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Illinois Basketball Player Preview: Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk

BBV should play a bigger role in Year 2.

BBV. The Big Boss. The Bosman-Verdunketh. In many ways, Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk is indicative of a new, global age of Illinois basketball. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound power forward from Lommel, Belgium is one of five players on the Fighting Illini born outside of the mainland U.S.

I’m always fascinated by how players like he and Giorgi are so composed when being interviewed in English, and BBV has virtually no accent. Of course, then I remember that most people in developed countries are multilingual. Specifically in Belgium, most people speak a combination of Dutch, French, German, Flemish, and English.

BBV played nine games and 56 minutes in the 2019-20 season before being sidelined by a foot injury and redshirted. Because of the small sample size, BBV’s per game stats are fairly meaningless (1.2 PPG, 1.1 RPG, and 0.7 APG). He had five turnovers in his 56 minutes, so that’s one thing that will need to change for him to get more playing time. Per 40 minutes, though, he had a solid 7.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 4.3 APG.

What to Expect

As late as this summer, Bosmans-Verdonk was seen in a walking boot. Fortunately, he’s no longer in a boot and is working out with the team. In an appearance on Deon Thomas’s podcast, Brad Underwood said that he doesn’t expect BBV to get any playing time until at least December.

Even if he weren’t injured, BBV would likely be pretty far down on the depth chart this season. Either way, he’s an athletic big who can run the floor, and he makes cool transition touch passes like this.

It’s a bit of a cliché at this point, but you expect players from Europe to hustle, be a good shooter, and have a high basketball IQ. This is what the coaching staff loves about BBV. Add that to his size and athleticism, and he could be an important role player for the Illini for the next few years.

Bosmans-Verdonk’s mere presence on the roster says that the Illini coaching staff are exhausting their resources and thinking outside the box. While he probably won’t get a ton of playing time this year, he’ll be a great puzzle piece for the Illini with the amount of players they’re expected to lose after this season.