Travis Thompson Unravels The Acrobatic Lay In Leading The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past BG Karlsruhe 66-63

It really doesn´t matter in what gym Ricky Easterling has played in Germany the last 11 years, you can be as sure as Donald Trump thinks he is always correct that the Baltimore native of BG Karlsruhe has lit it up no matter what circumstances there were. In his six seasons in the Regionalliga with Saarlouis, the American had Michael Jordan consistent season scoring averages including averaging 32,3ppg and 34,5ppg in two seasons and averaged 29,0ppg each season. He needed absolute no kind of transition period when he moved up to the Pro B in 2014 with Saarlouis as he prompt led the league in scoring two years in a row and had a spectacular streak of scoring in double figures in 55 of 56 games as he dominated the Pro B like he did in the Regionalliga. This season the guy who´s middle name could be Mr mid distance as he is as lethal from anywhere form the mid distance the way Anthony Davis is in the paint doesn´t roam around on offense as freely as his days with Saarlouis mainly because BG Karlsruhe have many more viable scoring options. Currently his Pro B scoring in double figures streak is 70 out of 74 times and not only was he and BG Karlsruhe coming off a huge win against city rival PS Karlsruhe, but the American was returning back to a special stomping ground as in the last two seasons he shot out the lights connecting for 36 and 31 points and also had a massive game years before in the Regionalliga against Eintracht Frankfurt. This time however the Fraport Skyliners Juniors not only had Easterling under control limiting him to a hard to believe 6 points, but were fortunate to come out alive with a grind out 66-63 victory. After the game the usual soft voice of Easterling sounded more like that of an elderly gentleman as the Baltimore native seemed a bit broken and was trying to reflect on his return back to an old stomping ground. “Frankfurt really had me under control tonight. I give a lot of credit to them as they really knew how to come off the screen and roll and slow me down. I am now 1-2 in the Pro B in this gym. It is not as good as I would like, but I am just thankful to get that opportunity to play here again. Stats are fine and dandy, but I am just happy to be able to play and get a win here and there”, smiled ex Saarlouis guard Ricky Easterling.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were playing good basketball having won three of their last four games and were coming off a huge win against top team ScanPlus Baskets Elchlingen and continued their hot streak winning their fourth game in their last five games. Despite having everyone on board including four players that had played in the crushing 72-52 Champions League loss in Turkey 24 hours earlier, the club struggled to a grind out win, but everyone knows that in the game of basketball a win is a win no matter how they come. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors relied on routine and experience in crunch-time and grinded out the win. After the game, Mahir Agva was stretching and looking fresh that one would have never guessed he had just had a short 48 hour trip to Turkey and back, but his jovial expression on his face was one thing while his pooped body was letting him feel the after effects of the Champions League trip. “It wasn´t an easy game for me and the other guys that went to Turkey. We got back at 2.30 this afternoon and had an hour to get back down and then were on the court again. Our legs were heavy, but even if it was tough physically and mentally, we tried to blend it out. It was a real grind out win tonight. Both teams deserved to win. It wasn´t a nice game to watch and we were lucky to have won the game. Both teams didn´t shoot well, but these type of games happen. Key for the win was how we attacked the zone and how successful we were. We did a better job of one on one defense in the second half. Max Merz did a supper job on Ricky Easterling”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Mahir Agva. BG Karlsruhe played a hard fought game, but were missing that tad of luck in the crunch-time and were just overwhelmed by the non-stop weapons of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. “This was a real grind out game with both teams fighting extremely hard to win. Both teams want to get the best position for the playoffs so defense played a big role. Defense wins titles and that was what both teams were focused on. We didn´t communicate as well on defense and on offense when our plays weren´t working, we went too much into 1-1 play”, expressed Baltimore native Ricky Easterling.

