Brian Harper(I Liked Scottie Pippen Because Of His Determination And Tenacity To Be Able To Guard All Players)
Brian Harper is a 27 year old 206cm forward that recently completed his first season in Germany in the Beko BBL for TBB Trier. He Played 33 games for TBB Trier averaging 11,0ppg and 4,8rpg and 1,0apg. He started off playing guard at 6’5″ at Paine and grew to 6’10″ and never changing positions. Brian’s a smooth shooting wing with explosive athleticism. He has tremendous lateral movement with a wing span of 7’4″. Brian is a talented ball handler. He adds an extra advantage as he utilizes his size to rebound over smaller defenders. He played at Paine(NCAA2) from 2003-2007. He turned professional in 2007 and played for Gimle BBK Bergen (Norway-1Div., starting five): 15 games: Score-3(25.1ppg), 8.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, 2.0bpg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 21.5%, FT: 66.3%. In 2008-2009, he played for KCC Egis (Korea-KBL, starting five): Korean League: 9 games: 15.1ppg, 5.6rpg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 76.7%; released in Nov.’08, in Feb.’09 moved to Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League): 8 games: 3.5ppg, 1.6rpg; in March ’09 signed at Reno Bighorns (D-League): 5 games: 1.2ppg. In the last three years, he played in Japan for Toyama Grouses (Japan-BJ League) playing a total of 102 games. Last season, he played 49 games: 16.3ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 28.7%, FT: 61.3%. He spoke to German Hoops during the last season about basketball.
You are playing your first season for TBB Trier. How do you like it so far?
I love it here. I love the city, enjoy the people and the TBB Trier organization. The organization really takes care of all the things off the court which makes it easier to concentrate on basketball
Trier is a beautiful area. What are the biggest geographical differences to Stone mountain, Georgia?
I think it is colder in Trier and there are more hills here. In Atlanta is very flat and also no body of water. In Trier there is the river.
You played three seasons in Japan. What was the biggest transition that you had to do coming to the Beko BBL?
Just the style of basketball. In Japan there is more isolation and more like the NBA and team orientated. But I have to say that I have enjoyed my time in the German league and it has been a good experience for me.
Is defense before offense in Trier a mentality that you could become friends with?
Yes I got used to it early. Coach Rodl stressed at the start of the season. We have many great athletes that can play multiple positions and because of that we can do so much on defense. The more defensive stops that we get the better chance we have to win.
What do you like most about the coaching style of Henrik Rodl?
He is a tremendous coach. I like how he is able to relate to his players and is able to get his point across. He is a players coach. He knows exactly what he needs to get out of his players. I really enjoy playing for him.
What is the secret of the early success of the TBB Trier?
I don´t think that there is really any secret. We just give very much effort and put in a lot of hardwork. Every guy just wants to sacrifice his body to play defense. Coach has a good scheme and all the players abide by it.
You can play the 3 and 4 position. How much fun is it to play with American Nate Linhart? How do you guys compliment each other best on the court?
Linhart is a great player. He has a great knack for playing defense and getting steals and being in the right place. We both can play multiple positions. We both understand what each guy does which gives us so much more room to do things. If one of us makes a mistake then the other guy picks up the slack.
Who has been the unsung TBB Trier player so far?
Jarrett Howell has been our unsung hero. I don´t think he gets the credit that he deserves. He is our floor general and gets everybody going and makes sure that everybody is in the right place.
You have very skinny legs. What were common names that people called you?
I never really heard any names.
Not even chicken legs?
No not that either or at least not to my face.
A hidden strength in your game is your shot blocking. Who was your role model defender?
Scottie Pippen was because of his determination and tenacity to be able to guard all players.
You leave many players behind you when you penetrate with your quick first step. Do you hear trash talking on the court?
Every now and then, because everybody on the court is competitive, but usually not. The Beko BBL is very professional and everybody is very focused on doing their job.
Vitalis Chicoko is a very athletic player. What has been the most amazing thing that you have seen him do?
He is super athletic. He reminds me a lot of me. He can play many different positions and can do so much. I think the most amazing thing that I have seen him do is just the way he uses his long legs. He has grabbed some rebounds that I never would of thought that he could of reached.
Who was your NBA idol as kid?
Kevin Garnett was always my favorite player. I liked his intensity and how hard he played. I never saw him not play hard.
What was your nicest memory at Paine?
Getting player of the year and reaching the conference final.
Your toughest opponent in the NCAA was Cuxhaven American Monya Pratt. What made it so difficult to play against him?
He was one of those players where you knew that he could play. He was just a very tough player and we had many nice battles against each other in college.
What was your biggest advantage being an American in Japan where you played three years?
That I was taller than everyone else.
What is still missing from your ex teammate Devin Searcy to reach the NBA who played shortly with the 76ers?
Nothing is missing. He is very young and will be in the NBA. It is just a matter of time.
What NCAA story would you like to hear from Henrik Rodl from his time at North Carolina?
I asked him how it felt playing at a stage like that where you were always expected to win.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row without missing?
What was your most crazy shot in your career?
I hit two full court shots once with a swish and the other a bank shot using one hand like a football quarterback.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
End of watch. A great football movie.
Thanks Brian for the chat.
Simon Cummings is a 23 year old 185cm point guard from Port St Lucie, Florida that is looking to start his second professional season. He played at Florida Tech (NCAA2) from 2008-2012. Lasts eason as a rookie he played in England for the London Leopards (United Kingdom-EBL D1, starting five): 17 games: 18.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 75.5%. Last season he almost played in Germany, but then took the offer from London. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Simon for taking some time to talk to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and how are you enjoying your summer vacation?
