Alex Foster(RheinStars) We Dug Ourselves A Deep Hole But Are Climbing Out

Alex Foster is a 24 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and is playing his second professional season with the RheinStars(Germany-ProA). Last season as a rookie with the RheinStars he played 29 games averaging 9.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 78.4%He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior played 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.





Thanks Alex for talking to German HoopsHow did you get into 2017 and did you have any new years resolutions or are you more a guy that doesn´t believe in that hype?
I brought in the New Year with friends here in Cologne, but didn’t make any big new years resolutions. I still have some goals from 2016 that I’m working towards.
This season the RheinStars didn´t have a long holiday break as you had a game on the 23rd of December against the ETB Wohnbau Baskets and on the seventh of January against Baunach. Do you feel this was more beneficial in keeping the team sharp or could a few more days rest helped the club?
Last season we only got two days off, so this year’s holiday break felt much longer. Unfortunately, we went into the break after a bitter loss. It was tough having to wait so long to play again, but once I put that loss behind me, I enjoyed the holidays with my family. As for the team, I think everyone came back from the break with some extra motivation for the second half of the season.
How important was the win against Baunach to start 2017 after the bitter loss to Essen before Christmas in having the team have the right focus going into the Hanau game?
It was important for us to get back to winning. There aren’t that many games left in the regular season so very win comes at a premium.
Just like last season, winning in Hanau didn´t happen, but the club came out with a lot better effort at home against them. What in your opinion is always most difficult when playing Hanau?


They always come in with energy and confidence, which makes them a tough team to beat, but we kept their offence in check and made enough plays ourselves to get the win.
The game was no easy matter as it was tight going into the fourth quarter.


What do you feel was key in the fourth quarter for pulling out the win and getting your second win in a row in 2017?
We tightened up our defense in the second half and played together offensively. We’re starting to develop a win-at-all-costs identity and I think that showed against both Baunach and Hanau.
Kruize Pinkins had another typical strong game with 23 points and 10 rebounds. You have faced him 4 times now. Why in your opinion is he such a tough guy to stop?
He’s great around the rim and his teammates do a good job of finding him in scoring areas. Defending him, you have to stay engaged on defense at all times.
The RheinStars are in eighth place with a record of 9-9. What was your first half summary of the season?
We dug ourselves a deep hole, but are climbing out.
How much potential is in this season´s team? The team is eighth best in points scored and points let up? In what area does the team have the most potential to do harm?
I think we have the potential to go all the way. Ultimately, we want to hold down our home court for the rest of the season and start knocking off teams on the road.
How valuable was the pick up of former BBL player Anthony King? What does he give the team most besides experience at that low post presence?
AK brings a calm sense of confidence to our team. He’s a player you want with the ball when the game is on the line. Plus, he helps bring out the best in his teammates.

It seems like Richard Williams has been playing a bit under his expectations, but he hasn´t been totally fit. How soothing is it knowing that when he breaks out, the club will be even more dangerous?
I think Richie’s done a great job learning and running the offense in such a short time. I was amazed by how fast he picked up all of our sets. He’s made winning plays since he first got here, which I’m sure will continue throughout the season.
How content have you been with your game? You pretty much have the same stats as last season, but your playing 10 minutes less. Do you feel like you have become more of an efficient player this season?
Our roster is stacked with talent, so I didn’t expect as many minutes as last season, but I know that for our team to be great, I need to play my role well. I’ve also gotten a better feel for European game since I got here, which helps my game.
Your right near the 40% mark from outside. How content are you that you can make that plateau in the second half of the season?
I expect that of myself.
What are your personal continued goals for this season as a player? On what things are you working on on the defensive end to become a better player?
Right now, my focus is on helping my team get to the playoffs. On defense, I want to be able to stop my man one-on-one and help my teammates within the concept.
In December you watched a game of your friend Will Trawick in Rhondorf. How much do you miss playing with him? At Emory(NCAA3) you played three years together.
He’s carved out a good spot for himself in Rhondorf and it was fun to watch help play live. I’m sure we’ll have a chance to play together this summer back at Emory.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
It as good as any player has every ran the floor and shot the ball.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Lebron and Curry are NBA Champions, so Russ still has some work to do.
What was the last movie that you saw?

La La Land.

Thanks Alex for the chat.

Vaughn Duggins (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) I Can Play A Lot Better And Will Try To Prove That When I Get Back On The Court

Vaughn Duggins is a 29 year old 190cm guard from Pendleton, Indiana that is playing his sixth professional season, fourth in Germany and second with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Last season with Oldenburg he played 36 games: 14.7ppg, 3.1rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.5%; Eurocup: 18 games: 11.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 83.7%. He started his basketball career in 2006 with  Wright St. (NCAA) where he played until 2011 paying a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played  33 games averaging 18.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 44.7%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 82.2%. In 2011, he started his professional basketball career in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played until 2013 and in his second season played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 82.0%. He then played two seasons in France with  Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France-ProA): 31 games: 10.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 85.9%; Eurocup: 10 games: 10.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.2% and Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA, starting five): 32 games: 14.5ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 79.3%; Eurocup: 12 games: 11.1ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.6%, FT: 78.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball recently during holiday time..

