Jordan Theodore is a 26 year old 182cm point guard from Englewood, New Jersey that is playing his fifth professional season and first with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-BSL). Last season he had his most successful season as a professional winning the FIBA Europe Cup with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 37 games: 14.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.7apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.1%; FIBA Europe Cup: 18 games: 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.6apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 90.2%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Seton Hall (NCAA) where he played until 2012 127 NCAA games and as a playing a total of senior played 32 games averaging 16.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 6.6apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 82.7%. In 2012, he started his professional career with Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 29 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-for Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-TBL) playing 27 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 73.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for JL Bourg Basket (France-ProA, starting five): 17 games: 12.7ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-2(6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 21.6%, FT: 87.2%. He spoke to German Hoops before his comeback back to Frankfurt in Champions League action.
Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your 3-0 with Banvit in the Turkish BSL league and 1-0 in the Champions League. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?
My basketball life at the moment is very good. We had a very long pre-season with coach working us very hard. Everyone is buying into his system and we are all getting along. Basketball is very fun at the moment.
This is your third season in the Turkish league and currently after two games in the Turkish league are averaging 23,5ppg and 9,0apg. These are your best stats ever. Did you even get better over the summer? What was your secret to last summer´s training regimen?
As a player you always try to build off the last season. It all has to do with understanding the game, getting stronger and continuing to work on your weaknesses. Last summer I played no tournaments, but just stayed in the gym and worked on my body and jump shot.
With your great stats and stellar play at the moment could one say that the Turkish league is appealing to your style of game?
I feel that I could play well in any league. This season I have to give a lot of credit to the system of Banvit. It is perfect for my game with the pick and roll, getting out on transition and I am surrounded with good shooters. Finding my teammates and creating is my game. Though the Turkish league is tough. Understanding the game has helped me here and with having good teammates has just made everything easy so far letting me pick my spots with first finding my teammates and then scoring.
Do you feel like that this season you could end with your best scoring and assist season ever?
I feel I could. I have to give my teammates a lot of credit. No one is easy to guard. They have a lot of confidence in me and I in them to find each other.
Do you feel like this season your job as point guard is more of a challenge than last season simply because with six new imports in, you don´t have that solid team chemistry that the Fraport Skyliners had.
This season is more of a challenge. Not only with the chemistry, but I wanted to come back this season consistent and come back better. In Frankfurt we had great coaches in Gordie Herbert and Klaus Perwass and they had established a good chemistry that all I had to last season was come in and just bring my game to the table since the team already was playing together. This season it hasn´t been easy learning to find my spots, but my teammates have a lot of confidence in me so that like in Frankfurt I am allowed to play my game here as well getting guys involved and taking over when needed.
What really is amazing is how you are winning as a team with only two Americans and a nine man rotation. What is the secret to the success of the team?
Our secret this season has been that every player has bought into what coach wants us to do on the court. We all work together and it´s all team. No one is upset when one guy is getting more minutes or more shots. We all want to win. Many said before the season that Banvit have no big name players and not many were expecting much from us. But we have players that have played at a high level and a coach who also has coached at the highest level. Our team is perfect and we all compliment each other well.
It seems like the success wouldn´t be there without the help of imports Edo Muric, Damian Kulig, Gaspar Vidmar and Gediminas Orelik. These guys aren’t household names, but getting the job done big time. Is Banvit a team this season that is all about team and less about self?
Yes it´s all about team with us. The club did a great job this off season putting together guys with high characters that don´t care about individual stats. Everyone wants to win first before caring about individual stats.
How strange is it having only one other American on the squad with Jeremy Chappell? Do you feel like when there is only one American that you have a more intense relationship on and off the court than if you had 4-5 Americans?
For me it isn´t strange really. We had many more Americans last season with Frankfurt, but there I hung out with everyone as I do this season as well. Jeremy is a married man that has two little boys and a new born baby girl. We do spend time together, but many of my teammates have families. When we are in the gym it´s all about business, but off the court we have good team bonding and go to dinner together. It was the same with the Fraport Skyliners. Team bonding and having team chemistry helps you win.
Within 48 hours, you beat top Turkish teams Darussafaka with BBL MVP Brad Wanamaker and then potent Israeli team Ironi Nahariya with ex NBA player Marquis Teague. Do these kind of wins and battling these top point guards and winning the head to head play give your self-confidence another boost up or or you at a stage now where your game is strengthed further in other ways?
I always get a kick out of playing against the elite point guards. To be honest I always feel like I am the best and I go into every game giving my best. My opponents better bring their best each game, because that is what I will be doing. I am here to stay and play. You better bring your game, because I will bring my game.
I honestly believe one of the main reasons of your success in the last year is your continued approach to each game in that you go into it having the need to prove something. It seems like you are never satisfied with your game and keep working hard and go into every game needing to prove something. Is this an approach that you will always be able to hold?
Yes I think so. Every practice is a reward for me. I also approach each practice like this. I always work hard in practice. If I don´t take a sub in practice, I won´t need one in a game, because I am not tired. I give my all each game and yes I do have a chip on my shoulder. I know that I have been overlooked a lot, but I understand that this now is my opportunity and I want to make the most of it. This approach helps me and my team most.
Banvit is a very unselfish club that stresses team before anything else, but despite these circumstances, you are the playmaker that loves to score, but also loves to find his teammates. Despite having some big scoring games, could you imagine averaging 6-8 assists a game?
Yes I think I could and that is my goal. I always want to average double double stats. Some nights won´t go your way, but I am always confident in myself. As long as I give my all and am in attack mode my stats will come. But I don’t think about stats, but want to win the most. I do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Every player wants to win titles, but has your hunger for winning the next one grown to ridiculous proportions after tasting victory with the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup chip?
Yes It is, but last season I also tasted defeat in the way we went out of the playoffs. That wasn´t an easy pill for me to swallow. I know I did some things wrong in the Ulm series and it has made me hungrier to win more titles. I want to win all titles possible. But I know that I have to take the season one day at a time. Take each practice as if it was my last. The hunger is there and I need to put in the work now and see the results later.
You are returning back to Frankfurt for the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners. With what kind of feelings are you returning to the place where you helped win their third club title?
I am extremely excited, overwhelmed and happy to be returning back to Frankfurt. The Fraport Skyliners helped me get to where I am today. Coming back to Frankfurt will be very emotional for me. I will be very happy to see my former coaches, teammates and fans. It will be an unbelievable feeling coming back, but I am coming to win. It will be tough to suit up in the visiting dressing room, but I know I will have a job to do. I will have to stay professional. I have really missed the Skyliner fans. We had many great moments last season.
Will it personally feel very strange for you dressing up in different colors and going onto the court and battling against Quantez Robertson and Max Merz for loose balls?
