Basketbal BNXT League Leuven Bears
For its last assignment of 2022, Leuven Bears will visit Circus Brussels on Friday evening. Nick McGlynn can fully focus on that assignment, because otherwise it will be a pretty lonely Christmas for the 26-year-old American. This year he will not get the chance to see his family for the traditional turkey. “But don’t worry, I’m certainly not going to lock myself in my house, you know. I have plenty of other interests.”
Nick, the story goes that you landed here at Zaventem with only a sports bag and a guitar. Given your inseparable quiff, you can go on stage with a rockabilly band.
Nick McGlynn: (laughs) “Just give me the parquet. I feel more comfortable there.”
What is the difference for you from last season when you qualified for Elite Gold?
“Gosh. Hard to answer. Last season, after the preparation, certain things were immediately on point, even if Kevaughn Allen also had to come back from an injury. This season the dropout was much bigger with the unavailability of Thibault Vanderhaegen, Wouter Willems and Brevin Pritzl. Then you also had playmaker Zan Kosic and Jordan Skipper-Brown leaving us, plus re-fitting Josh Heath and Mo Kherrazi. It was like a carton of fruit juice that was constantly shaken so that the pulp could never even settle. (laughs) It should therefore come as no surprise that the automatisms were a lot faster last year.”
Last year you scored as a center in the preparation with your eyes closed. This year you got going a bit slower. Can we put it that way?
“Yes, of course. I also felt much more of a diesel at times than last season. Coach Casteels also woke me up a few times, you know. Justifiably. My positional play could have been better at times, for example in the game against Limburg. Sometimes it is easier to see from the side what could be improved. Whether that comes from teammates or from the coach himself. Adjustment, you always open yourself up to that.”
Has Jordan Skipper-Brown’s departure left you with a sort of void?
“Look, a departure in the middle of the season of a teammate with whom you click is never fun. But unfortunately this is also part of professional sport. I sincerely hope that Jordan can get back to work somewhere soon, he certainly has the qualities for that. He is a gifted player. It’s just not good anywhere to get into a personal battle with the coach. You can never win that.”
Where do you see Leuven Bears end this season?
“You will not hear any boasting from me. Certainly not after what happened to us in the cup when visiting Antwerp Giants. We were really played from pillar to post. Man, did I feel bad after that disastrous performance. To top it off, we also lost against them in the league the following week. That made one win in four games against the Giants. That’s why it’s best that we are humble now, we don’t have to shout it from the rooftops that we want to play Elite Gold. In that respect, Brussels is the perfect litmus test just before Christmas.”
What kind of Christmas will it be for you personally?
“A lonely one. By that I mean, I won’t be seeing my family and loved ones this Christmas. But in the meantime I know the city of Leuven like the back of my hand. And trust me, I’m not the island living type. (laughs) I also have many healthy interests outside of basketball that help me find a certain peace of mind here. Fortunately, the club has some warm figures, such as PR manager Yoline Hulens, who take care of guys like me. I could have done worse.” (winks)