On the court Chris Ensminger won just about every battle in the paint as there was a reason why he was the BBL´s best rebounder for five consecutive years as his knack of always having the right position as the ball was released and correct instinct to where the ball would fall off the rim seemed to be as easy for him to successfully achieve as it was for once the best control pitcher in the majors Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees to seemingly get the ball where he wanted to to get through the full count to his team´s benefit. However one thing that Ensminger couldn´t control after life on the basketball court was keeping his now coaching foe Denis Wucherer of the Giessen 46ers in check while they were battling on the sidelines during their rookie coaching season in 2013-2014 and second season. Both guys are basketball legends in Germany as Ensminger not only made a name as one of the BBL´s finest centers for years, but also belonged to numerous Bamberg championship teams while Wucherer won two BBL titles with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen for Dirk Bauermann and won the silver at the 2005 European championships in Belgrade under Dirk Bauermann once again and alongside NBA legend in the making Dirk Nowitzki. Both Ensminger and Wucherer were head coaching rookies in the 2013-2014 season and in four games Wucherer led the head to head battle confrontation´s 3-1. Three of the four games were decided by 6 points and both games in the 2014-2015 season were intense nail bitters with 61-59 and 67-65 in favor of the Giessen 46ers and Wucherer. In that same season, Wucherer got the last laugh once again as he led his team into the BBL and almost made the playoffs last season. Ensminger is still trying to bring the BBL to Gotha and the only time, these two charachters can meet now on the sidelines is in the preseason. “Gotha is a team that should reach the BBL in the future. They have a good infrastructure now, new arena and Wolfgang Heyder on board. One sees that the club is getting more and more professional. They are very ambitious to get to the BBL and have a good coaching staff with Ensminger and Esterkamp. Ensminger´s team now plays the way he played as a player. He played hard and so does his team. He should have a good season”, stressed Giessen 46ers head coach Denis Wucherer. After the 86-70 loss, Ensminger was very calm on the bench replaying the lost game in his mind one more time as his players were stretching and he had time to reflect on this coaching duel with Wucherer. “Wucherer has a good background and played for Dirk Bauermann. He played tough and so do his teams. I enjoy coaching against him. We always had good games against Giessen and one season lost two games by two points. I respect him and like how he helps players develop further as he got my ex player Marco Voeller”, stressed Chris Ensminger.
On another warm summer evening, but a lot more comfortable then the sauna like temperatures 48 hours earlier in Hanau, the 2016 Basketball Aid International tour next stopped in Mainz. This is an old stomping ground of Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth as back in the day he coached a young 14 year old Patrick Heckman and like his second living room as the only thing missing was his own comfy couch to help him ease into the game best. As always Beth was glowing after the buzzer had sounded as it was another successful game for the basketball aid charity and the golden basketball which had autographes of the German national team as well as Dirk Nowizki and Dennis Schroeder also found it´s new owner. “Both teams showed another good game, we had 900 people in the stands and the golden ball went for 800 euro. We achieved our goal once again today”, added Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth. The second highlight of the night after the golden ball being auctioned off, was the basketball game, but as always in these international tour games, the real focus of the evening was the sick children with cancer as that was on the minds of the players somewhere between all the plays that they had stuck in their heads. “I feel it is very important to show support for the children suffering with cancer. I lost my mom five years ago to cancer and she had a big impact on my life. You never know who cancer will effect next so it´s always positive to help in any way possible”, stated Giessen 46ers forward Thomas Scrubb. “It means a lot for me to help support the basketball aid cause. I lost my father to cancer two years ago and this past week, my aunt past away. Back home, we try to raise as much as possible for cancer. It is very unfortunate that a real cure hasn´t been found yet. I always try to do whatever possible to help fight cancer”, stated Elijah Allen.
The Giessen 46ers came into the game having beat Hanau and Heidelberg and destroyed their farm team Lich while the Oettinger Rockets Gotha had raised more than a few eyebrows as they had disposed of 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin. The first half remained rather even, but Giessen already had the usual lead as Gotha already had to exert extra energy as they were always in comeback mode. In the second half, the Giessen 46ers relied on their deadly shooting and stepped up their defense. While his brother Philip Scrubb was on the way to France with the Fraport Skyliners to play a four day tournament, brother Thomas was in Mainz and like his brother very reserved in his presence after the game, but very knowledgeable about what he had witnessed in the last 40 minutes on the court. “We knew that this would be our hardest test so far. They had beat Alba Berlin and we knew that if we weren´t prepared that it would be a challenge. We didn´t have our defense where we wanted it in the first half. In the second half, we stepped up and took control. We were smart on offense and didn´t allow easy baskets on transition or from outside. They had to beat us one on one”, stressed Thomas Scrubb. After the game Gotha forward Elijah Allen had a long conversation with Giessen guard Skyler Bowlin who had been opponents in college four years earlier and then described why Giessen was the better team. ”Giessen played us very physical. They have a very good coach with Wucherer who I am familiar with having been with Lich the last years. We didn´t have enough intensity and they wanted to win more. We tried to be too cute. The key was taking care of the ball, but we didn´t. We will have to do that better when we play against tough competition”, warned Elijah Allen.
In the first quarter, the game was even until the midpoint and then there would be 7 lead changes as no team was able to break away. Ex Creighton(NCAA) guard Grant Gibbs got Gotha on the board first with a turnaround shot over ex Trier forward Dwayne Evans and the American than stripped the Giessen player the ball and set up Jacob Parker with an easy bucket on transition as Gotha had the early 4-0 advantage. Giessen quickly halted the Giessen run in the making by countering with their own 4-0 mini run as Thomas Scrubb showed his distinct knack of knowing where his rebound would go and finishing with a floater and ex Citadel(NCAA) standout Cameron Wells connected on a turnaround shot to knot the game at 4-4. Gotha continued to keep the slim lead with Sam Muldrow and Robert Ohle buckets, but Giessen got their first lead of the game at 9-8 as ex Crailsheim guard Joshiko Saibou drilled home a three pointer. The lead then went back and forth as rookies ex West Virginia(NCAA) guard Jaysean Paige and Yale(NCAA) forward Justin Sears scored as Giessen had the slim 13-10 lead. Gotha got some major production from two ex Pro B players Elijah Allen who nailed two trey´s with one at the shot clock buzzer and ex Nordlingen guard Janek Schmidkunz connected from outside for the 19-18 lead. Giessen got the lead back as ex Sodertalje champion Skyler Bowlin nailed a three giving his team the 21-19 lead. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 37% from the field and 33% from outside while Gotha was shooting 53% from the field and 42% from outside. Gotha had the 8-7 rebound edge and three turnovers while Giessen had five turnovers.
