It’s still a bit early in the season but I’m pretty sure most people can agree that one player in particular has stepped up so far as the main contender for the TDM1 Player Of The Year award.
That man is of course: Louis Hazard.
The 25 year old swingman took his first steps on the Belgian basketball courts at the age of 6 at Mont-sur-Marchienne to eventually move on to CEP Fleurus 5 seasons later where he made his debut in TDM1 (then simply known as 2nd Division). With his solid physical abilities and his all-rounded game 2nd Division was just another step on his ladder and for the 2014-’15 season Hazard made the move from Fleurus to VOO Basket Pepinster where he immediately found himself inserted into the lineup of the First Team to receive his first (limited) minutes in the Belgian 1st Division (EuroMillions Basketball).
In his rookie season in the league Hazard played a total of 16 games to average 1.1 ppg & 0.9 rpg in 6.1 mpg. In his second season Hazard really started to show his all-rounded capabilities and saw his minutes rise to 14.6 mpg and ended up averaging 4.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.7 apg & 0.6 spg (30 games played).
For the following 2 seasons Hazard moved to the neighbors of VOO Liège Basket where he received plenty of playing time and frequently graced the Starting-Five to record his best numbers of his career. Over those 2 seasons combined Hazard appeared in a total of 70 games and averaged 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.2 apg & 0.7 spg in 20.1 mpg.
Yet, despite his more than solid performances at the highest level in Belgium Hazard suddenly found himself without a team at the end of the 2017-’18 season and eventually took a step down to sign with Melco Ieper in Top Division Men 1.
Now in his second season at Ieper Hazard has kicked things into higher gear and has been completely dominating the league. With numbers like 23.1 ppg (1st in the League), 6.6 rpg, 2.9 apg & 1.4 spg in 36.1 mpg it’s no surprise that he has been sitting at the top of our Power Ranking since the opening weeks of the season. He is leading the league in scoring and has recorded 12 games in which he scored more than 20 pts and even 3 games in which he scored more than 30 pts. Why a Belgian player of his skill and talent is not competing in First Division is truly a mystery to me. I’m certain that his old club Liège could very much use a player like him right about now (even though they did get their first win of the season last weekend).
Not that Ieper is complaining about any of this though.
Besides putting himself as the front-runner for the #TDM1 Player Of The Year award throughout the first half of the season, Hazard’s play has also been very benificial for Melco Ieper as they’ve surged 4 games ahead of the rest of the competition with their 15-1 record and are definitely starting to look like the clear favorites for the TDM1 title this season.
Will Hazard be able to continue his play ’till the end of the season and get that Player Of The Year trophy? He certainly doesn’t look like he will be slowing down any time soon as he poured in 31 pts last weekend in the win against Gembo. And will Melco Ieper manage to hold off the competition and go all the way this season? There are still 10 games left to go in the regular season, starting with tonight’s match-up on the road against #5 in the league Basketbal Remant Basics Melsele-Beveren.
Hazard’s Season Highs:
Points: 35 pts (@ Lommel, 6/10/2019)
Rebounds: 11 rebs (@ LDP, 19/10/2019)
Assists: 5 asts (3 times)
Steals: 4 stls (vs. Oxaco, 2/11/2019)
Blocks: 1 (2 times)