Jermale Jones Leads The Licher Basket Baeren Past the Fraport Skyliners Juniors In His Second Secret Living Room BCM 63-59
American Jermale Jones from Birmingham of the Licher Baskets may have his first living room where he can enjoy a nice relaxed Sunday with his mom and pop in Alabama, but his current second living room is without a doubt in the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Gym in Lich where he tries to help lead his team to victory each other weekend. However the American also enjoys visiting other basketball living rooms in the Rhein-Main area as well as in Giessen as one could really call him a Hessen basketball traveler. In the first few months he had been sighted in the Ost Halle in Giessen, the Fraport arena and in the BCM where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors play and usually with his side kick Martinis Woody of TV Langen checking out basketball. So when Jones returns back to the BCM to lace up his sneakers and battle on the court, he may not be so much a stranger because he has been inside the gym on so many occasions. This may be his third season with Lich, but so far has played only once in the BCM and that was last season where he helped the team to victory 77-61 as he contributed 10 points. All in all, Jones has a record of 2-1 and he returned back to Frankfurt to duel in the BCM as now his friend Richard Williams who he had watched a number of times in pre season and in the Fraport arena could sit back and watch him do some tricks on the court. Jones has had a solid season and arrived in the BCM averaging 15 points a game and had scored in double figures in all eight games and didn´t lie as he stated before the game that he really wanted to win here today and was as focused on the court as was NBA legend Charles Barkley back in the day who is also from the home town of Jones Birmingham as the Lich guard scored 21 points securing the win for Lich and Frankfurt suffered their second defeat in a row. After the game Jones was content about the victory and was planning to stay the night to watch the Fraport Skyliners duel the Walter Tigers Tuebingen on Sunday with his side kick Martinis Woody from TV Langen. “The BCM really feels like my living room. I am always in Frankfurt watching basketball when I am bored at home in Lich. I generally feel comfortable anywhere on the court, but especially in the BCM because it is all so familiar to me. I had the Frankfurt game on my mind all week as we had to stop this three game losing streak to build up our confidence again. With our starting point guard Deon Mcduffie out as well as our American Andre Nelson injured, I felt that I really had to step my game up”, stressed ex Lok Bernau guard Jermale Jones. Despite a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners could of mustered a weak smile hearing the obligatory line”you guys played so hard”, but in the end it was only the win that counted which Lich got. “I thought that we played well as a team, but we all have to give 100% and not every guy did that. I didn’t give 100% either. We have to learn to give 100% from the start. We tried to do too many difficult things instead just running our plays the way we know how”, added Fraport Skyliner Junior Lennart Okeke.
The walking wounded list isn’t only as long as Paris Hiltons Christmas wish list was as a kid, but that of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors injured and being rested list was very long as well as Kevin Bright and brothers Max and Jacob Merz were still out and Kyle Fossman, Johannes Richter and Stefan Ilzhoefer were all being rested for the game on Sunday against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. With the weather getting colder there are those moments where one just doesn’t want to get out of bed and just stay warm and comfy under the covers as that is what it seemed like the Fraport Skyliners were doing as they were still under the covers as the Licher Basket Baehren stormed out on a 10-1 lead. Long time Lich player Viktor Klassen that is playing his 16th season with Lich and played five BBL games in the late 90s got his team on the board first with a three pointer. Jones took authority quickly scoring the next seven points with four from the free throw line and nailing a three pointer. Frankfurt hadn’t found a rhythm and were just missing shots. However Frankfurt quickly got out bed getting their offensive rolling as German Nikolaj Vukovic nailed a big three pointer, point guard Armin Musovic connected on a pull up jumper and the club did a good job getting to the free throw line as Niklas Kiel and Marius Nolte scored as all of a sudden Lich led only 10-9. Jones kept his hot scoring touch alive scoring on the fast break and making a free throw as he already was in double figures after one quarter. Frankfurt stayed on the heels of Lich down the stretch of the first quarter as 33 year old Marius Nolte took responsibility scored inside against two Lich defenders with his back to the basket. It didn´t look pretty, but it was very effective. He closed out the first quarter with a very spectacular play where he stepped up across the center line like a flashy point guard sprawled into the passing lane picked off the lass and went coast to coast for the dunk. With his office on the first floor and with a clear view onto the BCM court, the German may have picked something up form Richard Williams defense in practice while watching from above. “We stopped communicating on defense and didn’t do what coach wanted us to do in the Skyliner run”, stressed Lich guard Deon Mcduffie. The Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 25% from the field and 25% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 36% from the field and 17% from outside. Both teams had 10 rebounds a piec3, but Lich had three turnovers and Frankfurt had ´two turnovers.
In the second quarter, the game remained tight in the first four minutes, but Lich then was able to extend their lead by 12 points at halftime. In the first quarter it was Jones that was thorn in the side of Frankfurt and in the first minutes of the second quarter it was the other American Elijah Allen from Columbus, Ohio that used his aggressiveness to his advantage scoring three straight times in the paint with the penetration. Despite his three buckets, it was Marius Nolte who stole him the show as he made a second steal at center court like a point guard and went coast to coast for the bucket. “It was amazing to see our oldest player Marius Nolte show this energy and will which I usually only knew from Tim Oldenburg. I was surprised, but happy he could make this play”, stressed Lennart Okeke. 17 year old 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel tied the game at 22-22 with a nifty spin move and left handed lay in. This burst of energy from the German could have been needed in the last minutes as Frankfurt was flat and allowed the Licher Basket Baeren to end the second quarter with the momentum and a crushing 14-2 run to lead 36-24. In the run, Lich showed exceptional team play as no American scored for them. They got strong production from 31 year old Daniel Dorr that connected on two mid distance jumpers, Malte Herwig hit free throws and 22 year Eric Curth who played 24 Pro A games for BG Karlsruhe and Heidelberg nailed two three pointers from the corner. “Lich did a good job on defense not giving Frankfurt easy buckets. They did a good job attacking the rim and finding the open man”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robbertson. “We executed very well at the end finding the open guys. It was important that we could show that we aren’t always dependent on our Americans. When we can be more dangerous with our Germans then we are more dangerous as a team”, added Lich guard Deon Mcduffie. The Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 46% from the field and 47% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 32% from the field and 10% from the three point line. Lich had the 19-16 rebound edge, but 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, runs were on the menu and the Licher Basket Baeren continued to have a big lead as Frankfurt was unable to put a dent into it. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out of the locker room very focused jumping on Lich quickly going on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 36-31. Kiel started the run with a lay in as his quick first step was half the rent to the bucket, Vukovic then used his bread and butter his three pointer hitting nothing but net and Marius Nolte snuck inside for a reverse lay up. Lich quickly put an end to the Frankfurt run with their own 9-0 run to extend their lead to 45-31 as once again Frankfurt had a mountain to climb up in their come back attempt. In the Lich run, it was Curth who cut inside as Jonathan Malu found him with a bullet pass form the double team, Dorr scored twice and Jones made a pull up jumper. The game was very up and down as defense had taken a back seat for a few minutes. Frankfurt continued to fight, but every time they hit buckets, Lich matched their offense as the home team couldn´t really get any closer. Frankfurt went on a mini 4-0 run to cut the Lich lead to 45-35 as Kiel hit free throws and Tim Oldenburg scored inside getting a quick pass form Musovic. Lich continued to get timely production as Jones hit a pull up jumper and Curth fed Dorr with a drop a dime pass while Frankfurt got a bucket from Musovic cutting the Lich lead to 49-39, but 18 year old Vinzent Zimmer hit a last second three pointer from the corner as Frankfurt trailed 52-39 after three quarters. “We did a good job keeping the lead in the third quarter. We continued to execute and played possession by possession and just got needed stops”, stressed Jermale Jones. The Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 46% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 33% from the field and 14% from the parking lot. Lich had the 30-25 rebound edge, but 15 turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Licher Basket Baeren were able to keep their comfortable lead until the last five minutes where Frankfurt started their last come back, but came up short at the end as time ran out. Just like at the begin of the third quarter, Frankfurt pulled off another quick start to the fourth quarter going on a 5-0 run to cut the Lich lead to 52-44. Okeke hit a giant three pointer and Oldenburg showed grit on the offensive glass getting a tip in. This first come back attempt by Frankfurt was squashed by Lich as they returned with a mini 4-0 run to lead 56-44 as Curth dropped a step back jumper and Ugur Kulhan connected on a jumper. After Nolte made two free throws, Jones who played at Tuskeegee(NCAA2) did some more damage hitting a three pointer and then made a runner bank shot as Lich led 61-46 and hope for Frankfurt to escape with a win dwindling. However Frankfurt had one last comeback left and the needed energy to go on a massive 13-0 run to cut the Lich advantage to only 61-59 with a minute to play. In the run, Frankfurt got big production from Tim Oldenburg that really sparked the club with his energy as he scored two buckets inside. Kiel hit a jumper and Musovic scored first and last in the run. “Frankfurt got us out of what we did best and they ran the floor and just played harder than us”, explained Jermale Jonnes. “We were 100% concentrated on defense and pressured Jones a lot. Our offense was structured and we used our chances and hit shots. We got more extra passes and shots. The way we played in this run is how we should play the whole game”, added Lennart Okeke. After a Dorr miss, Frankfurt had 40 seconds left to tie or take the lead, but German Michael Fuss coughed up the ball which led to Jermale Jones free throws and the victory. “I thought that we were too motivated on the last play. We had no options as no one was open. I feel as a team we didnt play smart on that play”, expressed Lennart Okeke. “We were all focused on that play and were thinking just one more play. Each guy dug deep on that play and kept our composure and got the needed stop”, stressed Jermale Jones. The Licher Basket Baehren were led by Jermale Jones with 21 points. Daniel Dorr produced 11 points and Eric Curth contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Marius Nolte with 13 points. Tim Oldenburg Armin Musooovic and Tim Oldenburg each steered 11 points a piece. Lich finished the day shooting 45% from the field and 35% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors finished shooting 33% from the field and 18% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 38-37 and had only 10 turnovers while Lich had 19 turnovers. Despite the loss, there was as always positives to see from the Frankfurt game. “Our biggest strength was staying together and always fighting back”, stressed Lennart Okeke.
Robert Ferguson is a 29 year old 203cm forward from Cape Coral, Florida that is playing his sixth professional season and fifth in Germany and first with the Hamburg Towers. He started his basketball career at St.Josephs (NCAA) in 2004 where he played until 2008 playing a total of 136 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 11.9ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.7%, 3Pts: 44.4%, FT: 83.7%. In 2009-2010 he started his professional basketball career with the Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-ProA) playing 17 games: 14.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 64.8%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 67.7%. In 2010-2011 he played for Defensor Sporting Club (Uruguay-LUB): 10 games: 11.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.2spg, 2.2bpg, FGP: 56.1%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 84.6%, in Nov.’10 moved to Crailsheim Merlins (Germany-ProA): 20 games: 7.9ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 28.8%, FT: 87.5%. In 2011-2012 he played for Defensor Sporting Club (Uruguay-LUB) 12 games: 11.5ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 93.8%, in Dec.’11 moved to KR Reykjavik (Iceland-Express League): 17 games: 13.9ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.0apg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP-3(62.9%), 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 71.4%. In 2012-2013 he played for SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA): 32 games: 5.8ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT-1(57.1%), FT: 70.0%. Last season he played for BG Karlsruhe (Germany-ProA): 12 games: 11.3ppg, 4.6rpg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 68.8%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg.
Robert thanks for talking to German Hoops When you are on a road trip through Germany and just watching the landscape go by how often do you think back to your young St Joseph days?
I had many road games in college and I liked my college time and I miss it at times, but now I think more about playing as long as I can and where my future will go.
Road trips in Germany can be semi long while in Iceland they were more short. How were road trips in Uruguay when you played for Defensor Sporting Club (Uruguay-LUB)
Road trips in Uruguay were short. Most teams were in a few cities and the longest road trip was two hours.
You are playing your sixth professional season and fifth in Germany. Be honest is it the food that makes you come back each season?
No it wasn´t the food, but actually my wife is German. She recently had a baby.
How thrilling has it been playing for this ambitious new German basketball project Hamburg Towers? What have you enjoyed most about the experience so far?
It is very exciting playing for the Hamburg Towers. They went into the season with no real expectations, but not to move down. But we are very ambitious and want to reach the playoffs.
This season in 21 minutes you are averaging 7,7ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,3apg. How would you describe your role on the team?
I am the oldest on the team and the veteran. I just try to lead by example as well as being a vocal leader. I also try to help the young guys who don’t know much about the professional life. You could say I am the big brother and everyone looks up to me.
After starting the season with a three game winning streak Hamburg now has a 3-4 record. Why has the team been so up and down?
We are still searching for our own identity as a team. It hasn’t been easy so far, because we have many different kind of players. We are still looking to gel as a team, but I know once we click that we will be trouble for teams in the German Pro A.
It seems like the team has understood early that team basketball is the way to go. How much credit goes to head coach Hamed Attabashi for getting the team on the same page early?
Coach Attabashi deserves a lot of credit and stresses team defense. He sticks very much to detail. It doesn’t matter if you make a small or big mistake, he lets you know. He sees every mistake as a team mistake. This way we learn as a team from our mistakes.
Bazou Kone is a big German talent, but has had the turnover bug early averaging 3,5 per game. How have the teammates helped him most efficiently in practice?
