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Malcolm Delaney(Lokomotive Kuban) You Always Have To Take Advantage Of The Chance To Play Because You Might Never Play Again Or That Next Job Might Be The Best Ever

March 4, 2015

Malcolm Delaney is a 25 year old 191cm point guard from Baltimore, Maryland that is playing his fourth professional season and first with Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-VTB). He started his basketball career with Virginia Tech (NCAA) in 2007 and played a total of 136 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games: 18.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.0apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 42.0%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 85.0%. In 2011-2012 he started his professional basketball career with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA, starting five): EuroCup Qualifications: 2 games: 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.5apg, 2.0spg; EuroChallenge: 16 games: 14.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT: 84.7%; French League: 35 games: 15.0ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 86.0%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague, starting five): 52 games: 14.7ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 32.7%, FT: 77.9%; EuroCup: 16 games: 16.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 85.1%. Last season he played for FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-BBL, starting five): Euroleague: 24 games: 13.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.5apg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 84.7%; German League: 46 games: 12.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 87.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Brose Baskets Bamberg.

 

 

 

 

Malcolm thanks for talking to German Hoops and welcome back to Germany. What is it like to be back in Bamberg? Last season you have good memories of the two FC Bayern Munich wins.

 

We played once in Bamberg last season and pulled out a tough win. FC Bayern Munich was hyped team to win it all last season in preseason, but Bamberg was still the team to beat. It was nice beating Bamberg twice. It is nice being back in Germany. I was actually Munich last week. I had a few days off and was chilling there.

 

 

You will battle against top Beko BBL point guard Brad Wanamaker. How excited are you to play him and what do you know about his game?

 

I know Brad´s game. We have played together in the same circle since high school. I think we played against each other one or two seasons ago. I believe that Brad is probably the best point guard in the Beko BBL this season. I think that he made a great choice to play in Bamberg and showcase his skills. It will be fun to be playing against him again.

 

 

Bamberg has a new team and hardly any guys from last season. Bamberg has adapted well to the new coach. What kind of series can we await and what will be key to getting the win?

 

Bamberg has a very good coach and system. I think key for us getting past Bamberg is to take them out of what they do best. We can play with any team on the offense end so key will be to play good defense and get out on transition will be what will separate us from Bamberg.

 

 

You won a professional title in each of your three seasons as a professional in France, Ukraine and Germany. Will you keep the streak alive this season in VTB and Eurocup still being played?

 

I hope so. I feel that the VTB league is the toughest in Europe now. There are many great teams in the VTB and it will come down to the wire. I feel we have a very good chance to win the Eurocup as we have a great team and have firepower. If we stay healthy I think that we can win it all. I definitely want to keep the streak alive.

 

 

 

How do you explain this knack of winning titles? Going into each season how good of a feeling did you always have that that team had something special?

 

I only had that feeling last season with FC Bayern Munich. As a rookie I played for Chalon and they weren´t even a top 5 team budget wise and had just won the cup. I thought that it would be a good situation for me because they were returning most guys and I was new at the point guard position. We reached the Eurochallenge final that year and won the cup. The Ukraine team wasn´t a top team either, but I felt comfortable going in as I was told that it was a good team to play for. We reached the Eurocup final 4. The main reason I went to play there was because I would be able play my game. FC Bayern Munich built a great team and there I was also able to play my style.

 

 

 

 

You have been the point guard and man in charge wherever you have played in Europe. Is your role any different this season than say last season with FC Bayern Munich?

 

My role doesn´t change so much simply because I am the point guard. We have so much firepower this season with Lokomotive Kuban that I don´t need to score as much as in the past, but my leadership is very important this season. My role is to score less, but to put everything in place and get my teammates to do what they do best on the court. With Munich I always had the ball in my hands, but this season I have a different caliber of players so I don´t always need to have the ball in my hands.

 

 

How has your experience been with Lokomotiv Kuban? This season you are blessed with some ex NBA players with Derrick Brown and Anthony Randolph. How do you see yourself developing further this season?

 

Just being able to play with this talent will help me develop further. The travel hasn´t been easy in the VTB league, but that is part of the job. I think this season my leadership will help me show that I am able to play with high caliber players and keep them together and get the job done.

 

 

You have had solid stats each season as a professional. What is your secret to having no problem adapting to a new system?

 

I am a versatile player. When I came out of college I was a scorer. I could play point guard, but nobody gave me a chance. When I was in France and Ukraine I had to score the ball and couldn´t display my point guard ability as much. Munich gave the chance to play point guard and I proved that I could play point guard as well as score. This season in Russia I enjoy seeing other players be successful as I don´t need to score as much. This gives me the opportunity to work on other areas like rebounding and defense. I am an unselfish player and have no problem making sacrifices in order to win games.

Last season you won the Beko BBL title with FC Bayern Munich. Wasn´t their any chance of coming back for a second season?

 

I had the possibility to return to Munich, but I wanted to play in the NBA. I had the chance to play for the Houston Rockets, but Munich didn´t let me out of the contract. During the summer I wanted to weigh my options and try for the NBA. Munich offered me an extension, but I turned it down. I loved Munich and had no complaints about playing there. For me to have stayed I needed to feel comfortable, but other teams wanted me more. Munich tried to sell me that they are the best club and brand, but that didn´t mean much to me. At the end of the day this wasn´t helping my future and giving me the security I needed. When I got home during the summer I didn´t talk to Munich. I got great offers from many teams like Olympiakos Piraus and then came the offer of Lokomotiv Kuban. Munich didn´t come hard at me with an offer, but Kuban did showing the most interest and security I need with a two year deal and NBA out.

 

 

 

Last season there was interest from the NBA during the season with FC Bayern Munich. You didn´t play NBA Summer League and moved to Russia. Has your NBA dream been put on hold?

 

Lebron held up the whole NBA. No team was making moves until he signed. I had to either wait and pass up big deals or take a good deal in Europe. I decided to take guaranteed money and get that security. I could of waited with the NBA, but I didn´t want to take that chance.

 

 

Last season you were named league MVP and Marko Pesic named you one of the top guards in Europe. Obviously you and your team were key in winning the title, but if you had to single out that unsung hero form last seasons team who would you name?

 

Bryce Taylor was our unsung hero last season. He had a great season and was a real leader. Its no surprise that he is captain. I connected the most with him, but to be honest at the end of the season I was connected with every player. Bryce and I had this special bond on the court. I always knew where he would be.

 

 

 

What kind of experience was it playing for Svetislav Pesic. Did you see him smile on a day to day basis?

 

Pesic is a great coach and helped me a lot. He is probably the best coach that I have ever played for. He is a very demanding coach and we always had hard practices and rarely had days off, but he made you better as a player. I think I was able to develop so well because we practiced so much. At times the wear and tear took a toll on the body and on the season. He is a great x& o coach and did everything for the win. If you weren´t mentally tough then it was tough playing for him. He prepared me to play against anybody. I remember him smiling a few times after the wins in the semi finals and in the finals. He is all business. I really respect him. He took control and showed that he was boss and never let the players dictate anything.

 

 

In your second season you played with Budivelnyk Kyiv (Ukraine-Superleague) winning the title there. How special was this win considering the talent you had? Was this your most challenging title to win?

 

For sure this was the most challenging title that I ever won. I still have no idea how we reached the Eurocup final 4. I think that we had some luck as St Petersberg were clearly the better team. The team only had two import players and Leo Lyons and I connected. We also had good role players that did their jobs. Mariupol was the favored to win the title, but we beat them in seven games.

 

 

Aa a rookie you played for ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA). You played with talented American Blake SChilb. How surprised are you that he isn´t playing for a top Euroleague team?

 

I am actually surprised that Blake Schilb isn´t in the NBA. He is the best player that I ever played with before this season. He could single handedly take over a game at any time. I remember that so many teams wanted him, but Chalon didn´t let him out of the contract. He is a very family orientated guy. He is playing in Paris now where they are trying to build something. I believe that he can play anywhere in Europe or NBA.

 

 

 

Illian Evtimov told me a few years ago that he never saw a guy like you that could draw a foul on command in the lane. Is this something that you born with or did that come with experience?

 

I think that having this ability to draw fouls grew with me from high school on. When I was young I was always the best player on the team and had the best defender on me. That got me to trying to draw fouls against the best defender. My brother once told me that the easiest way to get 20 points in a game is to get 8-10 free throws. Even if you have a bad shooting day, you can reach 20 points. Getting to the free throw line also helped my free throw shooting as I have always been a good free throw shooter.

