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Kruize Pinkins(I Was Allowed To Have A Leadership Type Role On The Team That Made Me Better As A Person

May 26, 2016

Kruize Pinkins is a 23 year old 201cm forward from Marianna, Florida that recently completed his rookie season with the Hebeisen White Wings. He started his basketball career at Chipola (JUCO). He then played at USF (NCAA) from 2013-2015 and as a senior played 32 games averaging 13.9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 65.0% He spoke to German Hoops after the end of the season.

 

 

 

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

 It’s been good. Just been enjoying time with family and friends. That’s always fun.

Your season ended at the end of March. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?

 Yes it has definitely flown by.

The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau finished the season in 11th place with a record of 13-17 and good enough to make the playoffs. Was this the most interesting season as a professional where the club started poorly, made a run and at the end didn´t get a rematch with Kirchheim because of an issue with the clock?

It was my first season so all of it seemed different to me. I feel like that game didn’t make a difference if we would’ve have won some of the games that we let slip away that wouldn’t have been a factor. It would’ve been nice to replay that game though for a shot at the playoffs.

The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau won 4 times against playoff teams including sweeping the Gladiators Trier. How do you feel did the team grow from a poor team at the start to a playoff type team in the last month?

We were never a poor team, I just feel like it took us a while to actually get a team chemistry because of injuries and different players coming in and out. Once we got healthy things started to come together.

When you look back at the season, what will you cherish most about the ups and downs of the season on the floor and off with your teammates?

How we fought from starting 0-5. Most teams would’ve gave up in that situation but we continued to practice hard every day and better each other. So I just cherish my teammates and coaching staff for not giving up on one another.

You played 29 games, 13,1ppg, 9,1rpg and 1,1apg. How would you rate your season in the Pro A. How do you feel did you develop further as a player?

 I think I had an ok season. I definitely felt like I got better at some things not only on the court but also off the court. So I tip my hat to my teammates and coaches who pushed me every day and allowed me to have a leadership type role on the team that made me better as a person.

How thankful were you that head coach Simon Cote gave you the freedom to be able to become the teams central scoring threat?

Very thankful to have played for those guys. I learned something new every day playing under them and the fact that they believed in what I could do and allowed me to play through mistakes really developed me as a player.

What is the next step for Kruize Pinkins? I can see you being signed by a Beko BBL team. Dwayne Evans was signed already and maybe you will be next?

 I don’t know my next step as of now. I’m just working out and training every day to be prepared for which ever situation that I am blessed with.

What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season? Possibly your 25 and 20 game against the RhineStars?

 I would say that was definitely one of my highlights last season. That was the most rebounds that I’ve had in any game of my career. So that was big for me. It also lets me know what I’m capable of.

On what things will you stress most in your summertime workout sessions concerning your game that you want to improve most on?

 I’ve been working on my free-throws ,ball handling,mid range and perimeter game being able to put the ball on the floor more to create for myself and others. I’m capable of shooting the 3 also so I just been focusing on my mindset with that and shooting those everyday with confidence. That is a big key for me.

If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?

 MJ, Bill Russell, ,Lebron, and Kareem

What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?

Zaxbys was the first place I was looking forward to when I landed in the states. Great chicken spot!

What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?

 Not sure. haven’t planned anything maybe next summer I will plan something.

What was the last movie that you saw?

 Coming to America.

Thanks Kruize fort he chat.

 

Greg Logins(BV Chemnitz) When Our Backs Were Against The Wall We All Held It Together Collectively And Took On The Challenge

May 25, 2016

Greg Logins is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Sodus, New York that recently completed his fifth professional season and first in Germany with BV Chemnitz. He started his basketball career with Canisius (NCAA) in 2007 where he played until 2011 and as a senior played  30 games: 11.8ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 45.4%, FT: 78.3%. In 2011 he turned professional and played for Barreteros de Zacatecas (Mexico-LNBP): 10 games: 7.5ppg, 4.9rpg, FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 9.1%, FT: 68.4%, left in Dec.’11, then joined RST Tanger (Morocco-D1) playing 15 games: 25.3ppg, 11.6rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, 0.9bpg, 2FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 69.5%. He then played for Lappeenranta NMKY (Korisliiga) in Finland from 2012-2014. Last season he played for Fukuoka Rizing (Japan-BJ League): 30 games: 9.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.4apg, 2FGP: 47.5%, 3FGP: 35.3%, FT: 70.6%, in Feb.’15 moved to Tapiolan Honka (Finland-Korisliiga): 10 games: 12.0ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 31.8%. He spoke to German Hoops at the end of the season.