BG Karlsruhe got off to a blazing start leading 6-2 as Easterling started off showing why he is so thankful to high school coach Kevin Peiser for helping him develop his deadly mid distance shot making an easy one, 2004 Euroleague winner with Maccabi Tel Aviv Anton Kazarnovski scored on a lay in and ex Dragons Rhondorf guard Aaron Schmitz snuck inside for a lay in. Frankfurt wasn´t connecting from outside, so they went inside to ex Tuebingen center Mahir Agva who scored on back to back buckets to tie the game at 6-6. BG Karlsruhe had found their groove on offense and continued to execute at a sound rate as they also like Frankfurt banged the ball inside to 205cm Kazarnovski who won the 2008 Regionalliga with FC Bayern Munich making two lay ins for the 10-8 advantage. Frankfurt then sped out on a brutal 9-0 run to take the 15-10 lead. They took advantage of BG Karlsruhe´s weakness of transition defense as Max Merz and Niklas Kiel scored on the break and Agva hit a floater and Alaska native Travis Thompson hit his first trey as he was fed a lightening pass from Isaac Bonga on the ball reversal. BG Karlsruhe was able to put a dent into the run as Georgia native Kenneth Fluellen dropped two treys. Frankfurt didn´t allow that flash of offense affect them as Agva closed out the first quarter with two buckets as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 21-16. “We had problems hitting our outside shots. Had we had more success with that then we would have led by 10 points. We had problems giving up easy baskets inside. We had problems on one on one defense”, stated Fraport Skyliners assistant coach Sebastian Gleim. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 41% from the field and 11% from outside while BG Karlsruhe was shooting 47% from the field and 29% from outside. Frankfurt had the 12-19 rebound edge and two turnovers while the opponent had five turnovers.

After both teams had found a healthy rhythm on offense in the first quarter and been able to score on a regular basis, the second quarter turned more into a defensive battle as scoring was more limited. BG Karlsruhe had the better start and like to begin in the first quarter had a 4-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 21-20 as ex Giessen 46er Anton Kavarnoski continued to wreck havoc inside as he connected on a hook shot and Berlin native Shawn Gulley who´s basketball inspiration is Dirk Nowitzki hit a beautiful fade away bank shot that couldn´t have been mastered any more beautifully than Kevin Mchale did back in the day. One thing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have thrown into the faces of their opponents all season long has been that whenever they get threatened, Frankfurt always seems to have the needed weapons and versatility in their rotation to keep their lead ahead as ex Ludwigsburg German Stefan Ilzhoefer nailed a trey upping their lead to 24-20. Then Tampa Native Jeremy Black made a free throw and Easterling was his lethal self making a fake inside then making a stutter step and turning around for the mid distance shot to cut the Frankfurt lead to 24-23. Then German Tim Oldenburg and German Marcel Davis traded buckets but Frankfurt still had their nose ahead 26-25. BG Karlsruhe continued to be aggressive on offense and got to the free throw line twice as Fluellen and Gulley nailed free throws to dead-lock the game at 28-28. Then came the best example why the Fraport Skyliners Juniors are so deep and talented and can throw anybody at you at anytime as little used German and NBBL standout Cosmo Gruehn scored inside after Agva found him back door and then connected on a trey sending his team into half-time with the 33-28 lead. “Frankfurt weren´t aggressive enough at both ends of the court and were too passive against their zone. It was refreshing to see Cosmo Gruehn come in at the end and give the team that energy with two baskets. He has been playing great the last week in the Oberliga and NBBL. He gave a big spark from the bench”, stressed Sebastian Gleim. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 37% from the field and 20% from the three point line while BG Karlsruhe was shooting 42% from the field and 18% from the three point line. BG Karlsruhe had the 20-17 rebound lead, but 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors made adjustments fixing their offense against the BG Karlsruhe zone and stepping up their defense on the 1-1 situations. 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel scored in bunches leading off the third quarter getting a pass from Agva and then hitting free throws as Frankfurt extended their lead to 37-28. Ex Lich forward Shawn Gulley kept BG Karlsruhe in the game with two lay ins, but the team couldn´t make any ground as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors now were executing at a better rate against the BG Karlsruhe zone as Ilzhoefer hit a jumper and runner for the 41-32 and seemed to be breaking away slowly. However BG Karlsruhe continued to chip away and fight and claw back going on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 41-37. Gulley continued to be a menace inside getting a lay up and free throws as his athleticism proved to be off the charts. After Thompson and Black traded baskets, Frankfurt closed out the third quarter with a forceful 5-0 run as a quiet Garai Zeeb drilled home a three pointer as if it was the easiest thing as his calmness from downtown was scary and Kiel hit free throws as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 48-39 after 30 minutes. “Our goal in the third quarter was to get the ball more into the high post and attack the zone better. We didn´t want to focus too much on outside shooting but just get the ball inside to Niklas Kiel”, stressed Mahir Agva, “Frankfurt were more aggressive against our zone. We switched up our defense going straight to man and doing some traps and it worked for a while”, stressed Ricky Easterling. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 35% from the field and 19% from the parking lot while BG Karlsruhe shot 39% from the field and 13% from the parking lot. Both teams had 29 rebounds, but BG Karlsruhe had coughed up the ball 17 times and Frankfurt only 11 times.

