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How is Mike Vreeswyk doing now?

How is Mike Vreeswyk doing now?

Wearebasket is giving you an update on one of the best shooters to play in The Netherlands: Mike Vreeswyk.

Vreeswyk was a very, very good player more than 20 years ago in The Netherlands. He was an extremely accurate shooter, he was smart, he played with his heart and still calls Holland his second home. Vreeswyk was an All-Star twice (1994 and 1997), and champion in 1996 (America Today Den Bosch) and 1997 (Libertel Den Bosch). His last season in The Netherlands was with RZG Donar in 1997-1998. He stopped playing in 2000 and now lives close to Philadelphia with his family. Vreeswyk is still involved in sports and very active on Twitter (@MikeThreeswyk).

And… he stills dunks at 50!

You played in The Netherlands for Den Bosch and Groningen. Do you still have good memories? Did you stay in contact with some players or coaches?

Mike Vreeswyk: My years in The Netherlands were some of the best times in my life.  I continue to have contact with so many great people.  Social media has also made it very easy to remain in contact as well.  In the 20 years since I left I have had friends from both Den Bosch and Groningen come and visit me and Andrea in America at least 12 times.  In 2009, I also went back to Den Bosch to visit.

What’s your best memory of your time in The Netherlands?

The people. I consider The Netherlands my second home.  I consider so many of the people I met to be extremely close friends of mine. I certainly will be coming for another visit soon, and my door is always open when anyone comes to America.  As for basketball is concerned I’m proud of the fact that all 4 years I played in The Netherlands my teams went to the Championship series, and I was able to win 2 championships.  I still feel very bad that I wasn’t able to win 4 championships. I want to apologize to the people in Den Bosch that I was unable to win the Championship in my first year against Weert, and I want to apologize to the people of Groningen that I was unable to win the championship my last year against Den Helder.

You played in a lot of countries. France, Japan, Cyprus. How do these countries compare to The Netherlands?

I enjoyed all the countries I played in.  I love to travel and see other cultures.  Each country is obviously different and great in their own way.  But The Netherlands will always have a special place in my heart because of the people that I met.

Are you still playing yourself?

I still play 1 or 2 times per week.  I still shoot some jumpshots when I coach my son’s team.  I’m still in pretty good shape for my age but I think the end is near.

How did you learn to shoot like you did? To shoot that good?

Repetition. It’s all about repetition.  Shooting over and over again, for hours and hours, every day.  1000s of shots every day.  Remember, in America we didn’t have the 3-point shot until 1986.  I never grew up with the 3-point line.  I practiced being great from 2 meters, then moved back to 3 meters, then 4 meters, and so on.  My shot was/is very fundamental because of repetition.

Photo: Arnold Meijer

What did you do when you stopped playing basketball?

I work for Verizon.  I’ve been in the Telecommunications industry ever since I left The Netherlands 20 years ago.  I work with large businesses with all their telecommunication needs.

Are still involved in basketball? You had a job as an assistant-coach at Pennsbury, your old high school.

I was an assistant coach at Pennsbury High School for 3 years. I decided to stop being an assistant when my son and daughter got older because I wanted to see them play and be a part of their activities. Since I couldn’t be dedicated 100% to being an assistant I decided to step down.  However, I’m still very close to the Pennsbury program and consult with the head coach almost every day during the season.

Did you ever consider to work as a head coach yourself fulltime?

Honestly, I never really considered it.  By the time I finished professional basketball I was 32 years old.  To become a head coach you need to start at the bottom and work your way up. After finishing basketball my priority was finding a job (that’s when I got into Telecommunications) and eventually starting a family.

Your son is playing basketball. Did you coach him?

I have coached him in youth basketball as well as “AAU” this spring.  It’s very difficult to coach your son.  I have to remember to treat him the same way I treat all the other players, which means I have to balance criticism and praise.

Does he look like you as a player?

He’s a bit smaller then I was at his age.  He’s a bit of a “late bloomer”.  But he’s very athletic and he shoots the ball extremely well.  He’s also very smart and understands the game very well.  It’s been a joy to watch him develop.

Where is he playing now?

He plays in high school, and he also plays on an “AAU” team as well as a local community summer league team.

Your daughter plays volleyball at Pennsbury. Are your children involved in sports as you are? Are you a sports family?

Yes, both my kids love sports.  They love to play sports and they love to watch sports.  My daughter received a volleyball scholarship to play volleyball in college, so we are very excited about that.

Would you advise your children to go and play overseas?

If either of my kids had an opportunity to play a sport overseas I would certainly encourage it, if that’s what they wanted to do.

How important is sports to you?

Sports teaches very important lessons about life.  It teaches commitment, dedication, hard work, being on time, communication skills.  It allows you to meet many people and travel.  It teaches how to deal with adversity.  I could go on and on, but sports is an extremely important part of my life.  Almost everything I have in life I can attribute to sports.

You do a lot of good work in the community . Why is that so important?

I’ve been very fortunate in my life.  It’s time to share some of my experiences, knowledge, skills and money with others that are not as fortunate.  I grew up poor and remember some people that used to help me.  Now it’s my turn.  It makes me feel good, it builds the community, and hopefully the things I do will inspire others to do good.

You played in college for Temple, in Philadelphia, and now you live near Philadelphia. As a former basketball player, how do you look at the progress of the 76-ers after so many bad seasons?

It’s was very frustrating to see the team lose so many games for so many years.  But this past season was very satisfying.  They are a young team that has a bright future, but they must continue to build.

Would LeBron James be a good addition for the team or would it be bad for the development of the younger players?

This has been a question that many people are talking about in the USA.  I think half the people think it would be good, that other half think it would be bad.  I think it would be good.  It can never be a bad thing to add the best player in the world to your team, right?  I guess only time will tell.  While I think it would be good, I don’t believe he will be coming to the 76ers.

You visited a lot of pro games in Philadelphia. Can you understand teams like the Philadelphia Eagles (American Football) not visiting the White House and President Trump after a championship?

Yes, I can understand it.  We have a President that has called football players “sons of bitches” and has said they should be fired if they protest.  (Full disclosure, I hate Trump).

You’re very active on Facebook and Twitter. How important are social media for you?

For better or worse social media is here to stay.  I enjoy it because it allows me to keep in touch with people I know and care about, as well as keep updated with everyday life (news, sports, weather, etc).  It allows me to stay connected to businesses, organizations, events, and celebrities.  It allows me to tell stories about my life and keep others updated on what me and my family are doing.  It also allows me to vent my frustrations on the current political scene here in America.

Photo: Mike Sielski – Philly

You’re still in contact with Coach Chaney, your coach at Temple. How important is he for you?

I could write a book on how important Coach Chaney is to me.  He’s like a father to me. Without Coach Chaney I don’t know where I’d be.  Almost everything I have in life is because Coach Chaney gave me an opportunity and believed in me.

When you left Temple, you first tried to go to the NBA. That didn’t work out and you decided to go play overseas. But years later you gave it one more shot with San Antonio. How did that work out?

Looking back I was not ready or good enough to play in the NBA after I left Temple.  However, my game developed and improved significantly after 3 or 4 years playing overseas.  I believe at this point I was good enough. Ron Adams (Jos Kuipers college coach) saw me play overseas and invited me to the San Antonio camp (he was an assistant coach). I was playing at a high level.  Unfortunately this was the year that the NBA had a labor dispute and the season was delayed and in jeopardy.  I had an offer to play overseas again so I have to decide on taking a sure thing and playing overseas, or waiting to see if the NBA would resolve their issues and try-out for San Antonio and make the team, which may have been a long shot.

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