The Belgian Basketball Federation announced on Sunday that they hired Rachid Meziane to coach the women’s national basketball team for their EuroBasket qualifier games in November. He is currently the head coach of Villeneuve D’Ascq in Lille, a northwestern French city that is also known as Emma Meesseman’s European team when she was drafted by the Washington Mystics in 2013.
Meesseman no longer plays for the Mystics. And it’s possible that she will leave the Chicago Sky, her WNBA team in 2022, hanging next season. So why are we still writing about the Belgian Cats?
Well, I had no intention of covering the Cats since she left. But somehow, someway, the Mystics get in the conversation. And I’m dragged back in!
Reports surfaced last week that Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault may be on the Cats’ wishlist. While he won’t be coaching in Belgium for now, I’ll say that the Belgians want a high profile coach for this job. I don’t think Meziane qualifies.
Dennis Xhaet, a Belgian reporter, also added that his “dream head coach” for the Cats is Thibault (link in Dutch). He would join Pat Ceulemans as the second Belgian reporter who openly mentioned Thibault’s name. There is no information on whether the Belgian Basketball Federation is actually looking to speak to him.
Again, I don’t see Thibault taking the Cats job. If he were to take it, that would require him to miss at least the first half, if not the entire 2023 WNBA season. That said, it is interesting to see that Belgian interest in him hasn’t gone away.