We all tell him to stay positive and just to concentrate on making smart decisions on the floor. He is a young player and they tend to be hyper at times and try to do too much. He has wanted to prove himself and we just tell him to be more patient because that is vital at the point guard position.
Two seasons ago you helped SC Rasta Vechta move up to the Beko BBL playing 32 games: 5.8ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 53.7%, 3PT-1(57.1%), FT: 70.0%. Was there no option for you to stay and play in the Beko BBL?
I think that there was a chance. But by the time I got to talk to them, they had decided to go another route. They told me that I needed to do more at my position. In other words I wasn´t good enough.
Do you think they noticed you led the German Pro A in three point shooting that season?
I guess not. I came in late that season to Vechta. I played more in the playoffs and helped them.
AS a rookie you played for the Nordlingen Giants. What was your wake up call to becoming a professional player in your rookie season wth Nordlingen?
I had a pretty good season, but at the halfway point I hurt my knee and all of a sudden management found many faults in my game and I had to go. This wake up call let me know that I wasn’t in college anymore.
You played two seasons in Uruguay for Defensor Sporting Club. If you look at teams in South America there are guys that have played there for 10 plus years. What was most difficult to getting adjusted to the play on the court and the way of life there?
I think the toughest adjustment for anyone would be the weather as summers and winters are reversed and there isn’t much English there. On the court the play was more physical. I wouldn’t mind playing there again. I liked the style of play there which reminded me a lot of college.
You played briefly for BG Karlsruhe and had Rouven Roessler as a teammate. For many his career has been a riddle as he had the talent to go far, but chose to be in his comfort zone and concentrate on his home team BG Karlsruhe. How respect do you have for a guy that doesn´t always have to go with the flow, but just does kind of says you guys can xxxxx off?
He was a very good player and still was one of the best last season. He isn’t the first player that decided that playing at home was best. I have a lot of respect for him. Even today at 34-35 years of age he plays at a high level.
What was the most amazing thing that you saw Richard Williams do in a practice back in Vechta?
He is probably the quickest player that I ever played with. The most amazing thing that I saw him do was dunk.
After a great senior year and strong Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft), your ex teammate at St Josephs Pat Calathes stayed undrafted and has played in Europe. Are you surprised that he never made it there?
Yes I was a bit surprised. He is a 6.10 guard which is hard to come by. I thought that he would go to the NBA with his brother Nick. I think that he is happy with his career that he has had in Europe. I still have contact to him today.
How did Phil Martelli prepare you best for a professional basketball career in college?
He taught me so much especially how to be focused at all times. He also taught me to be more of a team player and always be competitive. He is still in my head today and I hear him when I am on the court. He really changed my life at St Josephs with his influence.
Who won a one on one in practice in Nordlingen and who does now you or Benjamin Fumey?
Of course me.
How often have you seen CEO Pascal Roller and sport Director Marvin Willoughby shoot a basketball? How cool is it having these 2 German legends around?
I have seen Marvin shoot, but never Pascal as he is a very busy man now. It is great having these two great mentors in the backround that know so much about the game. It is great just to talk with them and learn. I still want to have a long career and if there are any two guys that guide me down the right road then it is those two.
Where will the journey of the Miami Heat end this season?
They will be a playoff team for sure. I don´t think that they will get past the second round of the playoffs.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Lets be cops.
Thanks Rob for the chat,
Walter Tigers Tuebingen head coach Igor Perovic has had that special right instinct for getting young players from the NCAA the last years as well as the right mix of players for his rosters the same way as Borusia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp has been able to shape successful teams the last years especially this season with lesser known star players, but that have panned out in the early going. Perovic brought in guys like Vaughn Duggins or Tyrone Nash the last years who have become better players in Tuebingen, but at the point guard position, he has had his up and downs the last years landing some good experienced players while other times not having as much luck. From 2009-2011, he had Serb Branislav Rathkovica who led the Beko BBL in assists both seasons and two years ago had Louis Campbell who was vital in the team sniffing near the playoff area. Two seasons ago, he had NCAA rookie Dale Davis who had to pack his bags and newcomer Cameron Wells who did a solid job, but one can´t always expect much from a player coming late to a team. Last season combo guards Jonathan Wallace and Josh Young shared the point guard position who were solid, but more scores than guys dishing out assists as if they were on a silver platter and the club has started off slow and had issues on offense not having that needed consistent playmaking and losing needlessly to teams like TBB Trier and SC Rasta Vechta. So if a top point guard like Branislav Ratkovica is on the market why not reel him in like a lonely salmon in a lake on a leisurely Sunday fishing trip. Perovic gobbled up the free Ratkovica who is in his best basketball age at 28 last season and right in his first game helped the Tigers to a big road win in Braunschweig. Before returning back to Tuebingen last season, the Serb had a nomadic season as he had his suitcase in constant service starting the season with Aliaga Petkim (Turkey-TBL) playing 3 games: 5.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 6.0apg, 1.0spg; EuroChallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 13.0ppg, 2.0rpg, Assists-2(6.0apg), Steals-4(2.5spg). He then moved to Olin Edirne Basketball (Turkey-TBL) playing 13 games: 5.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 48.4%, 3FGP: 28.1%, FT: 80.0%, in Feb.’13 signed at Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-BBL, starting five): 11 games: 7.5ppg, 1.3rpg, 4.6apg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.7%. Ratkovica played three seasons in Tuebingen from 2008-2011 and two with Perovic and one senses that the harmony is still there between both. “He knows a lot about basketball, he is patient and reasonable, which has positive effects on the team. I think it has already been shown how much Tuebingen appreciates him. Our cooperation is great. We have complete confidence in each other, which means a lot to me as a point guard”, stressed Branislav Rathkovica. Last season for Tuebingen the Serb played 27 games averaging 8.8ppg, 2.1rpg, Assists-4(5.4apg), FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4%. Once again he was one of the top playmakers in the Beko BBL despite playing for a weak team. Currently Tuebingen is in the Beko BBL cellar like they started last season and the Serb seems to need to be the savior. So far Ratkovica is averaging 10,1ppg and 6,1apg second in the league in assists. He has done a superb job in the playmaking and the club definitely can put points on the board as the team has scored 80 plus points in the last five games, but just have defended as if they were on a Sunday walk along the Neckar river instead of focusing of their opponent on the court. The Serb has teammates that can put points on the boards and he will continue to have the offense moving, but its time for the most experienced guys with Alexsandar Nadfjeji and him to reel the troops together and find a sound defensive concept to help compliment a solid offensive foundation that will definitely have less pressure when they start producing more stops which will power their offense as well.