Right now I am in Florida enjoying the sunshine that this states has to offer, and also I am going to take a two week vacation to Canada in a week or so
You played as a rookie in England for the London Leopards (United Kingdom-EBL D1). Why was this one of the worst experiences for you?
I wouldn’t say playing for the London leopards was the worst experiences of my life. Iwould say that adjusting to the way the game is played in England and the Fiba rules was a tough transition.
What was it like as an American to live in London? What was the coolist experience that you had there?
It was very different. I would say the people the culture the climate. Even the basketball was different but it was worth it and it was fun. The coolest experience I gain from living in London was the connectivity to Europe I got to travel a little and see Europe which most people don’t get to do
In pre season, you had an offer from German Pro B team SC Rist Wedel. Why didn´t you take that?
Well right after my college season was over. I was approached by Rist Wedel with an offer. This was my first pro contract offer and I didnt know what to expect, and since I had 3 more months of summer to gain exposure I felt like weighing my options was a better fit for me at that time.
You had good stats in England averaging 18.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 20.8%, FT: 75.5%. How would you compare the style and skill level of that league compared to the NCAA 2 level?
I would say playing NCAA division 2 at the time was more demanding of my time. We had practice 6 days a week plus classes. Playing in England its tough to get gym time so most of the time practice was cut short. I wasnt a big fan of that because in college my gym was available to me whenever I wanted which is why I shot a better % from behind the arch and the FT line in college.
What was it like playing playing for 43 year old player/coach Robert Youngblood?
Playing for Robert Youngblood was a good experience. We both wanted to win and would do anything to win on any given night so playing for a competitor like that is always amazing. It was my first year as a Pro and also his first year as a coach so it was definatly a learn curve for both of us in our young careers.
Youngblood has been playing in England since 1994. Wasn´t he able to make you a bit more comfortable there?
Youngblood did his best to make the situation as home as possible. The most important thing to me was gym availability, and with the way our club was set up this year it wasnt much he could do to get me extra gym time to work on my game.
The Leopards reached the semi finals of the playoffs. How happy were you with the team season and what was missing from winning a title?
Well this year was full of ups and downs. But with our backs against the wall we came together the second part of the season and put together a great run down the stretch wining 8 out of 11 games to win the National trophy finish top four in our league and make it to the final four. We went into overtime to against the best team in the league after controlling the whole game and lost by 5 on some questionable calls. But all in all we put our best foot forward and im proud of the guys.
You played four years at Florida Tech for Billy Mims. What was the most important thing that you learned from him that has gotten you prepared for a professional career?
Playing for Mims was amazing. Ever since day one he drilledt thing I would say I learned from Coach Mims was a professional attitude and work ethic. a professional attitude into me. Once I walked onto campus he made sure I approached every workout and everyone lesson like a professional. Not just basketball, when we went into the community to do volunteer work he made sure that I acted and looked professional. so the most important thing I would say I learned from Coach Mims was a professional attitude and work ethic.
You got an NCAA 2 record making 10 consecutive three pointers against Trinity. Did you know early on that you would have a big day from outside?
The funny things about that day that I hit 10 in a row, me and my assistant coach Ryan Ballard was joking around during shoot around. Ryan said to me “Cinco when are you going to get your self in the record books” I replied to him before the year is over im going break the record for most 3s made in a game at Florida Tech. and that night I broke both records most 3pts made in a row and most made in a game with 12.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I would say my passing. People who watched me play know I can shoot/score and they know I have a strong body that can finish through traffic but I think those skills amaze people more than my court vision.
Who is your point guard role model and too what player could you compare your game to?
Growing up I admired Jason Kidd he is the reason I wear number 5 to this day when he played for the New jersey Nets. I would compare my game to Will Bynum. We have the same body frame and the same ability to penetrate and score through contact.
Your nickname is cinco. Why do people call you this? In Spanish it means five.
Well ive been wearing number 5 ever since I started playing basketball and one day in high school sitting in spanish class I wrote all over my book “Agent~Cinco” and the cinco just stuck but the agent fell off just as quick as gilbert arenas did.
Who was the best player that you played against in college that is in the NBA now?
I played against some good players during my college career like Tony Denison from FSU Jermaine Taylor from UCF and Chandler Parson from UF but the best I would say is Tony Denison because that was my match up, but as far as success in the league till today. I would have to say CP the way he played for the Houston Rockets this season was unbelievable.
Who would win a one on one in practice you or Julius Reid?
This question is probably the funniest of them all because till this day me and Ju Reid go at it on the court! He was my sidekick for 3 years and us playing one on one came up plenty of times. Even though i wont most of the battles I would say its always a tuff match up because he knew my game just as well as I know his.
Would you like to come to Germany to play? What do you know about the league and country?
I would love to come to Germany and play. I have heard great things about the country and its basketball. I know the Beko Basketball Bundesliga is respected all through Europe and the countries ProA and ProB is a great chance to play against so great players.
Do you have any friends playing in Germany now?
I know a couple of people who played in Germany and who is playing in Germany. Im close friends with Dejuan Collins, he started his pro career in Germany. Also I have spoke to Augie johnston a couple of times. My good friend Willie Withfield also played last season in Germany.
If you could sell yourself in a few sentences as to why you would be a good fit for a team how would you describe yourself as a player?
Im a team player first. What ever the team needs done ill do it. If its locking down the opposing teams best guard ill do my best. If its score ill do it, if im asked to set people up and get them open looks ill do it. Im willing to do anything that will help my team win a championship. The last two programs I played at I walked away with the MVP honors and a Championship that the program has NEVER won. In college Florida Tech has never won a conference championship and my senior year I helped deliver that. At the Essex Leopards a team that won the treble last year has never won the “national trophy” and I help deliver that.