 

 

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

Hello, no problem. It is always a pleasure to do these interview. Thanks for reaching out to me. After leaving Chemnitz, I am actually in Europe still, enjoying some time and already started some summer weight training and ball.

Your season ended in April. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?

Believe it or not, It feels like an eternity. I sit everyday searching other leagues and results and wishing that I was still playing just a little bit longer. But although it did not turn out that way, it gives me time to reflect on the season that just past, and prepare for what me an individual, need to improve.

BV Chemnitz finished the Pro A season in seventh place with a record of 14-16. Despite that how can you still have closed the season in your thoughts knowing it was a very positive season despite being swept by Science City Jena that would go on to win the Pro A title?

I felt throughout the season, we have always had some bumpy patches, that kind of set up back a little. Whether it was someone being injured, or trying to find the rhythm back as a collective, it was always just a little twitch within our team, that somehow some way, we still found a way to stick together and finish off with our ultimate goal of making the playoffs. Although, still finishing the season in a descent position, going into the playoffs without one of our stars hurt us. Nate went down on an injury on the last game of the season, that then it was announced that he wasn´t able to play in the playoffs. I predict that if we had our full roster, things would have been different, and more of a challenge. I think we still fought hard to a certain extent, but then Jena is a team that you need to produce every which way correctly, or they will take advantage of your mistakes. That being said, Jena is a good team. Congrats to them for winning it all.

Do you feel that if BV Chemnitz could have won the 70-67 game one loss, that one would have seen a totally different series? Did that close loss slow down the teams motor a bit?

Yes, I do believe that it would have given everyone even more confidence, because we had the number one team on the ropes, without our full roster. I do not thing that the loss slowed our motor down, I think that we just did not fully have depth in certain situations, to keep that motor going at that level that we were competing at.

If you could summarize the season overall for BV Chemnitz how would you do it? What was missing from getting by Science City Jena?

The overall season summarizing it all in a nutshell was a rollercoaster, that which we all stuck together and still managed to stay focus and make our goal to making the playoffs. I believe that the missing piece of getting past Jena would be our depth, and not having Nate Buss on the roster.

What positives do you feel could the team take from the season? Possibly the further fine development of the three Americans Virgil Matthews, Nate Buss and yourself?

The positives that the team could take from this past season, is that when our backs were against the wall, we all held it together collectively and took on the challenge no matter what the circumstances were. I honestly think that our three, where a dominate three and very dangerous in many ways. Coach utilized out talents in great ways, which helped our overall team be successful and play the style we wanted to play.

Virgil Matthews had another very strong season and remains being as humble as a second Bundesliga player can be. He probably knows that he is good enough to play in the Beko BBL, but never makes a fuss about it. How much does this experienced player finally deserve a shot at the big time in Germany?

Virg does not get the props that he deserves I think. This guy is a smart excellent player that knows the game very well. He was the head of the team, that which he dictates everything, through the way he plays and gets other people their shots, and puts them in positions to do their thing on the court. He is a player that, no matter what if he is having a good game, bad game, or feeling sick or hurt, he is still going to go out and try to get the job done for his team. I really do think that he can play in the Beko BBL, and be very successful because his knowledge of the game, and his style of play. He deserves a chance.

You played 28 games averaging 12,2ppg, 8,5rpg and 2,0apg. How would you summarize your own season? Were you content with your efforts in your first season in Germany?

I think I had a really good season this year. I came in late, and had to adjust to everyone, but it took me no time to fit in. I just think that it took me a little time, to actually put myself into a situation to feel really comfortable to do what I do and to help us compete even more and put us into better situations. I think that I really made a big impact into the team in what I did and what my talents are. I believe that if I was with the team from preseason, it would be a different aspect of everything and I think that I would have been in my zone easier and earlier than I was. Overall, I am happy with my efforts in my first season in Germany. I am not a settler, so I will continue to push and work even harder to improve myself even more.

You paid your dues in Finland the last three years. How do you feel that you were able to develop your game in Germany and do you feel ready to make the jump up to a higher league?

Ive played underneath some great coaches in Finland. Lassi Touvi, currently coaching Turkey, and also Tuomas Iisalo, who is coaching in the Beko BBL. They both have different styles of coaching, but each time, they helped me develop a new sense of the game, and mature in a lot of ways as a player. I think that their styles helped me a lot because in Germany, some of their tactics and solutions, were constantly coming forth, and me as an individual, I would just keep grinding those things to get me better as a player, teammate, and overall person. Yes, I am totally ready to take that jump to a higher league, and I think that I deserve it. I give my all for the team, and at a higher level, it will only push me even more to do anything and everything for my team.

