Ron Howard Is The Basketball Mr Everything That Gives Unknown Players Hope With His Howard Hoops Opportunity

If you’re a German basketball fan and primarily follow the easyCredit BBL, you surely will be able to easily find the arena´s in big cities like Berlin and Munich, but if your driving through the beautiful countryside of Germany and town hoping, you may not necessarily know if that place has a professional basketball team if you aren´t caught up with the lower leagues like the Regionalliga, second Regionalliga or Oberliga. You won´t find the same caliber of players in these lower leagues then you would in the easyCredit BBL where guys like Rickey Paulding, Bryce Taylor and Quantez Robertson have become the identity players of the league and why people come to watch games. Very often it is these import players in German lower leagues that have some kind of special story and have made their dream come true usually coming from a lower college league, but not necessarily giving less than the BBL players, but often having a special kind of heart that only these type of players can have, because they never had an easy journey to get to the professional level. One of these guys is Ronald Howard. Three years ago, one could of discovered him earning a living playing in the Regionaliga in Limburg in a small school gym in front of not more than 300-400 people. At first glance, one may have thought that 196cm NBA star James Harden had gotten lost or secretly been loaned out for a game, but with closer scrutiny one would of seen the 15cm difference as it really was Ron Howard even if his goatee made him a dead ringer for Harden, but only if one was at more of a distance away. The American is quick to point out what he likes and dislikes about Harden and that having a goatee has nothing to do with him. “I think James is a good offensive player but he doesn’t play defense and that is what I can’t stand about James. Best PG in the league is tough for me because I don’t watch the NBA much because I love Euroleague but I give it to Kyrie that boy knows how to win and as a PG he must know how to be a winner. I grew my goatee out because I´m Muslim”, stated Ron Howard. Even if Howard had played for some other German Pro B teams and in Romania, his professional career was never a cake walk, but one in that he witnessed what lesser known players really go through as making the professional level has many hardships and twists and turns that he somewhat tackled and conquered. Once his professional career ended in 2014, he knew right away, that it was his duty to try to make the professional route for other Americans easier.

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The first meeting between Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ron Howard in Limburg in 2013

Currently Howard is 32 and will be turning 33 in August and had a short professional career, but at least he can always boast that he was able to live the dream of playing overseas.

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Demetrius Ward (I’m Not A One Dimensional Player And Think I Can Make An Impact In The Pro A)

Demetrius Ward is a 26 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that completed his fifth professional season with MTV Wolfenbuettel  Herzoege (Germany-ProB) averaging 19,0ppg, 6,4rpg and 4,2apg.. This was his fourth Pro B season with the club after having helped the team move back up from the Regionaliga last season where he played  21 games: 11.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 72.9%He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. He recently was promoted to player/coach and spoke to German Hoops after the completion of the 2016-2017 season. 

Demetrius thanks for talking to German Hoops Congrats on helping Wolfenbuettel stay in the Pro B. What kind of experience was it playing 6 pressure games this season in the playdowns compared to the playoff pressure from last season?

Hello Miles thanks for taking the time to do the interview. The experience was a lot different from last season being in the playoffs at the 2nd seed. We accomplished our goal by making the playoffs last season. This year we were unfortunately in the playdowns and had to play to stay in the league. Just coming from the 2nd spot in the north last season into the 10 spot this season was pretty difficult.

Wolfenbuettel played some fine basketball in the second half of the season beating playoff teams like Schalke, Bochum and Iserlohn. How disappointing was it not reaching the playoffs?

 Not making the playoffs was a hard pill to swallow. Throughout the season we showed how good we can be by beating some of the top teams in the league. We also showed how inconsistent we can be by losing to some of the team we should’ve beaten. Overall we didn’t have consistency to get us over that hump to make the playoffs.

Did Wolfenbuettel have a large chip on their shoulder going into the playdowns? You won four of your first five playdown games. You took care of business quickly.

Going into the playdowns we knew how close the teams were in comparison to points in how important each game was to stay in the league. We started clicking late toward the end of the season where we as a team played with good confidence.

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Quinton Mcduffie (Club Trujillo /Peru) I Grew So Much Mentally And Physically During My Time In Europe

Quinton Mcduffie is a 26 year old 197cm swing man originally from San Diego, California and on account of a military back round went to high school in Virginia and currently is playing for Club Trujillo (Peru-LNB). In the 2015-2016 season he played for  La Gallofa Cantbasket 04 (Spain-EBA). He played his rookie season for Portsmouth Cavaliers (APBL): 6 games: 24.6ppg, 6.0rpg, then moved to TLG-13 NGO S.Tulga (Mongolia-MBA) averaging 21.9ppg, 9.2rpg, then signed for Planeta-Universitet Ukhta (Russia-Superleague). Before turning professional he played for Va.Wesleyan (NCAA3), Alabama St. (NCAA) and Chowan (NCAA2) and as a rookie played 27 games averaging 14.6ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 74.2%. German Hoops has spoken to Quinton in the past and it was time to check in on him again in Peru.