Since Serb Igor Perovic took over at the helm of the Walter TIgers Tuebingen in 2010, he achieved two 11 place finishes and two 12 place finishes and in the 2012-2103 had his best finish at 10 and was even flirting with the possibly of making the Beko BBL playoffs. However last season was his worst season since he took over and it started mediocre and got worse and worse and the pressure on management to get rid of him was so high, but manager Robert Wintermantel had the right feeling and held on to the seemingly laid back coach and the Serb paid his dues keeping the Tigers in the Beko BBL as they finished a very disappointing 16th place as they had to win their last game of the season. They started last season losing five of their first six games which right away put them into the cellar. They then beat Braunschweig, but then right away fell back into their losing ways losing five games in a row. They then beat Phoenix Hagen with their own weapons, but then lost six games in a row. They then beat the weak s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and then lost five games in a row. The season was winding down and the club was in danger of moving down to the Pro A, but the club buckled down in the last six weeks winning six of their last nine games which was enough to survive another season and give the club a new chance this season to show their talent with the best in the Beko BBL. In this nine game span, Tuebingen had big wins against Frankfurt stopping them on the last play in their living room, the Artland Dragons, Bremerhaven, Braunschweig and Phoenix Hagen. In the last six games where they went 4-2, they demonstrated what they are capable on offense averaging 94 points per game and showing that they could have been the scoring twin of Phoenix Hagen from the south. A big problem last season for the Walter TIgers Tuebingen was their injury misfortune something that their next opponent Fraport Skyliners could give a seminar on as seven Walter TIgers Tuebingen players missed a combined total of 37 games. Other problems that Tuebingen had to deal with was a thin bench which with injuries was squashed even smaller, the inability of a young German player other than Bogdan Radosavljevic to make their breakthrough, the unexpected loss to Johannes Lischka due to health who was expected to have played a big role last season and their transition game being neglected.
The budget of the Walter TIgers Tuebingen is very limited each season and it is always interesting to see what gems Igor Perovic can sweep off their feet and bring to Tuebingen. In the past he has brought little known players like Reggie Redding or Vaughn Duggins who have moved on to bigger and greater things in European basketball. This season, Perovic held on to six players and brought in four new players including a fifth new one recently. The two most important players that Perovic could hold was point guard Bane Ratkovica who is a 29 year old 192cm point guard and is slowly is becoming a Tiger legend as he is playing his fifth season in Tuebingen and was twice the best BBL assist man as a Tiger in 2010 and 2011 and last season played 27 games averaging 8.8ppg, 2.1rpg, Assists-4(5.4apg), FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 73.4% and American Jonathan Wallace who is a 28 year old 187cm guard could be the teams leading scorer and is planned to be their leader. Wallace played at Georgetown with future NBA player Roy Hibbert and last season for Tuebingen played 27 games averaging 14.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 3.1apg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT-2(95.5%). The club also was able to hold on to Anatoly Kashirov who is a 27 year old 215cm center playing his third season in Tuebingen and will be the anchor under the boards and be that presence inside that the club will so much need. Last season he started the season for BK Ventspils (Latvia-LBL): Baltic League: 3 games: 3.3ppg, 2.0rpg; EuroChallenge: 3 games: 4.7ppg, 1.0rpg; : 3 games: 3.3ppg, 2.0rpg, in Nov.’13 moved to Walter Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-BBL): 17 games: 9.8ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 50.8%, FT: 71.2%. The team also kept up and coming Bogdan Radosavljevic who is a 21 year old 213cm center that already had a promising last season and the question will be if he can make the next step. He already showed last season that he can take on responsibility as he had a big game in Frankfurt. Last season he played 34 games averaging 7.7ppg, 3.0rpg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.7%Perovic will be awaiting even more from him this season. The team also kept Aleksandar Nadjfeji who seems not to age at all as at the age of 38 he is currently one of the main offensive options. Even if he is unexpected to do big things on the court, anything extra is very much appreciated. His biggest asset is his experience and verbal association to the young players. His experience is priceless having won titles in Cologne and Berlin. After three seasons in Munich where he had no real role last season in Tuebingen he played 17 games averaging 9.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 52.9%. The team also held onto Julian Albus who is a 22 year old 193cm German that hasn´t been able to make the breakthrough yet. If that happens this season depends on how much trust Perovic will have in him and how the Tigers are playing. Last season he played 18 games averaging 2.3ppg.
Tuebingen hauled in two rookies with Augustine Rubit is a 25 year old 201cm forward from Houston who like so many other rookies in the last years will have to prove if Perovic had the right touch in bringing him in with his play on the court. Rubit is projected to be the Tyrone Nash replacement and should do havoc inside. He played at S.Alabama and as a senior played S.Alabama (NCAA) 31 games averaging 17.0ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 66.7%. Nick Wiggins is a 22 year old 198cm forward who is the brother of NBA rookie Andrew Wiggins and is expected to use his unending athletic ability and help the team on offense and not be remembered later as being the unknown brother of an NBA shooting star. He played at Wichita St. (NCAA) reaching the NCAA Final 4 and as a senior played 36 games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.3rpg, FGP: 36.0%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 58.7%. Michael Cuffee who is a 31 year old 195cm forward comes from the MItteldeutscher BC where last season he played 25 games averaging 13.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.9%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 86.0% and knows the BBL. He is an unbelievable rebounder and will give extra stability on the boards. He is playing his 10th professional season and his experience of having played in 8 countries will help the kids. If he can get his shot to fall will give an extra push from the perimeter. Til Joscha Joenke is a 22 year old 190cm point guard was brought in to give Ratkovica a rest and has had experience with ratiopharm Ulm is the BBL and Eurocup. He can haul down 10 rebounds a game if lucky and Perovic should make Kashirov run extra laps if the young German has more rebounds than him. Last season the German played for Ratiopharm Ulm (BBL) playing Eurocup 5 games: 1.8ppg, 1.0rpg; German League: 11 games: 3.1ppg, played also at Weissenhorn Youngstars (ProB, starting five): 25 games: Score-4(21.8ppg), 5.2rpg, 4.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 22.8%, FT: 78.8%. Recently the team brought in Vladimir Mihailovic who is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Montenegro to give stability at the guard position. He won three cups in his country played at the 2011 European championships in Lithuania and played the last three seasons for KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (Erste Liga) and last season played 10 games: 12.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 62.8%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 69.2%; Adriatic League: 25 games: 6.9ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 48.0% Tuebingen is a team that is run by Ratkovica and will play more fast basketball than last season with more athletic players and should have a longer rotation than last year. Tuebingen hasn´t got off to a good start as currently they are 2-7 and have only defeated Braunschweig and Crailsheim. Their biggest area to improve is on the defensive end as they have given up 90 plus points in six of the first nine games. They have a real cellar battle with the Fraport Skyliners that also share an identical 2-7 record. Frankfurt is weakened badly with injuries and this could be the chance of Tuebingen to escape with their second victory in a row. The battle inside could be the deciding factor as Frankfurt will still be without Mike Morrison and which team defends better which will be at the advantage of Frankfurt who have been faithful to keeping teams under 65 points in three of the last four games. The FRaport Skyliners welcome the Walter TIgers Tuebingen on November 23rd.