It will be strange, but a lot of fun. I still talk to Tez today and they are like my brothers, family for life. We accomplished a lot together and things that many haven´t been able to do.
Do you already have any idea what color shoes you will wear or is that a spur of the moment decision that you will make on game day?
I have some ideas, but I have made up my mind yet. Last season I wore many different styles and we will see what I chose.
The Fraport Skyliners have changed from last season, but there are still some familiar faces around with Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and the German kids with Max Merz, Stefab Ilzhoefer, Niklas Kiel and Garai Zeeb. They got some good pieces with Antonio Graves, Kwame Vaughn and Shavon Shields. What is your impression of the team?
It is still early in the season. They added many new pieces. The team is still getting to know each other and how to play together. Coach Perwas is a great coach and we all know that Frankfurt play great defense. Frankfurt always play hard and with a lot of intensity no matter what even if the offense isn´t working. Their chemistry isn´t there yet, but their defensive intensity is. This will be a very fun game. Frankfurt will be hyped.
Your one of those guys that has the rare ability of just knowing every American that is playing ball overseas. When Antonio Graves was asked if he knew the new guy Kwame Vaughn, he said no. Do you know seasoned veteran Antonio Graves or Kwame Vaughn?
Hahaha that is true, but believe it or not I don´t know Graves and Vaughn. At least I don´t believe that I have met them.
It hasn´t been easy this season for head coach Klaus Perwas who had to take over for Gordon Herbert who has a sick leave. Perwas is known for being a great individual trainer. How did he help you best last season?
Klaus and I had a lot of talks last season and video sessions. He got on me a lot, but it did me good. He helped me work on my jump shot and helped to develop it further. He is underrated because he wasn´t the head coach last season. He is an unbelievable scouter and incredible film guy really knowing how to break down games. Klaus didn´t talk much, but when he did talk, his words were felt. Klaus always got his point across and made sure we understood exactly what he was saying.
When you see Quantez Robertson for the first time again on the court, what will be the first thing you will ask him after the usual hello´s and what do you believe he will ask you?
That is a tricky question. Tez and I talk all the time. Tez is family. I actually spoke to him three hours ago after their loss in Wurzburg. I still talk to Konstantin Klein, Philipp Scrubb, Mike Morrison and Aaron Doornekamp. I think that when I see Tez for the first time on the court we will all be smiles. Tez and I hung out a lot last season and played a lot of UNO and Tez liked to cheat. He liked being the old head at Uno. Tez made his own rules at Uno. If you don´t believe me ask Mike Mo and Aaron.
You told me recently that Banvit will sparkle on the defensive end this season. The Fraport Skyliners are also a very defensive minded team as always. Can we await more of a defensive affair?
Yes I could see the game being a very defensive game with a lot of intensity. We play defensive, but have a fun offensive style. You will see a lot of both. We have a tough minded defense and a fun minded offense
Your ex teammates the German twin towers Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann have started off very well with their respective teams of FC Bayern Munich and Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (Spain-Liga Endesa). These two guys always seemed so reserved any place I saw them. What are your two fondest memories with them off the court?
I have a fun memory of big Joe from last season when we were in London at the Tony Robbins convention. Joe was the hit with his Dab dancing. I call it Joe dabbing in London. I had so many great memories with Nilo. He is a great character and just very funny. He is a jokester and just a great guy to be around.
Kevin Garnet has retired. Where do you see his legacy as belonging to the best power forwards of all-time?
I didn´t really have the chance to see Kevin Mchale play live, but I saw him on video. Garnett the big ticket was like a point guard in a four man body. It was amazing to see how he could push the break and dribble as a seven footer. I think he was the first seven footer that could guard a guard. He will go down as a top 2-3 best power forward of all-time. He didn´t have the range of a Tim Duncan, but th effect that he had on people especially from urban areas was big. His work ethic was great and he didn´t even have to talk as just watching him was enough.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jordan for the chat.
Darryl Watkins(ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket) I Appreciated The Opportunity in The NBA And Proved I Could Do Some Things At That Level
Darryl Watkins is a 31 year old 211cm center from Patterson, New Jersey that is playing his 10th professional season and second with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He started his basketball career with Syracuse (NCAA) in 2003 playing a total of 106NCAA games and as a senior in 2007 played 33 games averaging 8.1ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.2spg, 3.4bpg, FGP: 54.4%, FT: 61.2%. As a rookie in 2007 he played 9 NBA games for the Sacramento Kings and also spent time in the D-league with Los Angeles and Iowa. In the 2008-2009 season he played for TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) playing 43 games averaging 20.7ppg, 14.0rpg, 3.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 67.2%. In the 2009-2010 season he spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA). In the 2010-2011 he played with Sagesse – Al Hekmeh Beirut (Lebanon-Div.A) playing 27 games: 15.5ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.9spg, Blocks-5(1.4bpg), FGP: 57.8%, FT: 61.7%. Ion the 2011-2012 season he played with InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A) playing Cyprus League: 14 games: 12.9ppg; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 11.8ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 40.3%, FT: 70.8%, in Apr.’12 signed a 10-day contract with New Orleans Hornets (NBA) playing 5 games: 4.6ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.2spg. In the 2012-2013 season he played with Lukoil Academik (Bulgaria-NBL): 37 games: 13.2ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-2(1.3bpg), FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 68.0%; EuroCup: 6 games: 12.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.5%, FT: 50.0%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 18pts, 15reb, 2blk, 1stl. In the 2013-2014 season he played with Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League): Eurocup: 10 games: 11.2ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, 1.4spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 51.2%, FT: 66.7%; Ethias League: 39 games: 10.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 53.4%, FT: 64.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProA) playing 34 games: 11.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, Blocks-4(1.2bpg), FGP: 54.5%, FT: 70.6%. Last season he played with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA): 45 games: 8.4ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 72.6%; FIBA Europe Cup: 14 games: 6.5ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.5%, FT: 71.1%. He spoke to German Hoops after the exciting 81-79 win against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Champions league play.
Thanks Darryl for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on a wild 81-79 win in Oldenburg. How motivated was the team not to lose again by a slim margin like last week against Varese?
Yes we came out very focused in Oldenburg, because we didn´t want to lose at the end again the way we did in Italy. We ended up getting a big win.
Did Asvel just want it more at the end showcasing effort and securing the Dragovic rebound and making the put back?
The loss last week in Italy was devastating so we tried to do anything possible to come out with a win against Oldenburg. I was very proud of our win in Oldenburg.
You are playing your second season with Asvel. Do you feel a lot of pressure having to defend your title from last season?
Anytime a team wins a title, they always have a harder time following it up the next season. We have a new team this season, but talented new players. We have to start to find a rhythm in the French Pro A and start winning more.
