Olympian Raf Bogaerts quits 3X3 Lions and Team Antwerp and returns to classic basketball

Raf Bogaerts (second from the left) shone at the Olympic Games, among other things. — © BELGIUM

Surprising news from the 3X3 project of Team Antwerp and the Lions. Raf Bogaerts (29) will stop with immediate effect and will return to classic basketball and second division Gembo. “After a few conversations, we part ways after mutual consultation,” said the 2-meter tall Antwerp forward.

Patrick Ceulemans

In 2020 and 2021, Raf Bogaerts, together with Nick Celis, Thierry Mariën and Thibault Vervoort, contributed to the successes of Team Antwerp. He qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo where the 3X3 Lions shone and narrowly missed out on a medal (fourth place). Bogaerts had a professional contract and was a fixed value at Team Antwerp and the national team. In June last year, at the expense of Maxime Depuydt, he was not selected for the World Cup that took place in “his” Antwerp. Bogaerts handled it very professionally, but it was clear that something was broken. In recent months he was still in action, but the spring seemed to be broken.

In the meantime, Caspar Augustijnen and Dennis Donkor had joined Team Antwerp. “A new professional contract with Sport Vlaanderen was waiting for me. After a few conversations, however, I have chosen to stop playing 3X3 basketball. Yes, I realize I may miss out on a second Olympics. Those Tokyo Olympics remain an incredible memory for me. Never thought I would be on that podium with my sport. I wish the team every success,” said Raf Bogaerts, who ended the year in 59th place in the individual 3X3 world ranking.

To Gembo, hoping for comeback in BNXT League

The affable Sinjoor now returns to Gembo. The second division team from Borgerhout, where he worked for a while last season. Raf Bogaerts also worked for first division club Leuven Bears between 2015 and 2019. He hopes for a return to the highest level in the short term.

“My first focus is now on Gembo. A great group of players with opportunities to play a significant role in the second division. I now have to transform myself back into classic basketball. If that goes well, we’ll see what the outcome is. First division and the BNXT League? I don’t rule anything out and leave the door ajar,” says Raf Bogaerts, who will celebrate his comeback with Gembo in the derby against Kontich Wolves next Saturday.

Team Antwerp will continue with five players for the time being

Team Antwerp, number four in the world in the 3X3 ranking, will continue with five players for the time being: Nick Celis, Caspar Augustijnen, Thibaut Vervoort, Dennis Donkor and Bryan De Valck. In the immediate future, it is more than likely that a sixth player will be recruited. In 2023, Team Antwerp wants to shine in the World Tour and with the 3X3 Lions at the European and World Championships. It also hopes to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

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