In the fourth quarter, BG Karlsruhe made a comeback and were able to bring it to the last play as they continued to fight and never give up, but the aggressive Frankfurt defense at the end was too much for BG Karlsruhe. BG Karlsruhe stopped the momentum of Frankfurt from the end of the third quarter and raced out on a harsh 7-0 run cutting the Frankfurt lead to 48-46. In the run, BG Karlsruhe played team basketball as three different players scored as Kazarnovski scored inside again, Easterling made his trademark mid distance shot and Davis nailed a three as the few BG Karlsruhe fans that had made the trip were going nuts. Frankfurt had lost their rhythm on offense while BG Karlsruhe was playing fine team basketball and sharing the basketball the way it should be. After a Thompson bucket, it was Kazarnovski that hit another running hook shot to cut the Frankfurt lead to 53-50. Frankfurt then broke out on a 4-0 run and seemed they might cruise to the victory extending their lead to 57-50 as Merz went coast to coast for the pretty lay in and Tim Oldenburg buried a 25 footer, but BG Karlsruhe never had their heads in the sand. They then grinded out a hard 9-1 run to regain the lead 59-58 as they battled and clawed themselves to the free throw line as Kazarnovski got their twice. However the big energizer in this faze was German/American Shawn Gulley who continues to play with a huge chip on his shoulder. After never finding a real home in Rostock and Lich, he has really come to life with BG Karlsruhe and Plays every game the way you should playing as if it was his last always sensing the need to prove himself over and over. He was huge in the latter half of the run getting a lay in, free throw and then producing the steal and coast to coast run and two handed throw down. “Gulley is a very good player. He is always the last to leave the gym. He always wants to get better and win. I am very proud of how he has played with us. He was instrumental in our come back at the end”, stressed Ricky Easterling. Thompson got Frankfurt the lead back with free throws and 60-59 lead, but Gulley tied the score at 60-60 with one free throw. Oldenburg then muscled home a tip in for the 62-60 Frankfurt advantage, but with 30 seconds to go Kazarnovski dropped a fierce three pointer showing nothing but net as BG Karlsruhe stole the lead back 63-62 with 18 seconds remaining. Thompson then supplied the heroics as he fooled everyone not executing on one of his typical three point bombs, but winning the game with a hard acrobatic penetration lay in in traffic that showed he was even more athletic than anyone had ever known. BG Karlsruhe had one last possession with 18 seconds to play, but threw the ball away. Nikals Kiel iced the win with free throws. “Thompson is more of a shooter, but finished nicely inside surprising everyone. He wanted to show responsibility and that is why we signed him. We defended well on the last play forcing the turnover”, stated Mahir Agva. “We gave up 14 offensive rebounds and had 20 turnovers. That was why we lost”, stressed BG Karlsruhe head coach Jibril Hodges. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 14 points. Niklas Kiel and Mahir Agva added 10 points apiece. BG Karlsruhe were led by Anton Kazarnovski with 17 points. Shawn Gulley added 16 points and Kenneth Fluellen had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 35% from the field and 16% from outside while BG Karlsruhe shot 43% from the field and 20% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound edge 37-36 and had 14 turnovers and BG Karlsruhe had 20 turnovers.