 

 

Ilian Evtimov is a French/Bulgarian that played at North Carolina State and is Americanized. Did his movie knowledge ever come into a discussion during your rookie season?

 

Illian is a smart guy and always referenced movies. He is a cool guy. When I was a sophomore in high school, I went on an unofficial visit to North Carolina State where he played at. I knew about him when I came to Chalon. We connected right away. He is a great shooter.

 

You played at Virginia Tech from 2007-2011. How did head coach Seth Greenberg get you prepared best for a professional basketball career?

 

He is a good guy that recruited me. He was honest with me and told me from the start that I would play a lot. Jamont Gordon who plays in Turkey now left when I came in. I didn´t start the first 10 games, but from then on I was handed the ball. He trusted me more and more as I got better. So often college coaches lie to get a player to come to school and then they don´t play. He gave me the freedom to play and that is the reason why I am where I am now.

 

 

You played three seasons at Virginia Tech with Dorenzo Hudson. What memories do you have of him on the court?

 

He was hurt my senior year and we really missed him. We were very close and always had a bond. We stuck together on and off the court. He had a very good junior season. The best memory that I have with him was when we beat the then number one school Wake Forest. For Dorenzo it was a big win since he is from North Carolina.

 

 

Baltimore native Jimmy Dorsey fled his hometown for a college career in Canada and now is playing in the German third division with BG Karlsruhe. What kind of advice do you have for a guy that always hears great things about your success, but has never met you?

 

My motivation has always been seeing other guys succeed. Seeing guys succeed has always motivated me to grind and be in the gym to get better. Whenever I played against a guy who was more known or was making more money, it was my motivation to play well against him. I always want to be the best. No matter where you play if it is in a low division you always have to take advantage of the chance to play because you might never play again or that next job might be the best ever.

 

Do you see John Wall being the best point guard in the NBA in the future?

 

That is a tough question. The point guard position is the toughest. He has some good point guards ahead of him with Irving, Westbrook, Curry and Lillard, but Wall is a special player. He is definitely the most developed. He went from the fastest to the best assist guy. He has a great chance with his size, skill level and athleticism to be a top five point guard for a long time. He has done a great job with the Wizzards in that they were bad once, but he has carried them to be a good team.

 

 

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

 

The interview which I saw on the flight from Moscow to Frankfurt today. It was pretty funny.

 

Thanks Malcolm for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deandre Liggins(Eisbaeren Bremerhaven) It Really Doesn´t Matter Where You Are Overseas If It Is On The Court Or In A Back Yard Somebody From The NBA Is Always Watching You

March 3, 2015

Deandre Liggins is a 26 year old 198cm forward that is playing his fourth professional season and has joined the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. He started the season with the Los Angeles Clippers (NBA), in Oct.’14 signed at Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB): Eurocup: 12 games: 6.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.4apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 47.4%, 3FGP: 36.7%, FT: 60.0%; VTB United League: 10 games: 7.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.7apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 45.0%, 3FGP: 28.6%, FT: 58.3%. He started his basketball career at Kentucky(NCAA) in 2008 and played a total of 99 NCAA games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 8.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 65.0%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for the Orlando Magic (NBA): 17 games: 1.9ppg. In the 2012-2013 season he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA), in Nov.’12 assigned to Tulsa 66ers (D-League, starting five), then called back to Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA): 46 games: 1.4ppg, 1.5rpg, in Dec.’12 assigned to Tulsa 66ers (D-League): 23 games: 12.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 4.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 71.0%. Last season he played for the Miami Heat (NBA): 1 game: 2pts, 1reb, in Mar.’14 signed at Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) playing 47 games: 14.2ppg, 7.1rpg, 4.7apg, Steals-1(2.6spg), FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 78.8%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

 

 

 

Welcome to Germany Deandre. It has been a whirlwind season for you starting IN Los Angeles, going to Russia and now your in Germany. After being in the United States for the first three years of your career, how would you describe your first time abroad in Europe?

 

It has been a different experience for me. The food tastes different and it is a totally different plan style. It reminds me a lot of college practicing twice a day and having one game a week. The whole Europe experience has been a motivation to keep playing. I have been in Bremerhaven now three days and today was my first day of practice. I really like the communication in Bremerhaven something I didn´t have in Russia. I have been enjoying every moment in Bremerhaven and just happy I can play here.

 

 

What prompted you to come to Germany and too a team near the bottom with a very tough head coach?

 

It was a matter of me getting repetition. I knew about the situation when I came in. I want to help this team and give it a push and take some momentum into next season. I respect this team a lot for bringing me in and I just want to help the team turn it around. I honestly don´t feel any pressure.

 

 

How sad are you that you won´t be playing against ex teammate Darius Miller? He also landed in Germany with team Bamberg.

 

I know. I am totally upset that I won´t be able to play against him.

 

 

The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven stated that they were looking for a 4-5 man, but couldn´t get one and then opted for the best possible player on the market. I guess there isn´t a more better feeling to be wanted than that?

 

I totally appreciate the Bremerhaven organization and having faith in me. I feel like I owe them.

 

 

The club has many scorers, but you have been planned in as being that defensive stopper. Is defense your biggest strength on the floor?

 

Yes of course. Defense is the reason I got drafted by the NBA. I have always stuck to doing what I do best. But I can do a little bit of everything, but teams have always wanted me for my defense. It has been my calling card my whole career.

 

 

 

You started the season with Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd (Russia-VTB). What kind of experience was this and what were the main reasons for departing early?

 

It was an awkward situation for me. When I got in they had just got rid of the coach and some players. There was just no communication there between the president and me. I didn´t feel comfortable there.

 

 

What kind of experience was it playing for German head coach Dirk Bauermann? He has coached Dirk Nowitzki in international competition for years? How did he get you ready for European competition?

 

He was cool. I liked him and he liked me. He liked me because I play defense and he is a defensive orientated guy and is great with the x & o´s. When I came in he came and right away his practices got me ready for the European competition because it was like a training camp.

 

 

What was your wake up call to playing in Russia where you knew ok the NBA is very far away from where I am now?

 

Just knowing that somebody is always watching you. It really doesn´t matter where you are overseas if it is on the court or in a back yard, somebody from the NBA is always watching you. You have to do your job and just play your part on the team.

 

 

After playing two seasons in the NBA, in your third season you played mostly in the D-League. Why is it so hard to stay in the NBA?

 

It´s tough because there are so many players. I am no superstar, but I just keep fighting. The NBA is a big business and I was fortunate to have been drafted coming out of Kentucky where there was a high skill level. I still believe that I have a shot for the NBA. I am ready to make a comeback.

 

 

In your rookie season you played 17 games for the Orlando Magic for head coach Stan Van Gundy. What was your wake up call to the NBA where you knew ok I am really an NBA player now?

 

Just not getting minutes. The season was tough. I played 17 games out of a possible 66 in the strike shortened season. I just kept working hard waiting for an opportunity.

 

 

 

 

In your second season you played 46 games for the Oklahoma Thunder. After seeing Kevin Durant play for so many years before what could you pick up form him on the court that you have been able to implement into your game now?

 

Just his demeanor and how he carried himself off the court. On the court I picked up on his jump shot, finding his spots and how well he could handle the ball for his size. However that season I looked up to Thabo Sefolosha the most. He is a mirror image of myself.

 

 

 

After being with NBA teams your first two seasons, you played only 1 NBA game last season for the Miami Heat. How much did you really cherish playing in that game? How vivid is that game still in your mind playing that one NBA game with Lebron James?

 

The one game I played was the game where Lebron scored 62 points. I will never forget that game. Lebron was hot the whole game. I got in some garbage time at the end scoring two points off an offensive rebound after coming in at the 1.24 minute mark.

 

 

 

You are known for your defense, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?

 

I think that I can play point guard. I think I can pass the ball well and was a point guard in high school. I can play a three position but still distribute like a one. I just like to get people involved and knock down the jumper.

 

 

You played at Findlay Prep that has graduated 7 NBA players since 2010 including 2013 #1 Overall Pick Anthony Bennett. What memories do you have as a kid playing at this prestigious school and what is the secret of its success and successful player recruitment?

 

Michael Peck is a big reason for the success. He was the coach then and now coaches the Idaho Stampede of the D-league. He had a great record in high school and was recently elected to the hall of fame. He gave every kid a fair chance and told you that you had to work on and off the court. He is a very genuine guy with a loving family. I respect him a lot.