In the second quarter, Giessen would keep the lead, but couldn´t shake Gotha as they always remained in striking range. Giessen started the second quarter going on a 8-3 run to extend their lead to 29-22. Giessen got solid support from Saibou who scored from the corner, Scrubb got inside making a finger tip roll in, Sears and Lischka also got productive in the paint. Giessen also had their difficulty of preventing Gotha from getting easy baskets inside as ex Stephen F. Austin (NCAA) forward Parker and ex CB Prat Juventud (LEB Gold) guard Gerald Gomilla got buckets cutting the Giessen advantage to 31-28. Even if the game was tight, it seemed like Giessen always had the more options and better execution rate as they extended their lead once again to 37-28 as Lischka completed the pick and roll perfectly and Wells nailed a 20 footer. Gotha closed out the second quarter with a perfectly timed 6-2 run to cut the Giessen lead to 41-38. Parker scored inside again, Allen hit his second buzzer beater at the shot clock in the game and GIbbs caught Giessen napping on transition defense as he got behind the defense making an easy lay in. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 53% from the field and 25% from the three point line while Gotha was shooting 56% from the field and 30% from the three point line. Giessen had the 14-13 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Gotha had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Giessen 46ers were able to pull away from Gotha and extend their lead into the double digits and hold it until the end of 30 minutes. Giessen quickly showed who was in control going on a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 53-42. In the run, GIessen got their guns back out of their holsters nailing three three pointers as Evans, Saibou and Bowlin connected. After a Paige lay in, it was Bowlin again who found the hot hand making fade away jumper keeping Gotha at bay as Giessen led 55-45. Even after Ohle trimmed down the Giessen lead down under 10 points, the BBL team always found a way to get their lead back into double digits as Scrubb buried a three pointer for the 58-48 Giessen advantage. Gotha guard Max DiLeo who´s brother moved from Giessen to the Telekom Baskets Bonn this season connected on a true rainbow and Grant made a free throw as Giessen kept the 63-52 lead after 30 minutes. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 50% from the field and 34% from the parking lot while Gotha was shooting 51% from the field and 28% from the parking lot. Gotha had the 24-21 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Giessen had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Gotha made one last comeback attempt, but then couldn´t take care of the ball as the slick aggressive defense of Skyler Bowlin got the best of them. Gotha came out storming in the fourth quarter going on a 7-0 run to cut the Giessen lead to 65-59. In the run, Gotha received solid production from their two ex Pro B players once again as Schmidkunz who has brought that shooting touch from Nordlingen to Gotha dropped a trey and Allen made a step back jumper and Muldrow made free throws. However then came the turning point of the game as Bowlin got two steals which ignited the Giessen offense going on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 72-61. The two Bowlin steals led to a Wells 20 footer and lay in by the defender himself. Saibou added on another trey as well. “I finally hit some shots today. I wasn´t hitting so well in the first games. This was my breakthrough game with Giessen”, added Skyler Bowlin. Despite Page and Ohle buckets, Gotha was unable to make some stops on defense as Giessen got a three pointer from Wells and Evans lay in to extend their lead to 78-65 which sealed the win for Giessen. Muldrow was able to cut the Giessen lead to 80-70 with a trey, but time was running out and Giessen ultimately slammed the door on Gotha with a Saibou pull up jumper, and Evans and Obst free throws closing out the game with a 6-0 run. “We knew that Gotha could make a run. Bowlin made two huge steals and we made big shots which killed their momentum. We switched a lot and had more big men in the paint area which made the difference”, stated Thomas Scrubb. “In the run at the start we talked more on defense, but they continued to make big shots and rolled their big men in the paint which hurt us”, stated Elijah Allen. The Giessen 46ers were led by Skyler Bowlin with 16 points. Cameron Wells and Joshiku Saibou added 14 points a piece. Dwayne Evans chipped in with 11 points and Andreas Obst added 10 points. The Oettinger Rockets Gotha were led by Jaysean Paige with 13 points. Sam Muldrow had 12 points while Robert Ohle chipped in with 11 points and Elijah Allen had 10 points. Giessen shot 48% from the field and 38% from outside while Gotha shot 53% from the field and 43% from outside. Gotha outrebounded Giessen 32-25, but had 16 turnovers while Giessen had 10 turnovers.
Adama Darfoe(Danish National Team) I Believe In This Team And That We Can Take Us To The Euro In 2017
Adama Darboe is a 30 year old 190cm guard that is a Danish national player and will play for the Bakken Bears (Ligaen) this season. He is a versatile guard with strong build, can play some time at the small forward too, and is a good rebounder for his size. He started his basketball career for Horsholm Basket (Basketliga) in 2002 and played there until 2006. He then played for U.M.F. Grindavik (Iceland-Express League) from 2006-2008. He then played for Huelva Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Bronze) in the 2008-2009 season. He then returned to Horsholm 79ers (Basketligaen) for a season before playing three seasons for Svendborg Rabbits (Ligaen). He then played for KFUM Jamtland Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) and the last two seasons with Boras Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) and last season played FIBA Europe Cup: 12 games: 10.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 90.0%; Swedish Basketligan: 36 games: 11.5ppg, 4.7rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT-2(89.0%). He spoke to German Hoops before the Euro qualifying game against Germany in Kiel.
Adama thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Right now, I am with the national team preparing for the upcoming games in a little city called Vejen. We got great facilities here, so things are going in the right direction.
You just completed two successful seasons with Boras Basket in Sweden, but unfortunately the club couldn´t get over the hump losing in both semi-finals to Uppsala and Sodertalje. I would imagine the two point loss to Sodertalje hurt more than the 97-72 loss the season in game 5?
Yes it was very tough for the club and for me personally, not making the finals. I really thought that we had great teams both years, but it was tough, and both teams that we lost to in the semis, deserved their spot in the finals.
Do you believe a James Miller would have made the difference this season in that game 5 against Sodertalje?
Honestly I don’t think so. We had a very good team, so it is what it is. You can always say what if, but I like to stick to what we had, and I was confident that our team this past season could have done the job and advanced.
