Spencer Butterfield(JSF Nanterre) As I Got Older My Competition Got Taller And I Didn’t So I Had To Learn How To Shoot If I Wanted To Continue My Career

Spencer Butterfield is a 24 year old 190cm guard from Loomis, California playing his third professional season and first with JSF Nanterre (France-ProA). Currently he is averaging 13,0ppg, 4,7rpg and 2,4apg in the France Pro A while shooting 41,7% from outside. In the FIBA Europe cup he is averaging 13,9ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,5apg while shooting a ridiculous 53,7% from the parking lot. He played at Utah St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 82.9%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with  Melilla Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 25 games averaging 10.0ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 87.9%. Last season he played with Juventus-LKSK Utenos (Lithuania-LKL): 40 games: Score-3(14.5ppg), 6.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 81.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 15.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Fiba Europe Cup game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.

 

 

 

 

Spencer thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your fourth in the France Pro A standings and sitting in the Fiba Europe Cup quarterfinals. How good is your professional basketball life at the moment?

 

I am pretty happy with it at the moment haha. Our team is in a great position and we have a lot of confidence moving forward.

Nanterre is having a great season in the France Pro A as well as in the Fiba Europe Cup. What has been the main reasons for the club being successful. The club kept only two players and the rest are new guys. How vital has it been having constructed the right team this season for the success?

I think we just have a great group of guys that really enjoys playing together and hanging out. It is very vital to construct a good team and this organization has done a great job of that.

Nanterre did win a few cups since their surprising league title in 2013. What prime example can you give that the expectations are super high to win?

 

I think everyone expects to win titles this year.

In the first 8 Fiba Europe the team was up and down with a record of 3-5, but in the last eight games are 8-0. How do you explain this huge turn around in the international competition?

I think we just finally figured out what we needed to do to win and everyone has accepted their roles and is happy with them. We all know what to expect out of each other and everyone is confident that they have something great to bring to the table and to the team.

Nanterre has one more hurdle before reaching the Fiba Europe Cup Final 4 as they have a date with the Telekom Baskets Bonn. You have the fourth best ranked offense playing against the second best defense of Bonn. What kind of series can we await and what will be key to getting by them?

 I think it will be a very intense series where you will see a lot of great basketball and two teams competing to get to the Finals.

Nanterre has many interesting players, but from a German stand point the most interesting is Heiko Schaffartzik who is a combo guard, but like you can shoot out the lights. How have you profited from his game and advice. Does he have any part in your immense success shooting this season especially in the Fiba Europe Cup?

Heiko is a great captain for our team and has great leadership skills. He is one that leads by example and so it easy to listen and respect what he says. I have a learned a lot from his approach to practices, games, and overall professionalism. He definitely helps take the pressure off me when he is on the floor because they can’t help off of him or else he will punish them.

Schaffartzik has hit from just about everywhere except from the moon, but what has been the most amazing shot you have seen him take in a game or practice where you thought, “hmmmm that´s pretty good”?

 It is hard to keep track of how many great shots Heiko has hit. It is almost not surprising anymore when he hits difficult shots anymore because it is so normal for him. He has hit a couple end of shot clock deep 3s that are like “wow only Heiko”

You are an exceptional shooter. What NBA shooters did you always look up too and to what NBA player would you compare your game too?

There are a lot of great shooters in the league right now but I am a huge fan of Klay Thompson and Curry. They shoot the ball with the same confidence no matter how many makes or misses they have before. Their shot looks the same if they missed their previous 10 3s or made their last 5. I would like to be compared to a Klay Thompson. Not the ball handler or fanciness of Steph Curry but can still get hot from 3. Plus I love how hard Klay plays at both ends of the floor and I would like to do the same.

You are currently on a massive hot shooting streak from outside as you have continued to shoot over 40% since your junior year at Utah State. Was shooting always in your blood, or did your sniper qualities develop over time with hard work ethic and proper shot selection?