 

 

How did your game develop and mature from your freshman year to junior year under head coach John Calipari?

 

 

He called me into his office and just told me what I had to do to just get minutes. His three words were defend, rebound and 50/50 balls. Being able to do these things got me noticed by the NBA. In my junior year we reached the NCAA Final Four and it was then that I felt I was ready to make the jump to the NBA.

 

 

 

When you look back at your three years at Kentucky do you ever think back and realize with what an amazing group of talented guys you played with guys like John Wall, Doron Lamb, Terence Jones, Darius Miller, Brandon Knight, Jodie Meeks or Patrick Patterson?

 

 

I look back and think about the times with them sometimes. I see them on TV so often and it is amazing how well they have done.

 

Who could forget the amazing 56-55 Uconn win over Kentucky in the 2011 Final four? Was this your most bitter loss in your career?

 

Yes it was a bitter loss. Everybody was hurt after that loss. We felt that we had the game won, but came up short. Kemba Walker was amazing in that game.

 

Do you see John Wall being the best point guard in the NBA in the future?

 

 

Yes I see him becoming the best point guard in the NBA. I always liked his leadership at Kentucky. He played so hard in practice like he wanted to be the #1 NBA pick. It is incredible how he is leading the Washington Wizzards now and he continues to develop so much.

 

 

 

How many times did you and Romeo Travis trade Lebron stories? I am sure he had many more?

 

 

Yes he had more stories. I like Romeo a lot. Knowing Romeo I knew that Lebron only surrounds himself with great people.

 

 

 

Who was your toughest cover in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

 

 

James Harden. He is an incredible player that can always get to the free throw line. Even if you play great defense, he finds a way to score. That is what makes him so tough to cover.

 

 

 

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

 

 

The Kingsman.

 

Thanks Deandre for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johannes Voigtmann Plays Fast Break Slam Dunk Basketball Leading The Fraport Skyliners To Their Seventh Win In A Row Defeating MBC 93-76

March 2, 2015

Sometimes a player gets that distinction of being too critical about certain offers and sits at home working out and waiting for the phone call to ring for that perfect offer that will get him a little bit more than what the previous team was offering. In the case of Fraport Skyliner Jacob Burtschi, it wasn´t so much about waiting for a team to call, but more that he wasn´t 100% healed from his back injury. He joined the Fraport Skyliners in February and two other players also returned to the Beko BBL late to the Mitteldeutscher BC with Beckham Wyrick in January and Mark mr fantastic Dorris in February. Over the years Dorris has made a name in the BBL having made incredible off balance shots for Phoenix Hagen where he looked like a gumby that has given headaches to his friend Quantez Robertson not only in Germany on the court, but also on the play grounds in their home town of Cincinnati. So far Dorris has played in only two games contributing to a 72-67 win against Braunschweig, but had misfortune shooting 0/6 and then scoring nine points against Oldenburg. In the last few weeks, Dorris got a taste of what Josh Parker experienced last season sitting on the bench because MBC keeping one too many import players. Wyrick on the other hand has had more luck having played five games averaging 7,0ppg and 3,6rpg. In his first game he mustered 11 points in a bitter 96-81 loss to Alba Berlin, but last weekend poured in 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but was unable to help get the team over the hump losing to Crailsheim 87-84. Wyrick like Burtschi is the teams glue guy that will do the extra on the court and little things that don´t get noticed on the stat sheet to help the team win. Wyrick has played numerous times against Frankfurt with teams like Bayreuth Bamberg and Leverkusen and still has memories of the breathtaking five game series in 2008 that Leverkusen lost on the last play not letting them reach the semi final. Dorris and Wyrick returned back to Frankfurt wanting to do damage while Burtschi was looking to stay perfect as he was 6-0 with Frankfurt since returning back to his old stomping ground for the third time. After 40 minutes Burtschi was 7-0 since returning while the MBC Cincinnati connection of Dorris and Wyrick combined for 14 points as it wasn´t enough as the Fraport Skyliners won their seventh game in a row defeating the Mitteldeutscher BC 93-76. “I thought that we played well. There were times in the game where he had problems moving the ball, but there will always be ups and downs in a game. Joe Voigtmann had an awesome game. We played decent as a team”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Justin Cobbs. The Mitteldeutscher came into the game reeling off a loss in Oldenburg 96 hours earlier and were without top scorer American Patrick Richard who saw close up from the bench why his team was unable to secure the win. “I thought that we competed well, but in the third quarter Frankfurt took over game. They started to hit shots and Cobbs did a great job controlling the game without having to score much. We couldn´t capitalize on their turnovers in the third quarter and took too many three pointers”, stressed Louisiana native Patrick Richard. “It was a close first half and we were able to pull away by stopping their energy and getting rebounds”, added Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi.

Sometimes players step up when they are being observed by the German national coach Chris Fleming which German twin tower two Johannes Voigtmann did eclipsing his best scoring game ever of 27 points besting his best Beko BBL mark of 22 points against BG Goettingen and 26 points in the Eurochallenge against Estonian club Tartu Rock. Voigtmann who will have difficult cards to play in the 2015 European championships if Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman play, but if they don´t the Eisenach native just could be a choice for Fleming. Voigtman started off well getting some buckets in the first quarter and then really dominated in the second and third quarters combining for 18 points. He was very aggressive in the post and really didn´t hesistate at all getting the ball and finishing with authority. He also as usual found his teammates demonstrating his dangerous kick out pass from the post finishing with five assists second best to the seven of Justin Cobbs and swatted away two balls. He even registered the play of the night and possibly the dunk of the season going coast to coast like a point guard in Quantez Robertson manner and then finishing with a powering one handed dunk. The only thing missing was a three pointer, but overall he was happy about his night as he had an efficiency of 37% and shot 10/12 from the field. “I thought that we played a good team game as six guys were in double figures. Whenever MBC guarded Cobbs well, he looked for me and did a good job getting me the ball. He found me early and I got going. I have to thank my teammates for finding me. When I got the rebound I didn´t think about going coast to coast, but about five times to whom I could pass the ball to. Then I started to dribble and got in a good swing and then it is hard to stop me”, smiled German national player Johannes Voigtmann. “You can call him Joey buckets. He did everything tonight. He saw the opportunity on that fast break and just went for it. It was a huge play”, stressed Justin Cobbs.

4,580 patrons visited the Fraport Skyliner arena on a late Sunday afternoon. The Mitteldeutscher BC was without leading scorer Patrick Richard who hurt his foot and Quantez Robertson had his Buckwheat hair-dew going. The first quarter showed two teams that were feeling each other out and where no team was able to slip away and get a big lead as there were nine lead changes. The Mitteldeutscher BC got on the board first from Island player Hordur Vilhjalmsson who got a three pointer to role in getting that Frankfurt bounce. Frankfurt charged back getting Voigtmann free throws and a Robertson jumper where Burtschi and Aaron Doornekamp supplied two touch passes to the Canadian. Mr fantastic Mark Dorris hit his bread and butter the step back and German Christian Standhardinger supplied free throws, but Frankfurt tied the game at 7-7 with a Doornekamp three pointer. Dorris kept up the offensive punch with a pull up jumper and Doornekamp connected with his second consecutive three pointer giving Frankfurt the 10-9 advantage. The lead changes continued to happen as Beckham Wyrick made a reverse lay up, Voigtmann a hook shot and Djordie Pantelic a lay in as MBC led 13-12. MBC then caught Frankfurt napping as Dorris went coast to coast for the lay in and 15-12 lead. Frankfurt retained the lead then with a Justin Cobbs three pointer 16-15. After Darryl Webb connected on free throws, Frankfurt ended the first quarter on a 6-2 run to lead 22-19 after one quarter. On the mini run, It was Mike Morrison who continued to always get the ball inside and even when he missed a dunk, he got a friendly Frankfurt bounce. Morrison and Cobbs also made free throws to extend the Frankfurt lead. “Both teams were very comfortable in their set play, found their options and were playing good team basketball. Morrison was very active and Frankfurt allowed Dorris to get going”, said Fraport Skyliners U-14 head coach Igor Starkevic. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 50% from outside while the Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 40% from the field and 14% from outside. MBC had the 12-6 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Frankfurt had only two turnovers.