How does a typical Simon Cummings work out day look like in summer?
On a typical day of workouts I would get up get breakfast. Then hit the weight room for about an hours and a half. Then After the weight room I would get up about 500 shots and work on certain moves and floaters to better my game. Then I would grab some lunch and take a 2 hour break. Then go to a local gym for open gym for cardio and game like simulation.
Your favorite athlete is Kobe Bryant. Do you feel that he will return and be the old Kobe Bryant?
I feel like Kobe is battling father time, and saying that father time is undefeated. But taking time off to heal properly I think this can pro-long his career for 2 years and he will still be a scoring threat. But the same Kobe Bryant, I doubt it.
What is your alltime basketball dream that you would like to see come true besides being an NBA player?
My all time goals for hoops is just to be a winner. A lot of players get all the fame and attention while they are playing but if you dont win anything you wont be remembered.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD I Watched honestly was “kobe doing work” by spike lee.
but the last movie I saw was Fast 6
Thanks Simon for the chat.
Brandon Gay is a 30 year old 203cm forward that recently finished his his second season for Szolnoki Olajbanyasz (Hungary-A Division). In hiss econd season he played 18 games: 7.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 59.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 78.6%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 11.5ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 91.7%; Adriatic League: 21 games: 8.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 65.7%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT-1(91.3%)He started his basketball career with San Diego (NCAA). In 2005-2006 he turned professional and played his first two seasons for TBB Trier. He then played three seasons for the Antwerp Giants (Belgium-D1). His best season was his first season where he played ULEB Cup: 10 games: 13.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.9apg, 2.6spg, 2FGP: 53.4%, 3FGP: 41.2%; Belgian League: 35 games: 14.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.9apg, 2.1spg, 2FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 84.0%. In 2010-2011, he played for VOO Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-D1, starting five): 31 games: 10.9ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT-2(44.3%), FT: 80.4%. Last season he played for Sokhumi Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague, starting five): Georgian League: 2 games: 18.5ppg, 10.5rpg, 4.5apg, 2.5spg; Eurochallenge Qualifying Round: 2 games: 14.0ppg, 4.5rpg, in Oct.’11 moved to Szolnoki Olajbanyasz (Hungary-A Division): Hungarian League: 30 games: 9.5ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 87.9%; EuroChallenge: 14 games: 8.9ppg, 3.1rpg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 91.7%. He caught up with German Hoops some months ago and talked about his season in Hungary and basketball career.
Brandon where are you currently and how is your winter going?
What’s up Miles, I’m in Szolnok, Hungary playing for the second season in a row. The winter hasn’t been how I expected it to be but we are working hard to get our season turned back around.
You are playing your second season for Szolnoki Olajbanyasz in Hungry. How do you like this country and league?
The country is good, I’m in a smaller city than other teams I played for and that I live in but that just means there is a larger focus on the basketball team. This season we are in the Adriatic League and Euro Challenge, we will join the Hungarian league after the Adriatic season is over. Every game its really good competition and as a player you cant ask for more than that.
You lost twice to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Eurochallenge play. How was it coming back to Germany? What did you remember from your two games that you played in Oldenburg with TBB Trier?
Its funny I started my career in Trier with Coach Joe Whelton and my first game as a rookie was against Oldenburg! It was a weird feeling going back there after so long. Always great to play there, I like that arena. I like how you let everyone know we lost twice too!!!
How was it playing against German Konrad Wysocki? You played against him back in the 2006-2007 season when he played with ratiopharm Ulm. How has his game progressed?
Yea he is a good player. Versatile guy who plays hard. I know you had to play like that under Coach Taylor when he was at Ulm and the same with Coach Machowski at Oldenburg now.
What is it like being the only American on the team of Szolnoki Olajbanyasz ? Back in Belgium you usually had some Americans as teammates? Do they treat you in anyway more special because you are an American?
It is the first time I have been in this type of situation. I was here last season and I know the guys so it is cool. Even the Hungarian newcomers I knew them and how they competed. We are a pretty close team so even for the new foreigners it was a simple transition into the team I feel. I’m a “Home-Body” so I can fit in pretty much anywhere!! As long as I have good quality internet and my PS3 I’m good!!
What is your role on the team with Szolnoki Olajbanyasz ?
I think my role is to play team basketball just like everyone else. That’s was how we won last year and how we will win this year. Especially playing in the Adriatic League, have to play good individual/team defense. On offense, run the offense to get what we want and take the open shot when I have it.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
I think my passing. I like to pass and think I’m a good passer for a forward. I would say handles but that would be a lie!!
You played your first two seasons as a professional in Germany for TBB Trier? When you look back on those two seasons, how did your time in the BBL help you develop as a player?
TBB Trier helped me become a professional. You hear stories all the time about differences between players and their clubs but I didn’t have any problems in Trier. All I had to do was focus on playing, that’s what I did and am still doing. I think for rookies that the first thing they should learn is how to be a pro. Lean to practice hard, learn how to take care of your body, how to treat people. That goes with your talent to have long a long career. That’s what I learned in Trier from the older guys and coaches.
What is your fondest memory on the court with TBB Trier in the BBL?
On the court it would have to be the victory dance Trier does after every home victory! With my main man Axel “Aggy” Mock leading the cheer that’s something I will always remember!
Did you ever have a more pure scorer as a teammate then Tommy Adams? He could score a lot quickly.
Some players but not as smooth as T.A., dude was a problem on the court. Thing about T.A. is he didn’t want to score as much as he did with us. He wanted to run the show and create plays for the team and he got a bad rap for it a little bit but we needed him to score. When he got hot shooting the ball he can score with the best of them.