Since the 2005-2005 season, the Frankfurt Skyliners have a record of 11-5. After losing the season series in 2005-2006, the Frankfurt Skyliners had some glorious years winning seven games in a row. In the 2007-2008 season, Frankfurt won both games as Derrick Allen totally dominated both games scoring 27 and 21 points. Even in the third game in a row the next season, Allen was top scorer with 22 points. Who could forget the 25 point effort of Keith Simmons in 2009 in a 72-59 victory. Two seasons ago, the Frankfurt Skyliners swept the season series as 2011 Beko BBL MVP Dashaun Wood had 34 and 22 points to lead all scorers. In the first meeting of the season in 2011-2012, the Tigers lost to the Fraport Skyliners 73-66 in a game that was on the line in crunch time and a game they could of won. Duggins brought the Tigers to 66-69 with 1.13 to play, but a Jon Leuer bucket and Justin Gray free throws sealed the win for Frankfurt. In the return game in Frankfurt, Tuebingen got revenge winning 96-89 as Reggie Redding led all scorers with 25 points. In the first meeting in the 2012-2013 season, The Walter Tigers Tuebingen played an all around solid game defeating Frankfurt 87-75 and had six players in double figures as Kenny Frease had 18 points, Vaughn Duggins chipped in with 17 points and Reggie Redding and Tyrone Nash contributed 12 points each. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zach Peacock with 18 points and Ted Scott with 13 points. Tiger Josh Young knows what Frankfurt is capable of and how to stop Devin Gibson. In the return match in Frankfurt, The Fraport Skyliners took apart Tuebingen 92-78 as Frankfurt was led by Dawan sweet Philli Robinson with 21 points, while Zach peacock steered 20 points and Ryan Brooks 19 points to the victory. Tuebingen was led by Vaughn Duggins with 15 points and Kenny Frease with 13 points. Last season both clubs split tehs eason series winning on the road. In Tuebingen, the Fraport Skyliners won 76-67 and were led by ex NBA player Andrew Rautins with 17 points while Danilo Barthel scored 13 points. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were led by Alexsandar Nadfjeji with 18 points and Bogdan Radosavljevic had 12 points. In the return game Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert surely had nightmares of the 71-70 crunch time loss where Frankfurt could have won the game on the last play, but coughed up the ball. Tuebingen was led by Jonathan Wallace with 22 points while Bogdan Radosavljevic chipped in with 17 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 17 points and Johannes Voigtmann added 14 points.
Paul Larsen is a 22 year old 198cm forward that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with PS Karlsruhe in the Regionaliga 2. He started his basketball career at Mercer8NCAA) in 2010 where he played 57NCAA games until 2012. He then moved to USC Aiken (NCAA2) and finished his college career there and as a senior played 36 games averaging 12.4ppg, 8.8rpg, FGP: 61.7%. He reached the NCAA2 Elite 8 in 2013 and final four in 2014. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Paul thanks for talking to German Hoops. You will be starting your professional basketball career in Germany for PS Karlsruhe. How tough have the last months been not having a team?
It’s been a little tough. I’ve been practicing and teaching some of the younger guys at USC Aiken so it almost feels like I never left the team.
What do you know about the country Germany and its basketball?
I don’t know much about Germany. All I know is from what I’ve learned in history. I know the basketball draws plays from everywhere and that it’s very competitive.
Did you get some tips and information about German basketball from your friend Travis Smith that plays for Eintracht Stahnsdorf?
I haven’t talked to Travis but I’m looking forward to seeing him on the court.
You will be coming to PS Karlsruhe. Do you think there might be some nervousness for you coming into this situation and how will you overcome that?
I’m not really nervous I’m more anxious to get on the court and get used to the European style. I’ve talked to the coaches a lot which has made me really comfortable with the transition. I think putting in extra work in gym will overcome the Nervs.
How have you been keeping in shape the last months? How does a normal work out day look like for you?
Like I said I’ve been running with the USC Aiken team to help stay in shape. Normal work out for me is lifting, working on post moves and my footwork, and shooting 1000 jump shots.
On what things have you been working most on in the last months?
I’ve been working on my agility and 15ft jump shot.
You are a 198cm forward that can score and haul down rebounds. What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
How I run the floor after a made basket. I always beat the defender then turn and seal so they can’t get around a long pass down the floor. I got lots of points by doing this at Aiken doing this.
How important was it moving from Mercer(NCAA) to USC Aiken for your further development? Do you feel that you would be coming to Germany now had you stayed with Mercer?
I think Aiken gave me lots of opportunities that Mercer wouldn’t have given me. Most likely no I wouldn’t be going to Germany. I would probably be at an exposure camp trying to show off my skill.
How did Vince Alexander prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Vince taught me how to be mentally tough, and to always play hard no matter how tired you are. He also had me work on scoring with both hands because my opponents were going to be just as tall and as strong as me so It wouldn’t be as easy to muscle through people.
You played two seasons with Langston Hall that played NBA Summer League for the Miami Heat and is playing as a rookie with Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia (Italy-Serie A). Did you always know that he would go his way?
I knew from the beginning that Langston was going to be a pro. He is know doubt one of the best points I’ve ever played with.
It is no secret that many great players are born and bred in Ohio, but the same goes for North Carolina. Why are there so much talent coming from North Carolina? Is it something in the food?
I would say it’s because North Carolina is a basketball state. Everybody lives for basketball and many colleges in North Carolina have been really successful.
Where will the journey of the Charlotte Hornets end this season?
Hopefully in the playoffs if everyone can stay healthy.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I saw was the new x-men movie, days of futures past. Wolverine is my idol. The man’s a beast lol.
Thanks Paul for the chat.
