During the course of the offseason, Scorers 1st members look back on their pro season overseas and look ahead to their summer approach to growing their game, while offering some advice to rookies along the way...
As Scorers 1st continues to invest in the development and growth of young players around Europe, we shine a spotlight on Hans Vanwijn. The 6-foot-9 forward is a former member of the Topsportschool that competed in the NIJT in Kaunas, Lithuania in 2012 before playing for both Houthalen in the Belgian D2 and Leuven Bears in the Ethias League. The 20-year old Vanwijn now comes off of his first season playing for Limburg United, where he appeared in 31 games.
For those not familiar with your game, can you give us the scouting report on Hans Vanwijn? I'm the perfect example of a "tweener". I don't have one particular position on the court, but I play small forward and power forward. I'm more of a slasher and I like to play in the open court. I also have pretty good ball handling, especially for my size. When my 3-point shot is falling, it opens up a lot for my creativity to pass the ball. I prefer to play the small forward where I can grab a lot of rebounds too.
How has your overall game improved during your professional career? I used to play point guard when I was younger, but when I turned 16 I started to grow and I turned into a 3-4 player. So, I used my skills from when I was younger and now I have a big advantage from my quickness and ball handling skills.
What did you learn the most about yourself as a person/player this past season playing for Limburg United? I have to keep my head up and keep working. It was my first real season in the Belgian first division and I had some tough times with Limburg United. But the thing was, I kept working and eventually got back on track. This made me better as a player and a mentally stronger person.
What is your focus and approach to getting better this offseason? I have to keep working on my shot and get stronger in the weight room -- this will be important for me so I can keep playing at the 4 position. I need to improve my inside game but also keep working on my outside skills. That's important to stay that all around player.
If you could share any words of wisdom for young players around Europe starting their professional basketball careers, what would it be? If you really want to make it as a pro basketball player, you've got to live and carry yourself like one both on and off the court and if you are dealing with any setbacks, keep working and you will reach your goals!
*photo courtesy of hans vanwijn
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