Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk is looking forward for a chance to lay down the law, on and off the court. The transfer forward is in his first year with the Gamecocks and after earning his undergraduate degree in psychology in just three years at Illinois, the native of Belgium is ready for a fresh start at South Carolina while also taking on his first year of law school.
“There are so many fields of law that interest me,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “I wanted to study law because it’s a very versatile degree.”
It’s also a huge challenge to be a full-time student-athlete and do all that’s required for a law student.
“I’m finding my way,” Bosmans-Verdonk said with a laugh. “I’m just trying to stay above water! I was raised with the idea that time management is very important and setting priorities. I’m blessed to be able to do two things that I really want to do, but that comes at the expense of some other things. Law school takes a different level of commitment when it comes to preparing for class.”
While he enjoyed law-themed television shows such as Suits, it wasn’t Hollywood dramas that drew him to the profession.
“I was just always a very good student, and there are certain professions that are respected, such as being a doctor or lawyer,” said Bosmans-Verdonk, who also plays the piano. “If I wasn’t a basketball player, I think I would have gone in one of those directions anyway.”
“It's really a miracle how I got here!”
Bosmans-Verdonk is well educated and speaks English, Dutch, and French as the latter two are the most common in his homeland.
How does a youngster from a small town in Belgium with little exposure get the attention of coaches at major universities in the U.S.? Like anything else: hard work.
“Lommel is a small town,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “I moved out of the house at the age of 16 to play basketball on the other side of the country, which was only about two and a half hours away. It was worth it. I had to grow up a little earlier, but it taught me so much. If it wasn’t for that experience, my transition to America would have been much harder.
“I had a bunch of injuries my last two years of high school, so I wasn’t able to play for the national team those years. My whole recruiting came from videos. I would cut clips myself when I was healthy and put them on YouTube. Soon, I started hearing from college coaches. I had some mid-major schools contact me, but I wanted to go to something major. It’s really a miracle how I got here!”
Transitioning to life in the U.S. had its challenges, especially as he tried to learn American slang, which meant the locker room became a classroom.
“Right now, I feel like I’m getting better at it,” Bosmans-Verdonk said.
Outside of the locker room, Bosmans-Verdonk hopes he can make an impact for the Gamecocks right away, after playing behind an All-American at his position while at Illinois.
“The main priority for me is just to win,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “I didn’t play as much as I wanted to, but we were winning, so I know what that looks like. I want to be a leader. Personal accolades aren’t that important to me. I want to see us make the NCAA Tournament.”
At some point, he knows he’ll be trading in his high tops for a briefcase and a suit, but he’s OK with that.
“I love dressing up, honestly,” Bosmans-Verdonk said. “It fits my nature to be in litigation in some form because you’re still competing in a way. Basketball is going to end at some point. I have a competitive spirit, and if I can continue to compete in a different setting, then I would love to do that.”