Donar has strengthened its squad in the past week. First, the arrival of international Olaf Schaftenaar was announced, followed a few days later by the news that the formation from Groningen had recruited Latvian power forward/center Ronalds Zakis. Two days later, Clay Mounce also signed with Donar.

Photo: Christian Aarts

Olaf Schaftenaar, born 15 May 1993, already played at the age of 18 with Tenerife in the 2011-2012 season and then got the chance to go to Oregon State University. There he developed into a regular player and subsequently signed a contract with Landstede Hammers. In his first year he was elected Rookie of the Year. He stayed in Zwolle for three seasons and became champion against Donar in 2019.

Schaftenaar then went to Real Canoe Madrid (LEB Oro) and then to Basket Girona. In February this year, he signed with CSU Sibiu in Romania. This summer, he will play with the Orange Lions in the qualification process for next year’s World Championships and at the European Championships in Prague in early September.

Schaftenaar has the following to say about his move to Donar: “In my years with Zwolle, I have of course played many matches in Martini Plaza and always found it a very nice ambiance to play in. I didn’t want to miss the chance to play in the BNXT League and in Europe with Donar. I expect it to be a great season with plenty of chances to win prizes!

Technical director Drago Pasalic says about him: “It’s great to have Olaf on board. He is a great shooter who can create space on the pitch and who has experience of playing in winning teams. Besides Leon, with Olaf we now have a second player playing in the National Team.”

Last year, Furman University’s Clay Mounce could be admired in the Heroes Den Bosch uniform and made an excellent impression with three-pointers and a nose for the rebound. Both inside and from distance, he is a player to keep an eye on. Over the whole season he scored an average of 10.1 points and grabbed 3.8 rebounds.

“I got involved with Donar when coach Otten and Drago contacted me and my agent after the season and expressed their interest in working with me,” Mounce said. “I signed because it was a great opportunity to play an important role in a team that is competing for the championship and playing in a European competition. Moreover, I believed in the vision that coach Otten and Drago had for the coming season. My goal for this year is to continuously improve my game in all aspects in the hope that I will be at my best when it matters most.”

Coach Matthew Otten is pleased with the arrival of Mounce. “Clay is an athlete who brings versatility to his position, which is very valuable to us. He is strong in transition and can play half court basketball: Pick and roll, post up and play without the ball are all things he does. That is a rare combination of qualities, which we find very useful. But above all, his character and work ethic fits our Donar DNA perfectly.”

Ronalds Zakis was born in Talsi on 8 July 1987 and is 2.08 tall. The very experienced centre has spent most of his career with Ventspils (12 seasons). In those years he became three times Latvian champion. He also played at VEF Riga (2008 and 2014-2015), Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovakia, 2015-2016), Rostock Seawolves (Germany, 2020-2021) and KK Viimsi in Estonia. At his various clubs he has gained EuroCup, Basketball Champions League and FIBA Europe Cup experience. In addition, he made 10 appearances for the Latvian national team. In his last season he scored an average of 14.9 points and grabbed an average of 5.8 rebounds.

Pasalic is enthusiastic about the acquisition: “Ronalds is a player who brings to Donar the experience of playing at a high level and winning prizes. He has a strong body, is athletic, has a good low post game, but is also strong from distance. I am convinced that he will be a good fit for us.”

Zakis is looking forward to the new season: “I have been in contact with my agent and I have spoken with the coach. I was excited about his vision for the team and our style of play. I await the upcoming season with great impatience and expectations!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.