Adds final results

MIAMI — Dylan Van Eyck, who helped Northeastern A&M reach the championship game of the Region II basketball tournament in March, played for the Netherlands in the Division B FIBA (International Basketball Federation) U20 European Championship at Sofia, Bulgaria.

“Playing for my country is the something I am extremely proud of,” Van Eyck said in an email. “Playing with my country name across my chest and my last name on the back is a very big honor.”

The Netherlands finished 15th among 22 teams.

Van Eyck, a 6-8 sophomore forward, averaged 9.9 points in the Netherlands’ games in the tournament.

He was in double figures three times in group play, including a tournament-high 23 in a 64-49 loss to the Czech Republic on Wednesday, July 18.

Van Eyck tallied 12 when the Netherlands picked up a 50-42 decision against Hungary, then scored 11 points in a 73-63 loss to Russia in the tournament opener.

Van Eyck also had four points during a 66-47 romp over Luxembourg and added two during an 85-36 blowout win over Armenia.

The Netherlands suffered a 65-51 loss to Portugal Friday, July 20, and fell to Estonia 56-54 in a game that was decided on a 3-point goal with 28 seconds left on Saturday, July 21 in classification play.

Van Eyck scored 16 against Estonia.

A 78-48 win against Albania wrapped up tournament play for the Dutch.

Poland won the tournament title by beating Slovenia, 71-60.

Latvia placed third thanks to a 76-62 victory against Russia.

This isn’t Van Eyck’s first FIBA competition.

He played in the European championship U18 two years ago, as well as the 3x3 World Cup U18 two years ago.

“Last year I played in three different 3x3 FIBA competition nation leagues with the national team,” Van Eyck said. “We played in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Sri Lanka.”

His father played professionally and his grandfather played in the Olympics, “so playing for the national team is an amazing thing to do.”

He said a question about the level of competition he saw last season in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference international competition is tough to answer.

“European basketball is a whole lot different from American basketball,” Van Eyck said. “I think that European basketball is more beautiful, more ball sharing and amazing team plays. And some countries are extremely good, countries like Russia, Turkey, Israel, Germany, France.

“But of course there are also smaller countries who play some amazing basketball, but just don’t have the level of basketball players as other countries.”

But when it comes to the officiating, he likes the European referees better.

“They are very strict, and basketball is really basketball. They do not tolerate it at all to talk back to them, unless you’re the captain. They are very professional, but if you treat them with respect, they can also be your friend and have an occasional laugh.

“But I do have to say, that last year, I had some very good referees as well in our games.”

There are several differences in American and international basketball rules, including the distance of the 3-point line. Games are played in four 10-minute quarters and there’s a 24-second shot clock.

The NCAA has experimented with the four-quarter format for men. Women switched from two halves to four quarters two seasons ago.

The shape of the key was changed from trapezoid to a rectangle in 2012.

After spending some time with his family, friends and girlfriend when he returns to the Netherlands, he’s heading back to Oklahoma next month.

“When I go back to America, my mindset will be to do everything I can to help myself, and my team, to get that ring at the end of February and go to the national tournament in Hutch (Hutchinson, Kansas, site of the NJCAA Men’s Championship).”

Van Eyke averaged 8.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in 26 games for the Golden Norsemen as a freshman.

He’s really optimistic about the 2017-18 season.

“My sophomore season is going to be a very special year for me,” Van Eyck said. “I’ve been working out a lot here at home and with the national team. Also this preseason, I plan on setting an example for our freshman, working as hard as we can, and be an amazing force this season.”

The Norse return three starters from a 2017-18 team that went 22-9 overall and was third in the OCAC with an 11-5 record.

Entering post-season play as the No. 3 seed for the Region 2 tourney, NEO beat Western State and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa to reach the finals.

There, the Golden Norse suffered a 73-63 loss to 13th-ranked Connors State.

CSC led 35-23 at the half, but the Norsemen carved the deficit back to four only to have Connors go on a late run to seal the victory.

Van Eyck missed the Region 2 tournament with a badly sprained ankle.

“All of us here with NEO men’s basketball are so proud of Dylan and his opportunity to play for his U20 national team,” Norse coach Jeremy Jackson said. “We are expecting great things this year and Dylan will be a big part of that with his ability on the floor and leadership for our younger players.”

“I would like to thank the people from Miami for their support last season, and I hope to see them at our games again this year, because we have the team, the talent, the work ethic, the motivation, the staff and the experience to make every game something special, and have a great season,” Van Eyck said.