TIB EMBL Team Of The Month of February-March

Some teams only played one game in February. That’s why we decided to take two months into account this time. It’s like a bonus free throw. Congrats Dusan Djordjevic, Domien Loubry, Vladimir Mihailovic, Jean-Marc Mwema and Ryan Kriener. You can call yourself TIB EMBL Team of the Month members for February and March!  

(January: Jabril Durham – Alex Libert – Vladimir Mihailovic – Pierre-Antoine Gillet – Pape Badji

November-December: Alex Libert- Arik Smith -Louis Hazard – Mario Nakic -Tim Lambrecht)

Dusan Djordjevic

Won the Euromillions Cup, four wins and two losses in the competition

Individually: 9 points and 5 assists per game

Everyone knows the importance of “The General” for Filou Oostende. People often refer to his role off the court. He doesn’t speak very often, but when he speaks, everybody listens. However, Djordjevic belongs to the TIB EMBL Team of the Month because of what he does on the court. At the age of 38, he isn’t playing anymore at the MVP level he reached between 2013 and 2015. However, his vision, passing, and clutch time scoring is still winning basketball games. Oostende would have had a better chance of winning against Leuven if Djordjevic was on the court in money time, but Gjergja preferred to close the game with van der Vuurst on the point. 

Boro Vucevic, Nikola’s dad, played in the Belgian league until he was 43. Djordjevic has too much respect for his knees to keep going that long. We should cherish these last years of ‘The General’ (or ‘The Legend’) on our Belgian basketball courts.

Domien Loubry

Advanced to the cup final after beating Leuven, lost the cup final, five wins and two losses in the competition

Individually 13 points and 5,6 assists per game

It’s a tale as old as humanity. A bunch of youngsters want to take the reins, but the old guard is in the way. Or guards. While Ajay Mitchell, Niels Van Den Eynde, Vrenz Bleijenbergh and Keye van der Vuurst are knocking on the door, Djordjevic and Loubry are not ready to call it a career yet.

Loubry joined Kangoeroes Mechelen during the offseason after having spent seven years in the capital of Europe. It seems to be a perfect match.  His best season in Brussels was 2016-2017 when they eliminated the Antwerp Giants in the league semis. The team of coach Crèvecoeur advanced to the championship final against Oostende. Loubry was huge against Antwerp back then, playing the best basketball of his career. His heyday is behind him, but Loubry can still put up a show: step-back threes, steals, feeding Kok and Thompson in the post, you name it.

 In comparison with last year in Brussels, Loubry’s minutes, points, assists, steals, – you got the picture, all of his stats – went up in Mechelen. The new kids on the block shouldn’t count him out just yet.

Vladimir Mihailovic

Elimination in the cup, five wins and five losses in the competition

Individually: 20 points, 3,8 rebounds, 3,4 assists per game

Not as sparkling as during his 7 win-streak in January, but there is no way I could leave Mihailovic out of this list. He is nearly unguardable. If you defend too closely, he will dribble you, drive to the basket and look for an easy lay-up. If you step back, he will just drill threes: Vlado made 7 out of 10 three balls against Antwerp. The fire department is still trying to extinguish the nets.

Jean-Marc Mwema

Won the Euromillions Cup, four wins and two losses in the competition

Individually: 8,8 points and 5,2 rebounds per game

I have a confession to make. I have a fantasy basketball team. I have never won a title. It’s bugging me, and now I am spending all my time trying to improve my team. So when it’s time to pick the TIB Team Of The Month, I don’t have enough time and take a shortcut and focus only on a player’s offensive game and forget about D. 

That’s why Loïc Schwartz, Stephaun Branch and Skylar Spencer haven’t made it yet to a TIB Team of the Month. But even I learn. It was impossible to ignore Jean-Marc Mwema. A great defensive player who also had two amazing offensive games in February: against Aalst in the Cup and Mons in the competition. Oostende took home the W twice.

P.S.: Loïc, Stephaun, Skylar, I admitted the error of my ways; please stop sending me nasty messages now.

Ryan Kriener

Elimination in the cup, six wins and three losses in the competition

Individually: 19 points and 7,7 rebounds per game

Leuven lost its first seven games of the season and needed a dramatic turnaround. Enter Ryan Kriener, the big man from Ohio. Since his start, Leuven won 7 out of 11 games. The Bears defeated big teams like Mons, Aalst and even Oostende. Kriener showed the right mentality from the day he arrived here. We all know the ambitions of those young Americans who play overseas and end up in Belgium. They like it here, they feel welcome, they love everyone speaks English. Still, ultimately they want to leave and make more money in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France… No one can blame them for that. Ryan Kriener is probably one of them, but it would be a pity to see him leave after only four months … in empty arenas. If Leuven can’t keep him, maybe teams like Antwerp or Oostende should make him an offer. If not, Ryan would be wise to remember Biggie’s words: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Maarten Weynants (and Joachim Verplancke)

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