 

Patrick Richard(Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion)It’s Never Over And We Will Fight Until The End Against Ludwigsburg

Patrick Richard is a 27 year old 196cm swingman from Carencro, Louisania that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League). He played four years at  Mc Neese St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 32 games: 18.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 76.9%. In 2012-2013, he started his professional basketball career being drafted by the Iowa Energy (D-League) and played at Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL-East, starting five): 24 games: 18.5ppg, 6.4rpg, 2.1apg, 2FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 80.7%. In the 2013-2014 season he played in Holland for  Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie) playing 38 games: Score-4(15.3ppg), 4.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 78.9%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for the Mitteldeutscher BC Weissenfels (Germany-BBL) playing 32 games: 13.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 76.1%. Last season he played for Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 game averaging  9.6ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 79.3%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

 

 

 

Patrick thanks for talking to German Hoops.2017 is here and did you make any new years resolutions or are you the kind of guy that doesn´t waste his time?

I’m not one for New Years resolutions I just try to be the best player, husband, and father daily!

Your playing your first season for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League) and your first experience in international club play in the basketball Champions League. What kind of an experience has it been for you being able to play against the best as well as see Europe and it´s many fine countries?

 

This is my first year playing in Europe so it’s been a great experience! Playing against high level competition and being able to prove myself on this level can help me for the future!

 

 

 

Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League) advanced to the playoffs and are facing the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. They beat you badly in the first game at home 83-66. Do you feel the win for the guests had more to do with their strong scouting or how you presented itself as a team?

 

That loss was a very very tough one! They did a great job of making us pay for mistakes made on defense and we turned the ball over 20 times. Against them that hurts Big time

 

 

The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and John Patrick are known for their pressing defense something that you as a team could never get adjusted to.Was it possible to make better adjustments throughout the game? It seemed like Ludwigsburg were able to step up their defense even more in the second half?

 

 

I thought we could have done a few things differently. In the second game we can learn from mistakes in the first even though the loss was a big margin and now the pressure is on us even more

 

 

They hurt you with their shooters with Chad Toppert, but also the inside dup of Cooley and Thiemann also killed you with 27 points combined. How vital was their inside presence for them being able to get this seemingly easy win?

Toppert was actually the key. We know what he is good at and we still allowed him to hurt us with his strengths.

 

These 2 game playoff series has 80 minutes. You have to win in Ludwigsburg by 18 points which is no easy matter. Are the New England Patriots a good example for the team going in that nothing is lost yet and that it aint over until fat lady sings?

It’s never over and I and my team will fight until the end no doubt

 

 

It is obvious that Macabbi Rishon will need a total team effort to advance, but what will be key in advancing?

The key for us is taking it one possession at a time. Despite the deep hole we are in we have to just play each possession

 

 

 

How was it for you playing against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg a team you played against two seasons ago with MBC. What was your impression of this team. Was this team´s version better than what they had two years ago?

 

Playing against them was the same as before. Relentless pressure defense which is what they hang their hat on.

 

 

 

You faced against your friend Kelvin Martin. Do you expect there too be heightened trash talking as the next game draws nearer?

 

Me and Kelvin trash talk on a daily basis. It was great to go against him and see we both are playing at a high level in Europe

 

Your playing your first season with Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion (Israel-Winner League) and are near the top with many stats. The team has many talented players, but are you one of the main leaders?

I try to be a leader here vocally and by action. Always can be better and I tend to do so as the season progresses

 

 

 

How important has the arrival of Shawn Dawson been who came late due to playing with the New Orleans Pelicans in pre season? How valuable is his all around game and what do you appreciate most about his game?

 

In Israel Shawn is HUGE for us because of the Russian rule. With him healthy we are a deeper team in both competitions

 

 

 

You have played in three strong leagues BBL, France Pro A and Winner League in Israel. Is the BBL still a league that is stronger and has more skill level than what you have experienced this season and last?

The BBL to me was the deeper league. Each league has its positives and some negatives.

 

You have scored in double figures in the last 18 games in both the Winner League and Champions league. Is this the most consistent and successful basketball that you have played as a professional?

 

This season has been pretty good but I honestly want to WIN so getting wins is my goal!

 

 

You are known as a very good outside shooter and was at 40% the last two seasons in Germany and France, but currently your at 35%. How confident are you tat your shooting will continue to heighten as the second half of the season moves on?

 

I think my 3 point percentage will balance itself out by seasons end. I’ve had some pretty bad shooting games but I continue to work

 

 

You lost by 20 points to Hapoel Jersulaem and you had the opportunity to play against NBA legend Amare Stoudemire. Have you been professional too long and seen a lot to be in awe or was it just another game for you with a guy that once played in the NBA?