James Miller recently retired after an illustrious 15 year career. You played only one season with the high scoring guard, but will always be your fondest memory with him on the court as well off the court?
JJ was a tremendous good player. Very professional and skilled player. I learned some moves from him watching him play, but mostly I have learned a lot from his professionalism off the court, and how he approached practices and games.
Last season you improved your stats in both the Europe Cup and Swedish Basketligan. Do you feel like you are in your best basketball age now at age 30?
For sure. I’m in my prime. My body feels great and I’m at the point where my routine is about to peak. Hopefully if I can stay healthy, keep working hard and most important keep my love for the game, I can achieve great things the next couple of years.
Especially in international play, you had a huge lift in your outside shooting as you improved your shooting drought from the season before from 9,1% 2/22 to 41% this season. Did you practice your shooting more in the summer of 2015 or did you just pick your spots better last season which helped you shoot at a lot higher percentage?
There was no doubt that I wasn’t happy about my shooting percentage from the arc that year. But I been in this game for a long time and I know that if you push extra and work harder, both mentally and psychically, then good things will happen to you. As a person and as a player. Luckily for me, it turned around pretty quickly.
Your heading back home to Denmark to the Baaken Bears . What was your biggest push to go back home and join this top Danish club?
I have always been seeking the best level I could play on. I’m luckily to be able to do what I love to do every single day. I’m making money of my hobby. Not a lot of people can say that in this world. Bakken Bears is a very professional club who wants to win every single year, and I like winners who do their very very best, to put themselves in a position to win. So it was a simple choice of mine.
At the moment you are with the Danish national team. This is now your seventh summer with the Danish team. What is always the most exciting part of being with the Danish national team in the summer time?
This summer is very fun. We have the chance to make history for our country, concerning qualifying for the European Championship. I’m all in. It’s very different playing for your club team and playing for the national team. You know the guys very well. Grew up with them, playing with the guys in the summer, so it’s just a very special feeling all around. After all the guys on the team is representing a whole country.
What has been your summary of the early Danish preparation for the upcoming euro qualifying round? You had some friendly games beating Switzerland, but losing to countries like Slovakia and the Ukraine?
It was a very good tournament in Slovakia. We grew as a team, and that was the most important thing.
You are one of the elder statesmen with Alan Voskuli. What besides being a leader are your main functions on the team?
We are all men on the team. People respect each another not thinking about age. After all, it is what you bring to practice and games that determines what kind of respect you should have. I try to lead but at the same time, people should lead through effort.
There are many young guns on the team like David Knudsen who will be going into his second season at Marist(NCAA) or big man Lasse Elbaek. Who are the biggest young prospects on the Danish team and the faces of tomorrow.
We are a very young team, that’s for sure. We have a lot of great young players who will try and put DK on the map in the future. Gabriel Iffe lundberg, Lasse Elbæk, Nicolai Hvidberg are definitely some of them. Zarko Jukic is also a very talented player whom will do great now and in the future.
Denmark is an interesting group with Germany, Portugal and Holland. Germany is the favorite. Is Denmark the main dark horse of the group?
The group is very interesting. Germany is for sure the favorites, but I really believe in this team and that we can take us to the European Championship in 2017. We are equal until something else is proved. Good luck to everybody in the group.
What will be key for Denmark being able to compete with Germany for 40 minutes?
They are bigger than us. We have to play very intense and without any form of fear. I’m sure that we will do that. We are well prepared for the big challenge ahead of us.
Your buzzer beater against Frankfurt in the Eurochallenge two seasons ago is unforgettable. Does this shot still remain one of your biggest shots in your career and have you dreamt about in the last two years?
Haha it was a very nice shot to make. Every player is happy about making gamewinners of course!;) But that is in the past. I will enjoy that shot when I retire and have it as a great memory. All my focus is on getting some great results with the nationalteam this summer.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
Tough question. But Lebron is definately getting up there. Jordan is Jordan, Lebron is Lebron.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I’m not a big movie guy. I’m a series guy, so last thing I watched was Narcos and I can’t wait for the next season.
Thanks Adama for the chat.
The Hebeisen White Wings With Mr Sulliiiiiiiiiiiii Spank Luxemburg National Team 109-66 In Basketball Aid Charity Game
Even if the opening game of the 2016 Basketball Aid international tour is 72 hours old, memories of that game for players and fans will be on their mind radar for a while as fans will relive the alley-oop put backs by Mike Morrison and amazing unending talent of 16 year old Isaac Bonga where not the sky, but space seems to be the limit and especially for Americans Mike Morrison and Quantez Robertson being on American solid and trying to find their home state flags of Florida and Ohio in the beautiful cozy state of the art Clay Kaserne gym for everyone to swoon at. However even if the tour has moved on rapidly in the last days having gone to Luxemburg where their national team battled German Pro A team Dresden Titans and on Sunday still with the Luxemburg national team on board moved to German city Hanau which is 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt, the term that still had a tiny effect was the Frankfurt Skyliners. If Luxemburg national team head coach Ken Diederich who as a player was a nine time Luxemburg all-star and four time league champion with AB Contern, had done his homework the last days, he would have found out that both head coaches that he faced with Steven Clauss of Dresden and Simon Cote of Hanau had been coaches with the Fraport Skyliners within the last 10 years. However on Sunday in game three of the 2016 Basketball Aid international tour, the name Frankfurt Skyliners wasn´t on the menu, but instead good European basketball with an always international flair and not too forgot the Basketball Aid cause always as the main focus as that was what the players were really playing for. As always Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth who was head coach of the Hanau organization four years ago was present and running around shaking hands and making sure that everything was running along smoothly and as always was pleased with another well-made production that benefited the basketball aid charity as well as bringing fans the best possible preseason basketball action as high scoring was on the menu as the Hebeisen White Wings delighted their fans with a nasty 109-66 spanking of the Luxemburg national team. “I am very happy how everything went in Hanau. It was well organized and the fans saw a good game. Hanau had a very good shooting game. For Luxemburg it was a good test for their upcoming Euro qualifying games. They played against a very physical team with Hanau and that will help them for their upcoming Euro qualifying schedule”. explained 2016 Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth.