The game remained tight in the second quarter and the Mitteldeutscher BC regained the lead only once as the Fraport Skyliners held the lead for the majority of the second quarter. MBC was able to tie the game at 26-26 as ex Phoenix Hagen guard Malte Schwarz hit a three pointer and Franz Massenat connected on a three pointer. Frankfurt got production from Morrison who scored inside and Voigtmann scored on an ally-op tip in from the Doornekamp feed. Voigtmann then scored in bunches making a hook shot and making his coast to coast run after grabbing a rebound and stuffing home the ball showing that he can run with the best of them even if he is only a center. Voigtman can shoot, pass, rebound and run something that Chris Fleming might have known before, but now actually saw happen live. Even if Frankfurt had the narrow 30-26 lead, the Mitteldeutscher BC was always lurking for chances and did going on a 6-0 run to retake the lead 32-30. Standhardinger started the run with a lay in and free throw and then sharp shooter Mark Liyanage who waited seven seasons to finally play Beko BBL after playing for teams like Nordlingen, Duesseldorf and BG Goettingen dropped a three pointer. Frankfurt took a page out of the MBC run book and stopped their momentum going on a 8-0 run to retake the lead 38-32 which they would never give up again that night. Voigtmann kept being an inside force getting free throws and grabbing an offensive rebound and making the put back. Cobbs also got going connecting twice with jumpers. However Frankfurt was unable to continue to work on their lead as MBC continued to be feisty clawing their way back as Vilhjalmmson hit a jumper and 204cm Serbian center Pantelic nailed a three pointer as no Skyliner came out to contest his shot as Frankfurt led 41-38. Dorris made free throws and Cobbs made a pull up jumper with two seconds to play as Frankfurt went into half time with the 43-40 advantage. “Cobbs got going, but both teams continued to play good offense and the defense wasn´t necessarily bad, but both teams just felt comfortable on offense and just beat good defense. Tez did a better job on Dorris on defense”, added Igor Starcevic.The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 54% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Mitteldeutscher BC were shooting 40% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Both teams had 17 rebounds, but Frankfurt had eight turnovers and MBC had seven turnovers.

Despite coughing the ball up eight times in the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners still were able to leave the floor after 30 minutes having a 11 point lead as MBC couldn´t hit the trunk of a car if they were standing in front of it. The Fraport Skyliners came out of the locker room going on a 8-2 run to lead 51-42. Voigtmann was involved in three of the four buckets as he made a hook shot in the paint, then found Doornekamp cutting inside for the lay in and then finished on the reverse lay up as Sean Armand found him. Robertson also scored an off balance jumper. MBC was able to capitalize on some Frankfurt turnovers going on a 6-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 52-48. Dorris hit two buckets and Webb made a runner. In the second half of the third quarter, Frankfurt continued to execute on offense as MBC didn´t. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter with a 12-5 run even if three of the five MBC points was a buzzer beater at the end. Frankfurt did a great job in the run finding the free throw line as Cobbs, Doornekamp and Robertson connected. Voigtmann also scored twice inside with a lay in and massive two handed dunk as Cobbs fooled everyone on the court penetrating and instead of taking a step back jumper made a quick shovel pass to the big man. Frantz Massenat ended the third quarter shocking the arena with an almost half court bank shot. Massenat took up the slack for the injured Patrick Richard and played a solid game connecting with 14 points. “Coach told me I had to be a leader, be aggressive and be in attack mode. In the third quarter they had many turnovers, but we couldn´t capitalize and missed too many three pointers”, said Frantz Massenat. “We were fortunate to have the lead, but we did a better job on their pick and role which hurt us in the first half. They also struggled with their three pointer which allowed us to keep the lead”, expressed Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 63% from the field and 50% from the parking lot while the Mitteldeutscher BC were shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 27-18 rebound edge as MBC hauled down only two rebounds that quarter. Frankfurt had 16 turnovers and MBC had 11.

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to extend their lead going on a 11-4 run to shut the door on the Mitteldeutscher BC. In the run it was Voigtmann scoring a bucket inside, hitting three free throws and Brooklyn native Sean Armand finally got going waking up dropping two big three pointers and saying good night to MBC at 18:25pm. MBC tried to come back, but each time the momentum of Frankfurt seemed to rise as Armand hit another three pointer. Armand hit his third and fourth three pointers of the fourth quarter as the Fraport Skyliners led 84-67. MBC had one last spec of comeback energy left going on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 84-72 as Schwarz nailed a three pointer and Webb snatched an offensive rebound and made the put back. Frankfurt then closed out the game with a 9-4 run. In the run, Herbert inserted young Germans Johannes Richter and Niklas Kiel. Morrison made a monster dunk, Cobbs made free throws as did Richter. Ex TBB Trier forward Oliver Clay did some cosmetic work for his stat line hitting consecutive baskets and Armand put an exclamation mark on the night with Second Good Night hitting his fifth three pointer of the fourth quarter. “Armand really took his time to get going, but in the fourth he took the opportunity and hit shots”, stressed Mark Dorris. “We have many great scorers, but Armand showed what he could do in the fourth quarter. I hope he takes that confidence into the next game in Bonn”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners had six players in double figures led by Johannes Voigtmann with 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Sean Armand added 15 points and Justin Cobbs 14 points and seven assists. Quantez Robertson contributed 13 points and Mike Morrison and Aaron Doornekamp 10 points a piece. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Frantz Massenat with 14 points. Christian Standhardinger and Mark Dorris contributed 12 points a piece and Djordje Pantelic added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 59% from the field and 53% from outside while MBC shot 40% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 34-29, but had 19 turnovers while MBC had 13 turnovers.

Marius Nolte Pulls An Easterling Powering The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Into The Playoffs Over The Saarlouis Royals 90-80

March 2, 2015

For guys like 18 year old Brit Jules Akodo who has had a whirlwind last couple of months after coming from the Union Olimpija Ljubljana junior team to Frankfurt where he has played NBBL and Pro B and last weekend was top scorer in two games against Urspring and BG Karlsruhe or Canadian Kyle Fossman who also can´t complain from an abundance of experience as a rookie having found action in the Beko BBL and Eurochallenge play came into the game against the Saarlouis Royals on a mission because with a victory they would be rewarded with a playoff berth while for Rickey Easterling of Saarlouis who poured in 42 points in the BCM in the 2009-2010 season against Eintracht Frankfurt and Filmore Beck came in very motivated and had nothing to play for except for pride since his club was sitting in last place and possibly headed back to the Regionaliga a place he had played six straight seasons if they don´t perform in the play downs soon. For Easterling who is a 31 year old 189cm point guard has been a legend in the German Regionaliga for years having dropped 56 points against Hanau, 48 points against Schweningen or 47 points against Mainz, but this season also proved that despite having moved up a level, the Baltimore native still has the knack of scoring. In the Regionaliga he may have averaged a ridiculous 29ppg in seven years including 30 points plus three times, but now in the Pro B he has been very solid averaging 21,4ppg, 4,7rpg and 5,3apg. Currently he is the fourth top scorer in the Pro B and has scored in double figures 19 times including twenty points or more 14 times and 30 plus points twice. Even if he isn´t quite as dominating in the Regionaliga where at times he was like a man playing with boys, he has proven over and over that he belongs to the top players in the German Pro B. With only a few games remaining in his season, he entered the BCM gym in Frankfurt motivated to end the season on a good note and with his exceptional play display why he could have his own nickname as “Mr Regionaliga” and with his slick looks also be approved with the other nickname “pretty Rickey”. However despite scoring 36 points, it wasn´t enough as Marius Nolte pulled an Easterling scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter including seven straight points to start the fourth quarter stopping the momentum of Saarlouis and demonstrated that he can score in bunches the way Easterling can powering the Fraport Skyliners Juniors into the playoffs with a 90-80 victory. “Marius Nolte was the reason why we won this game. He did what was necessary to win the game by fighting hard and scoring baskets. Nolte was the difference and if he hadn´t brought it it would have been difficult to win this game. We didn´t defend well enough and played their game and let Easterling do what he wanted to. The important thing is that we won and reached the playoffs”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev. Easterling played out his heart and was happy to be back in the BCM and his face lit up when told the German national coach Chris Fleming was in attendance. “The BCM is such a nice facility that just makes you want to perform well. It is nice when guys from a higher level come out and watch us play. I felt comfortable from the start and we knew that this was a big game. We wanted to steal one on the road, but couldn´t get the job done in the fourth quarter”, added Baltimore native Ricky Easterling. It is always nice when one of the bench players and role players comes up big when the team needed a boost. “Nolte saved our butts tonight. He led the team and showed great leadership when I had four fouls. We defended better in the fourth quarter and got some stops on Easterling”, stated Fraport Skyliners center Johannes Richter.

