Michael Smith (Westfalen Mustangs) Players Were Treated Like Slaves Given No Money While Being Expected To Win Every Game By 30 Or More Points

Michael Smith is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Canada that also has the Italian citizenship and just completed his rookie season in Germany with the Westfalen Mustangs (2.Regionalliga). He got valuable experience in Canada playing at  Regina University, then moved to Brandon University (CIS) playing 36 games and then as a senior played at the University of Northern British Columbia (CIS) playing 15 games averaging  5.9ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 34.8%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 66.7%. He had a rollercoaster season in Germany and spoke to German Hoops about the season he will never forget.

Michael thanks for talking to German Hoops! Where are you at the moment and have you lost trust in the game you love basketball or will any struggle not hinder you from continuing to be a professional basketball player.

Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story. I haven’t lost trust in basketball but I have lost trust in the people that are allowed to run professional basketball teams. Right now this situation is hindering me from continuing to play, where my time with the Mustangs was so unstable throughout the year it is difficult to recover from. For example, there was no game film, which means I have no way of making any tape for other jobs next year. There was also no physiotherapy for athletes where I played on a torn hamstring with no treatment for the last 4 games. The biggest problem was the living conditions, no clean water in a refugee house; it was a mentally handicapping experience that has left me financially unstable and jobless.

When you joined German Regionaliga 2 team Westfalen Mustangs at the start of the season would you ever have thought in your wildest dreams that you rookie season would be such a bizarre and disappointing experience?

When I came to the Westfalen Mustangs at the beginning of the season I was aware that it was a small club and that they would probably have problems. However, what I did not account for was the evil that existed within the club. Where players were treated like slaves, given no money while being expected to win every game by 30 or more points. The president Florian Eichstädt even brought in players from the US who were willing to pay to play. Two of these individuals were mentally handicapped, therefore adding another layer of evil to who he was taking advantage of. The extent of everything that happened even on a daily basis was a recipe for disaster.

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Richard Williams (I Always Look In The Mirror First When Things Don´t Go Right

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Richard Williams in 2013 after a 70-67 Vechta loss against the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt

Richard Williams is a 29 year old 178cm guard that finished the season with the RheinStars averaging 11,3ppg, 3,6rpg and 5,3apg after having started the season with Phoenix Hagen playing 5 games averaging 12.2ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.4apg, 2FGP: 54.2%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 82.4%,. Last season he played for Kirchheim Knights averaging 15,5ppg, 4,2apg and 8,0rpg. In the 2014-2015 season, he played for the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL): EuroChallenge: 2 games: 9.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 6.5apg, 2.0spg; German BBL: 9 games: 8.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 40.6%, 3FGP: 48.0%, FT: 70.6%, in Jan.’15 moved to SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA): 12 games: 4.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg. He is a very fast guard that can play either one or two. Great at pushing the break. Can score by shooting the three or using his explosiveness to beat his man. Gets to the basket and scores in traffic. A specialist in steals that uses his quickness to intimidate on defense. Great ball control. Gets the whole team involved when playing the point but can takeover a game at any time. He started his basketball career at San Diego St. (NCAA) in 2005 where he played until 2009. In his senior year he played 36 games: 7.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 40.9%, 3Pts: 37.5%, FT: 64.2%. In 2009-2010, he started his professional basketball career for The San Diego Surf (ABA), in Jan.’10 moved to FSU Selfoss (Iceland-Express League, starting five): 8 games: 27.5ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.4apg, 2.8spg, FGP: 51.6%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 72.7%. In 2011-2012, he played for  UBC Hannover Tigers (Germany-ProB) 33 games: 18.3ppg, 5.1rpg, Assists-4(5.7apg), Steals-2(3.2spg), FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 75.8%. In the 2012-2013 season he played  for SC Rasta Vechta playing  38 games: 15.6ppg, 5.2rpg, Assists-1(6.7apg), Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 79.9%. In the 2013-2014 season for Vechta he played 34 games: 14.6ppg, 4.7rpg, 4.4apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 29.3%, FT: 82.7%. He spoke to German Hoops after the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Richard Williams in 2014 after a Fraport Skyliners game.

 

Richie thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your season has unfortunately ended to the hands of 2004 Fiba Europe Cup winner MBC. I doubt anyone was expecting miracles, but how disappointing was getting swept?

Losing in general is tough. From a personnel standpoint we matched up well but MBC was the better team.