With it being one of the hottest days of the summer in the Frankfurt region, there was no difference in Hanau either as it felt like a desert outside and when one arrived in the Main-Kinzig arena, it felt even worse, like one was locked away in a sticky sauna with the door was slammed shut in your face. It wasn´t the best conditions for the players, but every single player knew that there was a special meaning behind the game with the Basketball Aid charity as always as the main feature. Finding a player who hasn´t in some way been effected by the cancer disease would be about as difficult as guessing the real mistress count that Wilt Chamberlain had back in the day, because cancer just seems to be everywhere. Ex TBB Trier player Samy Picard who played 52 BBL games and played catch with current NBA player Chris Copeland with his former German team took a deep breath when he had to recount how cancer had effected his family. “The mother of my wife died a few years ago on cancer. It was a very difficult time for her. It is important to support basketball aid. We all love basketball and to be able to play for a good cause is excellent. I don´t know if we will ever be able to beat cancer, but we have to try it”, stressed Samy Picard. “I lost my uncle and grandmother to cancer. Playing the game is only a small part, but it is most important to help fight cancer in any way. I will always do what I can to help”, expressed Hebeisen White Wing guard Eugene Harris.
The Hebeisen White Wings had had some tough test against BBL teams like Giessen and Wurzburg where they had had some very close games and then had another game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg where they were spanked in a bad way losing by 40 points. They came into the game knowing that the Luxemburg national team wasn´t of BBL caliber, but remained focused and just shot the lights out shooting 49%, controlling the boards and just playing unselfish basketball. “We went into the game with some goals and we improved our rebounding, ball movement and competing well for 40 minutes. I liked our style in the game and we know that no matter who we play, we play unselfish”, stressed ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Brian Sullivan. Ex High Point(NCAA) standout Eugene Harris was also pleased by the effort of the Hebeisen White Wings and felt despite having a blow out, the self confidence was vital for the team. “Key in this win was competing with ourselves. This was a game to get better at executing on offense and defense and getting myself in the right spots to get my teammates to be their best. This win also helped the self confidence of our new German guys”, added Eugene Harris. After losing to the Dresden Titans 48 hours ago by only 10 points, they had a more difficult time with the Hebeisen White Wings as the intensive heat cloud in the arena coupled with the opponents hot shooting did them in all night long. “We could use the excuse and say that we had a 4 hour bus drive and then had to play in this heat, but Hanau also had to play against the heat. Hanau just shot extremely well. We tried everything on defense to shake them up, but nothing worked”, expressed Luxemburg national player Samy Picard.
The Luxemburg national team was without star Tom Schumacher who was at home waiting for the birth of a child while Rueben Spoden of Hanau was still nursing an injury, but is expected back ready at the start of the season. There wasn´t total domination by the Hebeisen White Wings from the get go, but rather the usual feeling out of both teams as the game was tight in the early going. It was the work horse Kuize Pinkins who got going early establishing good position and just getting easy buckets as he scored twice giving the Hebesien White Wings the early 6-4 advantage. This in turn kept sparking the Hanau offense as they continued to get easy baskets inside and on transition as Harris scored on transition and Pinkins made an offensive rebound and easy put back for the12-6 Hanau lead. German Tili Joscha Joenke was also very important in the early going doing an excellent job at the point pushing the ball forward whenever possible and organizing the Hanau offense well and just getting them rolling. After a Dean Gindt lay up who has won three Luxemburg league titles, Hanau started to switch up their offense and started hitting from downtown as Harris and Sullivan hit back to back trey´s for the 18-10 Hanau advantage. Samy Picard ceased this sudden Hanau offensive onslaught with two big buckets inside, but Hanau put the ultimate dagger in the comeback heart of Luxemburg burying two further back to back three´s from Sullivan and Christian Von Fintel. After one quarter, the Hebeisen White Wings had the comfortable 26-14 lead. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 53% from the field and 50% from outside while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 40% from the field and 20% from outside. Hanau had the 12-5 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Luxemburg only had two turnovers.
In the second quarter the Hebeisen White Wings continued to execute at ease and continued their hot shooting from the parking lot. The two Hanau Americans Sullivan and Harris were sprouting with immense zeal and self-confidence and just wanted the ball at all times and were successful as Sullivan hit a jumper and then nailed a three followed by a Harris trey which extended the Hanau lead to 36-19. Luxemburg didn´t have any massive offensive threats down low so they relied on their shooting which was mediocre or here and there sneaking inside as 23 year old Alex Laurent did showing why he won the 2016 Luxemburg allstar slam dunk contest with a hard dunk. However the Hebeisen White Wings always had an answer and just continued to shoot shoot shoot and hit hit hit as ex Kirchheim Knight Jordan Wild hit twice and Joenke and Sullivan again and before Luxemburg head coach Ken Diederich could wipe his brow for the 25th time getting rid of the nasty sweat, Hanau was leading 48-26. Luxemburg closed out the second quarter with a mini 4-0 run as Laurent hit four free throws. At halftime the Hebeisen White Wings were leading 48-30. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 44% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 43% from the field and 22% from the three point line. Hanau had the 21-12 rebound edge and both clubs had seven turnovers a piece.
The Hebeisen continued to dominate the game in the third quarter as they continued to shoot out the lights while the Luxemburg national team mixed up their defensive formations with different zone´s as well as man to man, but they couldn´t put a rattle into the sound Hanau offense. Hanau didn´t waste any time jumping out on a quick 7-2 run as Joenke nailed another three pointer while Pinkins showed his unique inside out game scoring inside where he really makes it look like he is on a stroll in a park and then nailed a three pointer as the Hebeisen White Wings led 56-32. The three pointer is something Pinks wants to develop further this season as he came in as a rookie last season having shot 39% as a senior at USF, but only 20% last season with Hanau. Luxemburg got another dunk from Laurent who was the most consistent player for them, but Hanau had production from every player as the success of the American guard combo of Sullivan and Harris seemed to rub off on German Von Fintel as he scored in bunches with a trey and lay in to extend the Hanau lead to 63-38. Luxemburg then got a rare 5-0 run as Picard buried a trey and Bob Melcher who plays for Amicale Steinsil since 2010 scored inside as Hanau suffered a defensive breakdown cutting the Hanau lead to 63-43. Sullivan had already lite up the Main-Kinzig arena in the first half and didn´t hear any Sulliiiiiiiiiiiiii chants yet as he did in the Belk arena at Davidson the last years whenever he demonstrated his shooting art, but the Hanau fans might catch on in the next games, but the Ohio native showed also a strong separation between knowing when to score and when to display his playmaking abilities. On back to back plays, Sullivan showed his explosiveness as an offensive player as he first found ex Essen forward Paul Albrecht with a bullet pass inside and then caught Von Fintel back door for the reverse lay up and then stroked home another three pointer giving Hanau the huge 70-43 lead. “Luxemburg played much zone so we drove and kicked and that opened me up much more for shots which got me in rhythm. I think that my shooting and playmaking feed off each other. I am not a one dimensional player. My goal is always to get my team the best shot”, warned Brian Sullivan. Teammate Eugene Harris is happy that he has Sullivan in the back court with him. “Sullivan can really shoot the heck out of the ball and it is vital that he can spread the floor. He also is a very good defender”, stressed Eugene Harris. Hanau continued to supply the pressure pffensively as Sullivan connected for another trey and ex Nordlingen big man Josef Eicher scored inside and also made free throws. Harris also made a beautiful step back three from the corner that a Steph Curry couldn´t have done better. After three quarter, the Hebeisen Whi+te Wings had the commanding 85-57 advantage. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 51% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 47% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Hanau had the overwhelming 33-16 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Luxemburg had nine turnovers.