What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season? Possibly the 29 point 18 rebound effort against Science City Jena. Everything seemed to go right except getting the win?

I have had a couple of 20 point games and over 15 rebounds. It just was a great one this one because it was against the number one team. Everything did seem like it was going right that game. I was just in a beast mode and trying to go after everything and had in my mind that no one will stop me at all, which showed. We had a chance to win the game. We were actually up for a while, until the last of the game, when we made a costly mistake, and Jena took advantage and finished the game off. With smart veteran teams, there is limited room for those mistakes.

What is the next step for Greg Logins? What would be the best situation for next season if you could choose? Possibly stay in Germany?

The next step for me is to just grind hard this summer in the weight room, and on the court to grow in all the areas that I need to continue to do so. The best situation for me for next season, would to play in a higher league. I would actually like to stay in Germany, if the right situation came forth. But we shall see what these next months bring.

On what things will you stress most in your summertime workout sessions concerning your game that you want to improve most on?

I want to continue to grind and work on attacking more from the perimeter going both ways. Also just to continue to improve on my footwork.

Which young German improved the most this season for BV Chemnitz?

The most improved young buck would be Danny Mixch. That kid can play and has heart. I am highly interested into seeing how much he would improve next year.

If you had to choose one player that was toughest to battle on the floor in Germany who would you chose?

I would say Stanhardinger from Vetcha. He just has this way to push that button and get me going into another level. Great player though, we have had some great battles this season against each other.

If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?

Steph Curry Kawhi Leonard LeBron James LaMarcus Aldridge

What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?

Havent been yet

What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?

Jamaica

What was the last movie that you saw?

Harlem Nights.

Thanks Chris for the chat.

Bryan Smithson( I Was Able To Be A Little More Creative In My Approach To Scoring Which Made Me A Better Player)

May 24, 2016

Bryan Smithson is a 30 year old 185cm point guard from Kennesaw,Georgia that just completed his thrid season in Germany and first with the MPL Academics Heidelberg. He started his basketball career at Middle Tennessee St. (NCAA) in 2003 where he played two seasons. He then moved to NC-Asheville (NCAA) where he finished his college career and as a senior played  29 games: 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.1apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 45.1%, 3Pts: 41.1%, FT: 83.5%. He played two seasons for the Kirchheim Knights in the German Pro A where he was top 5 in assists in the league the last two seasons. Last season for Kichheim he played 28 games: 12.0ppg, 3.4rpg, Assists-5(5.0apg), FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 88.2%. He spoke to German Hoops after the season ended.

 

 

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

Hi Miles, great to hear from you again. I am currently at home in Atlanta, Georgia enjoying the sunny weather. My summer is going very well.

Your season ended at the end of March. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?

The early end to the season has been difficult for me. I enjoy being home with family and friends, but I would much rather be competing for a championship somewhere in the world. I feel like it has been an eternity since our last game.

The MLP Academics Heidelberg finished the season in 10th place with a record of 13-17 good enough to reach the playoffs, but missing out at the end. After completing your third season in a row in the Pro A, did the league prove again that it went up a notch in team competitiveness?

German ProA has been very competitive in each of my 3 years. The league is collecting more and more talent from season to season which makes for great competition every week. The table was a little more top-heavy this time around, so the middle ranked teams were duking it out toward the end.

If you look back at the last weeks of the season was the 82-78 OT loss to Kichheim perhaps the game that cost the team the playoffs?

Well, that is a difficult question to answer. When you play a 30 game season with 17 losses, it may be foolish to point the finger at one game as the one that cost you the playoffs. We put ourselves in a “must win” situation vs. Kirchheim and after two hard fought OTs we were on the losing end.

It was a season of highs and lows for the MLP Academics Heidelberg. How would you summarize the season best? What positives could the team get out of the season which had to deal with many players coming and going?

As a whole, the season was an underachievement. The players coming and going forced the team to explore new roles while performing in a dynamic environment. Everyone involved became more versatile which will be valued when considering future jobs.

You led the team in scoring playing 28 games averaging 12,1ppg, 3,1rpg and 4,7apg. How would you summarize your own season?

This season was an interesting one for me because my role changed a few times. The original plan did not involve me being the leading scorer on the team. As the season progressed, it was evident that I needed to take on a lot of the scoring duty. The problem was that our personnel changed, but our system was not designed for me to be in favorable scoring positions. As a result, I was able to be a little more creative in my approach to scoring which will ultimately make me a better player.

How do you feel that you were able to develop your game further in your third professional season in Germany?

I understand the league much better now which helps me be a better leader. As I said before, I have added a few things that will make me a more explosive offensive player in the next seasons.