After two seasons in the BBL, you went to play four seasons in Belgium. You had two good stat seasons in Germany. Was it just hip to go to Belgium or did you just get better offers?
Antwerp won the Belgium Cup and got a bid into Euro Cup. It was a tough move to make because the BBL was a great league. To this day I still think about that decision because I was leaving a really good situation in Trier. Antwerp turned out to be a good situation as well.
You played three seasons with the Antwerp Giants (Belgium-D1), but didn´t win any titles. The team had a pretty strong roster. What do you think was missing for getting a title?
We were never good enough to get home court advantage throughout playoffs. Each year we ran into the #1 seed in the semifinals and home court is very important in a best of 3 series. We had good teams man, just could not get over that hump.
You played two seasons with 2008 BBL scoring champion Tim Black. What was the most amazing thing that you saw him do on the court?
Tim is a scrub!!! Just joking!! Tim is a tough guy man. The craziest thing I saw him do was during my last year there. We were home against Mons down 7 or 8 late in the 4th quarter and he just took over and ended up wining the game for us with a crazy lay-up. He had a great season that year.
You played with Rashaun Freeman at VOO Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium-D1,). Who won a one on one in practice you or Rashaun Freeman?
This is my interview so of course I’m going to say ME!! “Free” is a really good player though a beast on the low block.
After four solid seasons in Belgium, was there any thought of coming back to Germany to play? Did you have any offers the last years?
No, but maybe in the future.
You have played in Georgia and Hungry the last two seasons. What are the main differences to the German and Belgium leagues?
The style of play. Didn’t stick around in Georgia to see much of the league but in Hungary there’s lots of pick and roll action. In Germany and Belgium it’s more set plays and isolation.
What do you have in your memory about dueling against Derrick Allen in the BBL form 2005-2007? At that time, he was one of the dominant power forwards in the league?
Derrick is probably the most energetic player I ever played against as a pro. He had all the skills but his energy makes him better than a lot of guys.
Who was your toughest player that you had to play against in the BBL?
There were a lot of good players in the league but the toughest player was probably a teammate of mine in Jermaine Dearman. We battled in practice everyday and I think it prepared both of us for games.
You played NBA Summer league for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007. What memories do you still have from that summer?
Probably learning a little bit of Phil Jackson’s Triangle offense. We ran a version of it in Trier but to have Tex Winter actually there teaching it was pretty cool. Learning things from Brian Shaw and Kurt Rambis was great too.
You are 30 now. What goals do you still have as a professional player? I guess just winning titles?
Goals are the same each year to help the team I’m on win a title and cup. Nothing else matters.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row without missing?
In a shooting practice my first year in Antwerp shooting 10 at a time I think I hit 91 straight. I shoot too many jumpers in games to even get that many attempts in a season now!!!
What was your most crazy shot that you ever made in your career?
Nothing sticks out as crazy. I got hit on the arm shooting a 3 a few times and they went in. That’s not crazy, that’s just luck!!
So is this the year of the Houston Texans?
Of course!! Shout out out to the Texans!! I’m from Texas so American football is like soccer to Europeans!! My Texans play your Pats this Monday night, could be a sleepless night for me!!
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Boomerang and Paid in Full on the last road trip. I have the Avengers and new Dark Knight on my iPad but haven’t seen them yet. As far as best show to watch right now, Homeland! Its like when 24 first came out, addicting!
Thanks Brandon for the chat.
Sean Mccaw(New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig) My Biggest Strength As A Coach Is The Ability To Teach And Gain Respect Without The Players Having The Feeling That I Don´t Understand Them
Sean Mccaw is a American/Austrain that had along playing career in Europe and has got into coaching some years ago. The 39 year old played in countries like Austria, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK. He won a league title in Austria with Arkadia Traiskirchen in 2000 and was a three time slam dunk contest winner at the Austrian All star contest. He started his coaching career with BBC Bayreuth working with the youth for three seasons. Last season he was an assistant coach for German Pro A team Cuxhaven Bascats. This season he will work in the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweog organization coaching the NBBL, JBBL and pro B teams. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Sean thanks for talking to German Hoops. You signed with the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig some days ago. You had a two year contract with the Cuxhaven Bascats. In the Cuxhaven Bascats press release, it was stated that you wanted out of your contract because you had a better contract offer from Braunschweig?
It isn´t important for me when they write, but I do care about WHAT they write. I did not decide to leave Cuxhaven because I got an offer from Braunschweig. I actually had two other offers. I was sure I would leave Cuxhaven long before any offer came. I won´t go into the reasons why, but I will say that it wasn´t a good fit between me and the club almost from the start.
Cuxhaven was very successful reaching the playoffs. In the past in your short coaching career, you strived to stay in one place as you did in Bayreuth for three seasons. You have a big family so I am sure moving back and fourth isn´t something you want to do. So what were the main reasons for leaving Cuxhaven after only one season?
You are right, I am not the type to move all around the country when I feel comfortable somewhere, especially because of my family, but Cuxhaven was not the right fit for me and my family so I made a choice as a father first, and as a coach second. My family and I actually loved living in Cuxhaven and the fans were great.
It says on the Cuxhaven home page that you left despite getting an offer from Cuxhaven. Why didn´t you take it?
Well actually I had a contract for another season. Things are still not totally resolved between me and the club which is very unfortunate but I will let my lawyer handle those unresolved issues. I am just happy to move on to the next part of my coaching career.
After a season in Cuxhaven, what will you remember most out of this learning experience to help you in the future when dealing with teams?
