Our Staff

Our team consists of a diverse group of coaches and supporters. We have chosen to develop a team of specialist coaches that communicate closely, educate themselves continuously and frequently, and stay updated with the development needs, challenges and opportunities of each athlete within the program.

The decision to build a coherent team of specialists came from the observation and plus-minus analysis of the commonly-seen practice of traditional basketball clubs in utilising ‘generalist coaches.’ With one team and one coach, the coach is in charge of all the tactical, technical, athletic and mental development. Frequently, the coach prefers one of these topics resulting in other key development areas being completely neglected. From observing these programs, we noticed that in the long run, it is the individual skill-set of the player that is neglected the most by the generalist coach.

Therefore, we set-up the Process whereby each team can work with a group of specialist coaches. Every week the players learn from different coaches who study, research and base their practices on the exact subjects that they are most passionate about. Players learn from experts and those who aspire to become leaders within their field. To work at the Academy, coaches maintain a daily study program to hold themselves accountable to the same standards that we expect from our players.

The connecting glue between the specialist coaches is communication. The Head Coach of an age-group shares observations with the skills trainer, the skills trainer with the strength coach, the shooting coach gives pointers to the one in charge of coordination and movement development, the physiotherapist shares valuable warm-up instruction with the players. Our aim to create a close-knit network of experts who use their knowledge and experience to support and energise the players.

Academy Director Joerik Michiels

Joerik was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. Passionate about skills training from a young age, he has spent close to a decade studying and gaining knowledge from a variety of coaches and basketball trainers all over the world.

International Experience

Joerik was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. Passionate about skills training from a young age, he has spent close to a decade studying and gaining knowledge from a variety of coaches and basketball trainers all over the world. This led to teaming up with Olivier Goetgeluck to create the Elite Athletes program. At the ‘EA Facility’ in Antwerp, players of all ages and abilities from beginner to pro come to develop their movement & coordination skills with Olivier, while working on their basketball skills with Joerik. Joerik founded the Elite Academy program in 2017 to provide a year-round program for youth players in Belgium. This unique formula has led to international acclaim, with Joerik regarded as a globally renowned skill trainer delivering international camps and coaching clinics all over the world. Within the Academy, Joerik leads on the player development strategy and spends time working with all age groups on individual skills. Joerik has been featured on several leading podcasts sharing the unique methodology used at Elite Academy. Check out the videos below to get a behind-the-scenes look at EA:

Listen to Joerik speak about the vision behind Elite Academy on these globally renowned basketball podcasts

 

Watch Alex in action

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Technical Director Alex Sarama

Alex Sarama joined Elite Academy as Technical Director in August 2019 after three years working with the NBA. In his role as Associate Manager, Basketball Operations, Alex worked on NBA initiatives across Europe, Middle East & Africa to grow the game of basketball.

International Experience

Alex Sarama joined Elite Academy as Technical Director in August 2019 after three years working with the NBA. In his role as Associate Manager, Basketball Operations, Alex worked on NBA initiatives across Europe, Middle East & Africa to grow the game of basketball. This involved extensive travel to deliver clinics for both players and coaches all over the world, as well as coaching within programs such as Jr. NBA, NBA Player Camps, Basketball without Borders, NBA Global Camp and NBA Global Games.

Within Elite Academy, Alex acts as Technical Director overseeing the player and coach development for all age group teams and coaches in the program. Additionally, he acts as Head Coach for the U16 and U18 Boy’s teams.

Growing up in Guildford, England, Sarama was previously the founder of Goldhawks Basketball from 2011 – 2016. The club was based in Guildford, Surrey, with the youth program featuring over 200+ players. Alex has a History degree from the University of Nottingham and enjoys reading, travelling and playing the saxophone in his spare time!

Listen to Alex speak about his vision of player development and youth basketball coaching on the following podcasts.

 

 

 

Watch Alex in action

 

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Performance Director Olivier Goetgeluck

Oliver has been working as a coach and teacher since 2011, when he founded Elite Athletes with Joerik Michiels. He researches the dynamics of psychophysical health in different contexts, looking at how we can develop themselves through a myriad of methods.

International Experience

Oliver has been working as a coach and teacher since 2011, when he founded Elite Athletes with Joerik Michiels. Olivier researches the dynamics of psychophysical health in different contexts, looking at how human beings can develop themselves through a myriad of methods, both old and new. Elite Academy is the outlet through which Olivier shares his findings within the domain of the sports world.

Since 2015, Olivier has been closely connected to Greece-based human development platform “Fighting Monkey,” acting as an instructor for one of the most innovative organisations in the world focussed on the areas of physical and behavioural human performance. Goetgeluck’s aim is to teach athletes to enhance their recovery and well-being by becoming more closely connected, receptive and sensitive to their own body.

