Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk, the 6-foot-8 Belgian big man, returns to an Illinois team where he will likely continue in the lightly used reserve role that he’s occupied for his previous two years in Champaign.
His on-court action last season was scarce, playing in only 8 games for 2.3 minutes per game after a freshman season where he got action in only 9 games for 6.2 minutes per game. He got off to a disjointed start due to injury in Year Two, but hopefully the extra offseason of training with strength coach Adam Fletcher should help stave off the injury bug going into this season.
The additions to this year’s team further complicate his situation to find minutes, which is likely why another former reserve big man, Jermaine Hamlin, decided to move onto Eastern Illinois for better playing time. BBV hopefully can make a greater impact in his reserve role this season and gain the confidence of the coaching staff to start deploying him in more meaningful game situations.
What to Expect
I anticipate BBV’s role to remain largely the same. Given the excitement surrounding Coleman Hawkins and Austin Hutcherson coming back from his persistent injuries, The front court rotation is only getting deeper, intensifying the fight for minutes.
Big men Kofi Cockburn and Omar Payne will manage the center spot, while some combination of Jacob Grandison, Hawkins, Hutcherson, and Da’Monte Williams will see time at the other forward slot. Given the established, entrenched roles for many of the aforementioned, BBV will be in an uphill battle to see critical game action. He likely will be used for some buffer minutes while others need rest or end up in foul trouble.
This is the plight for players like him: being on a talented team that’s gotten some momentum on the recruiting trail where good players are regularly coming in and leap frogging him on the depth chart. We will see what another offseason of preparation and training has done for him, but it appears he will be in for another season of relative obscurity.