Here is weekly TIB High Five (11-13 December).
The General had the best performance index rating of all BCO-players in the loss against Mons. “Is this normal at the age of 37?” was the rhetorical question of Dario Gjergja. After an awful third quarter (11-25), nine-time EMBL champ Djordjevic tried to turn things around in the final minutes, but he fell short.
Amar Sylla was awful and couldn’t buy himself a bucket if he wanted to: two shots made on 14 attempts, zero out of seven from three-point land, two rebounds and one assist in 22’49”.
Thomas Welsh has great trouble adapting to overseas basketball, but hey, this is about the best five players of the weekend, not the five worst players and one of the best was Loïc Schwartz.
Schwartz has revived his career this season. At a dead end at Charleroi, Oostende offered him a final chance; Schwartz took it with both hands. After Buysse, Mwema, Boukichou, Salumu, Schwartz is another excellent example of what the teaching skills of Dario Gjergja can do with a player. This season, Schwartz is the one helping his team to overcome difficult moments. He is the most creative player of the squad and hasn’t played a bad game this season. Pretty impressive. He’s also an emotional anchor for younger players. When Walleson made an unsportsmanlike foul, Gjergja was furious. Schwartz took Walleson aside, told him not to worry and focus on the next play. A great example of leadership
Smith made 12 of the 15 first-quarter points by Mons, yet his team was down by 12 at the end of that quarter. The only player performing well in the first half, Smith didn’t start playing heroball but focused on getting his teammates involved. His efforts paid off as more and more players contributed, especially during a tremendous third quarter. Smith finished the game with 25 points (2pt: 9/12, 3pt: 2/2, FT: 1/1) and Mons stole victory from the jaws of defeat.
13 points and a career high 11 rebounds made for a satisfying double-double for Bleijenbergh. Before the start of the 19-20 season, Bleijenbergh was the big favorite to win the best youngster of the year award. Alas, he didn’t have a great season and D’Espallier walked away with the trophy. This season, the twenty-year-old talent from Antwerp had to take the next step and Bleijenbergh is delivering. While he can’t become rookie of the year anymore, he would be a leading candidate for Most Improved Player, if only the EMBL would have that award. Bleijenbergh upped his minutes 12 to 25 a game and his scoring improved from 3 points per game to 11.
Sliding Bleijenbergh from the point guard position to the wing has been a revelation. Now Speedy Smith has left Antwerp, the team might be tempted to make Bleijenbergh the ball handler once again. They should resist that temptation and not jeopardize Bleijenbergh’s excellent form by moving him back to a position at which he was not succesful. Antwerp still has other options at the point.
The 26-year old American started the game seemingly half asleep. After about 20 minutes, team mates Jabril Durham and Arik Smith decided to disable the snooze button and started feeding Spencer some wild alley-oop passes. A little exercise was all Spencer needed to wake up and for the rest of the game, he seemed to fly rather than walk across the court, throwing down some spectacular dunks. Neither Bratanovic (COVID), nor Buysschaert (small foot injury) were available to play, so this was the moment for Spencer to shine, resulting in one of the most joyful wins of the season for Mons.