The Fraport Skyliners came into the game with a two game losing streak and wanted to get back on track to their old strength defense after having given up an average 103 points in the last two games while the Saarlouis Royals were looking for their third straight win after victories against Speyer and Lich. 26 year old Mukarem Mujkanovic got going early giving Saarlouis the 4-2 lead with two lay ins. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors found their rhythm quickly on offense getting a three pointer from Kevin Bright and Johannes Richter hook shot for the 7-4 lead. Even if Easterling was on the floor, it was Mujkanovic that continued to get on the board as he nailed a three pointer to tie the game at 7-7. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors also got infected by the three point bug connecting on three consecutive shots as Andrew Bock, Richter and Bright scored giving Frankfurt the 16-7 advantage. Frankfurt kept the lead getting a pull up jumper from Kyle Fossman and a put back from Niklas Kiel for the 20-10 lead. Frankfurt demonstrated a nice flow in their game with their inside out game as Richter dominated from all over the court nailing a jumper and Bock hit a three pointer for the 25-14 lead. Easterling started to get going showing his knack of being able to hit any mid distance jumper no matter how much traffic there was making two shots and cutting the Frankfurt lead to 25-18. California native Bock hit a few more jumpers giving the Fraport Skyliners Juniors the 32-22 lead after one quarter. “There wasn´t much defense in the first quarter as both teams shot very well as it was a fireworks show”, stressed Fraport Skyliners forward Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 45% from outside while Saarlouis was shooting 64% from the field and 50% from outside. Frankfurt led the rebound duel 11-7 and had one turnover while Saarlouis had three turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners continued to have the lead, but were never ever fully able to run away with the game as they let the Saarlouis Royals remain within striking distance. Easterling started off the second quarter with free throws and soon after hit another one of his bread and butter shots the mid distance cutting the Frankfurt lead to 34-26. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors just had more offensive weapons that came through as Nolte got an offensive rebound and put back and Canadian Kyle Fossman dropped a pull up jumper keeping Saarlouis at bay leading 41-28. Whenever Saarlouis attempted to make a push as Detroit native Karl Moore snuck inside for the easy bucket to cut the Frankfurt lead to 41-35, Frankfurt was able to pull away again as they had enough means on offense as Richter hit his bread and butter the mid distance jumper and Bock connected on a three pointer as Frankfurt led 46-35. Saarlouis kept fighting back and went on a 9-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 50-44. In the run Easterling scored in bunches with a lay in and floater and 21 year old German Waldemar Nap scored inside. Frankfurt closed out the second quarter with Bright free throws and a Richter lay in to lead 54-44. “The Frankfurt big men Niklas Kiel and Johannes Richter were doing a good job. Easterling was giving Frankfurt problems. The bad decision making and turnovers kept Frankfurt from having a bigger lead”, added ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. Frankfurt was well organized and did a good job with their inside out game”, added German national coach Chris Fleming. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 47% from the field and 40% from the three point line while Saarlouis was shooting 63% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the commanding 24-14 rebound edge and had two turnovers while Saarlouis had seven turnovers.

In the third quarter the Saarlouis Royals made their run and were able to cut the Frankfurt lead to only two points after 30 minutes. Both teams started to hit less shots as both tried to get a better handle on defensive assignments. The Fraport Skyliners started off the third quarter with a 5-0 run to lead 61-46 as it was the baby twin towers of Richter and Kiel that made baskets as the first deadly step of Kiel led to an easy lay in. However then it was the turn of Saarlouis to finally get something going on offense as they broke out on a 14-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 63-60. Saarlouis got a lot or production from various guys including consecutive buckets from American Bloochy Valbrun who played at Staten Island(NCAA3) cutting the Frankfurt lead to 61-52. It was obvious in a big run like that that Easterling couldn´t be idle and he connected on two mid distance jumpers that Frankfurt continued not being able to figure out how to stop. Kiel then finally got Frankfurt on the board again scoring inside, but Easterling countered with a pull up jumper cutting the Frankfurt lead to 65-62. Nolte then made a heads up play getting a defensive rebound and firing a quick outlet pass to German Jamin Knothe for the easy break away lay up. A costly Frankfurt error at the end set up three free throws for Valbrun as Frankfurt led only 67-65 after three quarters. “We changed up our defense a little and just fought harder. On offense we took good care of the ball, executed and played as a team”, stressed Ricky Easterling. “Saarlouis played a box and one, but I feel that we just didn´t execute the way we knew how. We also got less offensive rebounds in that quarter”, added Johannes Richter. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 32% from the parking lot while Saarlouis was shooting 57% from the field and 14% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 37-26 rebound edge and eight turnovers while Saarlouis had 11 turnovers.

If one would of picked the likely player to get Saarlouis the big lead one would have picked Ricky Easterling and on the side of Frankfurt the baby twin towers or Kyle Fossman, but Marius Nolte? The 34 year old German that played 242 Beko BBL games and saw his share of brutal play inside has been the perfect role player from the bench giving the baby twin towers a rest, scoring here and there and getting rebounds, but in the fourth quarter the Paderborn native showed that Frankfurt had their own Easterling even if it was in the body of a 206cm center. After Michael Klein tied the game at 67-67 with a turnaround shot, it was Nolte getting busy scoring three consecutive buckets and giving Frankfurt the 73-67 lead. On all three buckets Nolte owned the paint area as he showed why he still loves to play the game giving his team 110%, intensity and heart. Fossman then set up Kiel for the two handed dunk ending a 9-0 run giving Franfurt the 76-67 lead. Easterling answered with a turn around shot as Frankfurt led 76-69. Nolte kept the momentum on the side of Frankfurt with a free throw and offensive rebound and put back for the 79-69 lead. Saarlouis still wouldn´t lay down and die as they fought until the end. Easterling scored inside cutting the Frankfurt lead to 79-72. Frankfurt continued to do a good job drawing fouls as Nolte hit two free throws for the 81-72 lead. Easterling and ex TBB Trier guard Alexander Goolsby hit timely three pointers to keep knocking at the Frankfurt back door trailing 83-78. However Richter ultimately slammed the door in the face of Saarlouis as he scored six consecutive points with a three pointer and reverse lay up. “We fell apart in the first five minutes. We had turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds to let them get the lead back to 10 points. Then we just ran out of time. When you play on the road you need to take advantage of everything and we didn´t do that in the fourth quarter”, stressed Ricky Easterling. “We reached our season goal and now the season really starts. Our biggest strength tonight was offensive rebounds”, stressed Johannes Richter. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Johannes Richter with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Marius Nolte added 21 points and 10 rebounds. Niklas Kiel added 14 points and 12 rebounds while Andrew Bock contributed 13 points. The Saarlouis Royals were led by Ricky Easterling with 36 points. Bloochy Valbrun and Muharem mujkanovic had 10 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners shot 41% from the field and 30% from outside while Saarlouis shot 51% from the field and 27% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebounding duel 53-33 and had 12 turnovers while Saarlouis had 16 turnovers.

 

Patrick Richard(Mitteldeutscher BC) I Believe You Learn In Games You Win And Also In Games You Lose

March 1, 2015

 

Patrick Richard is a 25 year old 196cm swingman from Carencro, Louisania that is playing his first season in the Beko BBL for the Mitteldeutscher BC. He played four years at  Mc Neese St. (NCAA) and as a senior played 32 games: 18.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 27.9%, FT: 76.9%. In 2012-2013, he started his professional basketball career being drafted by the  Iowa Energy (D-League) and played at Sandringham Sabres (Australia-SEABL-East, starting five): 24 games: 18.5ppg, 6.4rpg, 2.1apg, 2FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 80.7%. Last season he played in Holland for  Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie, starting five): 38 games: Score-4(15.3ppg), 4.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Fraport Skyliners March ist.

 

 

Pat thanks for talking to German Hoops. How are you feeling today? You scared basketball Germany getting injured in Oldenburg. How long are you expected to be out?

Hi miles! I’m in some pain of course but blessed that all results came back in the good area for me! And I’m not sure about being out for anytime or how long! Day to day situation with me!

A tough 79-72 loss in Oldenburg. It seems as the consistent inside out game of Oldenburg was too much for MBC as they controlled the boards and shot 50% from outside.

Yea it was a tough loss! I believe we controlled the game a lot of the night but they hit shots when they needed to and we didn’t!