 

Honestly I’m not in awe of anyone I play against. I respect everyone. He was an amazing player in the NBA for years and still has game.

 

 

 

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

 

My Mount Rushmore would be (MJ, KOBE,MAGIC,KAREEM)

 

 

 

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

 

Lebron is not my favorite but he is the best right now. Best small forward ever in my eyes and top 10 all time

 

 

 

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

 

Kevin Garnett probably was 2nd or 3rd best PF. Behind Tim Duncan and I’m not sure another guy

Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?

 

That Klay Thompson performance had to be too 3 all time behind Wilt (100) and kobe (81)

 

 

One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?

 

.Westbrook I like him a lot. Averaging a triple double is no easy task. But James Harden MVP right now for me

 

 

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

 

Last movie I saw was trolls. (2 daughters will do that to you lol )

 

Thanks Pat for the chat.

Nick Minnerath (Avtodor Saratov) I Am Playing My Best Basketball At The Moment And Focus Is To Play Hard Every Game

Nick Minnerath is a 28 year old 207cm forward playing his fourth professional season and first with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB). He started his basketball career with Jackson CC (JUCO) in 2009 and then moved to Detroit Mercy( where he played from 2010-2013 playing a total of 71 games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 14.6ppg, 5.9rpg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 78.8%. He started his professional basketball career in 2013 with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro CAB (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing 15 games averaging 6.0ppg, 2.2rpg, 2FGP: 43.1%, 3FGP: 43.8%, FT: 81.3%, in Jan.’14 moved to STB Le Havre (France-ProA) playing 15 games averaging 11.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 41.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Cholet Basket (France-Pro A) playing 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.9%. Last season he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Canton Charge (D-League) playing 53 games averaging 18.4ppg, 6.9rpg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 89.3%. He currently is leading the VTB and Champions League in scoring and spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League playoff game against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg.

Nick thanks for talking to German Hoops Before we start talking basketball, as a fellow New Englander had you lost hope after the new England Patriots were down 28-3 at halftime?

I didn´t watch the Super Bowl because of the time difference, but I am a Pats fan. I obviously saw the highlights. That was a pretty good comeback.

Your playing for first season with Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB) and you won a tight 87-84 game against German team EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Was this one of those fourth quarters where you could say you were happy to have been able to pull out the win?

Yes we were happy to be able to have won that game. We didn´t play well in the second half and came out with the three point win.

A book could have been written about the fourth quarter as excitement and drama were given a new meaning with 8 lead changes. So much happened as Brenden Fraizer had 11 points, Nick Minnerath gave a lot of enery and the team just stuck together. What do you feel was key in crunch-time for being able to pull out the victory?

We were able to limit our turnovers at the end and didn´t give up offensive rebounds.

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The Fraport Skyliners Junior´s EasyCredit BBL Presence Overpower The ScanPlus Baskets 82-71

It  seems like it was almost yesterday where a young German talent by the name of Filmore Beck was practicing in the BCM gym which is the practice gym od EasyCredit BBL team Fraport Sklyiners and the game gym of pro B team Fraport Skyliners Juniors, but his short stay in Frankfurt was from 2009-2011 where he was seen as a huge talent, but after a satisfying first season where he averaged 13.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 76.9 in the Pro B, he was unable to develop further as an injury cost him the second half of his second season and the next season which quietly ended his career there. In the last five seasons, he has had a solid but quiet Pro B career having played in Hanau and in Langen, but for TV Langen was fired in the 2014-2015 season after only eight games after he served up a nasty sucker punch to Australian Paul Brotherson that gave him unending headaches and hospital bills for a while. However the German was able to resurrect his basketball career last season with the  ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (ProB) playing 23 games averaging 10.0ppg, 1.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 59.3%. This season he is holding his own in a team stocked with unending explosive offensive power and averaging 9,2ppg and serving as the ultimate role player. He came back to Frankfurt with gigantic ambition as last season, he lit up his ex team with 28 points, but walked off the court on the short end of a 91-80 loss. The German who can shoot out the lights on any night wanted revenge for the loss last season, but didn´t as he lost again 82-71 against his ex team despite scoring 13 points. After the loss, the German reflected on coming back and having to experience another loss. “It isn´t nice to come back here and lose again. I loved playing in Frankfurt the most. It gave me a lot of motivation to play against my old teammates Tim Oldenburg and Max Merz”, stressed ex TV Langen guard Filmore Beck. Oldenburg contemplated about  his ex teammate Flimore Beck and what he wished he had from him. “It is always nice playing against an old teammate. He is really the only good shooter on his team and when he gets hot, he can hit from all over the place. I wish that I had his shooting ability”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Tim Oldenburg. With EasyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners off, the Pro B team almost had their complete roster except for Isaac Bonga who was in New Orleans at the NBA Allstar weekend taking part at the  Basketball Without Boards Global Camp and after a tight battle in the first half, the Home team ran away with the win in the second half. “We gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half and only gave up three in the second half. It was a total team performance where everyone brought energy. Everyone plays for the team especially Travis Thompson which isn´t always typical for an American. On defense our game plan was to let them shoot and not let them get easy baskets inside and rebounds”, added Fraport Skyliners Junior Mahir Agva.