What made last season´s team so special? It seemed like the club had a lot of special players that filled their role correctly from the bench?
I think that last season´s team messed together well. We also liked to play together.
What an exciting 5 game series final against Strassburg. Strassburg was up 2-0, but Asvel came back and won the next three games. Was this the most exciting week that you ever had in your professional career?
Yes it was for me. It was my second season in France and to win the title was amazing. I also made the allstar team. We plan to repeat this season.
You won titles in Cyprus and Bulgaria as well, but did the France pro A title top all the others?
The title in France topped those simply because the France Pro A gets more recognition. People respect the France Pro A and it´s players more.
This season you are playing more minutes than last season. How is your role different this season from last season?
I have more of a focal point this season. I will try to fill my role as best as possible again.
You are known as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, but what do you feel has been something in your career that has not always been noticed much on the court?
I think my ability to come into a game and bring energy and to be able to change the momentum of the game gets overlooked.
Three seasons ago you played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League) with American Demond Mallet who finally retired at almost 40 years of age. Was he one of the biggest energy sparks that you ever played with?
Demond was a great guy and had great knowledge of the game which he helped me with. He also was able to let me comprehend what was expected me on the court at all times.
Were you and American Theron Smith the most dominant 4-5 duo during the season at TianJin Rongcheng (China-CBA) that you were ever involved with?
Yes he was. That was my first time overseas and I was still feeling my way around in a new environment. I came from being a big man on campus at Syracuse and now had a smaller role. Theorn motivated me to play and just to play what felt natural.
You had your time in the NBA with stints with the Kings and Hornets. What did you appreciate most about your short time in the NBA?
Just having the opportunity to be in the NBA and learn from the head coaches and assistants. They helped me develop my game to another level.
In your last game with the Hornets you scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds in 42 minutes in a loss to the Houston Rockets. Was this the proof in your own mind that you had what it took to be an NBA player?
I still think about this game. This game proved that I could do some things at the NBA level.
As a rookie you was with the Sacramento Kings. What was your wake up call to being in the NBA?
It was tough coming into a situation where I didn´t know how to fit into the system and to a team that was trying to get wins. They are still in this type of state today.
Did you have to do any jobs or deeds for the players as a rookie?
I had to bring donuts or fruit for guys like Mike Bibby and Ron Artest.
What kind of character was Ron Artest?
He was a totally different dude off the court, but on the court he just played. The way he played back in 2008 shows that he still has it today as he got a roster spot with the Lakers.
You played two seasons at Syracuse with sniper Andy Rautins. What was the most amazing thing you remember him doing in a game or practice concerning his shot?
Rautins made many ridiculous shots in my time there. I can´t really pinpoint one, because there were so many. When we needed a sniper, he came through for us.
How did head coach Jim Boeheim prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
He was successful teaching me how to play in a zone system. He was a big reason why I got a shot in the NBA.
What was your most memorable block in college that you can recollect?
I remember in my freshman year blocking a few guys from Pittsburgh who tried to dunk on me. I didn´t play much that game, but I came in toward the end of the game and played well.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that made it to the NBA?
The toughest guy I battled was Emeka Okafor of UCONN. He was a beast and won an NCAA title.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Magic, Shaq, Duncan.
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the all-time best debate against Michael Jordan?
Lebron is incomparable to Jordan. Jordan did so much. He won titles then walked away and came back and still won titles and dominated. That is hard to duplicate or go above and beyond.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game?
Garnett will go down as one of the greatest. He is a future hall of famer.
Many players comment that Tim Duncan was better.
It really depends what type of game you like. Garnett was all about energy and heart. Duncan didn´t show any emotion.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Now you see me 2.
Thanks Darryl for the chat.
Walter Hodge is a 30 year old 183cm point guard from the US Virgin Islands playing his seventh professional season and first season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). He is one of those rare players that won two NCAA titles with Florida in 2006 and 2007. He started his professional career in 2010 with Zastal Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) where he played three seasons winning the league title in 2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) playing Euroleague: 15 games: 7.8ppg, 1.3rpg, 3.1apg, 2FGP: 50.0%, 3FGP: 30.0%, FT: 91.3%; Liga Endesa: 15 games: 6.5ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 44.9%, 3FGP: 21.4%, FT: 85.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia-VTB) playing 33 games: Score-4(16.4ppg), 2.3rpg, Assists-5(6.3apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 84.9%; Eurocup: 18 games: 14.8ppg, 1.8rpg, Assists-4(6.3apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 92.9%. Last season he played for Acqua Vitasnella Cantu (Italy-Serie A): 23 games: 11.9ppg, 3.2rpg, Assists-3(5.5apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 84.5%; FIBA Europe Cup: 8 games: 12.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 8.3apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 47.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 84.0%; Italian Serie A: 22 games: 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.5apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 53.1%, 3FGP: 29.7%, FT: 83.6%. He also stayed active during the summer playing five times in his home country league. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League clash against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg.
Walter thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. You have played in various international competitions in the last years, but never played against a German team. How excited are you to be in a new country playing the game that you love?
It is very exciting for me to be in Germany playing against Oldenburg. They are a very good team. I really like Germany and am enjoying my time as best as I can here.
Your playing your seventh professional season and have played in 8 countries. You have had the tendency to switch teams every season. Do you at times feel like a basketball globetrotter?
Well I played in Poland my first three years and then I played in Spain, Russia and Italy. Now I am in France. It is nice to travel a bit as a professional. Learn a new language and just enjoy your time there as best as possible.
Your playing your first season in France for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). Your playing for the team of NBA superstar Tony Parker. How much dealings did you actually have with him during the contract negotiations?
Tony Parker was a big reason why I came to Asvel. He called me last summer and told me his plans for the team and me for the future. I liked what he said and decided that this was a great opportunity. He is a very serious guy and a great human being. I have a lot of respect for him.
Recently the Fraport Skyliners got your ex teammate Kwame Vaughn. What do you feel is his best asset on the court?
Kwame is a very crafty guy, can score and is very good at changing speeds. He also is a very good defender. I think that overall he is a very good player.
Despite the team having much experience, do you still feel like one of the main leaders on the team? It seems like your play is guiding the team at the moment?
One of the main reasons why Asvel wanted me was for my leadership skills. They also need me to be able to create for others. We continue to get better as a team as we have added Demarcus Nelson.
You have played so many games in your career, but when you come to a new team and meet a guy like Darryl Watkins, can you remember playing him at Florida and beating him and Syracuse 75-70 or is remembering so many guys over time difficult?
I remembered Darryl from that game. The first time we met this season, I reminded him that we had beat him. I told him first that it was by 20, but then I remembered that Syracuse made a push at the end to come back. The game was my freshman year. We talk about that game every so often.