The Hebeisen White Wings had their best defensive quarter in the fourth keeping Luxemburg to nine points, but the question for the fans was how many point would Hanau get at the end? The Hebeisen White Wings seemed to want to get that 100 points quickly as they cruised out on a massive 12-2 run as they got three consecutive three´s from Harris, Albrecht and ex Tuebingen German Julian Albus, Eichler also scored using some baby steps to confuse his defender. After 22 year old 200cm forward Yann Wolf made an off balance jumper, Hanau went on a 7-0 run to eclipse the 100 point mark. Pinkins started the run with an unbelievable off balance shot from the corner with an angle that only NBA legend Larry Bird could of made in the day, but the Hanau forward saw nothing but net an d then Von Fintel nailed a three and Albrecht hit free throws as the Hebeisen White Wings led 104-61. With a few minutes remaining, Luxemburg got some production from Pit Koster and a three from Gindt while Hanau got a fascinating shot clock buzzer beater from Von Fintel as he nailed the three over Delgado and he ended the game with free throws. The Hebeisen White Wings continue to prepare for the regular season while Luxemburg now will compete in the 2016 Euro qualifying tournament. “”We start with three road games, so it will be tough. We will have to sell ourselves as best as we can. I think we will have the best chance against Hungary. We have nothing to lose and seemingly no pressure, but there is always that pressure not to lose by 30 or 40 points”, stated Luxemburg national player Samy Picard. The Hebeisen White Wings were led by Brian Sullivan and Christian Von Fintel who scored 22 points a piece. Kruize Pinks chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds and Eugen Harris added 14 points and 10 assists. Josef Eichler contributed 10 points. The Luxemburg national team was led by Alex Laurent with 14 points. Samy Picard and Bob Melcher added 11 points a piece. The Hebeisen White Wings shot 49% from the field and 45% from outside while Luxemburg shot 43% from the field and 27% from outside. Hanau had the massive 47-23 rebound advantage and both teams had 13 turnovers a piece. The 2016 Basketball Aid Tour resumes on Tuesday in Mainz as the Giessen 46ers meet Pro A team Gotha.
Jordan Talbert(PS Karlsruhe) I´m A Motivated And Driven Player So Coming Here It’s Like Adding Fuel To A Fire When Everyone Else Around You Is Just As Ambitious
Jordan Talbert is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that will be playing his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions. He came to Germany as a rookie in 2014 and played with the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 21.6ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.0spg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college career at Missouri SO(NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 11.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 70.1%. Last season with Nordlingen he tore up the Pro B averaging 17.5ppg, Reb-1(11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5(1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about his new adventure with PS Karlsruhe.
Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
No problem, my summer was great and fulfilling. I really enjoyed my time back in the states with family and friends. At the moment I’m in Karlsruhe preparing for the upcoming season.
Congrats on signing with PS Karlsruhe. How was the summer transfer period for you? You signed rather late. Did you have a good share of offers that made your decision making tougher?
No the decision was fairly easy for me. And to my knowledge I didn’t have many offers to choose from but I’m happy that PS Karlsruhe had enough interest in me to bring me in.
There were some of your colleagues from last season like Elijah Allen and Julian Scott that made thr jump to the Pro A. I would have thought that you would be a sure shot. Did you have Pro A offers that just didn´t fit your situation?
No I didn’t have any pro A offers. I guess I wasn’t what any of the teams were looking for or they found better options than me which is understandable. I’m very happy for those guys that were able to make the transition and wish them much success.
Last season with Nordlingen you averaged 17,5ppg and led the league with 11rpg. Is Jordan Talbert a Pro A caliber player playing in the Pro B at this point?
I really don’t know what caliber player I am. I know that I’m a competitor that’s going to give 100% each game and at each practice to be the best player I can be. Anything other than that is out of my control, and anything that’s out of my control are things that I don’t worry about.
What were the main reasons for joining PS Karlsruhe? What sold you on their program most?
The club is up and coming, and very hungry from what I can tell. Me already being a very motivated and driven player it’s like adding fuel to a fire when everyone else around you is just as ambitious and prepared to put in the necessary work. I’ve felt right at home from the first day.
After two seasons with the Giants Nordlingen what is your personal goal this season?
Perhaps the most logical helping PS Karlsruhe move up to the Pro A? My personal goal is to win as many games as possible. I like to not have any expectations going in but we have a lot potential and I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure we maximize it.
The club just moved up from the Regionaliga and are very focused to keep their winning ways alive. The club has hauled in many German players. Do you see having the same type of role as last season in Nordlingen were you were the main scoring option?
It’s still very early to determine each players role from game to game. I think that’s apart of team chemistry building. My intent is to come in and do whatever is needed for us to win rebounding, defense, or scoring.
The club has talented forwards with German Bill Borekambi and Croatian Dino Jakolis. Will not necessarily having to carry that’ scoring load like in Karlsruhe like you did in Nordlingen be welcoming to you?
We definitely have talented guys here that are able to do a lot of things. In Nordlingen much of the season and for most of the playoffs we only had a 7 or 8 man rotation. So playing 35+ minutes a night and doing all the things I had to last season for us to have a chance won’t be necessary. But if coach asks that of me I will be prepared to deliver at any moments notice.
