Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb Unleashes The Effortless Step Back Jumper Downing medi Bayreuth 72-68

Last season medi Bayreuth fans were engulfed in a wonderful basketball trance season that had just as much Cinderella in it as did ratiopharm Ulm´s season going on to have the best regular season BBL record, but something like that seemed more likely than for the Bavarian team to win 10 of their first 11 games and hold the consistency for a whole season and finally make the playoffs again something that hadn´t occurred since the 90.s.  This season can´t be classified as a Cinderella season anymore as fans are expecting success again and so far the medi Bayreuth hasn´t disappointed as everything what head coach Raoul Korner did correctly last season is falling into place again as the club has started at 4-1 in the BBL losing only uncharacteristically  to Science City Jena while disposing of disappointing Ulm who have started off 1-4. The club also has started off perfect in the Basketball Champions League destroying Rosa Radom and even doing something they aren´t used to winning in Bamberg against Strasburg in a game that was moved on account of a scheduling conflict in their home arena 82-80 as excitement was an understatement in that contest. The big question mark of can Gabe York and James Robinson replace the departed Lewis and Anderson has blossomed into a yes and Assem Marei continues to develop into a top 3 BBL big man while the team concept continues to work while the only sore spot is the defense where the club is averaging giving up 80 points something that will need to be gradually turned down if the team wants to have further success. The Fraport Skyliners strolled into their own living room also sporting a 4-1 record having beat all the lower teams they faced and only losing to playoff team Ludwigsburg. Frankfurt has done a superb job playing with an injury plagued team and reduced 8 man roster, but the club has stepped up as Mr Canada Philip Scrubb has returned back from a tough injury and played like an MVP while the big man tandem of Mike Morrison and Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman have played above expectations as rookie point guard Tai Webster has been refreshing with much potential still in him. The Fraport Skyliners now have test after test in the next weeks facing top teams FC Bayern Munich, EWE Baskets and Bamberg and first had to tangle with tough annoying medi Bayreuth who last season swept the season series and were looking to add on to their winning streak, but suffered a slow start and couldn´t get past Frankfurt in crunch time losing 72-68. The Fraport Skyliners remained unbeaten at home and once again couldn´t put together two strong halves and were lucky once again escaping the clutches of their opponent and moving to 5-1. After the victory, Philip Scrubb made the rounds again with the Frankfurt media and once again carried his team to the victory something he has done time in and time out this season with his precision shooting especially his step back. It seems like his step back jumper was added to his arsenal, but in fact he has always had it, but not unleashed it as rapidly as this season. “We started well with good offense and we gave up only 26 points in the first half to a very good offensive team. In the second half, medi Bayreuth stepped up their defensive intensity and put us on our heels where we couldn´t match theirs. They pushed us around and got more confidence on offense and started hitting shots.  I have always felt comfortable taking that step back going to my left. Only my role is different this season in that I have to be more offensive and take more of these shots. As long as I keep making them, I will continue to take them”, warned Philip Scrubb. Medi Bayreuth gave it a fight until the end, but weren´t rewarded. “We had a slow start and couldn´t make any shots. We showed more character in the second half and fought back. In past games we were able to come back and pull out wins. If we had started the game stronger then it would have been different”, stressed ex Pittsburgh(NCAA) guard James Robinson.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing medi Bayreuth PG James Robinson after scoring 9 points in a 72-68 loss against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt

The Fraport Skyliners jumped all over medi Bayreuth in the first few minutes taking a 9-4 lead as they were damaging the guests inside as the three ball would be no factor as only five were hit in the whole game. Ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann was on fire and unstoppable as he connected twice, Scrubb hit his first step back shot as creating for himself is a whole new dimension this season as two seasons ago he had a Jordan Theodore supplying the dimes for him. Quantez Robertson also scored going coast to coast for one of his typical buckets he gets. Frankfurt had their noses ahead, but medi Bayreuth already showed their fighting qualities early and also did damage inside as Egyptian wonder Assem Marei was a one man wrecking crew in the paint as he scored twice, but also his side kick ex Davidson(NCAA) forward Demon Brooks was aggressive inside and scored twice dead locking the game at 14-14. However the Fraport Skyliners ended the first quarter with a tad more intensity on the offensive end and had the momentum going on a 4-0 run as ex George Mason center Mike Morrison made a lay in and Scrubb again displayed his pretty shooting touch dropping a step back jumper. “No teams got their three point game going, but were killing in the low post. Medi Bayreuth got easy baskets and Scrubb made some effortless shots”, stressed EVL Baskets Limburg (Germany-Regionalliga) guard Brandon Shingles. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 57% from the field and 50% from outside while medi Bayreuth was shooting 47% from the field and 0% from outside. Medi Bayreuth had the 8-6 rebound edge, but had four turnovers while the guests had three turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners broke open the game in the second quarter and totally took control leading by as much as 18 points. Scrubb continued to lead the Fraport Skyliners carrying them on offense as he hit free throws, nailed a trey and then somehow found Mike Morrison down low with a difficult shovel pass in traffic as the big man dunked with authority and then found him again on the pick and roll with a perfect bounce pass for an easy lay in as Frankfurt upped their lead to 28-19. Medi Bayreuth didn´t back down staying on the heels of Frankfurt getting a three from German national player Bastian Doreth who was parked in the corner and found nothing but net and 36 year old ex USF(NCAA) guard John Cox scored in the lane as he made another tough shot as Frankfurt was playing good defense cutting the Frankfurt lead to 30-24. Then the tide of the game turned rapidly as the Fraport Skyliners rode into halftime with a crushing 14-2 run to break open the game and lead 44-26 at the break. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners were led by Scrubb who contributed 7 points including a trey and back to back step back jumpers that couldn´t have been polished off better than Larry Bird back in the day. On the defensive end Frankfurt stepped up their defense one more notch supplying annoying ball pressure and clogging the lane making only tough shots an option. Even if they were beat, their quick hands remained active making additional havoc. On offense they got a layup from German wonder child Isaac Bonga who had had a pretty uneventful game until then and another easy Morrison score as he made the tip in on the offensive glass. “Frankfurt executed well and took their time letting the shot clock wind down while on offense took quicker shots which gave Frankfurt the advantage of less time on the defensive end. The difference was that Frankfurt was taking high percentage shots and medi Bayreuth was taking low percentage shots”, stressed Brandon Shingles. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 39% from the three point line while medi Bayreuth was shooting 37% from the field and 14% from the three point line. Medi Bayreuth had the slim 15-14 rebound edge and nine turnovers while Frankfurt had six turnovers.