You just turned 30 and are having a very strong statistical season. Do you feel like that now you are in your prime and this could be one of your best seasons ever?
I try to be my best every season. My main focus is too always keep working, stay healthy and not get hurt. I feel that we can have a huge season and win it all.
Last season you played in Italy with Cantu. Was the 4-5 combo of ex NBA players Jajuan Johnson and Kyrylo Fesenko the best front man that you have played with in your career?
Jajohn Johnson is one hell of a player and so athletic and Kyrylo Fesenko surely also one of the best that I ever played with, but I also played with two great players at Laboral with Tibor Pleiss and Andreas Nocioni.
After three strong seasons in Poland you made the jump in 2013 to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa). What was your most fondest Euroleague memory?
My sweetest Euroleague memory that season was beating Euroleague powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv twice with guys like Ricky Hickman and Tyrese Rice.
You played at Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa) with French national player Thomas Huertel and German national player Tibor Pleiss. What memories did you have of the competition level with the Huertel and are you surprised Pleiss didn´t last in the NBA?
I really liked Thomas Huertel. He was a very tough guy on the court. We made each other work so hard every day in practice. We became great friends. He is such a competitor and I respect that very much. Tibor is a great kid, but still needs to learn a lot. I think that he could play many years in the NBA. He can be his own enemy. He just needs to be mentally strong and then he could play many years there.
You played three seasons with Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) and won the Polish title in your third. A team with few Americans and a dominant Turow, what made your team so special?
The bonding that we had as a team made it so special. We all clicked at the right time and as the playoffs came, we were rolling as a team and everyone knew their roles. We had so much confidence in each other. Now they are a Polish powerhouse. My evolution with them was crazy
What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Poland when you knew that you were far away from home?
The food and language a bit. I am a very picky eater and the first 4-5 months was difficult. It felt like I ate Mcdonalds every day. After then I found some restaurants and then all was perfect.
Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-PLK) retired your number in 2013. What exactly does this achievement mean to you in your career as a professional player?
It was crazy for me. When I arrived I said in an interview that I want to win the title. When I came there they had just advanced up to the first league and three years later we won the title. After my third year and title win, I decided to leave the team for Spain to have the opportunity to play Euroleague. They said they wanted to retire my jersey. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was true. This is a huge achievement for me.
You have played in Puerto Rico often the last summers like Kevin Hamilton always did. Are you more a game player in the summers getting good competition then having to do the tedious work outs without game practice?
Having a league like this at home is always great. I think playing in a league like this not only keeps me in shape, but also in rhythm. I did this for five years and it was perfect. Whenever I came back to Europe after playing in the Puerto Rico league, I had no adjustment time. If I only work out during the summers, I would have no rhythm when I came back. I remember many battles against Kevin Hamilton. We beat his team last summer in the semi-finals.
Any professional player would be happy to have one NCAA ring, but like German player Niels Giffey, you possess two rings. Is this a feat that you think about every day
Of course I do. The last time a team won back to back NCAA titles before we did with Florida was Duke in 1991 and 1992. Then we did it. It was just crazy.
When you look back at the two wins which one would you say was the more difficult to accomplish?
The most difficult was the first, because we were still learning how to win. The second one was so much more easy, because we knew how to do it. Our confidence the second time around was crazy.
Florida had so many amazing players that also later went to the NBA like Corey Brewer. Al Horford, Taurean Green, Joakim Noah or Marreese Speights. Which player in the two year NCAA run really had the most impact on you?
Al Horford. Just how he pursued and played the game really impressed me. He was a beast.
How did head coach Billy Donovan groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He is one of the best coaches that I ever had. His best assets was how he was always able to prepare us best for each opponent and his motivation.
Who was the toughest player that you played against in the NCAA that went to the NBA?
The toughest player I fought against was Jodie Meeks. He was always strong against us and always gave us trouble.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Shaq, Bird and Magic
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the alltime best debate against Michael Jordan?
He is number three for me. He isn´t before Jordan or Kobe. He might pass Kobe, but to get past Jordan, he needs that killer instinct.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you see his legacy with the best power forwards to have ever played the game?
I never liked his game, but I liked his passion and I respect him as a player. He is one of the best. He comes after Tim Duncan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Walter for the chat.
Sometimes the overwhelming differences that two basketball teams may possess on paper can be as hard to digest for an opposing coach in terms of what strategy he will use for 40 minutes as it was NFL coaches and defenses to figure out how to stop a Tom Brady of the New England Patriots who at age 39 seems to be playing like in his prime and having that very special and rare football gen called forever young. When one observes Germany´s youth league NBBL which displays the faces of tomorrow and possible professional players in the making, one can´t always expect games in the 90´s or a 50% field goal percentage as these kids are all still learning, but sometimes the stats on paper do tell the story. This was the case as unbeaten Eintracht Frankfurt who had beat MTV Kronberg in a thrilling OT game where they showed their true colors in OT and last weekend needed a 26 point explosion in the fourth quarter to leave the Junior Baskets Rhein Necker in the dust faced off against the 1-1 Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen in another classic Hessen derby. The guests lost the first game of the season against Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg with 65-58, but last weekend nipped the well-known basketball academy Urspring 55-53. The immense statistical advantages that Eintracht Frankfurt had were mindboggling as they averaged 82 points to 56 points of Langen, had the massive rebound edge of 51-26 and in the playmaking department also had more creativity with the 20-11 edge. Langen did have the better defense in the first two games giving up only 59 points while Eintracht Frankfurt did 65 which wasn´t too shabby either. Stats are one thing, but in the end the only thing that counts is what happens on the court for 40 minutes and that is when both teams leave everything they have on the court. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a hard first half where nobody would of noticed any kind of big advantage for Eintracht Frankfurt, but the home team did break out of their shell in the third leading by as much as 17 points only to see the guests fight back and force OT, but then ran out of gas as Eintracht Frankfurt squeaked out a 82-74 win. After the game, 18 year old German Konstantin Schubert didn´t look anymore pooped than after any other game, but he had played an overwhelming 81 minutes in 17 hours dating back to the Fraport skyliners Juniors OT win in Nordlingen the night before, but was still able to give sound answers concerning his second OT win within 24 hours. “I feel very tired. This was my second OT game. I played 42 minutes last night and 39 minutes now. We were up by 17 in the third and can´t let the opponent come back like that. We brought more power than Langen did into the OT and hit the deciding shots that gave us the win”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt forward Konstantin Schubert. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a very spirited game, but used up a lot of energy after being down 17 in the third and just didn´t have the needed gusto in OT to prevail. “This was a tough loss for us. The third quarter killed us. We never gave up until the end, but Frankfurt just had more energy than we did”, added Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen forward Julian Pfaff.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first quarter as the guests were able to slow down the Eintracht Frankfurt offensive machine, but couldn´t get much going on the offensive end either as turnovers hurt them. Eintracht Frankfurt got early production from 16 year old 207cm forward Beat Weichsler who got aggressive inside twice getting to the hole and scoring. EX USC Freiburg center Cosmo Gruehn who played 28 minutes in Nordlingen scoring eight points and hauling down five boards scored with his left hand and ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons also scored inside as Eintracht Frankfurt led 8-5. Both teams were having their misfortune from outside and attacked the inside as 17 year old Christian Lonrich scored and 17 year old Turk Alper Bastiyali gave the Langen team the 9-8 lead. However Eintracht Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with an Oliver Babitisch lay in and Gruehn and Schuebert free throws as they led 14-11. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 31% from the field and the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 27% from the field. Both were shooting 0% from outside. The guests had the 12-8 rebound edge, but also eight turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt had six turnovers.