In German one says “Da war nichts zu holen in diese Saison gegen MBC”. The RheinStars lost one regular season game by 15 points and lost the playoff series averaging giving up 20 points per game. Was MBC just flat out a more talented team and deeper that had your number all season long?

We match up well but they played better team basketball when it mattered.

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Jordan Talbert (PS Karlsruhe) I Proved How Effective I Can Be Within A Truly Professional System

Jordan Talbert is a 26 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that completed his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions averaging 13,3ppg, 7,2rpg and 2,1apg helping lead the team to the Pro A. He came to Germany as a rookie in 2014 and played with the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 21.6ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.0spg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college career at Missouri SO(NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 11.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 70.1%. Last season with Nordlingen he tore up the Pro B averaging 17.5ppg, Reb-1(11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5(1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Jordan Talbert in 2015 after a 73-71 loss in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors where he contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds

Jordan congrats on an amazing season, but the goal ended during the last game of the season. Did you ever suffer a more bitter loss in your career?

Yes, I have suffered much more devastating losses in my career. This one cuts but not nearly as deep as some of the others.

Weissenhorn had to win by more than four points to be crowned 2017 Pro B champion and really grinded it out winning by six points. What were your first thoughts after the buzzer. Did you feel like you were in a bad dream?

I was just really disappointed in myself and my team. The way we played that game wasn’t the way we played all season. We didn’t deserve to win.

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Kyle Hines (CSKA Moscow) Wolfgang Heyder Gave Me An Opportunity That Other Teams Wouldn´t Have Done

Kyle Hines is a 30 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that recently completed his fourth season with CSKA Moscow averaging 7,7ppg, 3,4rpg and 1,3apg in the VTB and 8,5ppg and 4,3rpg in the Euroleague.. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. The 6 time Euroleague Final 4 player and three time Euroleague winner spoke to German Hoops back home in New Jersey.

Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?

I am home in New Jersey now. I just got home 2-3 days ago. We won the VTB league about a week ago and after I spent a few more days in Moscow enjoying the city before coming back home

Have you bumped into your ex coach Chris Fleming? The NBA Draft is tomorrow. Did he reveal any talk about the Nets signing the German boy Isaiah Hartenstein?

I have not had the chance to talk to him yet. I saw Hartenstein play before and he was on the roster of the team we played against twice last season. I have been aware of him and know Chris also since he and the Nets do a good job scouting teams in Europe. I think that with his kill set, he has the potential to be an NBA player. I think he is a big man that can do a lot on the floor which other big men his size can´t. He is more of a face the basket skilled big man. I think for him making it, it will depend a lot on how well he can make the transition from Europe to the NBA.

Congrats on another great season with CSKA Moscow. Despite winning your fourth VTB title, do you have a little sour taste because you didn´t win another Euroleague title?

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Tyson Hinz (MBC) I Had Much More A Different Role Than Less Of A Role

Tyson Hinz is a 25 year old 20cm forward from Ottawa, Canada that completed his third professional season and first in Germany with the Mitteldeutscher BC helping them win the Pro A title averaging 8,4ppg, 3,9rpg and 1,6apg. He played the last two seasons with Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (Holland-Eredivisie) playing a total of 73 games and last season played 35 games averaging 13.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 76.6%. He started his basketball career at Carleton University (CIS) in 2009 and played there until 2014 playing a total of 123 CIS games and as a senior played 27 games averaging 15.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 61.1%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.1%. There he won four CIS titles and three OUA titles. He spoke to German Hoops after the very successful 2016-2017 Pro A season.

Tyson congrats on an amazing season and winning the German Pro A with MBC. What kind of feeling was it winning your first professional title?

It was an amazing feeling. With how the Pro A works we had our first celebration when we qualified for promotion, which was fantastic but we all knew there was still something left to accomplish. I am glad the team was able to get the final two wins and finish the season knowing we accomplished our goal from the start.

You won 7 titles at Carleton and know what it likes to win titles. MBC was the favorite to win the Pro A title. Can a guy like you really even get emotional after a title like this compared to a guy like German Sergio Kerusch who won his second title after winning his first 8 years ago with the Sun Belt Tournament with W.Kentucky (NCAA).

Every championship is special, it doesn’t matter how many you have won. Every year is unique as you are with a different group of guys or a different club entirely. To celebrate the accomplishment as a team and to see the excitement on your teammates feelings who you’ve battled with all year is a wonderful feeling. Being the favourite to win put a target on our backs all year as everyone wanted to take us down but I thought we handled that as a team.