In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners came out strong again and led by as much as 20 points, but allowed a late medi Bayreuth run to get back into the game. Brooks started the third quarter with a tap in, but a Wohlfarth-Bottermann hook shot and Scrubb fingertip role extended the Frankfurt lead to 48-28 and the first Frankfurt fans were already thinking lights out. But medi Bayreuth stuck together sharpening their defense and closed out the third quarter with a timely 19-6 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to only 54-47. In the run, medi Bayreuth also started to hit shots as the three ball continued to be absent as only Robinson connected, but they hit at a high percentage inside as ex Trier center Andreas Seiiferth unleased his moves and scored three buckets. Ex Arizona(NCAA) guard Gabe York also picked a good time to get going as he made three field goals including two step back jumpers and a fingertip role. Medi Bayreuth had more success getting the ball in the post as the Frankfurt rotations were slower and less efficient than in the first half. The Fraport Skyliners got away from their offensive game and relied too much on 1-1 play. Frankfurt didn´t muster much offense as Scrubb scored zero points in this span and only got two buckets from Quantez Robertson and a hard dunk from Wohlfarth-Bottermann. “Bayreuth was playing with more heart while Frankfurt had lost it´s rhythm and were complacent and played like the game was over. Frankfurt also had little playmaking as the team couldn´t get into their sets”, added Brandon Shingles. “We picked up the intensity on defense and began to get stops. We continued to fight back and attacked more in the paint”, stressed James Robinson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. medi Bayreuth had the 26-21 rebound edge. Both teams had 12 turnovers apiece.

In the fourth quarter medi Bayreuth continued to claw back, but the Fraport Skyliners had the best nerves in crunch-time, the home crowd behind them and as always their offense gem Philip Scrubb. Both teams defended hard in the first two minutes as they couldn´t execute on the first two offensive sets. The Fraport Skyliners then scored the first basket of the fourth quarter which could easily have been the nicest of the contest as Scrubb picked off a pass near his free throw line and then made a beautiful long bounce pass like Russell Westbrook over half of the court that found Robertson all alone, but he elected to dish to the trailer Bonga who finished with a hard one hand dunk for the 56-47 lead. After Cox hit a runner, Frankfurt answered with a Robertson turn around shot and incredible Tai Webster submarine lay up that he somehow managed to hit. It was Webster´s first field goal of the game as he didn´t have one of his better games. Frankfurt returned back to a double digit lead of 61-49. However that didn´t hinder medi Bayreuth who never felt that they were out of the game and retaliated with a 8-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 62-57. In the run, medi Bayreuth continued to scorch Frankfurt in the paint as Marei and German Robin Amaize scored inside and oldie John Cox stayed very efficient scoring inside twice finishing with 10 points in 17 minutes. Medi Bayreuth was on the comeback trail while scorer Gabe York was on the bench. Down the stretch, it wasn´t a York, Brooks, Linhart or Marei that supplied the punches, but talented German Robin Amaize who scored twice inside cutting the Frankfurt lead to 63-61 with 1.44 left. “Amaize was the reason Bayreuth was still in the game. He made good plays, scored the ball, made smart passes and supplied great help defense”, added Brandon Shingles. After Webster connected on a 20 footer for the 65-61 Frankfurt lead, Amaize continued to take control for medi Bayreuth scoring inside and hitting free throws tying the game at 65-65. With 40 seconds left, Scrubb unleashed his electric step back jumper once again and Morrison added a free throw for the 68-65 advantage. After a Cox lay in cutting the Frankfurt lead to 68-67, Webster and Roberston closed out the game with free throws for the win. “It was a good win for Frankfurt, but they did have a little luck down the stretch getting some bounces in their favor. Bayreuth fought hard, but Frankfurt played a little under their expectations and should have won by more”, stressed Brandon Shingles. “We closed out the game well and managed the clock well. They scored baskets at the end, but we matched them. Webster made a big shot at the end. We have confidence in him and so does he in himself in making those kinds of shots. I wasn´t surprised he made that shot”, stressed Philip Scrubb. “We came back at the end making shots, but they made the big shots at the right time. We dug a hole early and if we had played the way we did in the third and fourth quarter in the first half then it would have been a different game, but that is a part of the game”, stressed James Robinson. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Phillip Scrubb with 20 points and five assists. Mike Morrison added 13 points and Quantez Robertson and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann added 11 points apiece. Medi Bayreuth was led by Assem Marei with 12 points. Gabe York, John Cox and Demon Brooks added 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 19% from outside while medi Bayreuth shot 45% from the field and 13% from outside. Medi Bayreuth won the rebound duel 36-28 and had 15 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 16 times.

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The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Akodo/Zeeb Guard Terror Overwhelm Iserlohn 93-83

With the emergence of German wunderkind Isaac Bonga, it can be a passion and exciting task to check his box score after every game to witness how he can fill up the stat sheet like no other as this has been happening in the Pro B since last season and beginning to take off as well in the EasyCredit BBL. However in the last weeks finding the name Bonga in the Fraport Skyliners Juniors weekly game box scores has been absent as he hasn´t been playing anymore, but concentrating fully on his BBL role. Last weekend one had to look twice if the name Jules Akodo was a mistake after the narrow win in Karlsruhe as a stat mishap had already occurred a few weeks earlier as Coburg stat keepers mixed up Can Akbayir for Garai Zeeb who had actually played. Despite Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert proclaiming in pre season that Bonga would play Pro B to continue to help his experience, it seems like the coaching staff has been more than pleased with his early BBL development in this season and have got a replacement for the Pro B with Akodo who is back after playing in Frankfurt in the 2014-2015 season. After playing with the Union Olimpija Ljubljana junior team, The now 21 year old 188cm point guard that likes to drive, but knows how to hit big three´s came to Frankfurt and played 14 pro B games averaging 10.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 59.1%, and he played also at Eintracht Frankfurt U19 team (Germany-NBBL). Since he left Frankfurt in 2015, he was able to broaden his basketball horizon in Slovenia with LTH Castings Skofja Loka (Slovenia-Telemach League) playing 27 games averaging  8.6ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 66.0%, and last season in Spain with San Pablo Inmobiliaria Miraflores Burgos (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 12 games averaging 1.6ppg, and also played also at Grupo de Santiago Automocion Burgos (Spain-EBA) playing 26 games averaging 14.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 69.2%. In his last game with Frankfurt in 2015 he scored 23 points in a 102-81 playoff loss in Rostock and in his last game in the BCM in Frankfurt mustered only 5 points in a 67-65 win against Rostock. Akodo was back again in an old stomping ground and wanted to put a first dent in the Iserlohn´s perfect season and did aiding a massive fourth quarter comeback finishing off an impressive 30-7 run from halfway through the fourth quarter through overtime combining with Garai Zeeb for 47 points as the annoying guard terror got Frankfurt it´s first home win 93-83 in OT. After the contest Akodo was all smiles and it was refreshing to hear his English accent again. “It is great to be back especially getting our first home win. Our transition defense hurt us a lot in this game, but we never gave up. We began to move the ball better in the fourth quarter and we made a defensive adjustment trapping more which forced Iserlohn to more turnovers. I feel no pressure coming in for Isaac Bonga. I am just doing my job and doing what I know how. I am more experienced, more composed and read the game better than three seasons ago”, warned Jules Akodo. After the bitter loss, Iserlohn American Julian Scott was on the bench trying to piece together why his team couldn´t finish the job. “We had them, but when they started putting more pressure on us at the end, we couldn´t wake up. When we lost Donte Nicholas in the fourth quarter, it really hurt us. He is our best playmaker and we lost a key piece”, stressed ex Leipzig forward Julian Scott.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Iserlohn American Julian Scott after dropping 24 points in a losing cause 93-83 in Frankfurt