My shooting ability has definitely been developed over time. When I was younger I was more of a driver and midrange jump shooter. But as I got older my competition got taller and I didn’t so I had to learn how to shoot if I wanted to continue my career. I put a lot of work into it and a lot of rebounding from my brother Taylor and working out with my good friends at Utah State.

Especially this season you are shooting an amazing 53% from the parking lot in the Fiba Europe Cup. It seems like everything has come together. Do you sense like you have a special self confidence when your shooting in this competition that you never had had before?

 I try to have the same confidence every time I step on the court. And I think this offense and my teammates have made me even more confident so I owe a lot of credit to them.

Recently you dropped 39 points on 11/13 shooting from outside against Usak which was the most points you have ever had since you started at Utah State. Did you know early on that you were going to have a great shooting day?

 I knew after my 4th three that I was feeling extra good but I was just trying to live in the moment so I wasn’t really paying attention to career highs or anything.

You are a guy that can fill up the stat sheet and one shouldn´t call you a one dimensional player. What do you feel is your second best quality as a player and what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?

 I love rebounding and take pride in that so I think that would be my hidden strength.

Last season you played NBA Summer League with the Utah Jazz putting up respectable numbers of 8,6ppg in 8 games. When you observed all the other talent there and see who made the NBA, how far is a player of your qualities really from the NBA?

I hope I am close but I still have a lot to prove.

You played together with German Tibor Pleiss and got to know him with the Utah Jazz last summer. He made the NBA, but his stay was short. What do you believe was missing in his game to stick in the NBA?

 I loved playing with Tibor and I think he is a great player. I am not really sure why he didn’t last longer but it is all about opportunity over there.

Last season you played for Juventus-LKSK Utenos (Lithuania-LKL): 40 games: Score-3(14.5ppg), 6.2rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 47.2%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 81.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 15.0ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 78.4%. After having a solid rookie season in Spain, do you feel like your second season was your break out season?

 

 Yes

Was your 34 point, 18 rebound game in the win against Siaulial your best game as a professional or did your 39 point game against Usak top that?

 

 Um I think USAK was more monumental because of shooting from 3. But for overall performance I think the 34 18 game was better because of the all around performance.

As a rookie you played for Melilla Baloncesto (Spain-LEB Gold, starting five): 25 games: 10.0ppg, 3.9rpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 87.9%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Spain where you knew that you were very far away from Loomis, California?

 

 I think I just learned that I needed to work harder in the offseason and come back more hungry.

You started your career at Yuba community college before going to Utah State. Were you always confident then that you had the game to play at the NCAA level.

Yes

You played two seasons at Utah State. How did head coach Stew Morrill groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 He was one of my favorite coaches. Taught me how to be coachable and not be so stubborn. He also taught me how to think more about the game rather than just playing super hard. I have a lot of respect for Stew Morril and the assistant Chris Jones.

You had many memorable games at Utah State, but how big was your 20 rebound game in the win against Texas State? Was that a top 5 college game for you?

 Yes that was a lot of fun.

What were your memories of forward Danny Berger? You played two seasons before he moved to BYU-Hawaii and finished strong there and has had a solid career in Germany.

Danny Berger is one of my best friends to this day. He will be a life long friend. We train a lot in the summers together. I went to a few of his preseason games in Germany this year. As well as Preston Medlin who also plays in Germany Pro A and Sean Harris who plays in Finland.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Preston Medlin. In an interview last year when asked about this, he was very neutral. “Well if you ever ask me who won more I am always going to say that I won no matter if it is true or not. I am sure Spencer will say the same thing so I don’t think we will ever be able to prove who one more”.

 

 HAHA Preston is a great player and friend. I am going to reiterate what he said.

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

 Top 3 because of his efficiency with and without the ball.

 

Thanks Spencer for the chat.

