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On The Road To The A-Division

On The Road To The A-Division

A brand new tournament is ahead for the Dutch men’s Orange Lions U20. From Friday the 12th of July until the 21st, they will compete in the B-division of the European Championship in Matosinhos, Portugal. In the Group Phase, the Lions will meet Sweden, Kosovo, Georgia, Estonia and Armenia.

New coach and high expectations

For several years, Ferry Steenmetz coached the men’s U20 team. This year, Laki Lakner will take over. Lakner is definitely not an unknown coach in The Netherlands, or with the national team selections. Last year, he managed to surprise with the women’s u20 team, and  win the bronze medal  in the A-division. Those kinds of performances are just what the men’s U20 team needs. The last couple of tournament weren’t what they hoped for. A fifteenth spot, a tenth spot and another fifteenth spot aren’t very successful results. Maybe that will change this year. Not only with a new coach, but also because a couple of players who won the gold medal with U18 last year will now join U20 team.

A good preparation during the pre-games

Most of the pre-games were held in Landsmeer. The first 3 games were against the Orange Lions U18 and the second senior team. The U20 won all of those with quite big numbers. After those games, the Lions went to Andorra to play a mini tournament. The first opponent, Catalonia, was beaten by the Lions with 76-88. The senior team of Andorra was their second opponent, and the Lions won with 67-77. The last game against Toulouges turned out to be much more difficult. It became a close game, but the Lions lost with 84-76. Back in the Netherlands, the Lions played one game in Landsmeer against Belgium. Without any trouble, it became a blow out for the Lions with 95-63, and with that, the Lions are prepared to compete at the B-division again.

Photo: FIBA

How to copy the U18’s result

As said, a couple of players won the gold medal with U18 last year. One of those players is Stan van den Elzen, who is playing for New Heroes Den Bosch. He thinks it’s possible to do the same as what he and the team did last year. “We do have a chance to reach the gold medal again. It is quite difficult to tell how, because we don’t exactly know how all the other teams are playing and which players are playing. The way we played hard and pretty fast during the games, I think we might have a chance of we play our games like that. We proved ourselves that we can set different options in offense and in defense. If we give everything we can give during this tournament, then I think we have a big chance to reach the A-division again.”


  • Stan van den Elzen
  • Robin van Heukelom
  • Malevy Leons
  • Kenyuoe Ondaan
  • Roel van Overbeek
  • Quinten Post
  • Bart van Schaik
  • Morgan Stilma
  • Norbert Thelissen
  • Nick Thran
  • Ivo de Vreede
  • Boyd van der Vuurst-de Vries

Head coach: Laki Lakner
Assistant coach: Pieter Mourik & Koen van Gerwen
Team manager: Leszek Rutkowski
Physio: Ansofie van Speybroeck


See Also

Here you’ll find the schedule of the Orange Lions U20 (local time of the games GMT+01):

Friday the 12th of July at 6:15 PM:  Netherlands VS Georgia
Saturday the 13th of July at 4:00 PM: Kosovo VS  Netherlands
Sunday the 14th of July at 4:00 PM: Netherlands VS Estonia
Tuesday the 16th of July at 8:30 PM: Sweden VS  Netherlands
Wednesday the 17th of July at 4:00 PM: Armenia VS Netherlands

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