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got on the board first as Houston Baptist(NCAA) rookie Alex Fountain made a runner as German Lennard Okeke made an offensive rebound and the pass, but that would be their only lead until the OT period. Iserlohn then jumped all over Frankfurt going on a huge 8-0 run as they scored three transition baskets in a row and Julian Scott hit his first three shots as he also supplied a 20 footer. Despite a Zeeb floater, Iserlohn continued to be an offensive menace going on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 17-6. In the run Iserlohn was powered by ex BBL player Soren Fritze who nailed a trey and also showed his quickness in the paint with a lay in. Scott continued to show his touch scoring on a left handed lay in and 30 year old veteran Nikta Khartchenkov who is playing with his 16th professional team and has played 115 BBL games hit a jumper. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors began to find their groove and were also due for a run and weaseled their way back into the game closing out the first quarter with a devastating 18-4 run cutting the once huge Iserlohn lead to 24-21. In the run, Frankfurt was led by Jukles Akodo who gave the term scoring in bunches a new meaning as he nailed a trey, finished a pretty finger tip role and scored in traffic. Ex Kronberg guard Felix Hecker also dropped a trey form the corner and three year man Konstantin Shubert scored in the paint. There are always a few Skyliners from the BBL team on hand as Quantez Robertson and Philip Scrubb rarely miss a Pro B game and the latter gave a fine perspective of the first 20 minutes. “Iserlohn hit many open shots and rebounded well while Frankfurt was lacking physicality. Frankfurt finally got stops and they moved the ball better. Akodo started to get going and when your down you need a guy like that can score a lot”, stressed Phiipp Scrubb. Iserlohn was shooting 63% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 41% from the field and 33% from outside. Both teams had eight rebounds and four turnovers apiece.

In the second quarter Iserlohn would break away again to lead in double digits only to see the Fraport Skyliners Juniors battle back and trail only 42-39 at the break. Iserlohn´s two main scoring threats at that point were Scott and Khartchenkov who helped build the 10 point cushion again as they combined for six points to extend the Iserlohn lead to 33-23. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would find little spurts here and there and powered a 4-0 run as the two quick guards Hecker and Zeeb scored in the paint to cut the Iserlohn lead to 33-27. Despite the closeness of the game there was a big difference at that point in the game in terms of both teams offensive flow as Iserlohn had wonderful ball movement while Frankfurt´s seemed erratic and hurried at times. Iserlohn was a lot more aggressive on the boards and were in every passing lane. Frankfurt continued to fight back as the guard terror duo of Akodo and Zeeb continued to supply points when needed cutting Iserlohn´s advantage to only 35-34. Iserlohn kept the slim lead as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors just couldn´t get over the hump as Julian Scott snuck inside for a hard two handed dunk and the guests caught Frankfurt napping again on transition defense as 19 year old 206cm forward Gabriel De Olivera finished a hard dunk as Rueben Dahmen supplied the nifty behind the back pass as Frankfurt led only 40-36. After Scott Free throws, Akodo brought his teammates into the locker room with a bang as he nailed a last second buzzer beater with a few hands in his face as everyone saw nothing but net, but Frankfurt still trailed 42-39 at half-time. “Both teams had pretty good looks, but Iserlohn had the better ball movement and a few offensive rebounds. The Iserlohn zone gave Frankfurt problems also”, added Philip Scrubb. Iserlohn was shooting 53% from the field and 46% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 43% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Iserlohn had the narrow 18-16 rebound edge, but had 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.

In the third quarter Iserlohn could break away getting their lead back to double digits as their zone continued to stump the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. Frankfurt came out real aggressive at the start getting back to back buckets inside from ex Ehingen center Tobias Jahn as they established themselves inside to trail Iserlohn only 44-43. However Iserlohn broke away going on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to 54-45 as Fritze got aggressive again inside making two pretty spin moves and finishing with authority and making free throws. Donte Nicholas who had been cold needed some positive experience and got to the free throw line twice connecting on all four free throws. However the way BBL team Fraport Skyliners have deadly sniper Philip Scrubb, the Pro B team has Alex Fountain who really is a guy you can´t leave alone because he has a license for drilling home shots and demonstrated it with consecutive trey´s cutting the Iserlohn lead to 54-51. As quickly as Frankfurt had crawled back, Iserlohn quickly crawled away again going on a lethal 9-2 run as Ruben Dahmen nailed a trey and Nicholas finally got his first field goal with a three and then made an amazing acrobatic runner from the baseline between two Skyliners as Iserlohn led 64-53. Iserlohn closed out the third quarter with Fritze free throws and a Joshua Dahmen three pointer for the 70-57 lead after 30 minutes. “Our zone slowed them down because we took away those things that were comfortable for them. I would have liked to have played more zone”, warned Julian Scott. “It was one of those games where many things went wrong. We knew that if we kept fighting that we would get that chance to come back”, added Jules Akodo. Iserlohn was shooting 54% from the field and 50% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 42% from the field and 30% from the parking lot. Iserlohn had the slim 24-23 rebound lead and 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had 15 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, The Fraport Skyliners Juniors would go on another run and totally catch Iserlohn by surprise dragging them into overtime. Both teams traded baskets in the first few minutes as Frankfurt did their job from downtown connecting with Fountain and Zeeb trey´s while Iserlohn scored inside as Scott made a left handed lay in and De Oliveria made a nice spin move around two Skyliners prompting head coach Sebastian Gleim to call a time out. Then came the turning point of the game as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors brewed up a tasty 17-4 run to dead lock the game at 80-80 and force overtime. The guard terror duo of Akodo and Zeeb combined for 12 points apiece while Frankfurt also got needed support inside from Jahn and ex St Johns forward Richard Freudenberg who had a tough first half, but finished strong in the second half. Zeeb hit a beautiful trey over Khartchenkov with 58 second to go to take the game into overtime. “In the fourth quarter we played good offense getting into the right spots getting good shots and we used our advantage inside as well”, stressed Jules Akodo. “We got lax and Frankfurt forced us to crucial turnovers and got easy steals at the top of the key. Our bad turnovers helped them get into rhythm as they fought very hard”, added Julian Scott. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 44% from the field and 34% from outside while Iserlohn was shooting 53% from the field and 40% from outside. Frankfurt had the 32-29 rebound lead and both teams had 19 turnovers apiece.

