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Sanjay Lumpkin headed to Belgium to begin professional career

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The Leuven Bears just got a lot grittier.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Northwestern vs Rutgers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former Northwestern captain Sanjay Lumpkin will begin his professional basketball career with the Leuven Bears in Belgium, he announced on Instagram Monday night.

The beloved fan favorite played sparingly for the New Orleans Pelicans’ NBA Summer League team, and now will follow in the footsteps of former teammates Tre Demps and Alex Olah in heading to Belgium. The Leuven Bears compete in Basketball League Belgium, as does Belfius Mons-Hainaut, so Lumpkin will get to play against Demps (EDIT: Olah is now playing in Romania).

Lumpkin spent five years in Evanston, averaging over 20 minutes per game in all four seasons after redshirting. The Minneapolis native averaged career highs of 6.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game during his senior season, when he was co-captain of Northwestern’s first ever NCAA Tournament team.

But more important than his presence on the stat sheet was all of the little things Lumpkin did — his hustle, on-ball defense, leadership, presence in the community, to name a few. Belgium’s getting another good one. Congrats and good luck, Sanjay!