Donar will have to do without star player and captain Thomas Koenis from now on. The 32-year old centre will stop playing basketball at top level. The young players Kjeld Zuidema (20 years old) and Mark Roorda (19 years old) are also active for Donar next season.

Photo: Gerrie van der Boom

Despite the fact that Koenis mentally and physically could have made it a few more years, his family has taken priority. With a wife and (soon) two children, his daily presence at home is more important than continuing to play basketball at the highest level.

With that, one of the greats of Dutch basketball says goodbye. After his debut on the highest level with Den Helder Seals (2007-2009), he switched to the Giants from Bergen op Zoom (2009-2011). From 2011 until 2015 his first period was with GasTerra Flames/Donar. After a two-season break with Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden, he returned to the old nest and played the last five seasons, probably the best of his career, in MartiniPlaza.

The 30-time international also fulfilled his role as captain of the Donar team. He was often the booster, mentor and conscience of the team. His most successful season was 2017-2018, in which the team won the double and reached the semi-finals of the FIBA Europe Cup.

Kjeld Zuidema was able to make regular minutes in the past season and made his presence felt with his relentless energy and sometimes spectacular actions. “Donar is a top club and I am happy to have signed here for another year. I hope I can help the team in every possible way. In addition, I think that a year of training against these experienced guys is the best option for me and I hope to make steps again,” said Zuidema.

Coach Matthew Otten is happy that Zuidema will be part of his team for another year: “Kjeld is an incredible athlete and has the potential to become a great wing. His work ethic is very professional and he is a very coachable player.”

Power forward Mark Roorda, who combines his role with Donar’s first team with playing with the DTL team, had little time to play, especially in the last phase of the competition because Donar had plenty of players. Before that, he could show his talents to the public several times.

“Donar is a fantastic place to develop and learn as a young player,” says Roorda. “Last season I was able to do this a lot, but the drive to develop always remains. Also next year I hope to learn a lot here, gain experience and help the team in every possible way.”

Technical director Drago Pasalic: “This is a logical step in Mark’s career. It will allow him to develop further with the men’s team in combination with the DTL team. I think this is a good choice for both sides.”

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