The Rocket Man Adama Darboe Fires Buzzer Beater Propelling Boras Basket Over The Fraport Skyliners 72-70 In Eurochallenge Play
What nicer place is there for a professional basketball team to achieve success and happiness than in their own living room? It isnt often that a team has to play in a foreign arena near their natural place of home, but these circumstances do arrive sometimes for the good and sometimes because of schedule conflicts. More than nine years ago, the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners tried an experiment playing a game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn in the Frankfurt Festhalle which is a location that has been home to the Frankfurt marathon finish line, equestrian events, the ATP Tennis tournament or the most known music artists like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or Rihanna. Frankfurt lost to Bonn on that early autumn afternoon without Skyliner legend Pascal Roller and had a supporting cast of players like Dominik Bahiense De Meloo, Carlos Andrade, Mate Milisa and Malick Badiane. It isnt often that a situation occurs where the Frankfurt Skyliners have to get a temporary playing location, but since their home the Fraport arena was booked for the night, the club decided to play in the Grosspsorthalle in Ruesselsheim which would serve as a top arena in the German Pro B, but not for a Eurochallenge game. Anyway it had to do and a basketball court is a court anywhere on the planet and the Frankfurt fans had to travel the 18 kilometers to cheer on their team. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game having a walking wounded list as long the supermarket wish list of Shaq on his weekly trip to buy food and didn´t need to take a flight to Ruesselsheim, but a short bus trip as this team was like on a flight without a pilot with all the injured players. The club was without players Mike Morrison, Mikko Koivisto, Kevin Bright and all three point guards Richard Williams, Konstantin Klein and Max Merz. The only question now was how were the Fraport Skyliners going to react to this hardship against top Swedish team Boras? The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with a 1-1 record in Eurochallenge play as did Boras and the fans witnessed a hard fought battle as the game deserved no loser, but Adama Darboe put Boras in the winners circle with a buzzer beating putting them past Frankfurt 72-70. North Carolina native James Miller who is known for getting the ball in his hands at the end was for once not the hero, but proud of his team. “We had a good first half getting the lead. The second half was a game of runs and I tip my hat to Frankfurt. They made tough plays and hit tough shots. The team that had the ball last was going to win. The key was getting three stops in one possession at the end. It was good defense, but we could boxed out better”, smilied 2006 Dutch cup winner with Amsterdam James Miller. Despite the walking wounded, the Fraport Skyliners played their hearts out, but at the end weren´t rewarded with the victory. Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp was disappointed after the game and the Ruesselsheim gym was just another court for him, but luck is something that Frankfurt hasn´t had on their side this season. “It was just a different gym as all baskets are the same. The crowd was good and this was like a home game as we slept in our beds. I never have seen so many injuries as this season, but games like these are a chance for the young guys like Johannes Richter who played great the last two Eurochallenge games. We had open three pointers at the end and could of won, but that is how basketball is sometimes and we have been having not much luck in these type of games this season”, stressed ex Braunschweig forward Aaron Doornekamp.
Boras Basket who currently are in third place of the Swedish Basketligan broke out on a fury going on a 7-0 run. Former Valpariso forward Christian Maraker who has played for 10 teams in his career hit a jumper and James “I will always have my Duke moment” Miller displayed why scoring in bunches could be his middle name as he hit a jumper and then connected on a bank shot three with two seconds remaining on the shot clock. This quick burst of Boras energy didn’t faze the Fraport Skyliners as they replied with their own 7-0 run as they had a fast flash of offense as Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson scored inside, German national player Johannes Voigtmann hit a hook shot over Maraker and Canadian Kyle Fossman got on the Boras radar with a three pointer. After 35 year Michael Palm hit a jumper, it was Voigtmann who got an untypical assist as his air ball was laid in by Danilo Barthel to dead lock the game at 9-9. However it was Boras Basket that had a tick more of efficiency on offense as they closed out the first quarter with a 9-4 run to lead 18-13. Four time Danish allstar Adama Darboe tested his Swedish 56% shooting from the parking lot hitting nothing but net and the rest of their points were courtesy of the free throw line as Samuel Haanpaa, Darboe and Maraker all connected from there. Frankfurt got buckets from Voigtmann who got a back door pass from Tez and Johannes Richter scored. “We let Boras get their rhythm to quick as we weren´t focused enough on defense. You cant let them get three easy buckets at the start. However we did a good job finding our flow”, stressed Fraport Skyliner point guard Richard Williams. Boras Basket was shooting 33% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 20% from outside. Both teams grabbed nine rebounds a piece, but Frankfurt had four turnovers and Boras just two turnovers.
In the second quarter Boras Basket kept the lead, but were unable to fully shake off the Fraport Skyliners as they continued to fight and scrap like a fat cat does when its on a diet and wants its daily food from its owner. Voigtmann kept his game flowing as he scored the first two Frankfurt buckets tip toeing by 35 year old Michael Palm who left Western Washington(NCAA2) in 2003 as its all time leading rebounder and third in shots blocked for the easy lay in and then connected on a bank hook shot as Boras still led 20-17. Frankfurt kept fighting, but were unable to grab the lead even if they were so close. Frankfurt got some big time production from their Pro B players as Fossman nailed a pull up jumper and ex Ludwigsburg German Stefan Ilzhoefer finished the fast break with a lay in as Frankfurt trailed Boras 24-23. Miller who has played for 14 teams in six countries did what he does best hit shots nailing his bread and butter the mid distance jumper as Boras led 26-23. Fossman then scored from the wing and Doornekamp hit a free throw as the game was even 26-26. In the last few minutes, Boras Basket heightened their game which Frankfurt couldn´t match going on a 11-4 run to go into half time leading 37-30. Miller was in his own zone and one could of plastered the word expression are you kidding me on his forehead as he hit a ridiculous three pointer from the wing from half way Frankfurt, Frederik Andersson scored inside and then Miller scored inside. Maraker then scored inside getting a back door pass from Darboe and ex Akron forward Christoper Mcknight that played with Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis at Akron could pose as his twin brother nailed an off balance jumper. Voigtmann kept Frankfurt in the game with two buckets. “We didn´t communicate well on defense at the end. We also didn´t take that good care of the ball as we had fake a pass to make a pass. We didn´t go inside as much as we could of which would of opened room for our shooters”, added San Diego native Richard Williams. Basket Boras was shooting 48% from the field and 30% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and only 10% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 19-14 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Boras Basket had only four turnovers.