 

Chris Oliver (Kaohsiung Truth)God Is The Way And Reason I’m Able To Do Everything That I Do

Chris Oliver is a 31 year old 198cm forward  is playing his tenth professional season and first in Taiwan with the Kaohsiung Truth. He played at Radford from 2003-2007 and in his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 18.8ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.1apg, 1.9spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 48.7%, 3Pts: 25.8%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2007-2008 and played for the Kaiserslautern Braves of the PRO A and then reached the BBL playing two seasons with BG Goetingen winning the Eurochallenge title in 2010 and then played a season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He then gained further valuable basketball experience playing 4 seasons in France, briefly in Hungry and last season with  Niigata Albirex (Japan-BJ League, starting five): 14 games: 15.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.6apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 45.1%, 3FGP: 34.1%, FT: 77.3%, left during the season, in Mar.’16 moved to Jean D’Arc Vichy Clermont Metropole (France-ProB): 6 games: 9.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 72.7%. He spoke to German Hoops about his experiences in Taiwan

Chris thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your day been?

I’m currently at my teammates house for his daughters 1st birthday party. His wife made tacos for the team as well.

After eight professional years in Europe, you decided to make the long trek far east to Japan last season and this season to Taiwan and join the Kaohsiung Truth (Taiwan-ASEAN League). Did you feel like this was the right time in your career or could you have thought playing in the far east 5 years ago?

It was a very good opportunity for me coming here to Taiwan and an amazing opportunity to see a lot of Asia that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have experienced. If I knew back then what I know now I think I would have come to Asia many years ago lol.

Taiwan has the SBL league and the new league ASEAN where you are playing in. It has 6 teams and are from 6 south east Asian countries (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam). In a way it reminds me of the VTB league as there you also play in many different countries. You have been playing in this league now three months. It´s a new league, but skill wise how would you compare it to the leagues in Germany and France where you have played?

I would agree with you it’s similar to VTB or Adriatic league or European competition with the travel but the competition level isn’t as high as Europe. It’s a totally different game here. There are only 2 world imports allowed per team so we all play 36+ mins. The Asian players are talented but mainly shooters but they can SHOOT and run 100 mph lol. Compared to Germany and France this league isn’t near as athletic or fast or physical.

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Terence Billups (Uni-Riesen Leipzig) Less Minutes Keeps Me More Humbled And Motivated

Terence Billups is a 198cm forward from Jeffersonville, Indiana that is playing his fourth professional season and third in Germany. After tearing up the Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg, and now is playing a level up in the Pro B with the UNI-Riesen Leipzig. He started his basketball career with Western Dakota Tech (JUCO) and then moved to Indiana SE (NAIA) in 2012 playing 20 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 85.7%. In 2013 he started his professional basketball career with West Michigan Lake Hawks (ABA). In the 2014-2015 season he came to Germany to BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games Score-3(24.8ppg), 8.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-2(2.0bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 76.3%.In the 2015-2016 season he played for Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 18.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 67.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about the playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig season.

Terence thanks for talking to German Hoops. 2017 has come and we are already into March. Did you set any new years resolutions and if you did have to stayed faithful to them in the first two months?

It’s always a pleasure! I didn’t set any new years resolution. I always want to continuously better myself and I don’t think I need a new years resolution to do this. However, I normally stay faithful to the plans I set for myself throughout the year.

You lost the last regular season game against the Licher Basket Baeren in a wild game that went back and forth. You were down by 9 in the fourth and took it into OT with a Cardell McFarland three pointer. Their Germans Kraushaar and Horstmann got the best of you scoring the last 6 points. Is the revenge factor going to be extra big against them in the playdowns?

I wouldn’t say its revenge. They didn’t give up as a team shouldn’t do. We allowed them nearly 100pts going into overtime. We just need to do better like I know we can. Now we are fighting to stay in the league and I think that when we play Licher, we need to be consistent in our game plan and execute on both ends of the floor. If we do this like I’ve seen us in the past, then we will come on top every time.

In the Pro B it´s either playoffs or playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig was close at making the playoffs, but lost their last two games not to get there. How disappointing were getting these last two loses after beating the two best teams PS Karlsruhe and Weissenhorn before that?