The overtime period belonged totally to the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they took control from the start and never looked back going on a 13-3 run to finish off the win and crush Iserlohn´s perfect record. Akodo gave Frankfurt only it´s second lead of the game after their 2-0 lead to start the game with free throws. Scott answered with a two handed stuff. Frankfurt upped their intensity as one could see that they wanted it more as Freudenberg nailed a trey and Akodo sneaked inside for a lay in extending the Frankfurt lead to 88-83. Frankfurt forced Fritze to two turnovers which they capitalized on and then kept the offensive onslaught going as Akodo put a nail on the coffin with another trey for the 91-83 lead. After a Dahmen miss, Freudenberg put a close to the evening with an off balance jumper. “I felt they were a bit tired, but once we had the run we put our foot on their neck and didn´t allow them to come back. Zeeb and I harmonized well and we have good chemistry and it showed”, stressed Jules Akodo. “We were a bit fatigued, but need to get passed it in a situation like that. They made smart decisions and hit big baskets. We needed to find a way to slow down the game, but when they got going, it was too late”, expressed Julian Scott. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Jules Akodo with 24 points while Garai Zeeb suppied 23 points. Alex Fountain added 15 points. Iserlohn was led by Julian Scott with 24 points. Soren Fritze supplied 18 points while Nikita Khartchenkov added 12 points and Donte Nicholas contributed 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 37% from the three point line while Iserlohn shot 51% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 36-31 and had 19 turnovers while Iserlohn coughed up the ball 21 times.

 

Coreontae Deberry(Rot Weiss Cuxhaven) JUCO Basketball Changed My Life Teaching Me To Play Tougher Being The Muscle On The Court

Coreontae Deberry is a 23 year old 208cm center from Holland, Michigan that is playing his second professional season in Germany with the  Cuxhaven Baskets (Germany-ProB). So far this season the club has a record of 1-3 while Deberry is averaging 10,7ppg and 5,0rpg. Last season as a rookie he split time with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 12 games averaging  2.8ppg, 2.3rpg, left during the season, in Mar.’17 moved to Halifax Hurricanes (Canada-NBL Canada): playing 14 games: averaging 0.8ppg, 1.9rpg. Earlier in his rookie season he played with the Mono Vampire Bangkok (Thailand-TBL) playing 12 games averaging 12.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FT: 75.0%. He started his basketball career at Mott CC (JUCO) and then moved to Hutchinson CC (JUCO playing 34 games averaging 11.8ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 69.7%. He finished at Cincinnati (NCAA) playing 67 NCAA games in the 2014-2016 time and as a senior played 33 games averaging 6.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 56.4%, FT: 68.3%. He spoke to German Hoops late in the summer about basketball.

 

 

 

 

Coreontae thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. It is near the end of the summer in terms of the basketball transfer period. How relived are you that you finally got signed and were you getting a little nervous?

 

I am excited when I found out the I had a team in Germany interested in me playing for them. I was relieved that I did not have to worry about waiting to find out where I’ll be playing next. I was able to enjoy the rest of my time home with my family.

 

 

You have a very unique first name with Coreontae. Talk a little about how you have experienced your first 22 years with the name. Were there any hard times with it in school or was it one of those names that everyone loved to say?

 

Lots of people have had comments about my first name. I have never met another person or heard of another person with the same first name as me. Some people can say it correctly and some people have a hard time trying to say my first name. But everyone seems to like it though.

 

 

 

Congrats on signing with Cuxhaven. How did you go about making the choice to sign with this team? Did you have some other offers and what was the deciding factor that made you sign with the German Pro B team?

 

Honestly I have never heard of Cuxhaven until my agent told me about it. By researching how the city is like it seems like a lowkey city and not too much going on. I don’t really do much outside of basketball anyway so it didn´t seem like a bad idea. Plus it was in Europe so why not. My decision was made talking with my agent. He had a few teams in mind but we found the right fit in Germany.

 

 

Cuxhaven CEO Knut Spreckelsen can´t really believe it that you were able to come to this team. How excited are to be playing in Germany?

 

I am very excited that Knut Spreckelsen is being very welcoming me to play there. That’s the best way to start something special. I’m excited to be playing in Germany.

 

You will be living in Cuxhaven which is on the water and remind you of Lake Macatawa. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball?

 

Yeah I heard I’ll be living close to the water. Hopefully I have a good view. It would remind me of Lake Mac! I don’t know much about Germany but I have heard good basketball is being played there.

 

 

 

 

I described you a famished lion concerning your hunger in your second professional season. You didn´t really get a chance in the D-League or Canada averaging under 10 minutes a game. How hungry are you to show the basketball world of your abilities?

 

I am hoping to come to Europe help win games and accomplish good things there. The sky is the limit from there.

 

Let´s talk about your game. You are a pretty athletic 208cm big man. How would you describe your game and if you had to to what NBA player would you compare your game to?

 

I do t really like comparing myself to anyone but I do idol and respect the game of Lebron James.

 

 

You have been described as having hands the size of gloves. Do you feel like just your presence will be able to intimidate opponents this season before games when they see you dunking in warm ups?

 

I get that I have big hands almost everywhere I go. Yeah I have to agree there not normal size hands!

 

 

 

 

You should not only be an impact player in the Pro B, but should dominate this season. What will be your main personal goal on the court besides winning games that you want to showcase with your game?

 

 

I feel like my presence on the court will help win games! Of course I’ll have to take care of business at the same time. I would like to showcase my all around game to Germany. That will be a goal of mine.

 

 

Your first experience as a professional was with the Mono Vampire Bangkok (Thailand-TBL) playing 12 games averaging 12.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FT: 75.0%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Asia where you knew that you were far away from home in Michigan?

 

 

Yeah that experience was crazy. Being that far away from home was really different for me. I enjoyed it though We ended winning a Championship there I’ll never forget that experience. Longest plan ride ever!

 

 

 

You didn´t have huge stats in the NCAA with Cincinnati (NCAA) as as a senior you played 33 games averaging 6.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 56.4%, FT: 68.3%. You went the D-league route with many other guys looking to make their dream of the NBA come true. Basketball players are always confident, but were you realistic knowing that the NBA probably wouldn´t happen after the first few days of practice?

 

 

The NBA is a hit or miss situation. I played for the Chicago Bulls D League for 3 months. I did not go in the D league thinking NBA right away. I knew I needed a little more experience so I planned on playing overseas. I chose the D League route before going overseas to play in the States so my family and Friends could come watch me play. Playing overseas it’s kind of hard to come watch a game when you want to

 

 

 

What kind of experience was the D-League in general. What do you feel is placing you apart from the NBA from teammates like Paul Zipser and Jerian Grant who would play for the Chicago Bulls last season?

 

 

I have played in practice with both of those guys Grant and Zip and I did pretty good against them when they joined our practices.

 

 

 

 

 

You seemed to take the Canada experience in stride as well as even though you didn´t play much you helped the team to the final. Do you feel like you could gain something from head coach Mike Leslie´s knowledge there?

 

 

When I get that NBA experience back it will be much different than before. I feel like I did not gain much from Coach Leslie. We didn’t really see eye to eye because of his coaching style. But I did not let that stop my focus on helping my team to the finals.

 

 

You had to pay your dues at Mott CC (JUCO) and Hutchinson CC (JUCO) before moving to Cincinnati(NCAA). When looking back how glad are you that you could make this experience? How did 2 years of Juco ball kind of shape your basketball character?

 

 

 

JUCO basketball changed my life for basketball because I had to learn how to play more tougher. And that’s when I really found my role in this game of basketball. Being the muscle on the court.

 

You played 67 NCAA games at Cincinnati(NCAA) scoring in double figures in 10 games. How do you feel did you grow as a player in the NCAA in your last two seasons?