In the third quarter, It was Boras Basket that had their biggest lead of 10 points, but after 30 minutes the game was dead locked again as the Fraport Skyliners just wouldn´t give up. Danilo Barthel got the Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a high rainbow jumper that probably could of reached the top of the Frankfurt Messe tower cut the Boras lead to 37-32. However Boras went on a 5-0 run to lead 42-32 as Michael Palm connected on a hook shot and James Miller hit another crazy shot with Fossman in his face. After the win Miller had a big smile on his face as to how he can consistently hit tough shots. “Being able to make those shots has to do with repetition. I know that I will get many tough looks so I train in an environment that is tougher than what I will see in a game. This helps me perform better at a high level”, warned two time Swedish scoring champion James Miller. However come backs were on the menu of the Fraport Skyliners on this night as they scorched Boras Basket with a nasty 9-0 run to cut their lead to 44-41. The run was started by Aaron Doornekamp who had something to prove after seeing the goose egg in Bamberg hitting a three pointer, Voigtmann continued to be a thorn in the side of Boras connecting on consecutive mid distance jumpers and Robertson made a pull up jumper. However Frankfurt couldn´t get any closer at first as Boras Basket hit big shots to keep their lead as Haanpaa and Maraker did as Frankfurt trailed 49-43. However Frankfurt closed out the third quarter in fine fashion going on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 52-52. Frankfurt upped their intensity in this faze as Doornekamp and Barthel scored inside to tie the game at 49-49. Mckinight then hit a three pointer which was bested by Doornekamp to end the third quarter. “I hit some big shots at the end, but that doesn´t really matter as the shot that counted at the end didn´t fall for me”, stressed Aaron Doornekamp. After three quarters, Boras Basket were shooting 45% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and only 15% from the parking lot. Boras Basket rebounded better in the third quarter as Frankfurt led the boards work only 25-24, but they had six turnovers in the third quarter and Frankfurt only one as Frankfurt had 10 turnovers and Boras Basket nine turnovers after thirty minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the game became a game as both teams shifted up three gears as there were nine lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners continued their stellar play adding on to their late third quarter run and starting the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 57-52. Richter started the run with a bank shot and Quantez Robertson drilled home a three pointer. Boras Basket put a halt into the Frankfurt run with their own 4-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-56 as Haanpaa connected on a jumper as did Maraker. Runs continued to dominate the fourth quarter as now Frankfurt returned to a run as Barthel scored in bunches as on the first bucket, Robertson saved a Voigtmann airball and kicked it out to the German who hit a pull up jumper and then tested his 35% shooting from outside with patent rainbow three pointer that seemed to stay in the air as long as it takes to wait in rush hour for the bus as Frankfurt led 62-58. Soon after barthel miss timed his dunk and missed, but hustled back to force a turnover. Even though Barthel picked up his game against Boras Basket, it seemed like something very spectacular has to happen for players to notice. “He is really doing the same thing that he has been doing all season long. There is nothing special, but its solid. He does many good things that you don’t see on the stat sheet. That was a good recovery missing the dunk and coming back on defense to force a turnover”, warned Aaron Doornekamp. Boras kept the pressure on and regained the lead as Miller hit another one of his amazing shots hitting a in your face against Richter and Mcknight then scored inside as Boras Basket led 63-62. Frankfurt got the lead back on a Doornekamp put back 64-63, but Miller hit free throws as Boras Basket led 65-64. The Frankfurt German big men continued to do all they could to secure the win as Voigtmann and Barthel muscled home buckets as Frankfurt led 68-65. However Boras got the lead back as Mcknight nailed a pull up jumper and Haanpaa made a free throw as Frankfurt trailed 69-68. Frankfurt got the lead back one last time as Barthel made an off balance shot for the Frankfurt 70-69 lead. Miller then made one of two free throws as the game as tied 70-70. Frankfurt had the chance to win the game, but were denied on three shots as they banged for offensive rebounds, but weren’t rewarded with a basket. With 4,3 seconds to go Boras had one last play to win the game. Apparently a siren went off during the play which made Voigtmann pause for a split second enabling Adama Darboe to hit a fade away jumper winning the game. The refs let play go on and Frankfurt will most likely apply a protest. “On the last play there was an off screen and I turned for the possible back door, but instead it was a mis direction which allowed Darboe to get the ball. He had a good look and it looked good as he released it”, said James Miller. After the game, the buzzer beater hero Adama Darboe was all smiles, but very humble in victory. “I have made a couple of buzzer beaters, but this was my biggest in my career. I wasnt even thinking if the ball looked good, but first noticed that it went in when my teammates were yelling. It was an amazing feeling”, said Adama Darboe.
Boras Basket was led by James Miller with 23 points. Samuel Haanpaa chipped in with 13 points and Christian Maraker had 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Danilo Barthel contributed 15 points and six rebounds. Quantez Robertson had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists and Aaron Dornekamp had 11 points. Boras Basket finished the game shooting 49% from the field and 36% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 22% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 36-29, but had 13 turnovers while Boras had 12 turnovers. Boras moves to 2-1 and Frankfurt to 1-2 in Eurochallenge play. The Fraport Skyliners next meet the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and take one major positive into the game. “Our biggest strength was our rebounding. We were big and crashed the boards”, warned Aaron Doornekamp. Frankfurt will be looking for revenge in a few weeks in Sweden and will probably encounter a totally different Frankfurt club. “Their injuries were unfortunate, but despite the circumstances played a great game. They had guys step up that we didn´t have on the scouting report. The guys that we wanted to take their shots did, but they hit tough shots”, stressed James Miller.
James Miller is a 35 year old 182cm point guard from North Carolina that is playing his 14th professional season and third with Boras. He started his basketball career with : N.Carolina A&T (NCAA). He has played mostly in three countries in Europe in Belgium, France and Holland, but also played in Sweden, the States and Venezuela. He has been a scorer wherever he has played and led the Swedish league the last two seasons. Last season for Boras he played 47 games: Score-1(23.7ppg), 4.2rpg, Assists-4(4.8apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 87.1%,. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurochallenge game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Thanks James for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. Is this your first time in Germany? What has been your impression of the country?
I have always had a very good impression of the country Germany. I never have played in their league, but played often in Germany in pre season games. Since I played in countries like Belgium and Holland, I had the chance to visit in holiday and really liked the Christmas markets.
You have played very much in countries like Holland and Belgium. Why haven´t you ever played for a team in Germany. Your game as a high scoring guard would have been perfect for the Beko BBL.
I did have interest from some teams, but it usually always came down to better offers and situations for me in Belgium or France.
Uppsala is number one in the Swedish standing, but Boras and a few other teams are right on their door step. Do you see the Swedish season going down to the wire with many teams having the chance to win the league title?
In my opinion there are four teams that will play for the Swedish title this season with Uppsala, Sodertalje, Norrkopping and us. It should be a good battle to the end of the season.
With what feelings did you go into the 2014 Eurochallenge competition? Your only other visit in a European basketball international competition was in 2005 with Amsterdam when you were 25. You are 35 now.
It has been a while since playing in the Uleb Cup with Amsterdam. I have been excited again to be able to play in an international competition where you play against the best and also have the chance to visit other countries. I like our chance in our group. IT is a competitive group, but we have chance.
Both the Fraport Skyliners and Boras have a 1-1 record and this will be a must win for both teams. What kind of game can we expect and what will be key to winning the game?
We know that this will be a tough game, because both teams are 1-1. It wont be easy winning in Germany, but we have to be prepared from the start and be focused for 40 minutes.
You were the top scorer in the Swedish league the last two seasons. Currently you are fourth top scorer. Do you think that you can defend your title again and win a third?
I think that it is possible, but to be honest I haven´t really focused on it the last two years when I was top scorer. In the last two season I actually noticed it in the last two weeks of the season. I think that it has been more as a by product of the team that I have been able to score so much. I never go into the season thinking about being the scoring leader.
You really can do it all as a guard, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I think my defense is a hidden strength mainly because people notice my scoring. I just try to stay in front of my man and harass him as much as possible and hope for transition opportunities to result. My coaches are aware that I can defend.