You would think that we would have gained a lot of confidence after beating the top two teams back to back. But in order to keep the win streak going, you have to be consistent play by play on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes. It was disappointing to see my team mess up on assignments throughout the game in which resulted in the loses in the last two games.

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KK Simmons (Licher Basket Baeren) I’m Extremely Confident That I Can Help Lich Stay In The League

K.K Simmons is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48% from outside in his junior season at Pikeville, but can also mix it up getting to the hole. In his first season with Pikeville, he played 25 games averaging 20.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 48.9%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to German Hoops during the 2017 playdowns and before the game against the Giants Nordlingen.

K.K thanks for talking to German Hoops. It´s playdown time again, a time that your teammate Lamar Mallory is used to. Last season he was a major force and reason why Lich stayed in the league. Do you sense as if the club will experience a special revved up Lamar Mallory in the rest of the games?

Lamar is the heart and soul of this team. His experience from being in the same situation last season is very beneficial to us as a team. He will continue to lead us in the right direction.

With what type of expectations are you going into the playdowns? Do you feel like this is a time that you will have to step up in an extra special way?

My expectations are to win as many games as we can in order to stay in the league. As a team, it’s time for all of us to step up and get the job done. If we play basketball the way we know we can and should, then everything will work out for the best.

How vital was it for the Licher Basket Baeren to close out the season with a two game winning streak? Is the self confidence with the team at an all-time high?

Us winning the last two games of the regular season was very important for us going into the Play-Downs. They were very big momentum boosters and helped us gain more confidence going into these couple of games.

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Jordan Burris (BBC Coburg) Has The Game And Kobe Ammunition To Fill A Gym

The life of a professional basketball player in Europe obviously is worlds apart from the glitz and glamour of the NBA, but it´s still an occupation and a meal ticket for so many Americans living their basketball dream. A professional basketball player in Europe has so much free time on his hands during the day something any normal Joe Shmoe that is working a 9-5 job would dream of having at least once a week, but professional basketball players have it almost every day and sometimes worry too much about what and what not to do. Usually a club will have a weight room workout and light shooting somewhere in the vicinity of 10-1 and then a hard practice at night for 1-2 hours and in between and after a player has many options to fill their time. Back in the 80´s and 90´s a player had to be very imaginative about their free time as their was no social media, state of the art cell phones or Skype. Back then a player actually went into book stores to fill up on reading material and had possibly more interesting encounters of how to pick up women simply because then it was a work of art whereas now you can find a new one every night in the internet. However an interesting thing that clubs have done over the years is send players to schools to talk about their experiences with basketball and life or to help aspiring young kids how to play basketball. Usually it seems the taller and more gregarious a player is, the more interest a player will get simply because you don’t see many 208cm men walking around in Europe. Fraport Skyliner Mike Morrison can fill the Fraport arena alone with his crushing dunks as it is always a highlight to see him running the floor and getting served up an alley-op hard throw down from a AJ English, Kwame Vaughn or Quantez Robertson as his 8 dunks recently against Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka seemed like an eternity for the Champions League team on that night. Of course, Morrison could also tell great tales about his experiences in Finland and Cyprus or school days at George Mason as well as other players recalling their great moments, but it´s not every day that a player can rock the court with his play and also fill a classroom with his Kobe Ammunition. One of these guys is Jordan Burris who currently is living his basketball dream in the German 4th league with up and coming team Coburg. He is having a great third professional season which in a way is his rookie season after his first two professional seasons didn´t really pan out the way he wanted to. He is filling the gym in Coburg with his game as he is averaging 20,8ppg, 9,1rpg, 2,6rpg and 2,4spg and if he had to would be able to fill any other room with his Kobe Bryant story. Burris had the opportunity to film a commercial with NBA legend Kobe Bryant that would fill any room to capacity, but then again if Mike Morrison would film an interview with his son Mike junior, it would surely get the thumbs up in Frankfurt and fill any room as anything they would do could only be entertaining as this father and son duo had the perfect wedding proposal plan and party time plan when mommy left for a trip to the States recently. If Burris really wanted to and needed extra cash, he could surely come up with a way to spice up the Kobe Bryant experience and just tour the country. He will forever cherish his time with the LA Laker legend. “ He’s been my favorite player since I can remember. So to meet him and be able to pick his brain was the experience of a lifetime. At one point he stopped the production of the commercial and gave me a personal lesson on his fade away. That’s a memory I will cherish forever. He’s also a big trash talker man. But I guess in 20 years of NBA basketball he’s heard it all”, stated Jordan Burris.