 

I feel like after my college career like I gained good knowledge about the game and saw things better on the court. And I was able to react to things better.

 

 

 

How important was a guy like Octavius Ellis who will play in Russia in the top level VTB league this season in your last two years at Cincinnati? How did he help make you a better player and vice versa

 

 

Ellis was a good player and one of my good friends at Cincinnati. We played off each other’s energy in games and practices. I’m happy he is still chasing his dream.

 

 

 

It has been 18 months since your last NCAA game which you lost 78-76 and scored the most points in your NCAA career against ST Joseph´s with 18. Is this a game where you can still play the last seconds through your head today?

 

Yeah I can still play those last few seconds in my head and I hate to think about it. That was heartbreaking but yeah it was a tough one to take in.

 

 

As a junior you lost the last game of the season against power school Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. You held your own with 7 points and 6 boards in 17 minutes against 6 future NBA players. If somebody had told you after that game that Devin Booker would be the best of those six to make it in the NBA would you have believed it after that game?

 

 

 

 

After playing Kentucky that year they had 7 NBA players get drafted I felt like Karl A. Towns deserved to be in the NBA.

 

 

How did head coach Larry Davis help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 

Coach Larry Davis prepared me best for those big games I had at Cincinnati.

 

 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Octavius Ellis?

 

In practice me and Ellis never played one on one but we do battle in practice and worked hard.

 

 

 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

 

 

The toughest player I played in the NCAA was Ryan Boatright from Uconn.

 

 

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?

 

 

 

Like I said before my idol is Lebron so of course I think he’s the best right now. Micheal Jordan will always be the GOAT and will always be respected by me.

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

 

No one can stop Westbrook and people that criticism him don’t know what there talking about. He averages a triple double! No one else is doing that.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The Last movie I saw was Horrible Bosses 2.

 

Thanks Coreontae for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can James Robinson Fill The Shoes Of Anderson And Lead medi Bayreuth Back To The Playoffs

 

 

 

It is no secret that basketball fans in Bayreuth are very passionate about the game they love so not having won a BBL title since the late 80´s, the club has been starving for success again and after many long years in the second Bundesliga, the club finally moved up to the BBL in 2010 and witnessed six long years of never reaching better than 13th place, but last season every fans´s birthday, Christmas, and first sex came back all over again as the club finally had a spectacular season finishing fourth and reaching the playoffs and making the biggest headline story in the last 7 years of the speculation that Kevin Durant would wear a Bayreuth jersey in 2011 seem trivial and long long forgotten. A big reason for the success of head coach Raoul Korner who was able to find the right team chemistry as well as bringing in the right ingredients of new players with Trey Lewis and Kyan Anderson who were a big reason why the club was able to win so many games as their consistent scoring and team play was a guarantee for success last season as they combined for 27 points of the medi Bayreuth 84 points per game. Of course the club had other important key players like Nate Linhart, Assem Marei and Demon Brooks who filled out most of the rest of the bulk combined averaging 33ppg. However as is so often the case, players move on because of better offers that medi Bayreuth just can´t compete with. Lewis and Anderson moved to greener pastures with ratiopharm Ulm and  Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA). The club looked long and hard and found Gabe York who had a stellar NCAA career at Arizona developing a scoring gene and continued it as a rookie with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) playing 44 games averaging 15.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.7%. New point guard James Robinson is the Kyan Anderson replacement and like York is in his second professional season after having a solid NCAA career at  Pittsburgh (NCAA) averaging 5,0apg in his last two seasons and last season as a rookie made his professional breakthrough with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) playing 16 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT-2(48.8%), FT: 75.8%; In the Adriatic League he played 24 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 86.3%. The 23 year old 190cm point guard is from Mitchellville, Maryland and describes his toughest foe at the NCAA level to be Portland Trailblazer CJ Mccollum is motivated about making the next step in Germany with his new team medi Bayreuth. “I have known Trey Lewis for a couple of years now going back to our college days so I followed the team last year during their impressive season. When Coach Korner called me with interest for me to join the team I was excited and knew I would be going to a great situation. I have followed Brad Wannamaker´s professional career since he left University of Pittsburgh and saw the success he has had not just in the BBL but in all of Europe”, warned James Robinson. The American is a guy that can fill up the stat sheet and will woo Bayreuth fans with his versatile play. “I like to think of myself as an all around player that can contribute and affect the game in multiple ways, on both ends of the court. I would not say I mold my game after any one player but I like to take aspects of multiple players games and use those aspects to my advantage”, warned James Robinson. One guy who will be keeping a close eye on him is his ex teammate at Dematha high school Kameron Taylor who is playing for Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf and is looking to one day reach the EasyCredit BBL like his buddy Robinson. “James is more of a brother to me. I have a lot of respect for James, he has earned everything he has and probably deserves more. We are constantly pushing each other to become better players in the off season. I continue to learn something new every time we work out. We both will continue to raise our game and work our way up the ladder”, warned Kameron Taylor. Just how well Raoul Korner´s choice for his point guard James Robinson pans out will be revealed in May if medi Bayreuth make a second straight playoffs, but with Robinson´s rookie season track record of two titles in Bosnia and Herzegovina, his leadership skills will come in handy this season with medi Bayreuth as he looks to be the perfect Kyan Anderson replacement.

Despite ratiopharm Ulm having the huge season last year in the regular season winning almost everything, the big surprise team was medi Bayreuth that emerged on the scene winning ten out of their first 11 games including 10 in a row having huge wins against top team Alba Berlin and playoff teams EWE Baskets Oldenburg and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. They weren´t as dominant the rest of the way, but were still able to string along a three game win streak and beat three more playoff teams including FC Bayern Munich 74-72. In the playoffs which they hadn´t reached in 21 years, they ran out of gas losing a hard fought four game series to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. With a few more breaks here and there and they could have made it a five game series, but their defense couldn´t withstand the Oldenburg offensive weapons as they gave up an average of 94 points per game. Their biggest strength was their offense last season that averaged 84 points per game and shot a strong 40% from outside. Without this potent offense, they wouldn´t have had such a good season, because on the defensive side they allowed 80 points per game and just didn´t have  a more consistent defense presence. In the regular season, they won six games where they allowed the opponent to score 80 points or more and they also had nerves of steel as they knew exactly how to win those exciting close crunch-time games as they won six games by three or less points difference.