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg have a deep and talented roster. Do you see them having any chance of betaing a Berlin, Munich or Bamberg in a five game playoff series?

I believe in the playoffs anyone can get hot and do things against teams!

After a two game winning streak MBC has suffered a two game losing streak. Why has the team stayed so inconsistent after that 7-2 start?

We have been inconsistent! Losing a lot of those games by a close margin may have messed with the team morale! But we continue to work hard every week!

The Mitteldeutscher BC also have lost four close games with four or less points. With your experience is winning close games something you can learn only with experience as a club?

I believe you learn in games you win and also games you lose! Those close game losses may come with lack of experience playing with each other!

The club always stated that the season goal is to stay in the league, but currently the team is only two wins a way from a playoff spot. Is a late season run possible?

The goal for the club is to stay in the BBL! We take one game at a time that’s the goal just to go each week focused on the next opponent! Anything is possible though!

The club has brought in three Americans with Beckham Wyrick, Mark Dorris and Darry Webb. Is this the right mix and what has been your impression of all three players?

I like all three Guys! Each bring different things to the team. D Webb is a presence inside despite his height! Becks is a smart player than can stretch the floor with his shooting and is a good defender! And mark Dorris is a player that had experience and is very athletic! Plays hard on both ends!

After scoring in double figures in his first eight games, German Christian Standhardinger has only done it twice in his next 13 games. Is Standhardinger a different player now?

I’m not sure the difference with Christain! Teams do scout and it gets tougher throughout the season! The BBL is a tough league as well so adjustments have to be made weekly!

The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners who have a six game winning streak. They are coming off a tiring three day trip to Russia. What kind of game can we expect?

I don’t predict games but I know we will prepare for them and go for it all against them!

How can MBC compensate your loss in Frankfurt? Is this the right opportunity for Standhardinger to have a monster game?

I think as a team we just all have to come together! Everyone has to be ready and prepared mentally! If I can’t play I trust in every one of my teammates!

What has been the most amazing thing you have seen Mark Dorris do in practice? Have you ever seen a player like him that can score the impossible shot in traffic?

I’ve played with someone like him. A little similar! He just knows how to score and surprisingly very athletic!

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

The five heartbeats last DVD! Thanks miles

 

Thanks Patrick for the chat.

 

Antonio Graves(Artland Dragons) I Don´t Go On The Floor To Just Use My Athletic Ability But Take The Game Two Steps Ahead

February 28, 2015

Antonio Graves is a 29 year old 191cm guard from Mansfield, Ohio that is playing his eighth professional season and second with the Artland Dragons. He played at Pittsburgh(NCAA) from 2003-2007 playing a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 66.3%. He started his professional basketball career in 2007 for the Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA): 13 games: 19.5ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 44.9%, FT: 77.3%, in Dec.’07 moved to Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez (France-ProA): French League: 18 games: Score-2(20.4ppg), 2.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 43.5%, FT: 82.8%; ULEB Cup: 3 games: 10.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg. In the 2008-2009 season he played for Galatasaray Cafecrown Istanbul (Turkey-TBL) Eurocup Qualifications: 4 games: 12.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 4.5apg, 1.3spg; EuroChallenge: 9 games: 15.3ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.3apg; Turkish League: 32 games: 15.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 67.9%. In the 2009-2010 season he played for KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (Croatia-A1) Adriatic League: 9 games: 8.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 94.4%; Euroleague: 4 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.0apg, in Jan.’10 moved to Hapoel Holon (Israel-Premier League) 13 games: 10.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 72.3%. In the 2001-2011 season he played for KK Cibona VIP Zagreb (Croatia-A1) Adriatic League: 9 games: 8.6ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 22.2%, FT: 94.4%; Euroleague: 4 games: 4.5ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.0apg, in Jan.’10 moved to Hapoel Holon (Israel-Premier League) 13 games: 10.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 72.3%. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Canton Charge (D-League, starting five), left in Mar.’12: 27 games: 8.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 75.9%. In the 2012-2013 seaosn he played for Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia (Italy-Lega2) 40 games: 15.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 75.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen.

 

 

 

 

Antonio thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are in Tuebingen now preparing for the game against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. What do you remember most from last season in Tuebingen your 18 points or the 104-64 loss?

 

I remembered the loss most. It was near the end of the season as we were still trying to move up in the playoff places. We lost pretty bad in Tuebingen and it was a game that we forgot quickly.

 

 

Losing by 40 points isn´t so typical. Was that one of your worst loses in your professional career?

 

It was definitely one of the worst loses in my career. I actually thought that we lost by 20, but it was hard to believe that it was 40 points.

 

The Artland Dragons are currently in 10th place with a record of 11-12. At the start of December the team started a six game losing streak and since then have a record of 3-3. Why is such a strong roster so inconsistent?

 

That is a great question. That is a question that has been hanging over us and we are trying to figure out what the solution is. We still have many games left to make a turn around. I think that the league is stronger this season, but that isn´t an excuse that we should have. We have underachieved, but we are confident that we can turn it around. We had a nice playoff run last year, but want to do better than last year. Anything is possible. We know that we have the potential and we hope that we can find it in the stretch run.

 

 

What has the team been able to improve on the defense end since the six game losing streak where the club gave up 80 plus points five times and in the last six games only one time?

 

It has taken us longer to get our defensive concept down because we play a certain kind of defensive scheme. We like to take teams out of what they do best and take that pick and role away. Playing this way is unconventional and getting that trust with each other has taken longer. We have practiced it in the Eurocup play and the coaching staff has done a great job with us and having us understand it better

 

 

Do you see the team making a run in the last two months to reach the playoffs?

 

I am confident that we will make a run. Nobody wants to match up against us in the playoffs. We are a scary team and we know it and so do our opponents.

 

 

You are playing your second season with the Artland Dragons and returned eight players. Which returning player do you feel has improved the most this season?

 

I don´t know. It really has been hard to understand why we have been underachieving because each guy works so hard during practice. Our intensity is there and we try to be the best that we can. I can´t choose one player that has made the most strides because each guy has.

 

 

You have improve your stats in the Beko BBL and Eurocup this season. Despite a team with many scorers has your role changed?

 

I think that my role is the same. I understand our offense more and what my coaches expect from me. I also am doing a better job of picking my spots and finding my teammates. I think the improvement has come because of another year of experience. I know my situation now and coming to a team is always an adjustment.

 

 

You have played with many great point guards in your career, but where does David Holston rank in your alltime best point guard teammates?

 

He is up there with the best. He is a match up nightmare. I played against him in Turkey where he scored a lot and now he is my teammate and he is more selfless than I thought. He is an amazing player and guy. It is great being his teammate for a second season.

 

 

You are 29 years old. What have you been able to learn most from young head coach Tyron Mccoy?

 

 

I have learned a lot from him. He has a high basketball IQ. He played at a high level and wants us to play at that level as well. I have learned to be a better player on offense and defense and not just to go out on the court and use my athletic ability, but to be able to take the game two steps ahead and also know when too slow it down.

 

 

Two years ago you helped Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia (Italy-Lega2) win the title with only two Americans. What was the secret of the success?

 

I played with an amazing group of guys. I have to also give a lot of credit to our coach who had a great feel for his players and knew what each guy needed and we accepted our roles and understood what to do. I was watching an NBA game the other night between the Cavs and Warriors and Steve Kerr said it best in that a team is only as good as their role players. Our role players were like stars. Having these kind of role players made it so much more easier for Michael Hicks and I.

 

 

In the 2010-2011 season you played with Banvit Basketbol Kulubu (Turkey-TBL). What memories do you have of Keith Simmons who started his professional basketball career in Germany with Frankfurt?

 

Keith Simmons was an awesome guy. He was a hard worker, great defensive player and a high character guy. He was a guy that fit his role. He came to Turkey after playing in Germany where he had a totally different role and then had to play excellent defense, shut down the oppoents best player and hit shots. He fit the puzzle to the team. He accepted a different role with Banvit and that is why he has had such a long career there.

 

In the 2009-2010 season you split with Cibona and then finished with Hapoel Holon (Israel-Premier League). What memories do you have of American Titus Ivory who suffered a stroke some years ago?

 

Titus Ivory was a great guy. He was one of the veterans that welcomed me with open arms. I never saw him get down once or have a bad day no matter what the situation was. He helped me get adjusted in Israel. I am sorry to hear that about his stroke. A big problem is that it is hard keeping up with players, because you moving around so often from team to team. I am so thankful that I am playing for the Artland Dragons and this is the first time since college that I have played for the same team for two seasons. It isn´t easy always having to make an adjustment moving from team to team.