The ScanPlus Baskets came into the game overwhelmed by the deep Frankfurt roster with unending BBL license players and fell apart in the second half. “It was tough playing against this smart tough squad that had many BBL players we couldn´t scout. We had many ups and downs in the game and Frankfurt closed out the third quarter well which was the turning point of the game. They had the momentum and kept it up in the fourth quarter”, said St Louis, Missouri native Brandon Lockhart.

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Matt Vest (Uni Baskets Paderborn) My Defense Was A Big Reason Why I Got Opportunities To Play In Gotha And Paderborn

Matt Vest is a 24 year old 195cm guard from Kettering, Ohio playing his third professional season and second with the Uni Baskets Paderborn (Germany-ProA): Last season with the  Uni Baskets Paderborn (Germany-ProA), he played 22 games averaging 9.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 60.5%. As a rookie in 2014, he played with BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA): 38 games: 6.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 27.4%, FT: 67.6%. He played at Wright State from 2010-2014 playing a total of 114 NCAA games and as a senior played 29 games: 7.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 65.4%, 3PT: 43.1%, FT: 64.9%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 82-72 win against the Dresden Titans.

Matt tanks for talking to German Hoops. Time really flies, it has been more than two and a half years ago since I gave you a welcome to Germany interview when you signed with Gotha. Is playing basketball overseas and the lifestyle what you thought it would be when you came over in the summer of 2014?

Living and playing in Germany the last two and a half years has been an absolute blessing. I have met some life-long friends and mentors here, and it has become a second home for me. It has been all I could’ve imagined and more.

Congrats on the 82-72 win against the Dresden Titans. Did this game prove despite that team having only one win, that if you don´t play for 40 minutes that you can lose to any team?

There is never an easy win in this league, period. The balance and competitiveness in the Pro A is unlike any league I’ve seen.

Dresden played very well for 25 minutes, but then gave up a 14-3 run in the third quarter letting Paderborn back into the game which gave the momentum to you. What was key for making this turn around in the game which led you on to winning the game?

The key for us in the third quarter was all about the defensive end. We stepped up our activity level and were able to put Dresden in some uncomfortable situations. Our defense is always the key to our offense because when we get stops we are able to play at a higher pace.

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Kelvin Martin (MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg) No Cup Miracle Against Bamberg But We Just Need To Play Our Game And Trust Ourselves

Kelvin Martin is a 27 year old 195cm swing man from Adel, Georgia playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany and first with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). Last season he gained further experience with Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 37 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, Steals-1(2.2spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 61.7%. He played his first two professional seasons with  Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie) and two seasons ago played with the : MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-1(2.1spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.2%. He started his basketball career at  Charleston So. (NCAA) in 2008 and played 115 NCAA games over 4 seasons and as a senior played  31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.7apg, 2.1spg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 60.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about the EasyCredit BBL cup weekend in Berlin and his professional basketball career.

Kelvin thanks for talking to German Hoops.2017 has come and we are well into the new year. Did you set any new year´s resolutions or are you more the kind of guy that doesn´t bother with that?

Thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, I don’t really bother with that.

You have come a long way from playing first division in Holland, second and third divisions in Italy and Pro A in Germany and now you have reached the EasyCredit BBL. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?