A big key to success for any team is being able to hold a solid foundation of the team to keep that team chemistry intact and then add those new pieces and build on it. Head coach Raoul Korner did a super job keeping seven players with Americans Nate Linhart and Demon Brooks, Egyptian Assem Marei and Germans Bastian Doreth, Steve Wachalski, Andreas Seiferth and Robin Amaize. Nate Linhart is possibily the best player that the organization has reeled in since returning to the BBL in 2010. The 30 year old 201cm small forward played at Akron(NCAA) and via Trier, and Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-SerieA) reached the big time with Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv (Israel-Winner League) and played a season in the ACB with Zaragoza. Last season with medi Bayreuth he played 36 games averaging 10.5ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 86.0%. The point forward is the leader of the team and is the ultimate team player that holds the team together. Demon Brooks is a 25 year old 201cm forward that played at Davidson(NCAA) and made a name for himself in the Italian Serie A-2 averaging 16,0ppg and 7,orpg in his two seasons there with Givova Napoli Basket and Orsi Derthona Basket Tortona. Last season with medi Bayreuth, he played 36 games averaging 12.1ppg, 3.4rpg, FGP: 58.9%, 3PT: 29.5%, FT: 87.0%. He energizes the team with his will and finishes in style and has a nice mid distance game. He will continue to be a consistent scoring option. Assem Marei is a 205 year old 206cm center and was one of the big BBL surprises last season. He always had to prove his basketball worth as he played in the NCAA 2 with Minn.St.-Mankato and as a senior averaged 19.3ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 59.2%. As a rookie he played with BC Siauliai (Lithuania-LKL) playing 37 games averaging 12.1ppg, Reb-2(7.5rpg), 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 53.6%; In the FIBA Europe Cup, he averaged 12.5ppg, 10.8rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 62.7%, FT: 64.7%; and in the Baltic League averaged 12.3ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-5(1.1bpg), FGP: 58.3%, FT: 68.3%. He made the next step last season with medi Bayreuth averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-2(7.2rpg), 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.8%. His hard working attitude as rewarded him year after year and he will continue to be a menace in the paint area as his athleticism gives him big advantages over other centers.

Bastian Doreth is a 28 year old 182cm point guard going into his sixth BBL season. He played three seasons with FC Bayern in the Pro A, gained early experience with Brose Bamberg, played with ex BBL teams Trier and Artland and belonged to the German national team for years and played at the 2013 European championships in Lithuania. He won´t score much, but knows how to run a team and get his team in the best scoring opportunities and is a great defender. Steve Wachalski is a 202cm forward and might be 34 years old, but he is showing no signs of slowing down. He was a late bloomer as he didn´t debut in the BBL until age 27 after toiling three years in the Regionaliga and two years in the Pro B. It was Bayreuth that gave him his BBL chance in 2010. He got two more years of BBL experience with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and is playing his fourth season with medi Bayreuth and last season averaged 6.3ppg, 2.9rpg, FGP: 63.4%, 3PT-1(53.3%), FT: 92.3%. His bred and butter is his shooting and if left wide open, he will hurt you almost always. He was one of two players that last season belonged to the elite BBL 50/50/90 group. He is the ultimate shooting weapon from the bench. Andreas Seifert is a 28 year old 209cm center that made his debut in the BBL at age 20 with Alba Berlin and played in the BBL since 2009 playing with teams like TBB Trier, Artland Dragons and FC Bayern Munich. This will be his third season with medi Bayreuth and last season the 2013 German European championships member averaged  6.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 56.8%, FT: 64.9%. He is a guy that will get you points and rebounds in the paint and is a solid back up center. Amaize is a 23 year old 188cm shooting guard that already made his BBL debut at age 18 with Giessen. He has had a slow ride up the basketball ladder as he couldn´t make his breakthrough with Braunschweig where in three seasons he played only 21 games. Korner liked his game and brought him to Bayreuth and last season he made his BBL breakthrough averaging 6.2ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 79.2%. He is an athletic guard that will dunk, but also can shoot from outside. He has all the qualifications to make another step this season as his minutes should increase.

Besides James Robinson, the team also added two new imports with Gabe York and John Cox. York is a 23 year old 190cm guard that has the task of having to fill the shoes of the departed Trey Lewis. York played at Arizona and demonstrated his scoring and shooting qualities at Arizona(NCAA) averaging 15,0ppg as a senior and shooting 41% from outside in his last two seasons. Last season as a professional rookie he played with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) averaging 4.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.5apg, left in Nov.’16, later that month moved to Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) averaging 15.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.7%. He is an excellent shooter that will have to prove that he can rebound from his short stay in Italy and become an impact player in Germany and will get the fullest trust from head coach Korner. Cox was a bit of a surprise reeling in a 36 year old, but when looking at his resume can still play at a high level. He is the son of former USF star Chubby Cox and cousin of Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant. He is going into his 13th professional season and has had knack of playing in France and he played every season there for 7 different teams winning the cup with  Paris-Levallois in 2013. The Venezuelan national player also has had experience winning a gold with at the FIBA Americas in Mexico and played at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) averaging 9.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 26.7%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 80.0%. He is a physical guard that likes to score in the paint and take the mid distance, but also won´t shy away from the parking lot as his stats last season prove with  Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA) averaging 15.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 75.0%.

So where will the journey of medi Bayreuth end this season? The big strength is keeping seven players and having a tad more experience with the guidance of John Cox. The club has all the pieces to be another very strong offensive team, but will they be a better defensive team than last season? The key for medi Bayreuth to reach a second consecutive playoffs will be if James Robinson and Gabe York can successfully replace Kyan Anderson and Trey Lewis and make the next step in the higher league BBL. The signing of John Cox could be the the clubs biggest plus simply because he will have the capacity to bring valuable minutes from the bench should a Robinson or York have an off day. The club also needs to stay healthy and having a Robin Amaize make another step would be refreshing. Medi Bayreuth has started off fantastic at 4-1 in the BBL and 2-0 in the BCL and will finish the regular season somewhere between 5-11.

Predrag Lukic(NANHAI (Foshan) Longlions China) Basketball Is Basketball Everywhere

Predrag Lukic is a German/Serbian coach with extensive experience. He has coached most of his life in Germany for teams like TSV Quakenbrueck Dragons (Germany-2.Bundesliga) women team, ChemCats Chemnitz (Germany-DBBL) women team, evo New Basket Oberhausen (Germany-DBBL) women team,  MTV Wolfenbuettel von 2012 Herzoege (Germany-ProB), and Buergerfelder TB (Germany-Regionalliga). He made the big step to Asia in 2015 joining  BC Rise Sport Foshan (China, Guangdong province) and this season is an assistant for the NANHAI (Foshan) Longlions

(China-ABL). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball in China.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/aseanbballleague

 

Predrag thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment an how is basketball life for you at the moment?

 

Thank you too. I am now in my third year in China, Foshan City. That’s a 7,5 mio Population in the Guangdong province. An absolute Basketball province and City. Here you have, 3 CBA teams (GZ Longlions, Guangdong Tigers, Szenzhen Leopards) and now the new pro team Nanhai (Foshan) LongLions ABL League.So its a nice life for a Basketballer.

 

 

You have been in China for some years now. What have you learned to appreciate the most about the basketball there and the country?

 

Chinese people are hard working, have discipline and want to learn. That’s especially for Sport as a Coach a big plus.

 

 

You coached the last 2 years the BC Rise Sport Foshan (Highschool Team) youth program. What kind of experience was that for you and how do you feel did you grow as a coach?

 

That was a great new experience for me. Before I came to China, long years ago I had training with youth teams, than to come to a different culture, to train youth is a nice feeling, many new, interesting and different things I had seen. I have enjoyed it.

 

You coached in the past German teams like TSV Quackenbruck, Wolfenbuettel and  Buergerfelder TB. How was it different in general for you coaching young Chinese boys in comparison to young German players?

 

In the beginning, it was not very easy, because of the different culture, level, etc. But at least, Basketball is Basketball, everywhere.