Vaughn thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you and how have you enjoyed the Christmas time in Germany this season?

I’m currently at my apartment in Oldenburg. The Holiday season in Germany is always amazing. Now that I’m able to share it with my wife and son, it makes it even more special. My mom, Paula, came to visit as well so I have gotten to spend a lot of time with all of them.

You have experienced some Christmas markets over the years in Germany, but where did the Christmas market rank in my all-time favorite city of Hamburg?

The Hamburg Christmas market is high level, and it is always great to experience what each city does differently. It is definitely in my top 3, but Tübingen’s Christmas market has always had a special place in my heart and, together with Oldenburg’s, is my favorite.

You had surgery on your ankle recently. How did that go and how has it been the last weeks not being able to play?

Surgery went amazingly well. I was in great hands with foot/ankle specialist Dr. Preis in Wiesbaden. I am feeling better every day and God-willing, I will be on the court faster than anticipated. The last few weeks not playing has not been fun. I am very competitive and not being able to be on the court with my teammates hurts.


Preston Medlin (Kirchheim Knights) We Were Running Up And Down The Court Like Mad Men

Preston Medlin is a 25 year old 193cm guard that is playing his third professional season and first with the Kirchheim Knights in the German Pro A. He started his basketball career in 2009 with Utah St. (NCAA) where he played until 2014 playinga total of 102 NCAA games. As a senior he played 32 games averaging 12.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 4.1apg, FGP: 41.1%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 78.0%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with BK Saldus (Latvia-LBL): 29 games: Score-4(14.7ppg), 3.1rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 42.7%, FT: 75.8%. Last season he had limited duty with Enosi Kalathosfairisis Kavalas (Greece-A1): 3 games: 3.7ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.3apg. German Hoops talked to Preston after the big win against the Hamburg Towers.

Preston thanks for talking to German Hoops. 2017 has come and did you make any new years resolutions or is that something that you don´t bother with?

No problem thanks for interviewing me. My wife and I always make little new years resolutions together but never anything to crazy, Just the normal stuff like eating better and being healthy.

The Kirchheim Knights went into 2017 riding a 4 game losing streak. What do you believe did the team get away from in this period that hindered you from getting victories?

That was a tough stretch for us, part of it was we played 4 playoff teams and 3 of the 4 games on the road. I think we got away from playing team basketball and got a little selfish. Also I think it was good for us to lose a few games (I am not sure it was good to lose 4 but) I think we were getting a little complacent and not working as hard as were should be.


Chris McNealy (Redwell Gunnars Oberwart) I Am In A Good Flow Now And Will Continue To Be Aggressive On The Floor

Chris McNealy is a 24 year old 194cm guard from Danville, California playing his second professional season and second with the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga). Last season as a rookie for the  Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga), he played 31 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 79.0%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with  Cal-Irvine (NCAA) playing a 135 games and a senior played  35 games averaging 11.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 43.8% (138-315), 3PT: 35.9% (37-103), FT: 68.9% (73-106). He spoke to German Hoops before the Fiba Europe Cup Game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.

Chris welcome to Germany. Your playing your second professional season and secondt with the Redwell Gunners Oberwart (Austria-A Bundesliga) and playing Fiba Europe Cup as well. This competition has taken you all over Europe. How blessed do you feel as a guy from California to be traveling the world at age 23?

It’s amazing to be traveling. I’ve been to many places throughout the world and have created a lot of memories that I would like to tell my kids one day.

You play and live in Austria and are experiencing a totally new kind of lifestyle in Austria this and last season. What has been your most memorable experience so far in Europe off the court that none of your friends in California had ever seen before?

Being in the snow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow in California and I see it out here on a daily basis.


Will Cummings (Aris Thessaloniki) Europe Is A Stepping Stone To Still Try And Make The NBA

Will Cummings is a 24 year old 188cm point guard from Jacksonville, Florida playing his second professional season and first with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) averaging 15,2ppg, 3,6rpg and 3,7apg in Champions League play. He played at Temple(NCAA) from 2011-2015 amassing a total of 111 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 4.2apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 22.9%, FT: 80.8%. As a rookie last season he played for the  Houston Rockets (NBA), released in Oct.’15, then moved to Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 52 games: 20.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 4.7apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 53.7%, 3FGP: 37.7%, FT: 78.5%, in Apr.’16 signed at Dolomiti Energia Trento (Italy-Serie A): 4 games: 9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg. he spoke to eurobasket recently after Aris had beat the Fraport Skyliners in Germany in Champions League action.

Welcome to Germany Will. Is this your first time in Germany? What do you know about the country and it´s basketball?