The game remained tight in the second quarter until Eintracht Frankfurt was able to extend their lead to 10 points only to see it dwindle down again as the guests made a furious run to get back into the game. The Schoder Junior Giraffen came out with a lot of energy in the opening minutes as 18 year old 207cm center Ante Brko who played with Eintracht Frankfurt two years ago scored twice inside using his big body to his advantage and 18 year old Felix Lewe tied the game at 17-17 with free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt then found some rhythm on offense going on a 13-3 run to extend their lead to 30-20. In the run, Eintracht Frankfurt was sparked by the energy of 15 year old Alvin Onyia who made a quick inbounds pass to Schuebert for the easy lay in as two seconds were on the shot clock and then nailed a trey. The club also got free throws from Babitisch and Gruehn. It seemed like Eintracht Frankfurt might run away early with the game, but the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen mounted a furious come back going on a 7-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 30-27. In the run, Pfaff dropped a three pointer and Lovrich sneaked inside for the bucket and made free throws. The guests were fortified by three consecutive Eintracht Frankfurt turnovers. Eintracht Frankfurt guard 15 year old Maximillian Begue closed out the second quarter with a free throws as Eintracht Frankfurt led 31-27. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 36% from the field and 20% from the three point line while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 33% from the field and 17% from the three point line. Eintracht Frankfurt had 13 turnovers and the guests 14 turnovers.
Eintracht Frankfurt pulled away in the third quarter going on a 14-o run to extend their lead to 45-27 as the guests remained scoreless for almost six minutes. In the run, Eintracht Frankfurt got production from 16 year old 198cm forward Leon Pullen who scored in the paint as did Gruehn. Schubert also was very active scoring three buckets with two inside and one from the parking lot. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen found out of their funk just in time to close out the third quarter going on a 13-3 run to trail only 48-40. In the run, the guests were sparked by various options as 16 year old Micha Hoffmann who is the brother of ex Skyliner Jona Hoffmann hit two difficult shots with a runner and running hook shot. Lovrich hit an off balance shot and Brko scored in the paint area again. “We did a good job on defense and just stopped them for a long time. Our one on one defense was very good. We communicated better on defense and our help defense also was good. On offense we moved the ball better”, added Konstantin Schubert. “We didn´t think and had no structure. We had too many own ideas. We got away from what we know from practice”, stressed Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 36% from the field and 21% from the parking lot while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 33% from the field and 11% from the parking lot. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 30-24 rebound edge and 20 turnovers while the guests had 21 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Eintracht Frankfurt was able to keep their comfortable lead for the first few minutes, but then watched as the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen slowly chipped away at their lead and forced the game into OT. In the first few minutes, both teams were scoring at a good rate as Eintracht Frankfurt got buckets from Pullen, Schubert and Pons, but the guests didn´t roll over and die as they also executed well as 18 year old Dan Gerst hit a jumper to cut the Eintracht Frankfurt lead to 55-45. After Jonathan Torbica and Pons exchanged three pointers, Eintracht Frankfurt still led 58-48, but now it was time for one last push by the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen as they went on a 12-2 run to recapture the lead 60-59 with a minute to go. In the run, the guests got valuable production from Torbica who hit a difficult runner high of the glass, Pfaff got a steal and coast to coast dunk and then scored later in the paint. The club also got points from 18 year old power forward Alexander Arndt who made a big tip in as well as a Lovric lay in. Arndt then held his cool sinking two free throws for the lead. Then it seemed like the happy end of the guests would end as Gruehn made an offensive rebound and put back for the 61-60 advantage, but the guests forced OT with a Lewe free throw as the game was dead locked at 61-61. “We did everything wrong in their comeback. We gave up too many fast break points, didn´t rebound well and second chance points”, added Konstantin Schubert. “The fans helped us back into the game. We always believed in ourselves and fought to the end and our shots finally began to fall more”, said Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 37% from the field and 19% from outside while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 39% from the field and 15% from outside. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 36-31 rebound advantage, but 28 turnovers while the guests had 25 turnovers.
In the OT, the Schoder Junior Giraffen langen got the lead back 62-61 on a Pfaff free throw, but Eintracht Frankfurt then went out on a 7-2 run to take the 68-63 lead and would never look back again. Eintracht Frankfurt were playing like on a mission something what head coach Jan Eichberger probably wonders why it doesn´t happen more on a consistent rate as they used their various options as Pullen scored inside and Gruehn dropped a trey. The guests continued to fight to stay in range as Torbica scored with his left hand and Pfaff hit a three pointer to cut Eintracht Frankfurt´s lead to 74-69, but they couldn´t get the needed stops to get closer. Gerst gave the guests one last gasp of hope with a lay in cutting the Eintracht Frankfurt lead to 75-71 with a jumper, but the club then slammed the door tight on the guests they went on a 7-3 run to close out the game as Schubert hit free throws and Pons a trey for the 80-71 advantage. Before the guests could react, Pons made a steal and scored for the 82-71 lead. Lovric closed out the game with a three pointer to spice up his stat afternoon as Eintracht Frankfurt won their third game of the season 82-74 and remain unbeaten. “I liked how we came out in OT and always fought. Gruehn was also key with his three pointer getting us ahead”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. “We were tired at the end and when there are five team fouls, it is always hard to play tactical basketball”, said Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was led by Konstantin Schubert with 23 points. Cosmo Gruehn added 19 points and Niklas Pons added 13 points. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were led by Julian Pfaff with 20 poinbts. Christian Lovric scored 13 points and Dan Gerst added 12 points. Eintracht Frankfurt shot 40% from the field and 28% from the three point line while the Schoder Junior Giraffen langen shot 41% from the field and 27% from the three point line. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 39-33 rebound edge and 29 turnovers while the guests coughed up the ball 30 times.