How excited are you to be playing in a city that has another team with BG Karlsruhe? In New York they call the Yankees-Mets series the subway series and in Karlsruhe they could call it the cross town series.
Being from another country I was definitely unfamiliar with the rivalry but just in week I think everyone has caught me up on the history. Personally I’m looking forward to it. Those games are always the best games because it means just a little bit more to everyone which raises the competition level. The energy for that game is building day by day and I know that we’re going to come prepared to battle that day.
You had a very strong season last season in Nordlingen. How did you keep the hunger alive this summer and keep working on parts of your game that you aren´t happy with?
Motivation has never been a problem for me. My ambitions and work ethic are the only reasons I’m still playing right now. I wasn’t happy at all with my shooting percentages last season and with how my body felt towards the end of the season. So I really focused on things I could do to improve in those areas.
How did a summer work out session look like for Jordan Talbert on and off the court?
My day would start at 4AM with a good healthy breakfast and meditation. I would make it to gym at 5 and stay until 8 with some weight lifting and shooting. Then from 6PM to 830PM I was strictly on the court working on my craft. Off the court I had a strict diet. Cut out chocolate in particular which has always been an Achilles heel of mine. I would do this 5 times a week which now has me in the best shape of my life I believe.
Are you catching the 2016 Summer Olympics. What events besides Basketball do you enjoy watching?
Yes I’m definitely keeping up with the Olympics. I enjoy track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and women’s soccer. I just love watching people compete. As an athlete I know how much this moment means to them and what’s not to love about watching someone put their heart and soul on the line for any event. It’s inspiring.
Is Australia a dark horse for a medal? They beat France by 21 points in the opening game and have a pretty motivated team with 4 NBA players?
When it comes to basketball I’m not sure nor do I care who the silver and bronze go to as long as USA brings home the gold.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Batman Dark Knight Rises
Thanks Jordan for the chat.
Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn´t even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last years the Fraport Skyliners haven´t been complete as their preseason schedule has started and it was no different this season as like last season the club faced German pro A team RheinStars Cologne in a neutral area Koblenz and this season in another unusual spot in Wiesbaden, Germany. Eight year BBL veteran and identity figure of the Fraport Skyliners Quantez Robertson has had his share of photo shoots and checking out runways with a basketball at Frankfurt international airport, but for a change he would also be stepping foot on another airbase in Wiesbaden only 26 kilometers away from Frankfurt international airport as the Fraport Skyliners met the RheinStars in an out of the ordinary place. As part of the Basketball Aid international tour, both teams were taking part in a very good cause to help kids stricken with the horrible disease cancer as all proceeds were going to this charity. The Basketball Aid international Tour had received a blow recently as previously invited touring team Northeastern(NCAA) cancelled their 10 day trip on account of the terrorism in Germany, but Basketball Aid organizer Hans Beth and his crew had done a fine job in a very short period of time finding replacement teams for the Huskies from Boston. It is typical that in the past American players tend to visit American airbases to get that extra special US feeling as well as cleaning out the food markets where they can buy and munch on Pop tarts, Oreo´s or Twizzlers candy and much more, things they would never get in a normal German supermarket. In the past ex Skyliners and two thirds of the then Bermuda triangle Tyrone Ellis and Chris Williams minus Pascal Roller would venture out to Wiesbaden to take in the flair of American culture or a Jimmy Mckinney would make the trip to Heidelberg to visit the army heliport. On a very hot day that had temperatures in the 90´s everyone was relieved to be in the gym at Clay Kaserne as it was air conditioned nicely and after 40 minutes of hard fought pre season basketball, it was no surprise that BBL club Fraport Skyliners had been victorious gliding by the Pro A RheinStars Cologne 77-59. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was pleased with how the first event of the tour went. “It was a good atmosphere and a good game. It was a good start for the tour. The fans saw many young players competing and both general managers of the teams were present. It was obvious that the fans enjoyed the game. I hope to see them at Fraport Skyliner games”, stressed Hans Beth.
For both teams, this exhibition game was just another test for the rigorous upcoming season that both clubs will experience in their respective leagues, but the game also had a deeper meaning as it was in support of the organization Basketball Aid that support children with cancer and the game also gave the American players time to reflect on this cause as well as playing a game on an American army base. “Playing in Wiesbaden was like having a piece of home. I have a German mother and American father and to be able to see the Americana and German flags side by side reminds me of the partnership of both countries coming together as one. This was a very nice gym. Any enjoyment that I can provide while playing for military families is great. I can imagine that their life is stressful at times, but it is nice if they could enjoy a Thursday afternoon relaxing and watching basketball. Win or lose, we did a good thing today and we could leave with a good taste”, stressed RheinStars forward Alex Foster. Fraport Skyliners center Mike Morrison was as usual his laid back self after the win, but when asked about his thoughts about the game and deeper meaning behind the cause of Basketball aid, the Florida native became sentimental. “This was almost like being on American soli. It was cool seeing so many American families in the stands. Being able to help the basketball aid cause is very important. Everybody was a winner today and it was a great day”, stressed Mike Morrison.
Both teams were missing key ingredients to their teams as the Fraport Skyliners were without Mr Canada Philip Scrubb and new player Shavon Shields who had arrived that morning and was battling jet lag while the RheinStars were without the services of big men Amric Fields and 217cm monster Dennis Heinzmann as their inside game suffered without them. The Fraport Skyliners started with their heart and soul with Americans Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison and Germans Max Merz, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. The RheinsTars started with David Downs, Robin Christen, Andreas Wenzl, Alex Foster and Hugh Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners dominated from the get go getting their offensive sets going while getting their staple defense established early as their aggressiveness was a few gears too much for the RheinStars as they trailed 15-3 after six minutes. Frankfurt got their inside out game going quickly as their big men Morrison and Kiel got easy buckets inside while their shooting didn´t lack any fine tuning early on either as Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer connected from downtown. The Frankfurt aggressive defense also led to easy transition baskets as well. At the 4.15 minute mark, huge German talent Isaac Bonga made his professional debut, but before he could make any waves on the court, Cologne got a quick mini 4-0 run with baskets from Lennart Steffen and Tim Van De Velde to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-7. Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a Robertson dunk and Garai Zeeb three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners led 22-9 after one quarter. Isaac Bonga was controlling the boards in the first few minutes when he was on the floor. “Frankfurt hit us hard in the first quarter. We weren´t prepared well and need to be mentally focused better. We were unable to meet their aggressiveness on defense with offensive intensity”, stressed Alex Foster.
