More and more of our youngsters are finding their way across the ocean to follow their basketball development in the USA.
Here's a little overview:
Thomas Akyazili ('97 - 1m88 - PG) - Colorado
In his second year at Colorado Thomas Akyazili will be looking to increase his playing time and become a leader on the court as the team lost their main player Josh Scott (who signed with MZT Skopje after his graduation last summer). Last year Akyazili averaged 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg & 1.6 apg in 16.0 mpg (33 games). He scored a NCAA career high 10 points in a double-overtime victory against Washington State and had a NCAA career high 5 assists in a victory at Stanford. The Buffs start their season on Nov. 11th against Sacramento State.
Emmanuel Lecomte ('95 - 1m80 - PG) - Baylor
Baylor has a history of having under-sized Point Guards turning into star-players and Manu Lecomte is looking to continue that tradition. After having spent his freshman and sophomore years at Miami he came over to Baylor last year. Due to his transfer he was forced to sit out the season and only practiced with the team without seeing any game-action. This season he will be back on the court and will be looking to help the talented squad to a Big 12 title. In his NCAA career he has so far averaged 7.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg & 2.0 apg in 25.0 mpg (71 games) in his two seasons at Miami. With two more seasons left Lecomte is ready to get things started as they'll face Oral Roberts on Nov. 11th to tip-off their season.
Andy Van Vliet ('95 - 2m10 - F/C) - Wisconsin
Andy Van Vliet came to Wisconsin last year but due to NCAA rules was forced to red-shirt the season, spending the entire year working out with the team and individually without any game-time action. In his sophomore season the soft-shooting big man from Belgium will now finally get his chance to show his skills. Van Vliet combines a soft touch around the rim with an ability to stretch the floor and shoot beyond the 3-point arc. He's UW’s first foreign-born player since 2005. During his season off the lanky Van Vliet has added over 20 pounds since arriving and looks ready to be a valuable addition to the Badgers. They'll start their season on Nov. 11th against Central Arkansas.
Dion Wade ('93 - 1m98 - G/F) - Miami (OH)
Dion Wade first came to the States back in 2012 when he joined renowned prep school Findlay Prep. After graduation he then was picked up by Auburn where in his freshman year he averaged 3.0 ppg & 1.3 rpg in 10.9 mpg (30 games). Wade then transferred to Miami, OH and had to sit out the year due to NCAA rules. Last season he then again saw some solid action as he averaged 4.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg & 1.1 spg in 18.1 mpg (32 games). This season Wade will be one of the older players on the squad and should be getting a lot of playing time as they tip-off their season on Nov. 11th against Muskingum.
Kamal Tall ('95 - 2m01 - F/C) - Montana State University Billings (NCAA2)
Kamal Tall is set to start his second season at Montana State University Billings after transferring from Leuven last season. In his first year Tall played very limited minutes as he averaged 2.0 ppg & 1.1 rpg in 7.4 mpg (18 games). Numbers he will undoubtedly be looking to improve on this season. They'll start the season on Nov. 11th against California Baptist University.
Alhassan Barrie ('95 - 1m92 - F) - Goshen College
After having spent last year at Northern Oklahoma Enid Barrie transferred to Goshen college this off-season looking to get more playing time and see more action at the 3-spot, rather than as a 4. Last year he averaged 3.5 ppg & 3.6 rpg in 30 games. At Goshen they have started their season on Oct. 29th against Olivet Nazarene, which turned into a loss for Goshen. Barrie played 13 minutes coming off the bench and recorded 6 points & 5 rebounds.
Rikkert De Martelaere ('97 - 1m90 - G) - Northern New Mexico
The Antwerp native De Martelaere joined Northern New Mexico this season after having had his development at Combine Prep Academy in Atlanta last season. The previous season the youngster played in The Netherlands with Landstede Zwolle. Due to NAIA rules he will have to red-shirt the season and won't see any action on the court.
Romain Boxus ('96 - 1m98 - SF) - Snow College
After having spent the past 4 years playing in the French Espoirs league, Romain Boxus has now taken the step across the ocean to continue his basketball development at Snow College. Last season Boxus averaged 10.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg & 1.0 spg in 26.8 mpg (34 games) for Gravelines as he was one of their leading players. Boxus has also been a long time member of the Belgian National youth teams and has competed in 6 EuroBasket Tournaments. Snow college will tip-off their season on Nov. 4th against Western Wyoming.
Willem Vermylen (1m98 - G) - South Georgia State
After having spent the past 2 years at Faith Baptist Christian Academy the Leuven native has now transferred to South Georgia State where he will start his season against Middle Georgia Prep on Nov. 7th as he hopes to get noticed and get picked up by a NCAA college.
High School & Prep:
David Keyaerts ('00 - 1m80 - G/F) - Winchendon (HS)
The former U16 Antwerp Giants' player has made the move to the States this summer as he enrolled to Winchendon High School as he's looking to further develop his basketball skills and get a taste of the American Way of life. You can find more info on him on his website here.
David Bea Mulumba ('98 - 1m98 - SF) - Teays Valley Christian (HS)
Another former Antwerp Giants' player that made the move to the States is David Bea Mulumba. In his second year in the USA Bea Mulumba will now be competing for Teays Valley HS, after spending last year with the renowned Huntington Prep Academy. They'll start their season against New Faith Christian Academy on Nov. 5th. David Bea Mulumba has also been a member of the Belgian U18 3x3 National Team this summer and was key in their victory against Lithuania.
Gilles Dekoninck ('98 - 1m96 - G/F) - Huntington Prep (Prep)
Gilles Dekoninck previously played at Scherpenheuvel and Diest before he made the step to go to the renowned Huntington Prep program where he will be perfectly surrounded to further help his development as a basketball player. Already in the early going the youngster has received an offer from Radford University (NCAA) as his talent has already been noticed in his limited time in the States. And if he keeps progressing like he has done so this past couple of months, many more offers will follow. Huntington tips off their season on Nov. 6th against Redemption Christian Academy.
Nicolas Dierynck ('99 - 1m91 - G/F) - Lee Academy Prep (Prep)
Another Belgian youngster in this overview is Nicolas Dierynck who has made the move from Bent Shoes Waregem to Lee Academy Prep this off-season after having participated in several NCAA Summer Jam tournaments. Dierynck previously played 3 seasons in the youth academy of Ostend before he joined Waregem. This season will be his first in the States. Their first game will be on Nov. 18th against Northfield Mount Hermon.
Jairo Pauwels ('97 - 1m93 - SF) - Faith Baptist Christian Academy (HS)
The former Basket Tongeren player has also made the move to the States and enrolled at Faith Baptist Christian Academy this summer for his senior year.
Jonas Daneels ('97 - 1m95 - G) - 22Ft Basketball Academy (Prep)
In his second year in the States Jonas Daneels went from the 22Ft Basketball Academy High School to their Prep school.
If I have forgotten any Belgian youngsters and/or have made a mistake in my overview don't hesitate to let me know ( email@example.com ).