I have to say it wasn´t all bad for me in Cuxhaven. I met some very nice people and the players we had last season were all really professional and took their job seriously which made things a lot easier. Coaching wise, it was new for me to be an assistant coach and I saw a lot in my role. That alone will for sure help me in my future. The team was much better than most expected so that was also great to experience. On the business side, I will just make sure to choose more wisely, but there are some things a person can never know until you are actually there.
What things were you able to learn on the court from head coach Kristis Plendiskis that you will take to Braunschweig?
Krists and I had a solid working relationship in my opinion and I believe he has a bright future as a coach. There is a lot I can take from this past season but of course we are two totally different coaches so I will stick to my own personal coaching philosophy.
How proud are you off American Scott Thomas that made the jump to the first league in Belgium. Will he be able to make the adjustment there?
Scott did an amazing job this season and I am sure he will be successful in Belgium. Actually I am really proud of all the guys we had this season and I am sure they will all find their way. A few have already signed and I couldn´t be happier for them. It was a joy to work with them.
Monyea Pratt had a very good last two months. Is he a guy that could make the jump to the Beko BBL?
Monyea probably had to adjust the most out of any player we had on our team. In the Pro B he was a go to guy, and with us he came mostly from the bench and his minutes were usually dependent on others, but he really took it well and continued to work hard in practice and play his role in games to the best of his ability although we all knew he should be playing more. At the end, he got his chance and really did well. Because he is so variable as a player, I would say that he is a guy that COULD play in the Beko BBL. It all depends on what a coach is looking for. In my opinion, he would deserve the chance.
How well did German Maurice Plukota develop? In what area did he develop the most?
Maurice did a good job for us. I think he has the skill set to be a decent player someday. He just needs the right setting and maybe an experienced coach to bring the best out in him. He hasn´t been playing basketball for so long but his athleticism is incredible. I think he doesn´t know how much potential he really has. To make the next step, he needs to learn the finer points to the game that have nothing to do with pure athleticism. I think he got better with that as the year went on though.
How excited are you to be working for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. This seems like a place you will enjoy. I remember seeing you there at games in the last years.
I am incredibly excited to have the chance to work within the New Yorker Phantoms organization. I understand their vision for the future and appreciate their trust in me to do my part to develop their young German talent. Over the years they have put out some incredible talent but now its time for us not only to develop talent but to make sure that these players identify with the club/city and want to be a part of it for many years! That is what I look forward to being a part of.
How strange is it already being part of the organization despite no new head coach yet?
Actually it doesn´t affect my work at all at the moment. I do not know much about what the club has planned about their new head coach, but I am sure Oliver Braun and the rest of the management are doing all they can behind the scenes to bring in the best possible coach. It isn´t always an easy process though.
You will have three duties as NBBL, JBBL and assistant to the Pro B team. How will you prepare for these duties in the next months?
Well with the NBBL it has already started. I am going to coach them in the NBBL Qualification round on the 22nd and 23rd in Hamburg. Although I am getting a late start with the team, I am confident that we will qualify in a tough group. After that my most important thing to do will be to meet with the youth coaches and develop a good working relationship. There is so much for me to learn and I have so many ideas, but without having a good relationship with the people I work with, it would be difficult. Liviu Calin will be a big help to me and I hope to learn a lot from his vast experience as a coach to help me grow as a coach. A day without learning is a wasted day.
You were three seasons with BBC Bayreuth working with the youth. What is your biggest strength as a basketball teacher for the youth?
Because I still have contact with many of my former players in Bayreuth, I would have to say that one of my biggest strengths is the ability to teach and gain respect without the players having the feeling that I don´t understand them. I was like them when I was younger, and I am not so old that I don´t remember what it was like to be young and at times wild. I believe respect is earned on a day to day basis and not just because I have the title of Coach or because I yell at them. I have a different approach, and so far in my career, I have always had good relationships with my players.
How disappointed are you that you most likely won´t be coaching Dennis Schroeder this season?
I am not disappointed at all. Even though I don´t know him, I have followed his career and believe he has an incredible chance because of the talent he has and how hard he worked for it. As a basketball fan, I am excited to see how his career develops. I wish him all the best, even though I won´t have an opportunity to coach him.
Where do you see him landing in the NBA draft?
I look at the draft boards just like everyone else and of course its difficult to for see what place anyone will land. There are too many factors involved in the NBA draft, but because this isn´t the strongest draft, and because of how he impressed the scouts, I have a feeling he will go higher than most draft boards have him listed.
When was the last time you watched your buzzer beater against Bremerhaven?
Come on Miles, that was ages ago, no one is interested in that haha! No seriously, I showed it to my kids a few months ago because the topic came up about the longest shot I ever made. I told them, but they didn´t believe me so I used YouTube as a way to prove myself. The look on their faces was priceless! The only thing I really remember about that game is that we lost.
Will the Spurs be able to dethrone the Heat?
I am not a “Heat Hater”, but a Spurs fan…and that since I was a young kid rocking the David Robinson jersey and trying to play like Sean Elliott on the playground. I think it will go to 7 games with my Spurs winning.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
A movie DVD? Whats that? You think a father of 3 and passionate basketball coach has time for DVD´s unless its a basketball game? Haha…actually I haven´t watched a DVD in a while because I´m too busy watching reality trash online like Love & Hip Hop. Terrible isn´t it?
Thanks Sean for the chat.