MBC had the number of Gotha this season going 4-0. I always felt Gotha had a well rounded roster, but was MBC just better from top to bottom?

 Gotha had an incredible season. They ran into countless challenges with roster and coaching changes and managed to play their best basketball in the end. They unfortunately ran into some injury problems for the finals but their team as a whole still battled and fought hard which was admirable.

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Will The NBA Be Calling Johannes Voigtmann This Summer Or Does He Only Possess Euroleague Format?

 

Even if an exciting basketball game can be interrupted and made less nice by the constant blowing of whistles slowing down the game, so can a timeout where some patrons will scoot to the food stand to buy a Coke and nacho´s while other´s may even delay a bathroom run just to watch the entertaining sideline show of ex Alba Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic who has his own Serbian theatre like skits with his hand and body gestures trying to motivate his squad back into the game, but the 2 time European basketball champion with the then Yugoslavia also has a knack of saying bold things. In the 2015-2016 season Obradovic who won the Korac Cup in 1995 with Alba Berlin as a player and has basketball legendary status from the Spree river to Potsdam is a guy who can talk and fill a press conference room and where journalists for once won´t interrupt, but just shut up and listen stated that ex Brose Bamberg guard Brad Wanamaker belongs to the top three best players to ever have played in the BBL. It would be interesting to how quickly he could come to a conclusion to which center is better the more experienced Elmeden Kikanovic or constantly developing and rising star Johannes Voigtmann of the then Fraport Skyliners. It would also be interesting to see how Obradovic would react to the question “Was Johannes Voigtmann the best player in the BBL in 2015-2016? In terms of play, the way Johannes Voigtmann was playing that season, he was becoming more and more of a showcase player in the BBL and a player that fans came specifically to see play. You may have seen Jason Boone as an extra in a Lebron James movie as he could easily moonlight as an actor or go into the field once his playing days are over and could even make a mean Jason or funny Jason on screen. However where he doesn´t joke is when it comes to basketball as he is all business on and off the court and on December 15th, 2015, he had the audacity to tell me at half time of a Fiba Europe Cup game in Frankfurt against Sodertalje that Johannes Voigtmann was the best player in the German BBL. Even the ex floor general of the Fraport Skyliners Jordan Theodore was very impressed about his ex teammate: “To me Jo has been playing at a high level all season. Definitely the best center in the league. Big Jo is definitely one of the best players in this league. He does it all”, warned Jordan Theodore. In 2015-2016, it is so much fun watching the blue eyed basketball monster as at times it seemed like he was a younger version of Larry Bird wooing fans with his special knack of passing the ball, but in reality it is just Johannes Voigtmann being the most complete center in the BBL. “Joe is very skilled. He has a high IQ and can do things with the basketball that I haven’t seen from guys his size. He can put the ball on the floor and create for others. He can shoot the long ball and his mid range game is unstoppable”, stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. But before we talk about the current play of the German national player, let´s look back to 2012 when he first arrived in Frankfurt.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber doing play by play with Johannes Voigtmann during a Pro B playoff game between TV Langen and Basket Akademy Weser-Ems in Langen in 2014

Voigtmann is a 24 year old 211cm center born on September 20th and hails from Eisenach, Germany and played four seasons with the Fraport Skyliners. Before coming to Frankfurt, the German big man started his basketball trade in the former East Germany and didn´t start until he was 15 years old.

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Elijah Allen (I Think I Had About 5 Heart Attacks In The Chemnitz Series)

Elijah Allen is a 26 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his first season with Gotha in the Pro A averaging 5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played the last two seasons for Lich and last season played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.2% He spoke to German Hoops after helping Gotha reach the BBL.

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Elijah Allen after a Lich loss in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in 2015

Elijah congrats on an amazing season with Gotha. You helped Gotha move up to the BBL, but lost the Pro A title to 2004 Fiba Europe cup winner MBC. Is the fact that the club reached the BBL a small consolation for not winning the Pro A title?

Thanks a lot Miles. Having the opportunity to play for the Oettinger Rockets this season was a true blessing. The main goal for the club was to make it to the BBL and we achieved that so I think the club can be very happy with the outcome.

MBC had the number of Gotha this season going 4-0. I always felt Gotha had a well rounded roster, but was MBC just better from top to bottom?

MBC was the best team in Pro A for a reason. They brought it every night. Hats off to MBC for the season they had.

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