How enjoyable has it been playing with Christopher Mcknight the last two seasons? He is 26 and still has many years ahead of him. Do you see him making the next step to the next level soon?
I have really enjoyed playing with Chris. I feel that he can go as high as he wants, because of his mentality. He is a very tough player and the key ingredient for him is that he wants to always get better. I think that if he continues to improve that he will be able to make the next level.
So far in your basketball career you have played in 6 countries and for 14 teams. Do you sometimes feel like you have been a basketball European globetrotter? Do you see yourself settling down now and finishing your career with Boras?
I definitely feel like a European globetrotter. I wouldn´t trade it for anything because I have met so many different people along the way and it has always been a great experience. I have built great relationships along the way. Boras has treated me very well and if everything fits I see no problem finishing my career with Boras.
Early in your career you played with Gent(Belgium) and your teammate was American John Turek who had stats of 13 and 10 that season. What memories do you have of the big man? He is still playing and this season in Poland.
Turek is a great guy that is very family orientated and we are both Christian guys and we had many bible studies in the past. On the court he was always hard nosed and that has showed as he is still playing.
You won your only title in Europe in 2005 with Amsterdam which was the national cup. What memories do you have from that season in general including the Uleb Cup?
I have great memories of that Amsterdam season as that was a great team. In the ULEB cup we won every game except one and couldn´t advance because of the point difference. In the league play we could have had a good chance of winning it, but had two key injuries near the end of the season that hurt us. One of my teammates was Teddy Gipson and he is one of the best players that I have ever played with.
When I give you the date of December 30th, 2000 what comes into mind?
Yes the Duke game. My most memorable time in college.
North Carolina A&M lost badly to Duke 108-73, but you led all scorers with 34 points and future NBA player Shane Battier scored 31 points. What do you remember from this game. Was this the classic I am in the zone game for you?
Yes definitely got in the zone in that game. I remember that we found out shortly before the game that we would have to play against the number one team in the country without two of our starters. I told myself that it was time for me to take it on myself to give my team the best chance to win with my play. Duke played very aggressive and I got some baskets early which put me in an uphill direction and after that it was easy going getting baskets. Duke had many future NBA players and I remember Jason Williams and how competitive he was. He later had an accident that shortened his career.
What memories do you have from Chris Duhon in this game? You did your thing with 34 points and he dished out 13 assists. Did he come up to you after the game and say nice game Bro?
Yes all those future NBA players were class acts. Chris Duhon and I are good friends. I think that because both schools were only about 45 minutes away, we had a chance to cross paths.
Not only are many great basketball players born and bred in Ohio, but also in North Carolina. Is it something in the food in North Carolina that makes such great players?
That is a good question. I think many of the best players come from North Carolina. It is a basketball state. WE have best college schools in North Carolina and kids see at a young age what basketball there is and they just want to play. There are many leagues and kids have the chance to get better.
Where will the journey of the Charlotte Hornets end this season?
I think that they will reach the playoffs. I don´t know if they will get out of the east, but they should make the second round.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Lucy. It was a decent movie.
Thanks James for the chat.
Chris Otule is a 24 year old 204cm forward that is starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the Crailsheim Merlins. He started his basketball career with Marquette (NCAA) in 2008 and played there until 2014 playing a total of 122 NCAA games an das a senior played 30 games: 5.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 60.2%, FT: 54.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball before the start of this season.
Chris thanks for talking to German Hoops. You signed in Turkey with Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TB2L) but now last second you have moved to Germany to join Crailsheim. Did somebody give you the tip that German Wiener Schnitzel is worth leaving Turkey for? Lol.
Haha no it’s just that things didn’t go according to plan. They didn’t think I’d pass the physical because I had one eye.
It is late in the summer and you got signed late. Coming from a well known school like Marquette, how was the off season team looking for you? Did you have many offers to choose from?
I had offers initially but after signing with Turkey I thought that’s where I was going I was wrong. I love Germany and Crailsheim though so it’s a blessing in disguise
Chris what do you know about the country Germany and basketball here? What are you looking most to about your new adventure in Germany?
I know the German league has good competition, not just BBL but pro A as well. Great basketball
You may only be a rookie, but with 6 years of NCAA experience and everything else, do you see yourself possibly being a leader and that defensive stopper for Crailsheim?
Not so much a leader. We already have leaders on the team and they do great by leading vocally and leading by example I’m just going to get in where I fit in
You had many serious injuries in college, but you always stood up tall and was the ultimate warrior. What part of your body can you say has always been 100%?
Hmm. I would say my heart haha. I’ve always been breathing haha
What the normal person doesn´t know is that you have a prosthetic left eye. Does a day go by where you aren´t in some way not confronted with this issue?
It never gives me issues because I was born with one so it’s all I know. If I was born with two and lost one that’d be different
The game has never been easy, but you play it as if you have no handicap. What are the most difficult situation in a game for you where you wish you had both eyes to deal with?
Hmm. Nothing really.
A word that could be stamped on your forehead is perseverance. What has been the biggest driving force for you in your basketball career that has never let you doubt yourself that you can´t be a solid professional.
I’ve kept faith in God and I’m a big believer. It’s helped me stay sane and get through. God gets all the credit
You are a big man that can score and rebound, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I would probably say I have quick feet when I’m not tired haha
One guy who has always believed in you was Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. What has been the most important thing that he has given you the last six years on and off the court that has made you a better player?
He always told me to take advantage of every day, never let a day pass you by where you felt like you didn’t do something to get closer to your goals Other influences are Brad Autry and Jerry Wainwright
You interact with children nationwide dealing with similar eye ailments, relishing the chance to inspire them. What for you has been the most heart felt story of a young kid that you had to deal with?
All the stories have a huge impact in my life that’s one of the reasons I play to prove to people that no matter your “limitations” and I put quotes cause that word shouldn’t exist, you can do whatever you want in life
You played with future NBA players like Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward or Wesley Matthews. What do you remember most about your freshman year which was extremely difficult for you. The team heard about your prosthetic left eye only a after a few months. How did they deal with it?
They are all very good guys they didn’t mind or treat me any different. Why would they
Your ex teammate Jerel Mcneal is a warrior like you only in a different sense in that he is still living the dream of playing in the NBA. He has been so close the last years. Do you see him playing a full season in the future?
He is a great guy in being and I’m rooting n supporting him and he was always fun to watch
When you look back at the last six years in the NCAA, which player was your toughest defender that you had to play against?
There were so many. A lot of guys were talented. I tried to learn something from everyone I played
You started 104 of 119 career games and ranks fourth all-time in career blocked shots at Marquette. For what would you like to be most remembered for on the court at Marquette?
Just that I played for Marquette the fans, the campus, the alumni.. the students.. I was honored to play for them
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets end this season?
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Haha uh Titanic.
Thanks Chris for the chat.