Will the Belgian Lions write history in the Berlin Arena on Saturday (2.45 pm) against the Slovenia of NBA phenomenon Luka Doncic? “We are not here to visit Berlin, but to win”, at least the Belgian Lions say.
Luka Doncic is still only 23 years old, but already an NBA phenomenon and one of the best European players of all time. He just finished his fourth NBA season with the Dallas Mavericks and boosted his insane averages to 29 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. At 20, he was NBA Rookie of the Year. Before he went to the NBA, he left the Slovenian capital Ljubljana as a teenager to sign with the Spanish top club Real Madrid. At the age of 16 he made his debut with the Royal. He led Real to three titles and won the Euroleague once. In 2017 he led Slovenia to its first European title at the age of eighteen and last year Slovenia finished fourth at the Games in Tokyo.
Sam Van Rossom, who had to stop at the Belgian Lions from his club Valencia, looked Doncic in the eye several times. “I was able to give a place to not be at this European Championship, but it still hurts a lot. The Lions finish a brilliant European Championship with the win against world champions Spain as a nice dessert. I can tell you that it arrived here in Spain,” said Van Rossom. “Whether the Lions have a chance against Slovenia today? Maybe only ten percent. But if they underestimate Belgium or have a bad day, it can. The Lions play as one team, the danger can come from anyone and defensively it is a mustache. Which Belgian Lion would I put against Doncic? Jean-Marc Mwema does have a profile for that. But if he’s into it, you can’t stop him. You also don’t have to pull out all the tactical plans to stop him defensively. Because if you only concentrate on him, you give freedom to the other Slovenians. And with Goran Dragic (Chicago Bulls), Vlatko Cancar (Denver Nuggets), Mike Tobey (Barcelona) and my teammate Klemen Prepelic in their ranks, they are again the favorite for gold for a reason,” said Van Rossom.