Quinton thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how content are you with your basketball life at the moment?

Thank you guys over at German Hoopsfor your continuous support over the years. I am Currently playing in the LNB, which is the top league in Peru. I am very satistified with my living arrangements and basketball life here in Peru. The people here are very generous and helpful.

You started the season with KK Radnicki Gorazde (Bosnia-D2), but left in pre season. Why was your stay so short?

 I spent the pre-season in Bosnia, which was a great experience, however the team was very young and at this point in my career I am trying to grow as a player on the court and I am looking to play alongside more experienced guys. I feel as though it will allow my game to develop

You have witnessed the last few years how difficult it is in general to find a team. Did experience with the process make the time finding a new team easier for you?

Yes, I feel as though the market is very hard to breakthrough, you must have patience and faith while you are going through the process of finding a job in this business. Without these two things, it´s very hard to continue to move forward.

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Quo vadis Alba Berlin?

After firing Ahmed Caki Alba Berlin looked desperate and noone thought they could compete with powerhouse FC Bayern Munich in the quaterfinals of the BBL Playoffs. But after a devestating loss in game 1 (95:68) Alba bounced back and made Bayern work extremely hard to reach the semifinals. Even though Alba Berlin ultimately lost 3-1 to Munich, the team somehow managed to win back the hearts of their supporters and earn the respect of the whole german basketball community.

Interim coach Thomas Päch, who took over after Caki was fired, brought back the spirit and passion the team lacked for most of the season. Alba’s twitter hashtag #mitleibundseele (transl.: with body and soul) finally made sense for the first time this season. One has to wonder why it took so long for the players to break free and play with the kind of energy and effort they showed against Munich. Was it all Caki’s fault that Alba struggled after a 7-game winning streak in December and never fully recovered throughout the season? First of all one has to mention that Ahmed Caki seemed very unfortunate as the team had to handle so many injuries over the course of the season. Just remember: Brandon Ashley, who should have been a keyplayer on Alba’s frontcourt, decided to leave the club before the season even started. Malcolm Miller broke his hand at the end of the preparation and missed the first nine games of the season. That’s two starters out before the season even started. When the team finally seemed to have found their rhythm Peyton Siva, with whom Alba had a 14-5 record, had to deal with a stubborn adductor injury that made him miss most of the second half of the season. Without Siva the team finished the BBL regular season with a miserable 4-9 record. Then just days before the start of the Playoffs Alba’s most important offensive player Dragan Milosavljević suffered a season-ending injury to his elbow. But bad luck aside, retrospectively hiring Caki seems like a big misunderstanding.

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The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Semi-Final Playoff Preview EWE Baskets Oldenburg-ratiopharm Ulm 3-2

Witnessing those special basketball playoff head to head battles is something that is always appetizing for any fanatic watching the intense focus of both guys giving 180% on both ends of the court until full exhaustion. The NBA has had these amazing and unique duels seemingly forever as it is always a pleasure to look back on these NBA legends making history. In the 60´s, you had the fierce battles between the two best centers of all-time with Boston Celtic Bill Russell and Mr 100 points Wilt Chamberlain with the Celtic winning in 1964 and 1969 in seven games amassing 11 titles in his career while Chamberlain only could boast having two NBA rings. In the 70´s a fondly remembered duel was Chamberlain against New York Knick Willis Reed who had 37 and 38 points in the first games, but only four points in game seven, but it was enough to win the 1970 final despite Chamberlain averaging 23 points and hauling down 24 rebounds in the series. The 80s had two unforgettable duels with the most famous possibly the 1984 classic Bird vs Magic encounter where both owned the court where their teammates could have easily taken the bench and watched the two legends fight it out to the finish which Bird won in seven and the 1988 match up between Isaiah Thomas and the bad boys of Detroit against Magic and the Lakers and despite 43 points by Thomas in game 6, the Lakers won the title. In the 90´s few will forget the 1992 battle between Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler and the Trailblazers pitting the leagues best two shooting guards, but Drexler´s supporting cast couldn´t match Jordan´s as the Bulls won. In this decade the 2012 duel between Lebron James and Kevin Durant is a classic as the best player on the planet finally won his first NBA title with the Miami Heat while Durant  might get his first in a few weeks. Even if the easyCredit BBL is far from the NBA, even here there have been incredible head to head battle over the years and last season in the quarterfinals, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg faced off against up and coming team ratiopharm Ulm as the last three games were decided by a combined total of only 9 points. Two BBL identity figure players Ricky Paulding and Per Guenther had the games of their lives where Per Guenther dropped 35 points and dished out nine assists in game two  while Paulding had 26 points in the loss. In game three, Paulding dropped 30 points in the win while Guenther had 16 points and eight assists. In game 4, Paulding had 16 points in the 80-79 loss while Guenther was held in check with six points, but his front court of Raymar Morgan and Augustine Rubit combined for 45 points to send Oldenburg into summer vacation. Now a year later and with Paulding at age 34 and Guenther at age 29 and not getting any younger, both are back again facing off against each other on a big stage for the ticket to the final, but despite Pauldings loss last season to Guenther, he still leads their head to head title chase at 2-0 while the German has the Buffalo Bill phobia with 4 final appearances and still yearning for that first title.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Chris Kramer of the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Oldenburg after winning the 2015 BBL cup

