Here is weekly TIB High Five (22-26 December).
Mons finished 2020 unbeaten in the Belgian league. That remarkable feat was almost snatched away from them in the very last game of the year. Early in the third quarter, Mons-Hainaut was down 59 to 46, their record very much in peril. Mons straightened their backs and went on an astonishing 15-nothing run. Arik Smith was once again the topscorer for Mons, putting 22 point on the board.
Brussels was the only EMBL-team that offered Hazard a contract after he excelled for two seasons in Top Division One with Melco Ieper. In my humble opinion it is a big mistake to think players like Hazard shouldn’t get a chance in the highest division. Geukens, Loubry, Hazard all had to play in Top Division One for a few years during their careers. I’m sorry but this is a disgrace. Those players should always be able to find a pro team in their own country. Hazard scored thirteen and only missed one field goal in an easy win over Spirou Charleroi.
What a week it was for Phoenix Brussels: its first official win of the season in the cup, its first win in the competition and… the team moved to Palais 12.
Palais 12 should be in our high five, but I couldn’t figure out which position it should play. It’s a crowd-pleaser, so a guard would make sense, but I’m not convinced Palais 12 has great ball-handling skills. In the end, I settled on B.J. Raymond. Phoenix’ captain had a great share in their cup win, stuffing the stat sheet with 14 points, three three-pointers, five rebounds and four steals.
In Oostende’s first game of the season Mario Nakic chipped in 20 points in the first half against Spirou; Pavle Djurisic did the same thing in Brussels home game against Spirou: scoring 20 points in the first 20 minutes. Djurisic, at just 20 years old, is considered one of the biggest talents of Montenegrin basketball.
Second player of Mons in this week’s High Five, and the second American who decided to stay put in Mons. Many Americans nowadays are journey men, hopping from one squad to the next looking for a better contract and new opportunities. Only a few clubs manage to keep their American stars longer. Smith and Barnes, who combined for almost half of the 84 points scored by Mons, are showing that sometimes it is a good idea to stay with one team for a few years. It can be beneficial for the team as well as for the player’s development.