Observing Vrenz Bleijenbergh in a Eurocup Game
February 16th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Antwerp’s 6-9 Beligum-born forward, Vrenz Bleijenbergh has been playing very well in both the Eurocup and in the Belgium League this season. Therefore, I set out to watch another Bleijenbergh game that he played in, this time in a December 9th Eurocup basketball game against Lietkabelis, with thanks to YouTube via Buzzer Beaters. Here are my thoughts on how Bleijenbergh fared, as well as how his game may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.
Vrenz Bleijenbergh played very well in his team’s win over Lietkabelis. He shot the ball really well early on, especially from downtown, and he is a tall, versatile playmaker that can make some solid plays on both ends of the floor. Bleijenbergh showed off a very good jump shot in this game. He especially excelled at making quick corner threes off the catch, and he also can run off the ball to knock down spot-up threes. Plus, he also managed to score on a sweeping hook shot on a right-handed drive to the basket. On the downside, he would tend to take tough, rushed layups off the dribble, which would lead to misses.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Bleijenbergh is a tall, quick playmaker that can pass and handle the basketball, and he also can operate as a point forward if necessary. He throws solid passes off the dribble, and he can quickly get into the lane to set up numerous scoring chances for his teammates. He can make solid drop-off passes, and he also was able to throw a long interior pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break. However, there was one play where he threw an ill-advised jump pass that ended up sailing out of bounds.
He also was able to leap up to get several rebounds. Bleijenbergh would sometimes box out his opponents, which allowed him to get a couple of defensive boards, and there was one time where he pushed the ball quickly up the floor off of a defensive rebound. However, early on, he would allow opponents to get rebounds in his area, and he also was called for a reach-in foul when trying to aggressively steal a ball away from a rebounder in the backcourt.
Also, Bleijenbergh played fairly good defense in this game. Bleijenbergh is an active help defender that has good length and quickness to get stops and steals for his team. He was able to leap up to intercept an entry pass to get a steal, and he also ran in to take a ball quickly away from an opposing ball handler to get another. He would rotate to contest shots off of drives and cuts to force misses, and he also would actively fight through screens to stay with his man. However, he tended to have trouble guarding stronger players, which would lead him to be called for touch fouls. He would sometimes over-help in the paint, which would cause him to be late on his rotations, and he would sometimes not even contest shots, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.
Overall, Vrenz Bleijenbergh is a tall, athletic playmaker that can do a little bit of everything when he is on the court. He is a good shooter, and he also is a fairly solid facilitator and defender. He will need to add more strength and improve his ability to score on isolation plays. Still, he has been playing very well overseas, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the second round range of the 2021 draft, as he could end up being an effective role player similar to current Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Darius Miller in the association.
Antwerp’s 5-11, 2000-born point guard, Niels Van Den Eynde also played very well in his team’s win over Lietkabelis. He especially excelled as a shooter and scorer for his team, and he is an agile guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways. Van Den Eynde shot the ball very well in this game, especially from downtown. He was able to pull up to make a three-pointer from way out, and he also was able to knock down a pair of quick, open spot-up threes off the catch. He also drove to his left and split a double team to score on a quick, crafty floater.
He displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game. He is a good ball handler that can get to where he needs to go on the floor, and he would kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them. He did throw a questionable entry pass that was dropped by a teammate, but it led to a team turnover midway through this match.
He wasn’t credited with a rebound in this game, but Van Den Eynde was able to help his team get an offensive rebound after a teammate tipped a ball to him on one play. Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. He was able to actively contest a three to force a miss. He also quickly went around a screen to stay with an opposing ball handler another time. However, he would sometimes be undisciplined defensively, and he would sometimes be unfocused when guarding shooters. He bit on a pump fake and trailed his man, which led him to allow his man to score on a long two. Another time, he sagged too far off of a shooter, which led his opponent to score on a three-point shot on the break. He also was unable to defend a taller, bigger player in the post when switched on him, as he then immediately fouled him upon the catch.
Overall, Niels Van Den Eynde is a tough, fairly athletic guard that can shoot and score the basketball. He will need to be more of a facilitator and improve on the defensive end. Still, his ability to knock down jump shots could enable him to be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future, as he could be a player to watch for the 2022 draft.