The EMBL, the youngest championship in Europe ?
The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) and FIBA have published the ninth edition of the International Basketball Migration Report, a seasonal insight, for the 2019–2020 season, into the migratory trends and tendencies of basketball across the globe. Thanks to this report, we can see that The EMBL, is one of the the youngest championship in Europe.
The CIES analyzed 16 of the best leagues in the world, including the Euromillions Basketball League. A total of 8 900 international transfers were registered with FIBA over the past basketball season – an increase of 2.4% in comparison with the 2018-19 season.
But let’s look at the average age of each league.
As you can see, the EMBL is the youngest championship in Europe.
Leuven had the 5th youngest team according to the CIES.
Another interesting statistic is the minutes played per game by foreigners. Belgium is still under the average but this stat needs to be subtle.
Because Liège Basket is, in the championships analyzed by the CIES, the team in Europe where foreigners played fewer minutes. In 2019–2020, Milos Bojovic was the only foreigner who played for Liège Basket.
While looking at the national U21, every team in Belgium had a some in their roster. In the EMBL, every team has to register 6 Home-Grown players on the scoresheet.
If we are looking at the minutes played by the U21, we can see that it’s « only » about 5 minutes per game. Player like Keye Van Der Vuurst don’t count in this stat, for exemple.
We can also see that foreigners play more and score more than the Belgian players in our championship.
Those stats were all from last season, but what about this season ?
With COVID-19, we can say that the Euromillions Basketball League is younger in 2020–2021 than in 2019–2020.
For example, the average age of Spirou Charleroi is 22.6 years old, while in Leuven the oldest player is Joshua Heath who’s … 28 years old !
But what changes from last season is that younger player now receive their chances to play in the big league. For exemple, Ajay Mitchell (18 yo) started games for Limburg United, Niels Van Den Eynde (20 yo) and Vrenz Bleijenbergh (20 yo) for Antwerp.
Another fact is that almost all the players from the U20 Belgian Young Lions from 2019, are now playing in Euromillions Basketball League (Van Den Eynde, D’Espalier, Van Oosterwyck, Samardzic, Botuli, Dedroog, Bleijenbergh, Bratanovic, Buysschaert, Noterman). Hofman plays in the U.S while Van Ounsem plays professionally in France.
With Mario Nakic, Amar Sylla, Keye Van der Vuurst de Vries, Pavle Djurisic or Nathan Kuta, the EMBL also has some international prospects who are all playing big minutes.
If the level of our championship is lower than years ago, more and more young players receive their chance to play. Without money, that’s where you need to start to enhance the level of the basketball in Belgium.