Wes Washpun(MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg) I Feel My Defense And Ability To Run A Team Will Translate To The Pro Game
Wes Washpun is a 23 year old 185cm point guard from Cedar Rapids, iowa that will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). He began his basketball career in 2011 with Tennessee (NCAA). He then moved to N.Iowa (NCAA) in 2013 and in his first season played 31 games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 68.9%. As a junior he played 35 games averaging 7.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 68.1%. As a senior he played 35 games averaging 14.2ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 72.1%. This past summer he took part in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 8.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.3apg and NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Los Angeles Clippers): 5 games: 4.0ppg, 1.4rpg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball earlier this summer after signing in Germany.
Wes thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
I am currently in Iowa and my summer has been going on!
Congrats on signing with German club MHP Riesen Ludwigbsurg. What was the deciding factor that made you want to start your professional career in Germany?
Germany felt like a great fit for me right away and Coach Patrick and I hit it off right away!
What do you know about the country Germany and it´s basketball. Many ex N Iowa players have played in Germany like John Little, Ben Jacobsen, Deon Mitchell or Mark Sonnen to name a few.
I don’t know much about Germany yet but excited to learn as much as I can !
Did you have some talks with head coach John Patrick? He always has had aliking to getting N Iowa players as he reeled in John Little and Ben Jacobsen years ago when he was coaching team BG Goettingen. What kind of an impression did you have of John Patrick? Did you sense like you both spoke the same basketball language?
We connected right of the bat we definitely speak the same language when it comes to basketball
You have had a very exciting summer as you recently played in the NBA Summer league with the Los Angeles Clippers. What kind of experience was this?
.Playing in the summer league was great and I had a wonderful experience.
Was the team basketball aspect which you get more of in the NCAA on the back burner here as players play for their stats to get noticed?
No not really.
The Los Angeles Clippers were 0-5 and there were games where you had decent minutes and then games where you didn´t. What do you feel like was the biggest asset that you got here that will help you when you come to Germany to start your professional basketball career?
I feel like my defense and my ability to run a team will translate to the pro game!!
There was a lot of competition on the court, but what was it like practicing with and watching New Orleans draft pick French man David Michineau? When you watch a guy like this, do you sense like there is any real difference in skill between an undrafted player like yourself and a drafted player?
As a competitor you never feel like there is a difference but David and I competed and played against each other all week it was a great match up!
What was it like playing for Doc Rivers and what kind of general advice did he give you?
Doc wasn’t our head coach but the coaches were telling me to be more aggressive on offense look to score more!
Let´s talk a bit about your game. You’re a point guard that can score, but also find your teammates at ease. How would you describe your game and to what NBA player could you describe your game too?
I am a defense first point guard who can find ways to score and be effective on offense I have been called a mix between ´Westbrook and Patrick Beverly.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I would say that my defense doesn’t get noticed as much because I don’t get a lot of steals or anything I just don’t get scored on a lot.
You really broke out as a senior and had many amazing games. If you had to pick one game that was your best and favorite which one would it be? Possible your 21 point, eight assist game in the win against North Carolina, or your buzzer beater against Evansville or your 28 point, 11 assist game against iowa State?
I would definitely say the North Carolina game because taking down the number one was great!
Your college career ended in the NCAA tournament with a bitter 92-88 loss against Texas A & M, but you gave your all with nine points and 10 assists, but you fouled out. Is this a game that you will remember for a long time?
Yeah I will never forget that game, but I have put it behind me.
How did head coach Ben Jacobson groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He made me a man he helped me grow up that’s how he helped me the most!
How won a one on one in practice you or Matt Bohannon?
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA legends would you choose?
Jordan, Karem, Magic,Bird
Now that Lebron won another title for the Cavs where does this win put him in the alltime best debate against Michael Jordan?
Still behind Jordan.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Wes for the chat.
The German Kids Reusch And Falkenstein Storm The Dragons Rhondorf Past The Bayer Giants Leverkusen In OT 92-87
Every season there are always numerous new players that arrive in the Pro B to show their extraordinary basketball abilities with the hope of being able to showcase their talent to a vast array of people and hoping to continue to develop and make the next step at a higher level. The Dragons Rhondorf and Bayer Giants Leverkusen have three of these players that squared off against each other in the Dragon Dome with the one player big dawg Aaron Nelson that stands 203cm that cleans up in the paint area and at times is unstoppable and only content when he gets a double double as he averaged double double stats as a senior at S. Indiana and as a rookie in Chile with Los Leones de Quilpue. The other two players stood on the other side as one guy is a pure scorer and has the same last name as an ex American president. Kerry Carter who played at St Mary(NCAA) and last season had a 5 game stint in Europe´s best league in Spain Endesa with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias and racked up 9 points in 10 minutes against top club Real Madrid. The last player in this trio is an American that like Nelson loves to get physical inside and post double doubles and loves Manchester United. Brandon Nazione played at Eastern Michigan and has mixed it up in the Pro B this season and had his first very tough match up against Nelson. This game not only matched up three top players who wanted to do as much as possible to help lead their club to victory, but was also the homecoming of German Tim Schonborn who played three seasons with the Dragons amassing 78 games. With so many interesting side stories to the contest, one had the tendency to forget that the most important aspect to the evening was two teams battling for a win as the 2-2 Dragons Rhondorf were looking to keep their home record spotless while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen also 2-2 were still looking for their first road victory of the season, but that still had to wait as they lost their fourth game in a row in Rhondorf since 2008 92-87 in OT. In the head to head battle Kerry Carter finished with 31 points having a 27 efficiency rate while Aaron Nelson finished with 26 points and nine boards and also a 27 efficiency rate, but the Rhondorf American won the game. After the game, Nelson was torn and tattered as Leverkusen had really made him work hard for his pay check. “I take every game the same. We knew that Carter was a good scorer and we had to try to focus on him more, but also take away the rest of the team. He had a very good game and I am just glad we came away with the win”, stressed Illinois native Aaron Nelson. Carter didn´t show it with his game face still on after the game, but one could see that he was very peeved at the loss. “I never caught up in these type of matchups. Some players get overhyped while others are off the radar. Nelson is a great player and had a great game. I go into every game the same way no matter who we play”, warned Bayer Giants Leverkusen scoring ace Kerry Carter.