In the second quarter, both teams continued to sub their players in and out giving everyone their opportunity to work on their game as well as further team chemistry and harmony being developed. The Fraport Skyliners continued to have many more options on offense, worked on their inside out game and didn´t allow the RheinStars much opportunity to get anything going inside. Frankfurt Got a three pointer form Max Merz and a hook shot from Mahir Agva while the RheinStars got trey´s from Downs and Bendict Van Laack. Cologne then got their first solid bucket inside from Steffen who snuck inside finishing with his left hand as Frankfurt led only 27-17. Bonga was back in the game and the 16 year old who measures in at 205cm continued to help on the boards, but his athleticism and quickness was impressive as he showed it on both ends of the court making a quick block from behind on Hugh Robertson and then strolled into traffic and in midair made a no look pass to a streaking Morrison in the lane who finished with a routine lay in as Frankfurt led 31-17. Every once in a while Frankfurt would get careless and the RheinStars capitalized with buckets from a Downs who snuck inside, but overall Frankfurt always came back and had an answer on offense. After the Downs basket, Frankfurt went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 41-22. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got production from Ilzhoefer who had a totally new stroke of confidence and really had the green light in this game as he had that go to guy mentality brewing and connected on another trey, Merz scored inside, Tez Robertson made a steal and dunk on transition and Morrison finished inside for an easy two. In the last two minutes, Cologne got some needed offensive aid form Downs who dropped two trey´s and Robertson scored inside, but the Fraport Skyliners led at the break 44-30. “We were missing Fields and Heinzmann in the low post. It was the first game for Wenzl in 3 years. We have 100% belief that he can become the best center in the Pro A. He was a bit rusty today, but he will be a great player”, added Alex Foster. After 20 minutes the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 41% from outside while the RheinStars were shooting 39% from the field and 36% from outside. Frankfurt had the 17-12 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Cologne had 10 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners started the third quarter with a few turnovers and the RheinStars capitalized on it getting a Robertson bucket and Wenzl lay up playing pick and roll with Downs to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-34, but the RheinStars would never be able to cut the lead under 10 points. However it didn´t take the Fraport Skyliners long to get out of their offensive mini rut as they went on a 9-3 run as the German kids executed nicely with Agva and Bonga to extend the Frankfurt lead to 54-36. Agva was working on becoming that Skyliner beast inside as he scored twice and Bonga connected on a three displaying a smooth stroke in progress. After 30 minutes the Fraport Skyliners led comfortably 54-38. “We stepped up our defense in the third quarter, because we didn´t want to fold. I think that the game was pretty even for three quarters. It was just that first quarter that hurt us. We had more open looks and came together better as a team. Hugh Robertson also hit some big shots”, explained Alex Foster. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 32% from the three point line while the RheinStars were shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 29-20 rebound edge and both teams had 14 turnovers a piece.
Both teams found their scoring touch again better in the fourth quarter, but Cologne couldn´t make any ground as they were still outscored by Frankfurt 23-21. The fans also got to see some Tez/Morrison show time as they connected on the alley-oop twice with Robertson being the perfect flicker while Morrison was as tame as a Florida kitten tapping home the ball twice and saving the hard throw downs for the regular season. Hugh Robertson who played last season with Helios Suns Domzale (Slovenia-Telemach League) and can decide a game by himself did his best hitting big shot after big shot cutting the lead down to 60-47, but the Frankfurt bench was too much for Cologne as they stepped up and executed as well. The difference was that in this phase, the RheinStars only had a Robertson who was hitting shots while Frankfurt went on a 7-0 run as Pro B player German Konstantin Schubert hit a 20 footer and a lay it and Quantez Robertson made a three pointer as Frankfurt led 67-50. The game was decided and in the last few minutes Alex Foster did some work for his stat line hitting a three and then making a beautiful off balance shot high off the glass. Frankfurt got last baskets from Agva and Ilzhoefer to secure the win. “We were a bit tired in the fourth, but not physically. It was more mental. The two alley-opp´s were mental break downs. Frankfurt played very physical. We have to emphasis to play harder defense in practice so we can be ready for teams like Frankfurt. Frankfurt played their defensive concept the whole game and we shied away from it. We couldn´t stretch and challenge their defense. This game was part of the process to get ready for the season. I feel we made a good step in the right direction”, stressed Alex Foster. “. “The game went ok. We still need to correct many mistakes on defense. We found our rhythm on offense today. I feel that we have picked up on many things in two weeks. Coach Perwas has done a good job making things clear to each player what he has to do”, added Mike Morrison. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Stefan Illzhoefer with 15 points. Mike Morrison added 14 points while Max Merz had 10 points and eight assists and Quantez Robertson supplied 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. 16 year old Isaac Bonga played 23 minutes scoring six points, hauling down six rebounds, dishing out three assists and getting one steal The RheinStars were led by Hugh Robertson with 19 points while David Downs had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 31% from outside while the RheinStars shot 43% from the field and 37% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 33-24 and had 18 turnovers while Cologne had 21 turnovers.
Karl Moore is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande(NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.
Karl thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis?
Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it’s something that I can’t survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can’t survive.
In Saarlouis you had the best German regionaliga player of all time Ricky Easterling on your side. Will his explosive scoring mentality and ability always for some reason be in your thoughts because he made you a better player as a rookie?
Yes, Ricky is one of the best players that I played with throughout my professional career. He has taught me so much on and off the court. From the first day that we met, he saw how much potential that I have as a player and only wanted to see the best for me. A scoring machine like him will never be forgotten about.
He was also a vital part in pushing you the last months as you were looking for a new team. A week ago he gave you advice to go back to Germany and go for the Crailsheim offer. Is he a friend for life?
Yes, Ricky is a friend for life. When first hearing about the Crailsheim opportunity through Hans Beth (basketball-aid), Ricky was one of the few people that I contacted for advice upon taking the opportunity. I knew that the Crailsheim offer was going to be another sacrifice for me and my family. But when I looked at the opportunity within this opportunity to move up, I noticed that God was up to something. Sometimes in life when we are trying to figure things out, God has already worked it out.