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg marched into the quarterfinal playoffs not getting buried in the mega hoopla of the surprising successful medi Bayreuth season and jumped on them taking a 2-0 series lead seemingly quicker than Oldenburg legend Ricky Paulding could ever utter the phrase “Ich Bin Ein Oldenburger” in Japanese.

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The Miles Basketball Minute: BBL Semi-Final Playoff Preview Brose Bamberg-FC Bayern Munich 3-2

It may only have reached #42 in the American Billboard charts, but the classic Rolling Stones song “You can´t always get what you want” is not only a fan favorite at concerts, but one of those songs that even non fans will sing along to and would probably even be known in the most remote spots in Somalia or in the most smug igloo in Tasiilaq, Greenland. It is just overall a very well-liked song all over the world and about the only one that has got the big disapproval from the Rolling Stones for using their song for publicity has been US president Donald Trump who uses it after his speeches to public audiences. The Rolling Stones track “You can´t always get what you want” would fit perfect now in conversations in the NBA Western Confernce finals and the easyCredit BBL semi-finals as fans are witnessing that kind of “should be final” atmosphere already now. It may not be the case now, but not too long ago the San Antonio Spurs-Golden State Warriors would have been like the perfect NBA final had not both been in the same conference, but now with the injury to new NBA superstar Kwahi Leonard, fans are now wondering how badly the Golden State Warriors will slaughter the Spurs in game three and four and if a Steph Curry will pull a Klay Thompson. In the German easyCredit , one could chant the same song “You can´t always get what you want” in terms that the real final is already being played in the semi-final with Brose Bamberg against FC Bayern Munich. With all due respect to ratiopharm Ulm that were able to raise their game again from last season and steal the regular season show from Bamberg and Munich having the best record, but they will never be a better draw than these two teams who just are at a different level with their brand name. The song “You can´t always get what you want” is surely a perfect phrase for not only the Bamberg/Munich series, but also for fans and Per Guenther  in that if ratiopharm Ulm  can´t hold Raymar Morgan then one just has to accept it and team identity figure Per Guenther has been singing that song for years as he is still looking for his first BBL title after reaching 4 finals like the Buffalo Bills did with 4 Super Bowl finals.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Devin Booker in Strassburg, France

When one hears the big names of the German basketball clubs Brose Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich, one immediately expects easier outings in the Quarterfinals of the playoffs, but that was far from the case in the last 10 days as both teams struggled and one has to ask were these two teams just under worth or did the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Alba Berlin just step up their play to special proportions and just overachieved?

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Jordan Faison (Coming From A Winning Environment In College My Rookie Season Was A Different Kind Of Adversity

Jordan Faison is a 22 year old 201cm forward from Lake Forest, California that recently completed his rookie in Germany playing for the UNI-Riesen Leipzig averaging 20,8ppg, 9,2rpg and 1,7apg. He played at Cal Poly Pomona (NCAA2) from 2012-2016 playing a total of 107 NCAA games. As a senior he played 30 games averaging 16.9ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.8apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 22.5%, FT: 65.4%. He spoke to German Hoops after his rookie season in Germany.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jordan Faison in Frankfurt after he finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds in 73-67 win against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors

Thanks Jordan for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the 73-72 win against Nordlingen. Was this a victory you couldn´t really enjoy simply because the club was unable to stay in the Pro B on account of Rhondorf beating Lich?

No we for sure were able to enjoy it because we know that if it wasn’t for the league taking away 2 points we would be able to stay in the league regardless. But mistakes happen and you can only learn from them, but overall we were very excited about this win!

What kind of experience was it for you playing in the playdowns and playing 6 games where the team was under immense pressure to win? How did these last 6 games shape you as a player?

It was great because the competition level was high every game. You had teams fighting for their lives and it brought the best out of everybody. I think for me it definitely it was a different experience that taught me a lot, and that I will grow from.

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