The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were unable to connect in their first three possessions, but then got some buckets from ex Dragon Tim Schonborn and 31 year old German Gotz Twiehof scored for the early 4-2 advantage, but then it was time for the Canadian sensation Mike Lucier who gave the word scoring a new special meaning as he rattled off seven unanswered points giving Rhondorf the 9-4 lead. He can always dazzle you with his trey, but he got aggressive early in the paint as he scored twice and then made a steal and went coast to coast for the dunk. Rhondorf continued to carry the momentum upping their lead to 13-6 as Aaron Nelson scored as did Thomas Michel. However one can only control a guy like Kerry Carter so long as he had been stifled by Rhondorf in the first five minutes, but then got his motor going as he carried the Bayer Giants on a 13-4 run giving them the 19-17 lead as he nailed three trey´s. Leverkusen had found their offensive rhythm and closed out the first quarter strong with the fourth three pointer of Carter and an Alexander Blessing lay in. New York native Will Trawick finished the first quarter with a timely three pointer cutting the Leverkusen lead to 23-22. “I was really happy with how Patrick Reusch played. It wasn´t easy for him to come in and replace Viktor Frankl-Maus. He did a good job on offense and finding the open man. You can never really control a Carter. Take away his 10 points and we would have given up 13 points and the game would have looked a lot different”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 47% from the field and 50% from outside while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 40% from the field and 20% from outside. Rhondorf had the slim 12-10 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Leverkusen had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen got off to a rough start once again not executing on their first three possessions, while Rhondorf went on a 10-1 run to extend their lead to 32-24. In the run, Rhondorf got solid production from Aaron “big dawg” Nelson scoring inside twice, Will Trawick also got aggressive finishing in the paint and Sascha Tratnjek scored. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were just careless in their sets and pulled off two quick possessions without really getting settled. But then came the turning point of the second quarter as the Bayer Giants Leverkusen switched to zone propelling them on a 9-0 run as Carter once again got going again scoring seven points getting the guests the 33-32 advantage. Carter scored twice in the lane and once from the parking lot. 17 year old German Anton Geretzki stopped the run connecting on a pretty high rainbow giving Rhondorf the 35-33 lead which didn´t hold up long as American rookie Brandon Nazione controlled an offensive rebound and made the put back tying the game at 35-35. Trawick made a free throw and lay in sending Rhondorf into halftime with the tight 39-36 lead. “We started well, but they came back when they went to zone taking away our strength with Nelson and Lucier. We gave up an open three pointer to Carter which should never happen”, added Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 31% from the field and 23% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 41% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the 27-22 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Leverkusen had nine turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Dragons Rhondorf got off to another good start which was benefited by their two opening stops which led to an 8-2 run lifting their lead to 47-38. Geretzki started the run with his second trey and Nelson scored in bunches making it look so easy. But basketball always remains a game of runs as Rhondorf didn´t execute on the next few possessions which enabled Leverkusen to tie the game at 47-47 benefited by an overwhelming 9-0 run. In the run the ex BBL team got some free throws, a reverse lay up by Carter, and a Schonborn lay in and trey. The game now was a dog fight as a team would take the lead and then the other would match them. Nazione made a massive dunk and Schonborn continued to be aggressive from all areas of the court and made an acrobatic lay in tying the game at 52-52. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen closed out the third quarter with the 61-57 lead as they got some instant offense from Blessing who dropped a three and made a steal and went coast to coast for the lay in. Carter and Nazione finished with two lay ins. “We got more stops and let our defense dictate our offense instead of the other way around. I just wish that we could of done that more throughout the game”, said ex St Mary´s guard Kerry Carter. “We turned the ball over too much and they hit shots. That is when basketball becomes a game of runs. They saw the ball go in and automatically they played better offense and defense. That always feels good”, added Dragons Rhondorf forward Will Trawick. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 47% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 35% from the field and 29% from the parking lot. Rhondorf had the 34-31 rebound advantage, but 16 turnovers while Leverkusen had 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, despite not executing on their first two possessions, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen soon got going taking a healthy lead and it seemed like they would carry it back home, but let the game slip away in the last four minutes letting Rhondorf sneak back and force OT. Rhondorf started off on a 4-0 run as German Patrick Reusch nailed free throws and Lucier scored inside to dead lock the game at 61-61. Then Leverkusen upped their defensive intensity and rushed out on a stellar 7-2run to lead 69-63. In the run, Leverkusen was fortified by Carter with two lay ups, a Nazione reverse lay up showing on more than one occasion during the game that he can play like a guard at the 203cm frame, and a Michael Kuczmann jumper. Rhondorf continued to battle back with Nelson free throws and a Reusch lay in to cut the Leverkusen lead to 69-67. However then it seemed like the Bayer Giants Leverkusen would slam the door on Rhondorf with a timely 9-0 run as crunch-time was approaching. In the run, Leverkusen was aided by a Carter trey and Nazione lay in off a second chance and then a hard dunk off a steal and coast to coast run. Leverkusen was aided by their two best American imports and it seemed like they couldn´t falter now with three minutes remaining. However behind the massive support of their fans, Rhondorf continued to chip away at the lead and come back. Rhondorf made the game dramatic going on an unbelievable 11-0 run to retake the lead 78-77 with a minute to play. In the run, Rhondorf got potent production from Aaron Nelson who got to the free throw line three times and helped the team come back. “Leverkusen made it tough for me all night. They made me work for every bucket. I knew at this time that I had to assert my dominance and get to the free throw line, get buckets and rebounds”, added Aaron Nelson. The Dragon Dome went out of control when Will Trawick nailed the go ahead three for the 78-77 Rhondorf lead. “My shot was huge. It felt amazing when it went in. We came from being down despite them having control. I sucked the momentum out of them and gave some energy to our fans while we took the momentum into OT. I never think about shooting, because the more you do the more you tend to miss. My coach and teammates always give me the confidence to keep shooting”, stressed ex Emory(NCAA3) guard Will Trawick. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had the chance to win the game down the stretch, but Carter attempted an air ball and then missed a lay up. “I should of made those two shots regardless if I was tired or not”, warned Kerry Carter. Bastian Winterhalter then connected on free throws and Nazione put the game into OT with two free throws tying the game at 79-79. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 34% from the field and 30% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 46% from the field and 27% from outside. Rhondorf had the 42-37 rebound edge, but 20 turnovers while Leverksuen had 19 turnovers.
