Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk brings competitive spirit to USC
It takes a level of focus to adapt to new environments and situations – and South Carolina men’s basketball forward Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk is ready to do just that.
He graduated from Illinois in three years, spending more time during vacations taking classes.
“Even when it was tough and other people were partying or doing other things, playing the game, I was reading,” said Bosmans-Verdonk, who transferred to USC this year.
He is a law student and is one of two active student-athletes at South Carolina Law School, with women’s soccer midfielder Claire Griffiths being the other.
Bosmans-Verdonk grew up in Belgium, where his parents instilled in him the value of education at an early age, as basketball could “be taken away” at any time.
“It’s really hard for me to talk to him or relate to him because he’s so much smarter than me,” said men’s basketball assistant coach Tim Buckley. “A really sharp guy, very introspective. He thinks. It’s great to talk to him outside of basketball.
Bosmans-Verdonk attended Ka Pegasus Ostend High School in Belgium, averaging 16 points, six assists and six rebounds. But basketball, Bosmans-Verdonk said, was not as entrenched in the country’s culture as it was in the United States.
He’s seen people dedicate a lot of time to the game and take it seriously since he came to America.
“Where I’m from, being too aggressive or too assertive wasn’t really encouraged,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “But then I got here, and everybody’s like, ‘Man, I’m trying to get mine. It’s my way of doing it. ”
Bosmans-Verdonk’s teammates see his competitive spirit in training.
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward is described as a strong and energetic player by his teammates.
“In practice, he’s loud, grabbing rebounds, yelling, ‘And-a!’ said first-year guard Zachary Davis.
Bosmans-Verdonk isn’t the only graduate student on the team. His roommate and transfer mate, Hayden Brown, also brings veteran experience to the Gamecocks.
Brown said there was comfort playing with Bosmans-Verdonk because he didn’t take games away.
“I feel like there’s a lot of times, especially these days, you just don’t have these guys who just have this dog in them,” Brown said. “You look at a guy like Ben, and the way he plays and the fire he plays with, he’s just a competitor.”
Bosmans-Verdonk averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 41 games for Illinois but dealt with his share of injuries, mostly stress fractures to his lower leg, which caused him to miss the time.
Fighting Illini won 68 games in the three years Bosmans-Verdonk was there. He said his time there helped him learn “how to win”.
“Understanding what it takes, this whole process, and then being able to pass it on to the guys, I think is important,” Bosmans-Verdonk said.
Now he’s joining a South Carolina team with a new coaching staff and much-loved rookie GG Jackson.
From Belgium to the Big 10 and now the SEC, Bosmans-Verdonk has had the chance to learn different types of playing styles.
Although his teammates and coaching staff will tell you about his abilities on the pitch, Bosmans-Verdonk will focus on how to show them.
“I don’t even like talking about myself like that,” he said. “I like to show my game.”
South Carolina basketball: the next four games
- Wednesday — vs. Mars Hill (exhibition)
- Nov. 7 – vs. SC State (SEC Network)
- Nov. 11 – vs. Clemson (SEC Network Plus)
- Nov. 17 – vs. Colorado State / at Charleston Classic (ESPNU)