Evaluating Vrenz Bleijenbergh

November 25th, 2020

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Antwerp’s 6-8 forward, Vrenz Bleijenbergh play in a Eurocup basketball game against Lokomotiv Kuban that took place on September 30th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via BasketTime.  Bleijenbergh is an athletic, skilled point forward that may possess considerable upside, and he has been playing fairly well in the Eurocup recently.  I decided to assess his skills to get a better feel for his game.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, and how his game may stack as a prospect for the NBA.

Antwerp’s 6-8 point forward, Vrenz Bleijenbergh is an athletic, skilled playmaker that could be a potential second round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Goyvaerts/Gmax Agency, via Gazet Van Antwerpen)

Vrenz Bleijenbergh is a decent shooter that possesses a lot of range on his jump shot.  Late in this match, he was able to make a quick, deep spot-up three off the catch.  However, he missed a corner three another time, and he also had his shot blocked after using a step-back move to take a long two.  He doesn’t take enough threes or shots in games, but it was encouraging to see him make a three-pointer from well beyond the arc.

He also possesses a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He has a solid first step to the hoop, and he would take the ball hard to the rim to get to the foul line often.  He also changes directions well, and he was able to use a sidestep move to his left to get free throws midway through this contest.  Also, he managed take the ball coast to coast off of a rebound to score on a layup off the glass.  However, he missed on a dunk attempt once after taking off from too far away, and Bleijenbergh also did not make many of his free throws in this game.

Bleijenbergh was very turnover prone in this game, but he did show some promising playmaking skills due to his ability to operate as a point forward.  For the positives, he is a very unselfish player that will often look for his teammates, and he also handles the ball well.  He can throw solid interior passes, and he can find teammates on the move.  However, he turned the ball over quite a bit, though.  Sometimes, he can be prone to staring his targets down, and he also can tend to throw hasty passes in traffic that get intercepted.   He also dropped a pass from the post out of bounds, and he also was called for a carrying violation another time. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Bleijenbergh showed a knack for pushing the ball quickly up the court after leaping up to get a pair of defensive rebounds, and he has solid speed and acceleration in the open court.

He also played adequate defense.  Bleijenbergh has solid length and timing that allows him to block and contest shots in the paint to force misses, and he was able to force a 24-second shot clock violation after getting a block late in this game.  He also will use his length to contest shots in the post as well as disrupt passes to make it difficult on his opponents.  However, sometimes he can tend to be unfocused defensively.  He would be prone to committing reach-in fouls, which may compound matters in cases where his team allows scores on those plays.  He also struggled sometimes to defend in one-on-one situations, as he would give up too much space to shooters, and he also would get overpowered when guarding opponents off the dribble.  After committing a passing turnover early on, he sulked and gave up on the play as his team ended up allowing a score in transition.

In general, Vrenz Bleijenbergh is an athletic, skilled point forward that can do a little bit of everything, but he will need to be more focused and play more under control on both ends of the floor.  He also will need to be more assertive in taking shots on offense.  He will need to continue to play well this season, and he may need to show teams that he can consistently excel against top-level competition, but he may be an intriguing prospect that could be worth a look in the second round of the 2021 draft, as he could project to be a similar player to Dallas Mavericks’ new forward, Wesley Iwundu in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Lokomotiv Kuban’s 6-9 Russian forward, Andrey Martyuk played fairly well in his team’s win over Antwerp.  Though he didn’t knock down any threes in this game, he excelled as an inside scorer and facilitator, and he also was able to get some rebounds when he was on the court.

Martyuk excelled at scoring on hustle plays in this game.  He ran in to score on a tip-in early on after grabbing an offensive rebound.  Plus, he also received the ball on a baseline cut, and he proceeded to score on a reverse layup.  He also showed some post-up skills, as he used a nifty overhead ball fake and a pump fake to score on a step-through layup move.  However, he missed badly on a corner three, and he also missed a runner off of a drive another time.

Plus, he also displayed decent playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man as he can pass off the dribble and in the post, and he managed to pass out of the post find a cutter on the move to set up a score for his teammate.  Martyuk also will set screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  Sometimes, he may telegraph his passes though, as he almost committed a turnover midway through this contest.

He also was able to get some rebounds in this match, and Martyuk was able to leap up to get his fair share of boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, he played adequate defense.  Martyuk showed adequate feet when defending out on the perimeter as well as in the post.  He can stay in front of his man when defending drives to force misses, and he will actively contest jump shots to get stops for his team.  He also showed fairly good feet when defending in the post early on to get his man to travel early on.  However, sometimes he can be struggle to defend screens, as he will need to add more strength.  Other times, he may give up too much space to shooters, as he may prone to allowing them to score on jumpers.

Overall, Martyuk  is a skilled combo forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will have to show that he can guard upper-echelon opponents in games.  If he can continue to play well overseas, he could be a potential second round pick for the 2021 draft.

Lokomotiv Kuban’s 6-3 guard, Vladislav Yemchenko had some good moments in limited minutes in his team’s win over Antwerp.  He drew free throws on a strong left-handed drive to the hoop early on, though he didn’t make any of his free throws at the foul line.  He also threw some good interior passes to find teammates on the move.  However, he also threw a hasty bounce pass that got intercepted another time.

He also was active on the boards, and he also would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections.  Overall, Yemchenko is a fairly athletic combo guard that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his jump shot and get more playing time on the court, but he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

Lokomotiv Kuban’s 2001-born forward, Egor Sychkov is a fairly athletic swingman that didn’t play much, but late in this game, he hustled back hard on defense to help his team get a stop on a fast break.  Overall, he didn’t play much, and he will need to be able to knock down outside shots consistently in high-level competition, but his ability to defend could make him a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

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