Burris also had the audacity to talk trash with Kobe and warned him about blocking his shot, but instead saw the master drop 10/10 on him. “I told him I’m Jordan I’m the guy that’s going to lock you down. To that he said that’s not what my 30,000+ points say. After that I had nothing to say. But just being a huge fan of his, I admire his work ethic and tried to incorporate that into my game. Be the first one in and last one out as much as possible. A line that sticks with me from Kobe is rest in the end; not in the middle”, stated Jordan Burris.

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Rilwan Bakare (Fraport Skyliners Juniors) I Will Never Forget Practicing With The BBL Team and being treated like Family

Rilwan Bakare is a 26 year 201cm forward from Chicago,Illinois playing his third professional season and first with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors after starting the season with Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) and then moving to Union de Santa Fe (Argentina-TNA). Last season he played for BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 18 games averaging 11.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 57.8%, FT: 58.5%. As a rookie he played for TuS Breckerfeld (Germany-2.Regionalliga) playing 18 games averaging 19.9ppg, 10.5rpg. He played his college ball at four schools including Columbus State Community College (NJCAA), Danville Area Community College (NJCAA), Campbellsville (NAIA) and Texas Wesleyan (NAIA): He spoke to German Hoops after the game 3 loss to Lok Bernau ending his third professional season.

A tough loss to Lok Bernau ending the season. How much of a basketball culture shock was it coming from the big beautiful Mercedes arena to the tiny Bernau gym for game 3?

 It was a difference I just had to adjust very quick.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors took only 8 players. Did this already put some pressure on the players knowing that total aggressive defense could have put guys in early foul trouble?

 Just felt a little pressure but we had to just work harder and play as a team.

How key was the quick 9-0 Lok Bernau start for the rest of the game? They jumped on the Fraport Skyliners Juniors right off the bat. Did this fast start already have an effect on the team mentally for the rest of the game?

 I will say yes or no we knew they were going come out strong we just didn’t adjust fast enough to stop the run.

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Dallas Anglin (Hannover Korbjäger) I’m A Student Of The Game And I Take Bits And Pieces Of Guys Games

Dallas Anglin is a 23 year old 185cm guard from Mountclair, New Jersey that played his rookie season as a professional in Germany for the  Hannover Korbjaeger (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career at  Hofstra (NCAA) in 2012 playing 6 games averaging 3.2ppg, 1.2apg. In the next three years he would play at three schools starting with S.Idaho JC (JUCO) playing 32 games averaging 13.4ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 77.8%, S.Mississippi (NCAA) playing  6 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 93.3%, and N.Colorado (NCAA) playing 20 games averaging  13.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 79.6%. He spoke to German Hoops recently before the club announced it had to withdraw from the Regionaliga before the end of the season.

Dallas welcome to Germany. Your last college game is almost a year old as you strapped on your N Colorado(NCAA) shirt against Portland State. Did you ever lose doubt that you might not sign your first professional contract?

A little, as time went by I was preparing for the worst and hoping for the best and then New Years Eve came and before I went to celebrate my agent called me and said I had an offer out in Germany.

Talk a little about the last 10-11 months. How did you experience your first time in the shark infested waters world of having to try to find that first professional team. How rough was it and how did you stay positive?

 It wasn’t as rough as people would think, during that time I was home in New Jersey around family and loved ones that kind of took my mind away from the negatives, believe me I had my days though. I stayed positive by having positive people around me.

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