In the OT it was the Rhondorf German kid´s show of Reusch and Falkenstein that led the club past the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. The Dragons Rhondorf went on a quick 5-2 run to lead 84-81. The run was sparked by the clever play by Patrick Reusch who showed a lot of responsibility scoring inside, then drawing a foul and nailing free throws and then making a steal. Lucier added free throws. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen made one last push going on a 6-2 run to cut the Rhondorf advantage to 85-84. In the run, Leverkusen was sparked by a Blessing fingertip roll in and two buckets in the paint by Brandon “the beast” Nazione. After a Michel free throw came the closing dagger into the heart of Leverkusen as 18 year German David Falkenstein who only practices once a week with the team stepped into a passing lane made the steal and went coast to coast for the lay in and 88-85 lead. Lucier and Reusch closed out the game with free throws as Rhondorf stayed unbeaten at home. “The kids played great. Reusch played with a lot of confidence and Falkenstein doesn´t practice much with us, but still knows all the plays was huge. Our focus was too make it tough on Carter at the end and we did a good job”, stressed Aaron Nelson. “We should of played tougher and smarter in OT. A few turnovers at the end cost us the game. We played good defense, but they just scored a little more”, added ex eastern Michigan forward Brandon Nazione. “Every guy on our team can give good minutes. Falkenstein and Reuch played good defense and had good drives. They were huge for us”, warned Will Trawick. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Aaron nelson with 26 points and nine rebounds. Will Trawick added 18 points and Mike Lucier 16 points while Patrick Reusch scored 10 points. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were led by Kerry Carter with 31 points, four rebounds, six assists and five steals. Brandon Nazione added 21 points and 12 rebounds. Tim Schonborn supplied 12 points and nine rebounds. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 34% from the field and 29% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen shot 46% from the field and 23% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the 46-43 rebound edge and 22 turnovers and Leverkusen coughed up the ball 24 times.
Brendan Lane(s.Oliver Wurzburg) Teams Will Definitely Focus On Shavon Shields More But He Will Be Dangerous All Season
Brendan Lane is a 25 year old 206cm center from Rocklin, California playing his third professional season and second in Germany in the Beko BBL with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. As a rookie he played with Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins (Japan-NBL): 52 games: 12.8ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.4%. He started his basketball career in 2009 with UCLA(NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 79 NCAA games. He finished his college basketball career at : Pepperdine (NCAA, starting five) playing 29 games averaging 13.2ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.2apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 62.4%. Last season with Wurzburg he played 37 games averaging 13.7ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 14.8%, FT: 73.6%. He belongs to the top centers in the Beko BBL He spoke to eurobasket after the big 73-64 win against the Fraport Skyliners.
Brendan thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the two game winning streak. Is this years team finally figuring out how to win games?
Yeah I think we finally got that confidence back after that tough start. Getting that first win was big for us and hopefully we can keep it going now.
s.Wurzburg assistant coach Stephan Voelkl had a busy weekend last week scouting both Frankfurt games against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm Ulm. Nevertheless, the Fraport Skyliners crushed you and was leading 40-22 at halftime. Did Frankfurt do anything out of the ordinary that Wurzburg didn´t know going into the game which made it so difficult to keep them in check?
No they weren’t doing anything that we didn’t prepare for, we just didn’t show up to play that first half and we really struggled.
The 0/12 three point woes of the s.oliver Wurzburg didn´t help either. How frustrating were the first 20 minutes and was it at that point just one of those days where nothing was falling?
Yeah that was tough, but I think it was more of just settling for threes and not attacking. We were being passive and just shooting rather than attacking and setting up good shots.
I can imagine that the atmosphere was tense at halftime in the locker room. What magic words of wisdom did head coach Doug Spradley find to help get the team back on track?
At halftime he basically just said we were playing soft and not fighting at all. He just challenged us to come out in the second half and fight and do anything we could to get back into the game.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg finally got on track in the third quarter going on a 16-2 run. What adjustments did the club make to get back into the game?
I think we just started being more aggressive on defense and we were able to get some steals or rebounds and speed up the tempo of the game.
You really got going in the third quarter getting your share of buckets. Did you feel the need to have to step up?
Yeah we weren’t creating much offensively, especially inside, so it was important that we started rolling harder to the basket and being more aggressive and my teammates did a great job finding me when I was open.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg continued to play masterful basketball going on a 22-5 run to decide the game. What was key for keeping up the defensive consistency in the last frame?
We just kept up the pressure. We knew they had played a lot of games in the past week so they probably had tired legs at the end so we had to keep being the aggressor and not let up.
So far no BBL teams have had any clue how to slow down rookie Shavon Shields who scored 18 points. Why is this guy so dominant at the moment?
He is a very versatile 4 man who can create his own shots which can be very difficult for teams to guard and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.
Do you believe as time goes on that teams will figure out Shavon Shields or will he continue to hurt opponents with his quickness and pretty moves?
I think he’s going to be dangerous all season. Teams will definitely focus on him more as he continues to produce, but he’s still a very good player that will cause a lot of problems for teams.
The s.Oliver Wurzburg have had a slow start losing it´s first four games, but have a two game winning streak now. What assets does the tam have this season they didn´t have last season that will enable the club to have a another good season?
I think we are much deeper this season, but right now we are just learning how to play with each other. Last year we had great chemistry from the start and that showed with our start last year. But this year it’s taken us a little longer and we had to face some adversity with the 0-4 start. Hopefully this will help us in the long term and we can get back to where we think we can finish in this league.
Jake Odum might be one of the most underrated point guards in the BBL. How is his game different from Dru Joyce and how fierce is his killer instinct?
Jake and Dru are both great point guards. Jake brings a little more size to the point guard position which will help against teams with bigger guards. But both guys are fierce competitors who want to win. Jake is still early in his career and his really hungry to prove himself in Europe and to win at every level and that is great to have in a teammate.
You battled against German national player Johannes Voigtmann last season and now you have his little brother Georg as a teammate. How have you been helping him in practice most and does he have the game to become a solid BBL player.
For his size he is one of the most skilled big men I’ve seen. The one big key for him is just the physicality at the BBL level. It’s great for him to battle every day in practice especially against a veteran like Krešo who challenges him physically. I think he will definitely be a solid BBL player at some point.
This was with the game against FC Bayern Munich your best game of the season as you gave the word efficient a new meaning once again. Do you feel any pressure at all when you know the three isn´t6 falling for the team that you have to produce well quickly at a consistent rate?
I don’t really feel any extra pressure when that happens, but I do look to be more aggressive and put some pressure on the other team inside.
After having a very good first season in the BBL, you are looking to take the next step as a player this season. What do you believe helped your game last season that will enable you to take it to the next level this season?
Last season I was very successful in getting good position inside and creating easy shots for myself. I think having the experience in this league now will only make me better at finding those openings in the defense.
Besides having a successful season, what is your main goal to achieve on the court this season in your game that will help you make the next step in your grooming as a player?
My main goal is to be consistent the whole season. Last year we tapered off at the end of the season and this year I want to continue playing well all the way through the end of the season.
Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you believe does his legacy stand when comparing him to the greatest power forwards of all-time?
He is definitely one of the greatest power forwards. He was dominant for so long and was always a winner. One of the fiercest competitors ever.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Secret in their eyes.
Thanks Brendan for the chat.