 

 

As a rookie you played for Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez (France-ProA) which was your first station in Europe. What was your wake up call to being a professional in Europe that season?

 

I never thought that I would play professional basketball after Pittsburgh(NCAA). I simply had no offers from anybody. I still had some credits to finish at Pittsburgh, so I remained and played semi pro ball with the Pittsburgh Xplosion (CBA). It didn´t help my confidence at the start that I hardly played, but then I got a chance there and played well. Then came a call from France from Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez (France-ProA) and I finished the season strong. My dream finally started being a professional basketball player even if I thought I would never make it.

 

 

You reached two NCAA Sweet 16 games in 2004 and 2007. Which one was the sweetest?

 

The 2007 run was the sweetest. It was my senior year, I was one of coach Dixon´s first recruits and I was able to play against UCLA and it was a big deal. We were a great bunch of guys and it was the best time for me at Pittsburgh. I loved every moment and it was at the height of my success there.

 

You played with many future NBA players like Sam Young or Aaron Gray or great players like Gilbert Brown or Jermaine Dixon. Who was your best teammate at Pittsburgh?

All those guys were great. Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon were great guys, but were younger. I would have to choose between Aaron Gray and Sam Young. Aaron and I were roommates there and are still friends today. Sam Young and I always worked out then as well as last summer. Both guys inspired me so much. Both guys also helped me through the rough times. If I had to choose I would pick Aaron because we came in together in 2003 and it was special.

 

Who was the toughest player that you battled against in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

 

I tell my teammates all the time why I love defending is because of all the great players I have played against in my career. I will never forget playing against Ben Gordon when I was a freshman. We were something like third in the country playing against #1 UCONN. I played against him in Madison Square Garden in New York in the Big East tournament. It was a special moment and I really looked up to him.

 

How much is sky is the limit for Isiah Hartenstein? Does he have the game to reach the top level in Europe of even NBA?

 

It is scary that he hasn´t stopped growing yet despite being so tall already. I can´t believe it. He competes against us in practice and is still a kid. I think that he has NBA potential. His dad keeps him in the gym all the time.

 

Your brother is named Miles as am I. How many other Miles´s have you got to know in your life?

 

Just you two.

 

Why do so many good basketball players come from the state of Ohio?

That is hard to understand since Ohio is typically a football state. I think that a lot of it has to do that we have a very good AAU program. I played against Lebron a few times when I was a kid. That is when I saw how high the level is in Ohio. Ohio is a good spot for sports.

 

 

 

What was the last DVD movie that you saw?

 

The Imitation game, but the best movie that I saw in the last month was Whiplash.

 

Thanks Antonio for the chat.

 

 

 

 

Can Late Season Additions With That Cincinnati Flair Spark The Mitteldeutscher BC On A Run In The Stretch Drive?

February 27, 2015

 

 

Just getting a solid team chemistry to function throughout a season can give coaches headaches or that give me a small gold star for my forehead from my first grade teacher for success feeling, but then again the job of getting that togetherness on and off the court to work gets double as difficult when there are players that come and go throughout the season ripping through that team chemistry like an arrow does through a bulls eye. This season Mittledeutscher BC head coach Silvano Poropat has witnessed this up and down with player´s play that he was forced to make changes as experienced forward Simonas Serapinas and American rookie Ryan Nicholas departed. In January he hauled in experienced American Beckham Wyrick and in February experienced Americans Mark Mr fantastic Dorris and Darryl Webb. Wyrick is a 31 year old 198cm forward form Cincinnati that has played his whole career in Germany starting with Leverkusen as a rookie, two seasons with Bamberg where he won a title, one with FC Bayern Munich where he played for legendary head coach Dirk Bauermann and the last three seasons in Bayreuth. Last season was one to forget as his minutes dipped and it seemed like it could be his last. However Poropat still believed in his abilities and since coming to Weissenfels, Wyrick has played five games averaging 7,0ppg and 3,6rpg while scoring 15 points against Crailsheim and 11 points against Alba Berlin. Even while these games went lost, he gave support in the wins against playoff type teams Braunschweig and ratiopharm Ulm. Wyrick is the smart veteran that can score in bunches and just a little bit of everything. Poropat also brought back Mark Dorris who strangely is also from Cincinnati and also hadn´t had a team this season and was just waiting for that best offer that never came until MBC called. Dorris is a 29 year old 188cm guard that played at Marshall and like Wyrick his whole career in Germany with Cuxhaven, Phoenix Hagen and Ludwigsburg. He is a guy compariable to a player like American Chris Denson of Holland club Den Bosch in that he makes impossible shots in the lane while being off balance. So far Dorris has found action in only one game where he had serious misfortune putting up the big goose egg going 0/6 shooting. He has been spending most time watching as the team has one import player too much. In Oldenburg Dorris finally scored his first MBC points with nine. .Maybe Dorris will find some action against the Fraport Skyliners and duel against his friend Quantez Robertson. He is averaging 4,5ppg, 1,0rpg and 1,0apg. Finally the last of the new trio is Darryl Webb who is a 27 year old 198cm forward. He is playing his fourth professional season having played for Crailsheim as a rookie and lost to MBC in the Pro A playoffs which propelled MBC back to the BBL in 2012. In his second season he dominated the Dutch league posting 14 and 10 stats for Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie). Last season he played for the Hitachi Sunrockers Tokyo (Japan-NBL) playing 26 games and averaging 13.2ppg, 9.3rpg. This season he was back to his double double stats with BBC Monthey (Switzerland-LNA) playing 18 games and averaging 15.8ppg, 11.2rpg. So far in two games he is averaging 5,3ppg and 6,0 rpg. In his debut against ratiopharm Ulm he posted solid stats of nine points, seven rebounds and four assists in the victory. In the loss in Oldenburg he had solid stats with seven points and eight boards. Webb is the perfect guy to come from the bench and compliment the games of Christian Standhardinger and Djordje Pantelic and describes his role, how his game has improved since his Crailsheim days and if MBC can make a run in the last two months. “Coach talked to me and told me he wants me to be an inside presence, rebound, and just be active on defense. Passing it out of the post quicker, getting to the basket quicker are things I’ve improved on, off the dribble not so much. I think the team is just taking it one game at a time and trying to get better every day also doing whatever it takes to stay in the BBL”, warned Darryl Webb.

Often with a limited budget and players having big seasons, it is difficult to hold guys as Angelo Caloiaro, Josh Parker(third league Turkey) and Marcus Hatten all left. Silvano Poropat who has a strong ability of making the best out of what he has to offer kept only three players and made a face lift of his roster. The team held 30 year old 204cm forward veteran Djordje Pantelic who has played in countries like France, Cyprus, Greece Romania, and Serbia, but never three seasons for one club as he is doing now with MBC. Last season for MBC he played 33 games averaging 6.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, Blocks-4(1.3bpg), FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 66.2%. he is a solid offensive player, but shines on defense where he is the anchor on defense being second and fourth in blocks in the BBL the last two years and currently leads the league in that category. The oldest standing player on the roster is captain Malte Schwarz who is a 25 year old 188cm guard who is playing his foruth season in Weissenfels. He is a fierce three point shooter and brings the team that extra energy each day on the court. Last season he played 34 games averaging 7.4ppg, 1.1apg, FGP: 36.6%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 81.1%. He also will always be able to tell his grandchildren about the famous Michael Jordan tirade in Frankfurt in 2010. The club also held 27 year old 205cm forward Oliver Clay. He started his basketball in the Alba Berlin organization and also got valuable experience in Trier and Wurzburg. He is playing his second season in Weissenfels and is a durable role player inside. Last season he caught the injury bug and played only 14 games averaging 3.1ppg, 2.0rpg.

The team brought in nine new players with the biggest surprise being German Christian Standhardinger who is a 25 year old 203cm forward from Munich. He started his basketball career in 2004 with DJK SB Muenchen. He then played three seasons for Ralph Junge at Ehningen before going to the States. He played at Nebraska(NCAA) for two seasons, but ha doff court problems and transferred to Hawaii (NCAA) where he put up amazing stats and improved his scoring, rebounding and assists each season and as a senior played 29 games averaging 17.9ppg, 8.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.0%, 3PT: 25.6%, FT: 76.7%. Despite the good stats the conference he played in didn´t attract the NBA scouts. Besides bringing in Patrick Richard, the team also signed Simonas Serapinas who is the other 30 plus player on the team that gives valuable experience. He is a 32 year old 197cm swing man from Lithuania that has played in countries like Greece, Ukraine and Italy and top teams like B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas, Aris Thessaloniki and Azovmash Mariupol. His shooting and 64 Euroleague experience should be his most valuable asset to the young kids. However Serapinas lasted only to the half way mark as he was let go.