Within Elite Academy, athletes are fortunate to spend time with Olivier focussing on their athletic movement & coordination, in addition to breathing techniques and the mental side of the game.

 

Watch Alex in action

 

Read more about Olivier…

Head Coach Janka Debacker

Janka Debacker was the MVP of the European Championships twice as a youth player, playing for the Belgian Cats from U14 - U21’s. This led to a successful NCAA Division 1 Career at the University of Seattle.

Janka Debacker was the MVP of the European Championships twice as a youth player, playing for the Belgian Cats from U14 – U21’s. This led to a successful NCAA Division 1 Career at the University of Seattle. Following this, Janka returned to Belgium and has enjoyed a successful youth coaching career working at all levels of the game. This culminated in receiving the ‘Coach of the Tournament’ award in her rst year at the academy, coaching the team at the prestigious ‘Haris Invitational’ in Manchester.

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Assistant Coach Michael de Boeck

Michaël de Boeck is a 22-year old basketball player who plays at BBC Stabroek in 2nd Provinciale. He is currently studying at the University of Antwerp. Besides that Michaël is our defensive coach for all our teams and the assistant coach of Alex Sarama’s U18 squad.

Michaël de Boeck is a 22-year old basketball player who plays at BBC Stabroek in 2nd Provinciale. He is currently studying at the University of Antwerp. Besides that Michaël is our defensive coach for all our teams and the assistant coach of Alex Sarama’s U18 squad. He’s also part of our skills training team.

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Assistant Coach Jonas de Bruyne

Jonas de Bruyne is 28 years old and currently a sports teacher. He is a licensed B basketball trainer and he joined the Academy in 2018, working with several pro’s and Academy kids during the off-season.

Jonas de Bruyne is 28 years old and currently a sports teacher. He is a licensed B basketball trainer and he joined the Academy in 2018, working with several pro’s and Academy kids during the off-season. He formerly coached at Basics Melsele, working with U8 up until U14 players. He is currently a skills trainer for our Academy and leads several sessions per week for us.

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Assistant Coach Mathieu Detiège

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Communications Manager Tonio Caruso

Tonio Caruso is currently studying Sport Management at University in Turnhout to expand his knowledge of the sports world. Tonio’s role at Elite Academy is Communications Manager, taking care of all communication between players, parents and coaches to ensure transparency and communication operates at a world-class level.

Tonio also manages all social media for Elite Academy, in addition to assisting the Elite Academy Directors (Joerik, Alex and Olivier). He also acts as a skills trainer, assisting and leading skill workouts with our Academy youth players. Tonio’s playing career is still active, this season playing for T&T Turnhout in Division 1e Landelijke.

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Photographer Serch Carriere

Born in Antwerp and raised by a German mum and South American dad, Serch quickly developed a passion for arts.
Always creating things, building, drawing, and using fantasy to the fullest as a kid drove Serch to take up art school in Brussels. This only amplified his passion to combine everything he loves: from going to concerts to playing music himself to creating his own drumsets and finishing them off with graffiti designs.
Being able to turn his hobbies and passion into work is something that wakes Serch up with a smile every morning, ready to rock & roll again (quite literally). Aside from taking some of the best photographic shots in the game, Serch is a drummer in the band BEAR, who have been on tour in several exotic locations throughout the world.
A fun fact for the next Elite Academy Quiz Night; did you know that Joerik met Serch when he was 12 years old at the legendary playground of  Tunnelplaats in Antwerp, as well as the fact that Olivier started a team at Antwerp Giants together with Serch in 2012?
In addition to his work with Elite Academy, Serch is a photographer for FIBA, the Belgian Vice Prime Minister Mr. Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Cats (Women’s National Team) and Belgian Lions (Men’s national team).

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Videographer Tim Dalle

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Designer Sander Gee

Sander is a Belgian Creative Director and Graphic Designer born and raised in Antwerp,
who has been living in London since 2012. Mr G, as he is known in academy cirlces, has extensive knowledge in brand management over several years’ experience working with a range of international organisations.
Sander has worked across Western Europe, North America and Asia with major organisations in the luxury fashion, sports and music industries. This has included extensive work for Burberry London, Ozwald Boateng, J.W.Anderson, Tom Dixon, Liberty London, Belgium Got Game, and Push-it Records.
In his free time, Sander is a globetrotter who likes to explore what the world has to offer on his Triumph Scrambler motorbike. You can follow his travel journal here. Furthermore, he often joins Olivier’s ‘Coming To Our Senses’ weekends to relax from his day-to-day job with movement and meditational practices in nature.

Read more about Sander…