 

 

What is the state currently of Chinese basketball. What strides has it made in the youth area and in the professional ranks in the time that you were there?

 

Basketball is number 1 in China. There are Many supporters. And I can see and feel, that every year its getting bigger and bigger.

 

 

You have a new coaching gig with the NANHAI (in Foshan) LONG LIONS. How did you get this job and what are you most excited about being able to do now coming from the youth area to the professional area?

 

Yes after two years coaching youth here, I got the offer from the club from president Mr. L.Peng. It´s nice to be able again to be in coaching staff of a pro team.

 

 

You will be competing in the up and coming ASEAN league. Ex NBA players have played here and former BBL player Chris Oliver. How has this league developed in the last years from your perspective?

 

I saw the finals last year (Hong Kong Eastern – Singapore), the league is very interesting with good imports and potential.

 

 

How do you see NANHAI (in Foshan) LONG LIONS doing this season? How much potential does the club have?

 

Our roster is made up of CBA Youth team dropouts, Imports and Young CBA players who have recently been cut (From GZ LongLions). We want to win and be competitive, but we also want to develop our players and our brand. The club goal in this first ABL Season are the Playoffs.

 

 

Do you see yourself having good input as an assistant and what will be your biggest goal from the bench in your coaching?

 

For sure. I am glad to be the assistant coach of this team and club, I will share my experience and help where ever it needs.

 

 

 

You have been some years now in China. Do you ever see yourself returning to Germany or could you see yourself staying for an extended time in China?

 

At moment my family and I are very happy in China. But of course, when the time comes, returning to Germany, home sweet home.

 

 

 

 

What have you missed most from Germany from the basketball side and from the culture?

 

Like I told you before, Basketball is Basketball everywhere in the World. But for sure, at least I missed my family, culture, friends, food, etc. But that´s it, we are professionals, that´s our life.

 

Thanks Predrag for the chat.

 

Darion Atkins(Strasburg IG Basket) Since Turning Professional I Have Always Had To Prove Myself As Being A Scorer

Darion Atkins is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Maryland that is playing his third professional season and first with Strasbourg IG Basket (France-ProA). Last season he played with  Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League) playing 37 games averaging 13.6ppg, Reb-3(8.3rpg), FGP: 59.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 61.6%. In his rookie season he played for the Westchester Knicks (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 8.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 55.9%. He played at Virginia (NCAA) form 2011-2015 playing a total of 123 NCAA gams and as a senior played 33 games averaging 7.6ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 51.4%, FT: 52.0%. He then played at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament playing 3 games averaging 20.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.7 bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.0%, FTP: 85.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Basketball Champions League game against medi Bayreuth in Bamberg,

 

 

 

 

 

Darion thanks for talking to German HoopsWelcome to Germany. Is this your first time to Germany or have you ventured over the boarder since you joined Strasburg to explore?

 

 

This is my first time in Germany. I have realized that I am so close to Germany living in Strasburg and will visit again soon.

 

 

 

What do you know in general about Germany about it´s basketball and the country in general? Do you have any friends balling in Germany?

 

 

I know two people that are playing in Germany with James Robinson who I play tomorrow and is one of my close friends and Bryon Allen who plays with Oldenburg.

 

 

You are playing your first international club tournament after playing your first season in Europe last season with Israel. You had a solid start with 14 points and seven boards against Olimpija. How is this league different to the France Pro A and what do you want to gain here with your game?

 

 

The Basketball Champions League is different and unique. There are many good teams from different countries. It is very exciting to be a part of it. I hope just to help my team win as many games and get as far as possible as well as playing at a high level. I believe that if we stay humble, we could go far. Sky is the limit for our team. Teammate Zach Wright reached the final 4 last season with Monaco. I personally want to play well and prove that I belong. I still have a lot to prove.

 

 

You match against a very talented German team medi Bayreuth that crushed Rasa Radom in the first game. What kind of game can we await and what will be key to winning?

 

 

We can´t take any team lightly. I think it will be like in any other game in that the team who wants it more will come out with the win. We will have to come out the right way and if we play our game then everything will take care of it´s self and we will come out on top.

 

 

You joined a team that one could call the Buffalo Bills of the pro A. Is that inability to win final series something that is lingering within the club?

 

 

I actually have heard of that. Coach Collet told me about that when he was recruiting me. Coach has done the best job possible the last years to put together good teams, but they all came up a bit short. I hope that I can be part of a team that will finally get the job done in the final.

 

You are playing on a very talented basketball team that has many scorers and guys that can decide a game. What is your role on the team this season?

 

 

My role for Strasburg is to come in as a defender and rebounder that has a high motor. Coach Collet has a lot of confidence in me, but also on the offensive end where I will take that open shot and set good screens. I am a good piece to the puzzle.

 

 

Let´s talk a little about your game. Last season you broke out and had your first season where you averaged in scoring in double figures. To what NBA player would you describe your game and are you a different player than what you were at Virginia(NCAA) where your scoring wasn´t as present?

 

Since turning professional, I have always had to prove myself as a scorer. At Virginia(NCAA) I had that special role to defend and be a rebounder and be the best defender in the country. I want to prove that I can be a different player at the professional level. Coach Collet continues to have faith in my game at both ends and I will continue to work hard and implement the pieces the right way. I feel I can be that three and D player that can defend multiple positions 1-5 and be able to knock down open shots. I feel I fit well here and can be a contributing factor at both ends. Coach has really pushed me very hard and am very thankful for that. That is something I can´t take for granted.

 

 

 

 

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?

 

 

I feel that a hidden strength in my game is the ability to get my teammates on the same page and keep the moral up in tough times in a game. I am that guy that can put the foot down in certain situations in a game like when we need many stops in a row. I bring energy that helps my team win.

 

You are playing with veteran David Logan who has had a stellar and long career in Europe. What has impressed you most about his game besides his work ethic?

 

His work ethic is amazing. He is a great scorer and teammate that has played for such a long time. He teaches the intangibles on the court with communication and keeping all on the same page. We know that when the shot clock is down, we have to get him the ball because he will get you buckets. He plays his role very well and we rely heavily on his game. He also does a good job keeping the balance in that when teams key in on him, he knows how to get everyone around him involved.

 

 

Center Chris Otule has had a very interesting career and has fought against all odds and had a very good basketball career despite having only one eye. Did you know about this coming in or was it something you learned later and what has impressed you most about his story?

 

I didn´t know that about his eye until I heard it in conversations with him. He has an amazing story. It is a testament of his will and fortitude to keep playing the game and always adjusting. He is so dominant in the paint and unstoppable more often than not. He is very hard to guard. Sky in the limit for him. He is still young and has a lot of good things ahead of him.

 

Last season you played with  Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League). What was your wake up call to playing your first season overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?

 

 

To be honest, I didn´t really think much of it. My dream was always to play in the NBA and if that didn´t happen then in Europe. I really didn´t think about it too much, but just came over and my finance was with me. I got my start in Israel and I loved my team. Even if our season didn´t end great, we still had a great season. No one thought that we would finish first or that we would gel. We had so many key guys go down, but other guys stepped up like Jordan Taylor and Tru Holloway. We were all on the same page and hung in there. Tony Younger was so invaluable for us.

