Updated: Oct 28, 2020
By: Christopher Alvarez
Straight from practice, Owen Soontjens and head coach Dave Duke take the stand to talk to The Delphian about the win-win scenario of the new addition to the Adelphi men’s basketball team. Very few students know exactly what they want to do with their life, but when Soontjens, the Belgium native from Corbais first knew about the hooped sport, he said it was love at first sight.
“I love the game, I really love it,” said Soontjens. “I don’t want to do anything else.”
With his charming personality and his eagerness to be great, the 6-foot, 3-inch Panther guard caught the attention of Coach Duke
“When he and I met, he was a very nice person and then from there I got very good recommendations on his work ethic,” said Duke. “So those two things together were really important to me.”
Soontjens is from Europe where academics and sports don’t always see eye to eye. Making the task of being a student athlete is nearly impossible because there is not much money overseas to support college team sports. An atmosphere with limited options to exercise multi-talented individuals was not the ideal place for this lanky guard. The United States became a target destination to show his potential both academically and athletically.
“A former player from Belgium told me about the idea of moving to the United States, and he contacted some of the coaches in the east coast here. I visited most of the schools and I decided to go to prep school,” Soontjens said.
He ended up at Marianapolis Preparatory School in Connecticut.
He said competition is a trait that runs in the family with his brother being a runner for the University of Ottawa in Canada. Being driven by the pursuit of greatness, Sootjens was captain of the Marianapolis Preparatory basketball team his senior year and was the 2017 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class B Runner Up. His desire to be the best he could possibly be, motivated him to choose Adelphi University because of its culture.
“I wanted to be challenged every day in practice and in class, and I knew it would be a struggle here, and that’s what I want. I want to be better,” he said.
The 19-year-old exercise science sophomore major and Coach Duke have seen the start of a valuable student-coach relationship with a roster spot and an asset on the defensive end.
“Defense is also about knowing where you’re supposed to be at the right time, and Owen has done a nice job of that,” said Duke. “We’re counting on Owen to bring us some minutes soon.”
And soon came relatively quick as Soontjens made his Brown and Gold debut on Nov. 17, 2019 against New York Tech, where he posted 8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. He’s happy with his start, but not satisfied yet.
“I’m extremely happy. I’m content, but not satisfied,” said Soontjens. “I’m happy with all my decisions, but I have so much to do. Every time I reach something, I want to do more, I have another goal in front of me.”
So what’s that one goal now? “Winning, that’s the goal now. Winning and getting better.”