Yes that was my first time in Germany. I don’t really know too much about their basketball since this is really my first year playing basketball overseas. I just know Germany has great cities to live in and visit.

Do you have any other friends currently playing in Germany besides TJ DiLeo?

I think another former temple player Ryan Brooks might currently be playing in Germany. I know he has in the past.


Travis Thompson Heats Up In Third Quarter Lifting The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past The Licher Basket Baeren 88-76

The second half of the 2016-2017 Pro B season is fast underway and as always new players coming and going is as common now in the season as Houston Rocket James Harden racking in those double doubles to nobodies amazement and two new faces entered the court Sunday night in the BCM in Frankfurt as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had reeled in 26 year old 201cm American Rilwan Bakare who had played at four different schools in his career before starting his professional basketball career in 2014 in Germany with TuS Breckerfeld (Germany-2.Regionalliga) where he averaged 19,9ppg and 10,5rpg in 18 games and last season he showed his raw abilities with  BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL): 18 games: 11.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 57.8%, FT: 58.5%. He started this season in Finland with Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) playing 2 games averaging 20.0ppg, 11.0rpg, 1.0spg, before moving to Union de Santa Fe (Argentina-TNA) where he played 17 games averaging 4,5ppg and 3,4rpg and was teammates with American Mike Williams who probably had some rare Texas(NCAA) stories with future NBA players Daniel Gibson and Lamarcus Aldrige that he could pass on to his new teammates and have some of the young Germans some rare basketball facts to ponder about. The Licher Basket Baeren had brought in an American rookie with Blake Justice who had played six games at Akron before moving on Valdosta State8NCAA2) and having a fine career from 2013-2016 playing a total of 72 games and as a senior played  28 games averaging 15.8ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 79.3%. He had some big games against schools like Alabama Huntsville with 26 points and 25 points against Shorter. Both players came into the game wanting to display right away that they were worth every buck and the Lich scoring duo of KK Simmons and Lamar Mallory who were averaging 40 points a game combined wanted to keep up their unstoppable play, but only combined for 28 points and couldn´t withstand the hot hand and timely shooting of Travis Thompson who broke the game wide open drilling four three´s in the third quarter and notching 14 points which broke the back of the guests and propelled the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to the 88-76 victory.

Rilwan Bakare couldn´t make his debut with Frankfurt as he wasn´t cleared to play yet, but Blake Justice did scoring 14 points in his professional debut and was excited about finally getting that first game of his back, but at the same time disappointed in the loss. “I felt a little rusty as this was my first game in 7 months, but felt good to get into the flow. I have only been here 5-6 days so I have to get used to how the my teammates and team play. We had too many turnovers and let Frankfurt get too many easy baskets and put backs, stressed Ohio native Blake Justice. Fraport Skyliners Tim Oldenburg was sporting a new Jutsin Biberish type of hairdo, but that didn´t seem to get messed up in the overall physical game. “Both teams had a lot of energy. It was only too bad that the refs didn´t know what kind of line they would call. It was nice to play together with Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. We were individually stronger than usual with this lineup and we played well together as a team for many phases”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors forward Tim Oldenburg. “We got beat on the glass all night long. We gave up something like 40-50 points on offensive rebounds and turnovers. You can´t beat anyone like that when your giving up that many points. We beat ourselves, but we did fight until the end”, added Licher Baskets Baeren guard Kareem Jamal Simmons.


Courtney Belger (FC Schalke) Coach Has Been Tough On Me To Play As Best As I Can At All Times. And It’s Helping Me To Perform Better

Courtney Belger is a 27 year old 187cm guard from St Louis that is playing his fourth professional season and first with FC Schalke 04 (Germany-ProB)Last season he played with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB): 24 games: 12.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 65.6% and Kalamunda Eastern Suns (Australia-SBL) playing  14 games: 21.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 4.1apg, Steals-4(3.1spg), FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 22.4%, FT: 80.8%. He played his first two professional seasons with TV Ibbenbuehren (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career at Quincy (NCAA2) in 2008 where he played until 2012 playing  a total of 113 NCAA 2 games. As a senior he played 27 games averaging  11.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 10.5%, FT: 72.0%. He improved his scoring and rebounding average each season. He spoke to German Hoops after the big 86-77 win against the VFL AstroStars Bochum.

Courtney congrats on the 86-77 win against the VFL AstroStars Bochum. How good does it feel coming into 2017 with a big win?

Thanks Miles. It feels great. We had dropped two in a row and knew we needed to make up for the points somewhere. When you lose a couple games in a row everyone starts to get tense, so it’s always a big accomplishment to pick up the next win.

After a slow start in the first quarter, FC Schalke picked it up in the second quarter scoring 25 points. What adjustments did you make on the offensive end to be able to score easier?

We started to get stops and rebound better which allowed us to get in transition. We also started to run our systems cleaner and make clear reads out of them. In the first quarter we had the brakes on and were too passive.