In the last few weeks, the big wide smiles of Mr FC Bayern Munich legend Uli Hoeness who had been as tame as a kitten in interviews and appearance recently and German national player blond sunny boy Bastian Schweinsteiger had been all over the TV with the only thing missing being the two making a follow up video duet to the comical, but authentic video greeting that FC Bayern Munich soccer player Dante had made following the cup win. But in the waning minutes of game five in Bamberg, the happy and gregarious complexions of both who were in the Stechert arena had taken a severe nose dive into the Bamberg Regnitz river as Bamberg were leading easily by 16 points and the only one who was flashing that typical winner Bamberg smile was Mr Bamberg Wolfgang Heyder who probably hadn´t enjoyed the last few minutes as much since years despite all the success they have had, but to slam the door so obnoxiously into Germanys most famous sports team in the last quarter must have been like winning the final before the final. Even if Bamberg didn´t get to the series like usual stomping over their opponents as if they were helpless gnats being suffocated by the breathing of Nathan Jawai on a hot summer day in New South Wales, but in the end the Brose Baskets Bamberg are back where they belong in the Beko BBL final for the fourth year in a row.
The Brose Baskets Bamberg really had their hands full with FC Bayern Munich having to go the distance having to win in their own living room. After an embarrassing 98-85 loss in game one at home, they rebounded well winning the next two games to take a 2-1 lead in the series. However instead of closing out the series in Munich where they were controlling the game and leading 69-63 with 4.14 to play, they totally collapsed in crunch time letting FC Bayern Munich finish out the game on a 17-2 run as Tyrese Rice gave the clutch a new name as he hit two deep big three pointers as they tied the series 2-2. In game five, fans in Bamberg saw a very exciting and tight game in the first half as the game was dead locked at 40-40 at halftime. In the second half, the Brose Baskets Bamberg shifted up a few gears on defense and took a big lead where FC Bayern Munich couldn´t react. Bamberg finally was hitting shots, while FC Bayern Munich was being held to very tough shots and they shot dreadfully from outside at 33,3%. Bamberg won 85-66. Ex NBA player Bostjan Nachbar hit two giant three pointers ultimately sealing the fate of FC Bayern Munich. After averaging giving up 85 points in the first four games, the Brose Baskets Bamberg finally clamped down and played their typical aggressive defense holding Munich to 26 points in the second half. Bamberg also did a good job controlling the boards 43-37 and their 23-8 assist rate speaks volumes demonstrating their healthy mix of successful offense and defense.
The last time the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were in the Beko BBL final Chris Kramer was finishing up his junior year at Purdue, Lebron James friend Dru Joyce was finishing up his second professional season with ratiopharm Ulm placing second again in the assist ranking, Adam Chubb was with Alba Berlin and won his second cup title in a row and Konrad Wysocki and Dominik Bahiense De Mello were with Frankfurt and lost in the quarterfinals to Oldenburg. The only current Oldenburg player that was on the floor now celebrating the 2009 Beko BBL game five win against Bonn was Mr Oldenburg for life and 2004 NBA draft pick Rickey Paulding. Paulding will have that chance again to play in a Beko BBL finals and one thing that the Detroit native will have in the back of his mind is the fact that he departed the floor in the 2009 semi finals flashing a big smile while rookie Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming left with a sullen face as Oldenburg swept Bamberg. Paulding has a 3-1 record in playoff game 5 series only losing to Alba Berlin in 2011 where current teammate Julius Jenkins was an opponent. Paulding now has a very motivated Jenkins on his team who is in the game shape of his life and playing against his ex team Bamberg.
The EWE Baskets Oldenburg had their second five game series and actually could of wrapped up the series quite rapidly on May 29th and had a week of recovery time had they not lost game one at home 86-84. Oldenburg had some fortune in game two as German national player Per Guenther went down with an injury playing only two minutes in game two and missing game three and game four. Oldenburg won game two and game three keeping ratiopharm Ulm to 59 points and taking a commanding 2-1 game lead. Ratiopharm Ulm at the brink of summer vacation won a hard fought game four battle despite an Oldenburg comeback and 29 points from Julius Jenkins to force a game five 81-79. In game five, Oldenburg was more clever in crunch time as Dru Joyce hit big free throws, Rickey Paulding a big three pointer and taking advantage of a key John Bryant turnover. The key in the series was the big play of Julius Jenkins who could have MVP as his middle name as he has been MVP at the 2008 Beko BBL all star game and playoff finals and 2009 cup final four. Jenkins was Oldenburg top scorer in every game and averaged 21 points in the series. Jenkins clearly out MVPed 2012and 2013 Beko BBL MVP John Bryant who only had five points in game five. Bryant may be big country, but Jenkins was clearly more big than the California native who did average 10 rebounds in the five game series.
