Basketball BNXT League Okapi Aalst – Filou Oostende
The red carpet will be rolled out in the Forum on Saturday for Daren Queenan (53), an Aalst basketball god for six seasons and by far the best Aalst player ever. After the throw-up by Queenan, the rejuvenated Okapi awaits a tough job with a match against national champion Ostend. Young guard Glenn Temmerman is also out with an adductor injury.
In his Aalst period 1992-98, Queenan was crowned top scorer no less than three times with impressive averages, such as in the 1998 season when he clocked in at 29.7 points per game.
The Aalst basketball connoisseur Guy Scheerlinckx dug up some figures from the old box. “Queenan basketed 42 points against European top players such as Trier and Leverkusen and 34 points against Paris,” says Guy Scheerlinckx. “In our own Belgian league, a match at St-Louis takes the crown with 46 points, but the sensation from Aalst also scored 42 points against Antwerp.”
Delegate Frans Tas still vividly remembers Queenan’s debut season. “Okapi started with two Americans and attracted a former NBA player with Pitman. Queenan was more of a rookie, but according to the scouts she was a real spring, which would also soon become apparent”, says Frans Tas. “After his first matches, there was still some doubt. Defending was clearly not his specialty, but Queenan had a great jump shot and was still in the air as the defenders fell to the ground again. Queenan measured only 1.95m, but compensated with a huge jump and was a finisher in positions two and three pur sang. Feel free to call Queenan Okapi’s Messi,” says Frans Tas, who got to know the star better over the years.
“It is incomprehensible that the richer top teams such as Ostend, Charleroi and Mechelen did not steal Queenan, although Daren did not fare too badly in Aalst either, until he moved to the German Bundesliga in 1998. My family and I had a good relationship with the Belgian Canadian Ron Vercruyssen, who played for Okapi for four years, after which he moved to Antwerp and Charleroi. Whenever we invited Vercruyssen to dinner, we usually also invited Queenan, who often referred to himself as a businessman and was proud of his university degree in economics journalism. On Saturday afternoon, Queenan had his own program in the Korte Zoutstraat at the local Radio Avanti in which he provided interviews.”
Queenan also formed a tandem with Darren Henry in Aalst. “Louis Casteels labeled Henry impossible to coach. Queenan, however, was the crowd favorite. His older cousin Carlos Clarke played for Gent. Daren worked for three years under Tony Van Den Bosch and three years under Louis Casteels. By the way, we were in the lead once and Queenan seemed to guide us to the national title, until we were foisted on two flat losses due to unpaid bond debts. Queenan was not a carnivalist and rather had a dry humor, but was always a good laugh.”