The team also brought back Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson who is a 26 year old 190cm point guard from Iceland. He played from MBC from 2011-2013 helping MBC move back up to the Beko BBL. His off the dribble shooting and defense ability has welcomed him back after he went for the money last season with Blancos de Rueda Valladolid (Spain-Liga Endesa), but didn´t get the minutes he wanted playing 27 games and averaging only 3.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.1apg. MBC also brought in two Americans with Frantz Masssenat and Ryan Nicolas. Massenat is a 193cm guard from Ewing, New Jersey that is a rookie in the Beko BBL. He played at Drexel(NCAA) form 2010-2104 helping the club reach the NIT Elite 8 in 2012 and was able to improve his scoring each season. As a senior he played 30 games: 17.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 72.1%. He is a point guard that likes to penetrate and set up his teammates, but also has a solid shot. Ryan Nicholas is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Spokane, Washington that is also a rookie who played at Portland(NCAA). He also improved his scoring and rebounding each season and as a senior played 30 games: 13.0ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 76.9%. His biggest asset is his rebounding and dirty work mentality which someone has to do. MBC also didn´t hold him despite having a solid rookie campaign. Marc Liyanage is a 24 year old 198cm guard that is playing his first season for MBC. He started his basketball career in 2007 with Bramfelder SV Hamburg (2.Regionalliga). Since then he played one season in the States with Delta(NCAA2) playing 25 games and 108 Pro A games with Nordlingen, Duesseldorf and BG Goettingen. His shooting and aggressive defense should earn him some minutes this season. Kristian Kuhn is a 27 year old 208cm center that started his basketball career in 2004 with SC Bergstrasse (Landesliga). He also had experience in the States playing for Trinity Valley JC (JUCO) and N Arizona(NCAA). In Germany he played for teams like TV Langen, Ehingen, Cuxhaven, Heidelberg and last season Science City Jena where he played 35 games averaging 7.6ppg, 5.5rpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 46.9%. Robert Zinn is a 19 year old 196cm shooting guard that started his basketball career in the Ludwigsburg system. Last season he moved to Bike-Cafe Messingschlager Baunach (ProB) 14 games: 1.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.0apg, played also at TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (Regionalliga) 17 games: 10.5ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.8apg. This season he also has a license to play for the BSW Sixers(PRO B). He is a big German talent that Poropat should try to give minutes for his development.

When comparing this seasons team with last, one wouldn´t necessarily be able to say this seasons is stronger or more talented. But they started 7-2 speaks and were sitting in fourth place before teams like Bamberg, Artland and Ulm. One could say the club pretty much beat the teams they had to in that early stint and lost to the ones they weren’t expected to beat like Munich and Bamberg, but they did beat Artland. Early on they showed an unbelievable ability of keeping their nerves and winning tight games as they beat TBB Trier by three points and Tuebingen and Phoenix Hagen by one point and Braunschweig in overtime. There were many reasons why the 2004 Fiba cup winner has started so well. For starters they found a rhythm quickly and the preseason preparation was meticulous. The club surely would have lost a few more games had Standhardinger not been on the team. Also their home court advantage is something that hurts opponents who come in awaiting to find an easy game. The strong team mentality and character is another asset to the success. The club has many players wanting to prove themselves which ups the motivation a tick more each game. Last but not least to add to all these points is the superb coach Silvano Poropat who is one of those coaches that lives basketball and deserves a lot of credit for the success. “I believe our success is credited to our coach on how hard he is on us and also everyone is playing together as a team. We focus on sharing the ball and also communication each game. We also focus on taking each game at a time. Coach definitely deserves a lot of credit. His will do win is very high and I believe that shows by how hard we play each game. He wants to win sometimes as bad as we do which is great. He also has a system that fits the type of players we have. As far as crunch time goes each time it’s been different people. I believe that for opposing teams that is hard to defend if a game comes down to the end like that. I believe we as a team can accomplish anything this season, but the key is to focus on one game and each week at a time. We can’t think ahead, “ warned Patrick Richard. However as is the case so often in the beautiful game of basketball, the fortunes changed as all of a sudden out of the blue nothing seemed to work anymore as the club went from playoff team to a team forced to the back of the standings with an annoying 10 game losing streak which started against the Fraport Skyliners and Justin Cobbs who made his debut in that game. After the loss to Frankfurt, they lost three tight games to Bayreuth, Bonn and Crailsheim by a combined total of eight points. Suddenly the team was unable to win the close games. Except for another close loss this time with four points to ratiopharm Ulm, the team mostly lost easily and were blown out by Ludwigsburg by 26 points and Bonn by 30 points. As of late the team has won two of their last four games, but the bad news not only lost in Oldenburg, but top scorer Patrick Richard had a hard collision with Philipp Neumann and his status for the game Sunday in Frankfurt is unknown at the moment. Last weekend the crunch time blues were on the menu again as they were nipped by 18th placed team Crailsheim Merlins 87-84. This should be a very interesting game in Frankfurt as both teams are on a run as MBC is trying to rebound from a two game losing streak and Frankfurt is playing great basketball having a six game winning streak, but could still be tired from the Russia trip. The Mitteldeutscher BC has won the last two games in Frankfurt, but best in memory the loss in Leipzig this season where they were outrebounded badly 26-12, but had a first class day coughing up the ball only five times. A lot will depend if German Christian Standhardinger can finally regain his form after starting the season scoring in double figures in the first eight games, he has done it only twice in the last 12 games. When his game is off, the MBC offense suffers. If Frankfurt can control Patrick Richard and Christian Standhardinger then it should be an easy win for Frankfurt and there won´t be any overtime this weekend.

 

 

 

 

In the short two year tenure that the Mitteldeutscher BC had from 2009-2011, the Frankfurt Skyliners were able to leave the floor each time as the winner and have a positive 4-0 record in that time. In the 2009-2010 season who could forget the exciting 76-74 win in MBC as Frankfurt was down 10 points and made  a big comeback in the last minutes as American guard Aubrey Reese won the game with a shot. Frankfurt won the game at home 77-65 as American Jimmy Mckinney led Frankfurt with 17 points, Derrick Allen added 12 points and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller 11 points. In the 2010-2011 season, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners had an easier time winning as they routed the Wolves 83-52 at home as Dashaun Wood had a type of Derrick Rose performance with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists. Dominik Bahiense De Mello added 13 points and KImmo Muurinen 11 points. Frankfurt won in Weissenfels 70-58 as Dashaun Wood poured in 26 points and Quantez Robertson steered 11 points. In the 2012-2013 season, the Fraport Skyliners were swept in the season series and were surprised at home losing to the Mitteldeutscher BC 71-68 as MBC had the better nerves in crunch time. MBC was led by American Morris Curry with 20 points who could penetrate at ease all night long and American Kelly Beidler streered 17 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Steve Wachalski contributed 11 points and Chad Timberlake 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 24 points and nine rebounds and Quantez Robertson had 12 points. In Weissenfels, MBC won 73-65 and were led by Hoerdur Vilhjalmsson and Chad Timberlake with 16 points a piece. Devin Uskoski chipped in with 14 points and Osvaldo Jeanty with 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zack Peacock with 19 points. Ted Scott added 13 points and Quantez Robertson 10 points. Last season the Mitteldeutscher BC won the season series clobbering Frankfurt at home 87-57 as Josh Parker had 19 points and Marcus Hatten 15 points and 10 assists. Malte Schwarz contributed 14 points and four three pointers for insurance. The Fraport Skyliners were led by JarredDubois with 14 points and Andrew Rautins added 12 points. In the return game, Frankfurt lost one of their many crunch time games in the second half of the season 66-64. Angelo Caloiaro had 13 points and Michael Cufee 12 points. Frankfurt was led by Johannes Voigtmann with 15 points. In the first game this season the Fraport Skyliners won in Leipzig 73-62 and were led by Johannes voigtmann and Aaron Doornekamp with 14 points a piece. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Patrick Richard with 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners host MBC March 1st.

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