 

 

Last season you went 1-2 against top European team Maccabi Tel Aviv, but had impressive stats with three double doubles and a 26 point 13 rebound game. Do games like this give you that confidence that you could play for a Euroleague team sometime down the road?

 

 

For sure I believe that down the road I could play for a Euroleague game. I feel I can play at that level and that I belong there. I don´t want to get ahead of myself or not be humble, but  that is what you do when you play big teams in big games and that is compete. All that is on my mind is too compete and the rest takes care of it´s self. My goal is still the NBA and I will continue to work hard every day on my craft and continue to develop in many areas and try to be the best player possible. What kind of work you put in is the type of player you become.

 

How important was Tony Younger for your first season abroad? How vital was it having that American who was playing in his 14th season in Israel?

 

Tony Younger was so vital for me and the team. He had answers to everything. His wisdom kept us level headed when we were down or got to high on ourselves when we were winning a lot. He helped bring up the team moral or checked guys when guys were getting off the same page. There are guys his age that don´t have his wisdom. Teams will win titles with a guy like him on board.

 

 

AS a rookie you played with the Westchester Knicks (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 8.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 55.9%. How was that one season in the G-League. Was there ever any feeling you might get that NBA chance during that season?

 

There was a small feeling at a time when I had played some good games, but I never got that call. In the G-league players are too individualistic. NBA teams look down their bench and think what special thing that G-league call up will bring. NBA teams already have their scorers, but will look to you for a special role. It was rough proving that you can play at that level. Important was not to show what you can´t do, because the NBA sees everything as they are present each night.

 

 

 

You played NBA Summer League from 2015-2017 with teams like the Spurs and Warriors. Every player always has the NBA dream, but after seeing what the NBA is about are you concentrating now more on Europe or are you still keeping that NBA door open?

 

The NBA door is still open for me. I just take it one day at a time. I will just continue to work hard and try to get better. If the NBA is interested is one thing, if not I will continue to focus on Europe.

 

 

You were teammates with Jimmer Fredette who averaged 37ppg in China last season. What kind of experience was it being his teammate and why do you feel couldn´t he make his NBA breakthrough?

 

He is a great player and scorer. That is what he does. He showed he could score in College, G-League and China. I don´t know why his career hasn´t kept him in the NBA. He is a player that can be a vital part of an NBA team that will shoot the crap out of the ball. I always thought that every ball he shot would go in. But he also can find his teammates if called to play the point. Everybody has their own opinion about players. I feel he could be successful in the NBA and if he doesn´t go back he will be successful wherever else he plays.

 

You saw so many great players in the G-league and also played with Thansis Antetokounmpo who´s famous brother plays for the Milwaukee. Bucks. Currently he is with top Greek club  Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens (Greece-A1). What thing in his game still stands out in your mind today?

 

I havent´t seen TA play since the G-league, but I remember him as being super athletic and was all over the place. He really knew how to use his energy well dunking and blocking shots. He has a high motor and could be an NBA player.

 

 

 

After never averaging more than 7,6ppg at Virginia, you then played at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament averaging 20.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.7 bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.0%, FTP: 85.7%. How refreshing was playing this tournament and being so successful and do you feel like you were on some NBA team´s radars then?

 

 

It was refreshing. It wasn´t only refreshing putting up those stats, but just having the opportunity to play free and not have to think of anything else. I did take many defensive qualities from coach Bennett to the Portsmouth tournament, but I was able to play offense. At Virginia(NCAA) there were enough guys that could take care of offensive things where I wasn´t needed. I felt that at the Portsmouth Invitational I had the green light something I hadn´t had before. I had many NBA workouts after that and am sure that teams had question marks at my name.

 

 

You played at Virginia(NCAA) from 2011-2015. When you were a freshman you played with future NBA player Mike Scott who was a senior. How did you benefit most from his game as you started your NCAA career?

 

I tried to take things from his game like his seriousness, businesslike approach and how he approached each game. I knew then that my career wouldn´t go the same way his would even though I thought it could. He put his team on his back and even though I wasn´t the type of player that he was, I tried to implement his work ethic into my game. I didn´t get a chance as a junior, but my senior year I got my turn in the rotation and I decided to change things like dying my hair and my phone number. I came in with that last hurrah mind set The different mindset that I had worked out for the best.

 

 

Was beating Virginia Tech twice your senior season including your 16 point game one of your more memorable experiences as a player?

 

No that wasn´t my most memorable at Virginia. My junior year reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 and losing to Michigan State in New York at Madison Square Garden. We didn´t finish the way we would have liked my senior year, but were picked to go to the Final 4 at the start of the season. The atmosphere throughout the season was cool.

 

How did head coach Tony Bennet Groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 

 

Coach Bennett gave me that mind set of having perseverance when facing adversity. My career didn´t go the way I wanted it to at Virginia, but I always stuck with it. That mindset molded and shaped me into the player that I am today. I face adversity in a positive way which goes a long way in basketball.

 

 

 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

 

I will keep it in the family and stick with Mike Scott

 

 

 

 

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?

 

 

Lebron, Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar

 

 

 

 

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?

 

 

People will say down the road that Lebron is the greatest of all-time.

 

 

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

 

 

 

No I don´t. I believe that he always does all he can for his team to win. He is a beast.

 

 

 

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What players do you see playing a major role in the NBA?

 

 

Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, De´Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?

 

 

They will get going in the playoffs, but the Western Conference final will be the Warriors and Thunder.

 

 

 

How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?

 

 

The Cavs got the better deal now and the Celtics in the long run

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?

 

The Thunder will reach the final and could win depending how well use their energy.

 

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

Blade Runner 2049. It was slow and dramatic, but I recommend it.

 

Thanks Darion for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Robinson (medi Bayreuth) I Understand My Path Is A Bit Different But I Will Continue To Work To Reach My Dream

James Robinson is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Mitchellville, Maryland that is playing his second professional season and first with medi Bayreuth (Germany-BBL) averaging 8,6ppg, 2,2rpg and 3,8apg. Last season as a rookie he played with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) helping them win the cup playing 16 games averaging 15.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT-2(48.8%), FT: 75.8%; He also played in the Adriatic League playing 24 games averaging 12.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 86.3%. Before turning professional he played at Pittsburgh (NCAA) form 2012-2016 playing a total of 137 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 10.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 5.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.4%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to German Hoops late in the summer about basketball.

James thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on signing with German BBL team medi Bayreuth. After winning the double with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) and having a very strong rookie season, what was your main goal to achieve in the off season in terms of finding a new team?

My main goal this off season was to continue to improve my game in every way possible while looking for an opportunity to play for a club that would help me to continue to grow as a player and as a person.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball.Has Dennis Schroeder been a guy that has impressed you with his game the last years?

I know Germany has a rich tradition when it comes to basketball. Recently, Schroeder has been one of the stars to come from Germany and yes I watched him play since he joined the Hawks. He’s an impressive player that feeds off of confidence and is now the leader of the Atlanta organization.

 

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