Basketball is good for me. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in the position I am in now.

You were part of the slam dunk contest and now your at the easyCredit BBL top 4 weekend in Berlin. When you look back at your professional career are you surprised it took you 5 seasosn to get here?

I wouldn’t say surprised because when I became a professional I had to prove to teams I could play the 3/2. But after having back to back meniscus tear surgeries my first year professional I knew I was going to be held back. I’m sure if I didn’t have that surgery my career would of went different but everything happens for a reason. God has always had a plan.

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Daniel Mixich (BV Chemnitz) Is Working For That Once In A Lifetime Shot In The EasyCredit-BBL

In the Second German Bundesliga also known as the Pro A, there is an influx of American point guards controlling the starting job positions as rapidly as men do the remote control on Sundays during the fall between the time of 1.00-7.00pm when the NFL season is in full gear and the only thing getting a man away from the couch is that unwanted bathroom stop or the quick five second sprint to the refrigerator for the next cold beer. When checking all the teams in the league, you will find all kinds of American point guards from the ones that have battled in the EasyCredit BBL like Richard Williams of the RheinStars Cologne or guys like Diante Watkins that had to first prove himself in the Pro B before making the step up and now belongs to the top 5 guards in the league or a guy like Chris Alexander who seems to have lived in the Pro A his whole career, but the least can believe how a guy like him went from being the Pro A top scorer with Essen in 2015 to signing the next season with a Regionalliga team FC Schalke. All in all, fans can witness the American talent at the point guard position each weekend as the names go on and one with guys like basketball globetrotter Marcus Hatten or a Carrington Love of Kirchheim or a Chase Adams from Paderborn or a Devin Moore from Ehingen. It is important to mention though that the top point guard this season in the Pro A isn´t an American or German, but is a 21 year old Slovenian by the name of Aleksej Nikolic who is averaging 18,1ppg and 6,9apg who is only practicing his talent in the Pro A as he gets further groomed by Brose Bamberg with whom he has a double license. With so many top talented American point guards in the Pro A, isn´t there any room for home grown German talent? Statistics won´t lie as there are Germans around, but most likely filling a back up position or still developing and too young to be getting anything more than garbage time. However there are a few German starting point guards in the Pro A holding their own like 26 year old Anthony Canty of the Hamburg Towers who is considered the best German point guard in the league averaging 15,2ppg and 4,0apg, 25 year old Till Joscha Joenke of the Hebeisen White Wings who is averaging 10,6ppg, 4,7rpg and 4,6apg and 27 year old Simon Schmitz of the Romerstrom Gladiators Trier who is averaging 10,9ppg and 5,2apg. All three have played in the EasyCredit BBL, but never accounted too anything except a back up role. “Till is a good young German point guard that one can learn from. He has a good drive and is physically strong. Till has already breathed BBL air and I think he will go his way into the BBL”, warned Daniel Mixich. They definitely have the talent to be on a BBL roster, but the question is if they want to have that back up roles again? Where is the new generation of German point guards in the Pro A. They are around, but are as abundant as finding a priest convention in Las Vegas. One of the biggest German raw talents in the Pro A is Daniel Mixich who is only 19 years old and started his first pro A season with 17 years with BV Chemnitz where he is now playing his third full season. Mixich is a very interesting player who was a member of the German U-20 team in 2016 and has a bright future ahead of him, but has one obstacle in his drive to get to the top in that he first needs to earn that secure starting point guard job in the Pro A.

Basketball

Chemnitz: Basketball-Bundesliga ProA. BV Chemnitz 99 (Niners) vs. Baunach Young Pikes Daniel Mixich Foto: Peter Zschage

Mixich may be a 182 cm point guard and only 19, but has already experienced a lot of basketball at a young age and at times when seeing his name in the Pro A box scores the last years, one may have thought he would be in his early twenties to mid twenties, but he is in fact still a teenager that has a lot of basketball in front of him and like any other young German player wants to get to the top. A big advantage for him who is a player that plays beyond his age is that he was introduced to the men´s game when just about every other kid his age was playing Batman Arkham City or Portal 2 on Play Station or going to watch the big men play basketball in some huge 10,000 plus arena in Berlin or the small school gym´s where German Pro A, Pro B or Regionaliga games take place.

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