With so many top teams this season in the Beko BBL, in the end there was no surprises entering the final as the top two teams Bamberg and Oldenburg will meet for the championship. Before the season, many experts had Oldenburg as a team that could challenge Bamberg for the championship and here they are. Bamberg have a small edge on paper and did win both regular season games, but by only a combined total of 13 points. Oldenburg lost the first meeting at home 75-68. It was a very tight game for 30 minutes, but Bamberg then tightened up the defense in the fourth quarter holding Oldenburg to nine points while shooting 49% from the field and 50% from outside. In Bamberg, the fans saw a high scoring shoot out as Oldenburg lost 94-88. Ex Bamberg forward Jeremiah Massey had a huge game scoring 18 points and hitting some big shots early in the fourth quarter helping Bamberg gain control of the game. The key match up in the finals will be Julius Jenkins against Anton Gavel. Jenkins played like an MVP in the Ulm series and is hot at the moment while Anton Gavel also had a typical strong series against FC Bayern Munich and is often the guy that gets his team going when they are going through tough phases of a game. Oldenburg has a chance in this series. Bamberg are more vulnerable then ever as teams really have felt that they can beat them this season. Oldenburg might have has two tough five game series in their bones, but they are as focused as ever to win that second club title. This is a series that also will go four or five games. Oldenburg has defended very well this season and will need to keep that balance between the Bamberg snipers and their inside beasts of Ford, Zirbes and Neumann. Bamberg has to be careful not give away a game at home. Bamberg needs to keep that guard tandem of Joyce/Kramer wrapped up and close the paint on Adam Chubb. Paulding could also be an extra deciding factor in this series. It has been a while since he tasted title champagne and his big shoots could make a difference as he shot 48% against Ulm and 42,6% from the parking lot in the playoffs so far. The series poses two of the leagues most professional players with Casey Jacobsen and Rickey Paulding. Only a shame that one of them will go home without hardware. Jenkins may have exploded in the Ulm series showing that Tyrese Rice effect and go to guy mentality, but he wont finish off Bamberg alone in this series. He will need much support, but if Oldenburg will be able to tip toe around the Bamberg pressure defense and play successful structured offense is the question. Bamberg will be too much in a four/five game series and win with their experience and home court advantage. Bamberg might have lost some routine and more games than usual in the last two seasons, but one thing is for sure, teams still need to be on top of their game for 40 minutes and that is something Oldenburg will have to do consistently in each game to have success.
Monta Mcghee is a 33 year old 198cm forward from Chicago that completed his first season for Elitzur Yavne (Israel-National League) where he played 27 games: 15.2ppg, 9.7rpg, 3.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 71.7%. He started his basketball career in 2000 for Kishwaukee College (NJCAA). He then played for Lewis (NCAA2) until 2004. He started his professional basketball career in 2005 for e p Horsens IC (Denmark-Basketliga) where he played until 2007. In 2007-2008, he came to Germany to play for la Cuxhaven BasCats (Germany-2.Bundesliga, starting five): 30 games: Score-4(18.8ppg), Reb-4(9.2rpg), 2.3apg, 1.8spg, 0.6 bpg, FGP: 45.8%, FT: 73.7%, 3PT: 28.3%. In 2008-2009, he played for the Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 34 games: 14.1ppg, Reb-3(8.3rpg), 2.1apg, Steals-2(1.7spg), FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 28.1%, FT: 69.7%. He then played for n : Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Holland-DBL) from 2009-2011 winning the cup in 2010 and league title in 2011. In 2011-2012 he played for Stella Artois Leuven Bears (Belgium-D1, starting five): 36 games: 8.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 62.2%. He gave German Hoops an interview during the last season.
You played your first season in Israel. How did you like the country and basketball?
The basketball was great and I love it here. I didn´t really know what to expect as I came, but the people have been nice and I am having fun here.
How did you experienced the political problems in Israel?
I didn´t see too much. The city that I was in was in a safe part of the country, but I have been concerned about the happenings here.
Some American players fled and went back to the States. Did you ever have any thoughts about returning back during the season?
I did have thoughts about returning back to the States. I was at a point where i´t wasn´t about basketball, but about my safety. But then everything started to settle down and I decided to remain here.
You played the last years in Germany, Holland and Belgium. Was it a big transition coming to Israel?
Yes it was a big transition, because Israel isn´t really Europe for me. There are many new things for me here. It just has to with everyday things like going to the grocery store and buying things.
How would you compare the Israel national division to other leagues where you have played?
There are some good Americans here, but what really surprised me most about this league is how good the national players are. I didn´t think the Israel players could be so good.
Your stats were almost identical with what you did in Nordlingen. What was your role in Israel?
My role was basicly that what I always was wherever I have played in that I am the blue collar player. I did whatever the team wanted me too do. If it meant defending the other teams best player, scoring or rebounding. I am just an all around player that does what it takes to help the team win.
You had Pele Paaely as a teammate and a few other international players. How was your relationship with the other Israel players on the team?
It was a little different this season as there are only two Americans, but we all got along. They like hanging out with us and we with them. It is very family orientated and we like to play NBA 2K together.
You lived in a very old city with Yaune. What did you like most about the city?
It was very small and a different feeling coming from a big city like Chicago. But for me it was a nice break being able to live in a small place for a change. In a big city often you get lost, but in a smaller place everybody knows you. Everybody loved me and sometimes my neighbors invite me to dinner.
NBA player Omi Casspi comes from Yaune. How often do you hear his name in daily basketball talk there?
Omi Casspi is like the Michael Jordan here. He is the only guy that has made it to the NBA from Israel and everybody is proud of that. Many guys on the team are friends with him and they often talk with him. I think that also that since he is from here, it could give players form here a better look in general and help their careers.
You played two seasons in Germany. What do you miss most from Germany?
It has been a while since I played in Germany. I will tell you what I don´t miss and that were the long road trips of seven, eight or nine hours. The last years I had nice short road trips in Holland and Belgium.
You played together with Danny Gibson in 2007-2008 in Cuxhaven. Who got whom to go to Nordlingen?
I think it was more a package deal. Andreas Wagner saw that we both played well together. We had good chemistry on offense and defense. We also played together in Holland.
What was the most spectacular thing that you saw Rocky Trice do in Cuxhaven?
Cuxhaven was one of my favorite seasons, because we still communicate today with my ex teammates. He did so many good things and was so athletic. If I had to choose one play then it would be his tip in dunk form the free throw line.
You played a season in the Beko BBL in 2008-2009 with the Nordlingen Giants. One could almost have called the team Monta Mcghee, Omari Westly, Danny Gibson and Osvaldo Jeanty. What did you learn form that season?
