18.3 mpg
    • Season Record: 22-9

In his second year at Western Nebraska Daniel Bula continued to show off his athleticism and his agressive drives to the basket, ending up with averages of 7.8 ppg & 4.5 rpg. He scored a career-high 28 points in a loss versus Central Wyoming when he went off on 6/9 FG shooting, while knocking down a perfect 14/14 from the charity stripe.

  • Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk – South Carolina (NCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -5.1
    • Season Stats: 17g, 2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 9.5 mpg
    • Season Record: 12-5

In his second year at South Carolina Bosmans-Verdonk continued to receive limited playing time, only appearing in 17 games and averaging only 9.5 mpg. Despite the limited playing time he still managed to average a solid 2.5 ppg & 2.9 rpg. He had his best game in a win against Florida A&M on Dec. 30 when he scored 10 points and grabbed 7 boards in 17 minutes of action. South Carolina reached the NCAA tournament but were eliminated by Oregon in the opening round. Bosmans-Verdonk only played 2 minutes in that game.

  • Romain Bruwier – Huntington (NAIA)
    • TIB Rating: -12.6
    • Season Stats: 18g, 4.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.4 bpg, 12.4 mpg
    • Season Record: 9-9

After transferring from Liège Basket Romain Bruwier had a solid first season at Huntington, averaging 4.2 ppg & 2.3 rpg in 12.4 mpg. He had his best game of the season in the season-opener as he scored 12 points and added 5 rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

Nathan Missia-Dio with the jumper.
  • Nathan Missia-Dio – RWE (OTE)
    • TIB Rating: -14.3
    • Season Stats: 13g, 7.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.9 bpg, 25.5 mpg
    • Season Record: 8-5

For the third year Nathan Missia-Dio competed in the Overtime Elite High School league and helped his team all the way to the finals, where they were eventually defeated by the City Reapers, losing the series 2-3. Missia-Dio had a season-high 16 points in a win at Blue Checks on Feb. 24. He also recorded 1 Double-Double in a win at City Reapers on Dec. 9 when he finished with 12 points & 10 rebounds.

  • Hugo Mattioli – Panola (NJCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -15.6
    • Season Stats: 32g, 5.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg
    • Season Record: 26-6

In his second year at Panola Hugo Mattioli upped his game and finished in double-figures scoring 8 times, including a career-high 16 points in a win at Bishop State on Dec. 30. He also recorded 1 Double-Double in a win against Jacksonville with 15 points & 11 rebounds, while also adding 6 assists and 2 steals.

  • Manu Musemena – Missouri S&T (NCAA2)
    • TIB Rating: -20.0
    • Season Stats: 22g, 1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 9.7 mpg
    • Season Record:

Manu Musemena transferred from Mineral Area college to join Missouri S&T for this season. At Missouri S&T he played a total of 22 games, each time coming off the bench. He had his best game in a win against Baptist Bible on Dec. 5, when he scored 5 pts and added 4 assists and 3 steals.

  • Marlo McSwain – Simmons (KY) (NCCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -21.2
    • Season Stats: 20g, 2.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.6 bpg, 16.4 mpg
    • Season Record: 7-13

In his second year at Simmons (KY) Marlo McSwain (Mark McSwain’s son) had a slightly bigger role than in his freshman year, upping his averages to 2.6 ppg & 2.8 rpg in 16.4 mpg. He had a season-high 10 points in a loss at Lindsey Wilson on Nov. 25 when he scored 4/8 from the field. He finished the season strong, having his best game of the year when he recorded 8 points, 9 rebounds & 2 blocks in 37 minutes of action.

  • Samuel Swolfs – United International (USCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -22.4
    • Season Stats: 7g, 2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.1 bpg, 5.0 mpg
    • Season Record: 3-4

Samuel Swolfs transferred from Otero to join United International where he received limited playing time this year, only appearing in 7 games. He had his best scoring output in a loss at Roosevelt – Peoria when he scored 7 points on 2/3 FG shooting, while also grabbing 3 boards.

  • Max Postiglione – Northwest (NJCAA)
    • TIB Rating: -25.8
    • Season Stats: 28g, 2.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 9.9 mpg
    • Season Record: 13-15

In his second year at Northwest Max Postiglione played a total of 28 games, starting 3 of them and averaged 2.4 ppg & 1.1 rpg. He recorded a career-high 16 points in a win vs NWC Alumni on Dec. 16.

  • Pierre Hajjar – Cortland (NCAA3)
    • TIB Rating: -27.1
    • Season Stats: 19g, 3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 12.9 mpg
    • Season Record: 10-9

After graduating from Victory Rock Prep Pierre Hajjar joined Cortland to start off his college career. He played a total of 19 games and got the starting nod 3 times. He scored a career-high 16 points in the season-opening overtime loss against Ithaca on Nov. 9. He scored in double-figures 3 times over the course of the year, helping his school to the Conference Semi-Finals.

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