You have signed with Crailsheim (Regionaliga) team which in a way is a step back, but there is a twist in that you can practice with the pro A team and this will promote your game as well as get the chance to possibly make their roster. If I recall correctly, didn´t you always feel like that you could play in the Pro A?
Yes, during my rookie year, I averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds from off the bench while shooting 60% from the field in less then 20 minutes of game playing at the Pro B level. During that time, I strongly felt as if I can easily compete on the Pro A level.
You dominated at Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2) last season, but how hungry are you to demonstrate your basketball abilities in your third professional season?
Last season, I averaged 34 points a game out in Luxembourg at the N2 level. Before going separate ways with the club. I had an opportunity to play against an N1 club during a cup game. I finished that game with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals. Throughout my last two seasons, it felt as if I played with a chip on my shoulder which caused me to go hard for my team. Here I am in my third professional season and it feel as if I am in the underdog seat once again. The hunger is still there and it’s go be interesting to see how far that it will take my God given abilities on the court once again as I help reach the club goals for this upcoming season.
How have the first few days been like in Crailsheim? Did you know any of the guys and how have the Pro A players taken you in?
The first few days for me in Crailsheim has been tough. My sleeping pattern is all messed and my body is trying to adjust to the three a day practices that I have to attend. Other than that, my time out here is going good so far. This club is very professional and family orientated, I feel as if we are one big family. I love the fact of that because back at home family is all I got. Last week was my first time meeting all the players. They have taken me in quickly. They seem to have a grasp of what I bring to the team and constantly give me advice throughout practice so that I can be up to speed with the team system.
You are playing with some very well known players that have performed at the BBL and Pro A level. Now that you are practicing with these very talented players how much is your self confidence rising in that you know that you can compete with them?
I am a workaholic and within that territory comes confidence to compete on any level. Here in Crailsheim, while competing with these experienced guys in practice. I am still trying to figure out the team identity and players personal. In which causes me to think extremely a lot on the court which takes away from my ability. By next week, I am confident that I will have everything figured out in my head, which will then cause me to think less and the flow of things will become more smoothly.
You recently showed your abilities in an exhibition game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (BBL) in a 77-67 loss, but you held your own scoring 8 points in nine minutes. How happy were you with your own performance?
I wasn’t happy with my own performance because we lost in a game that I felt was winnable. As a team we had made some mistakes in which we are correcting during practice. But I understand that it is still early and this is only preseason. With the great coaching staff that we have, the potential of this team will definitely be where it needs to be before regular season begin.
What have been the biggest differences in style that you have witnessed now at the BBL/Pro A level that you had never seen before as a professional?
I don’t see much of a different style but the players are much taller and stronger. Its like the higher the league the better the Germans are.
You played against many top players in Europe with guys like Chad Toppert or Alex Ruoff. Is at times difficult to calm your own emotions and not get too motivated about performing very well?
To be honest with you I don’t get excited when I am playing against top players. I know how to find motivation within myself regardless of how high or low the competition is. When out there playing against top players, my goal is grind harder than them. I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
What has it been like going against ex German national player Konrad Wysocki? He guarded Lebron James at the 2008 Olympics and at age 34 can still compete with the best of them?
It was just another day in the office for me. He is getting up there with age but I believe that he still has the juice.
Patrick Flomo is a true professional and still lives above the rim at age 36. Is he a guy that you feel will be able to give you the right pointers as the season progresses?
Patrick is a vet. He has been playing the game for quite some time. He even played Regionaliga as well before playing in top leagues. From the first day of practice, he gave me advice right away. Every right pointer that he has given me, I am quick to listen. He is one of the players that constantly stays on me during practice. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.
What things on your game are you working on in hopes that you can continue to be a consistent performer with the pro A guys and continue to compete for a role on the team of Thomas IIsalo?
Let me start off by saying that coach Thomas is one hell of a coach. Very down to earth man. He understands the game of basketball inside out. I love his passion for the game in which makes me go harder when he feels as if we as a team is not playing to the best of our ability. Some of the things that I am working on is becoming a leader and being more under control with my quickness. I am an extremely athletic player in which causes me to be a little wild at times.
You obviously can´t forget your duties with Regionaliga team Crailsheim 2. Could you feel some pressure down the road having to put up high consistent stats or can you erase those thoughts?
Just because it’s a regionaliga league, I don’t think that it will just be a walk in the park but at the same time I don’t feel under pressure at all. Coach Kai Buchmann is also a great coach and experienced being that he used to coach Pro A. He already gave me the blue print and I’m ready to go get it. Both clubs have one goal in mind which is to win nothing less than a championship. Throughout my last two professional seasons, I set all type of personal records to scoring 54 points in a game to grabbing over 20 rebounds. One thing that I haven’t done yet was win a championship. I worked hard all summer before an opportunity was even given. Now it’s time to go win that gold and hang a banner.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?
#1 LeBron James, #2 Michael Jordan, #3 Magic Johnson, #4 Wilt Chamberlain
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?
It puts him at #1 in my eyes.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Race (Jesse Owens).
Thanks Karl for the chat.
Alex Foster(RheinStars) Playing Against The Fraport Skyliners At The Wiesbaden Airbase And Supporting Basketball Aid Will Be A Special Game For Me
Alex Foster is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be playing his second professional season with the RheinStars(Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to German Hoops before the exhibition game on August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.
Alex thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence?
I always say “eben so,” after someone wishes me “ein schönen Tag” at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it’s more formal than what they’re used to. Or maybe it’s because it’s a Southern-German thing. My mom’s family is Schwäbisch.
Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time?
It’s really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I’m in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I’m coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.
The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up?
Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we’ve been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we’ve spending lots of time together on and off the court.
In comparison to last season´s team is this team as strong as last season´s on paper?
You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?
We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I’d like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.
Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most?
Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He’s got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.
Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?
Amric is one of the most talented players I’ve played with. He’s got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.
The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis?
Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we’re put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.
216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long.
Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can’t even compare where he’s at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He’s gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.
You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?
I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.
What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on?
Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.
How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season?
I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I’m very confident that I’ll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.
How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before?
I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that’s the level our team wants to play at, so I’m excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I’ve also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It’s going to be a special game for sure.
The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?
It’s a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special?
We’ve been through a lot together, so it’s fitting that he’s starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we’ll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He’s a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
That’s a tough question that I don’t think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After “The Decision” I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?
I’d make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!
Thanks Alek for the chat.