That season I learned that you need more than four guys to be successful, but also a solid bench. We had some big wins and I think that we surprised some people that season. We always competed.
Was Nordlingen the smallest city that you ever played in?
Yes I think it was. There were only two grocery stores there. There wasn´t much to do there. You could walk down the street and you would be in another city.
Who would win a one on one in practice you or Omari Westly?
Of course I would win. I would never go against myself. I would beat him with my quickness. I would make him play defense.
Omari Westly was the leading scorer in 2009 in the Beko BBL. His career went backwards then as he played in Kuwait and Doha. Are you surprised that he didn´t make the next step?
He is a great athlete and was always causing mismatches at the position four. I don´t really know, because we weren´t that close. But I think he might have made bad decisions in life or not had the best agent. I am very surprised that he didn´t go play for a top Beko BBL team the next season.
Who was the toughest guy that you had to defend in the Beko BBL?
Rickey Paulding of Oldenburg who could shoot and put in on the floor and Romeo Travis. Rome was strong and tough to post up.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row without missing?
I made 41 in a shooting competition a few weeks ago, but it wasn´t the most I ever made.
What was your most crazy shot you ever made in a game?
In my first game in Leiden, Holland, we were down by two points an dthe opponent was the free throw line. They missed the free throw intentionally and I got the rebound and took one dribble and made a full court shot to win the game.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Life with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. One of the best movies for me. It is a comedy.
Thanks Monta for the chat.
Gray Mcghee is a 24 year old 208cm center from Anderson, Indiana that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL for BBC Bayreuth. He played at Pittsburgh from 2007-2011 and played with future NBA players like Dejuan Blair and Sam Young. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 6.9ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 56.7%, FT: 48.5%. He played a total of 120 NCAA games. In the summer of 2011, he played at the well known : Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 2 games: 9.0ppg, Reb-5(8.5rpg), 1.0bpg. Last season as a rookie he played KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje (Croatia-A1), only pre-season, then moved to Bandirma Kirmizi (Turkey-TBL: 30 games: 10.5ppg, Reb-4(7.8rpg), FGP: 56.3%, FT: 45.6%. This past summer he played AirTran Orlando Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder): 2 games: 2.5ppg, 2.0rpg and NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Los Angeles Clippers): 5 games: 4.8ppg, 5.0rpg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
You played your first season for BBC Bayreuth. How did you like the Beko BBL?
I liked it very much. It is a very competitive league where you have to come to play each night. It is a very physical league with very good players.
Are there any areas on the court in the Beko BBL where you had difficulty getting used to?
Not really. I played in Turkey last season and am used to the European style. If anything maybe the fats paced game in the Beko BBL. It wasn´t as fast passed in Turkey last season, but I like to run and get easy baskets.
What is the biggest geographical difference between Anderson, Indiana where you come from and Bayreuth?
Not much. Both are small towns. Bayreuth has maybe 20,000 more people and both places are cold in the winter.
BBC Bayreuth started very strong into the season. Was a reason for that with the early team chemistry?
Yes I think that is true. We came together early in preseason and had a very hard pre season. We play for each other and have no ego players on the team.
What was your role on the team?
The big man in the middle and anchor on defense. I am the guy that rebounds and who gets the ball down low and can produce.
What do you like more a crashing dunk or a monster block?
I like to do both, but I think I like to dunk a little more. I think a dunk is what gets the crowd and bench going the most.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away?
My knowledge of the game. I know how to read the game and have a good basketball IQ. Especially out of the double team, I am good at passing the ball to the open man.
On what things do you still need to work on your game?
I need to improve my free throw shooting, touch around the basket and develop my post moves.
You played against German Stefan Schmidt each day in practice. What do you like about his game?
I like his game. He has a nice touch around the basket and is a motor on defense. He rebounds very well and he pushes me to get better each day.
What is the most incredible thing that you saw Joe Trapani do?
He really gives everything each game. He is very athletic and He has done some nice double clutch reverse and windmill dunks.
You are from Indiana. What was your childhood like?
I had a nice childhood in Indiana. I started to play basketball with seven years old. My dad taught me too play. Since Indiana is known for basketball, it was always an important part of my life.
Do you know where French Lick is? Have you ever been there?
I have never been there and I am not really sure where it is Indiana, but I know that Larry Bird is from there.
Who were your NBA idols as a kid?
My favorite player was Shaq. I watched him with Orlando and the Lakers. I liked how dominant he was and how he could dunk whenever he wanted to.
You played at Pittsburgh that had great teams. Why wasn´t the team able to get further in the NCAA tournament in your time there?
We had many tough close loses. In my freshman year we lost to Michigan State, then lost on a buzzer beater against Villanova from Scottie Reynolds and my senior year lost a tough game against Butler in the second round. I thought that we had a chance to win it all my senior year.
What was the most incredible thing that you saw Sam Young do on the court?
He was a great player. He was so athletic and could jump out of the gym. We really relied on his scoring and leadership.
How did Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon prepare you for a professional basketball career?
He helped me find my nitche in my game which would be defense and rebounding. He taught me how to love to play defense. He told me that if you work hard and play defense that there will always be an opportunity to play somewhere.
What was your wake up call in Turkey to the professional ranks?
Turkey was a very good rookie experience for me. We didn´t have a very good team and were very young. We struggled to win, but I kept working hard and this experience helped me grow as a player and person.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Jason Cain?
We play one on one each day and we push each other, but I have to say myself. I would never go against myself.
What were the most free throws that you made in a row?
What was your most crazy shot that you have made in your career?
I made a buzzer beater three pointer in college to win a game.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Flight with Denzel Washington.
Thanks Gary for the chat.