What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season? I would imagine your winning buckets on the same weekend in Hamburg and Essen?

The Hamburg/Essen road trip was a great highlight for me. I was fortunate enough to hit the game winner in both games and on the same weekend. I had a few other game winning shots throughout the season, but that weekend takes the cake.

What is the next step for Bryan Smithson? Will you continue your career in Germany or possibly go to another country?

I love Germany and it has become a second home for me and my girlfriend Aleksandra. I am open to competing in another country if it elevates my career. The next step will be negotiating the right deal to put myself in a winning situation.

On what things will you stress most in your summertime workout sessions concerning your game that you want to improve most on?

First and foremost is my strength training where I will focus on gaining a few functional pounds to improve my durability and aggressiveness. On the court, I will focus on biomechanics. Moving more efficiently and releasing the ball quicker on my shot.

Which young German improved the most this season for the MLP Academics Heidelberg?

Niki, Christoph, Lasse, and Moritz all improved this season. Niki Wurzner probably took the biggest step because he got the most court time. Lookout for these guys in the coming years.

If you had to choose one player that was toughest to battle on the floor in Germany who would you chose?

I do not think I can pick one player as the toughest to battle. I can say that our league has all types of different guards that can compete on most levels if given the opportunity.

If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?

If I could create my own Rushmore it would include: Michael Jordan, Bill Russel, Pete Maravich, Larry Bird, and Wilt Chamberlain. I would add a fifth head right below for Stephen Curry.

What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?

I ate an American breakfast at J. Christopher’s and it was everything I thought it would be.

What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?

I am planning a trip to Las Vegas and Phoenix. I cannot say I will go anywhere where I have not been in the past.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Daddy’s Home. Go see it if you want a laugh.

Thanks Bryan for the chat.

 

Drew Brandon(I Have A Lot Of Work To Do This Offseason To Become The Player I Want To Be)

May 24, 2016

Drew Brandon is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Corona, California that completed his rookie season  in Germany for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He started his basketball career at Sierra College Calif.
and then moved to E.Washington (NCAA) in 2013 finishing his career in 2015 and as a senior played 34 games averaging 9.7ppg, 6.9rpg, 4.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 24.7%, FT: 81.0%. He spoke to German Hoops after the season ended.

 

 

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

Welcome anytime thanks for the interview, I am back in Southern California at the moment. My summer is going good so far thanks for asking

Your season ended at the end of March. Has the time from then until now felt like an eternity or has the time away from games flown by?

When season first ended in March time was moving so slow because your still thinking about all the things you could have done better to help extend that season but as the weeks go by you get into a workout routine to get yourself ready for the next season days are starting to fly by.

You played your rookie season with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen that finished in 15th place with a record of 7-23 and had to move down to the Pro B. How was the overall experience as a rookie playing for a losing team?

First very thankful to the Giants for giving me my first opportunity in Europe, our record did not show how good we were or could have been, but I gained a lot of experience which will only help me in the future.

Was it losing four of the first five games of the season that kind of set the tone of how the season would go?

No I wouldn’t say it set the tone, even though you would like to start the season with a strong start record wise, we always kept a positive attitude that we could turn the season around. We ended up having to play catch up in the second half of season.

After the great OT win against Hanau, it seemed like that might turn the tide of the season, but instead the team lost 10 games in a row after that. What do you feel did you learn from this tough season that will help you in your development as a player in the future?

Yeah after that win we lost some really close games to some of the top teams of our league but it just makes me want to work so much harder this offseason, so if I find myself on a team that is going through a tough situation like that, I could change the game enough to turn it around

You played 30 games averaging 10,4ppg, 5,8rpg and 4,3apg. How would you rate your rookie season as a professional?

I don’t have a rating to put on this season. I just know I have a lot of work to do this offseason to become the player I want to be.

On what things will you focus on working on this summer to help improve your game?

I didn’t shot as will as I know I can this season, so my main focus is getting up tons and tons of shots. But I also plan on putting a lot of work in the weight room also.

What is the next step for Drew Brandon? Could you imagine staying in Germany or possibly playing in another country?

I could imagine staying in Germany but also playing in another country is a possibility too

What memories will you always have from being one of the guys with teammates Ricky Kreklow, James Hulbin and Rod Camphor?

Being my first season as a pro it would be hard to not have the memories the daily grind we had as being in a new country.

What was your season highlight on the floor with your team last season?

Getting the big win against Essen on our home court in front of great fans that were supporting us through this tough season. It was good to see that we still could come together and play great game in a big time game at the end of a tough season

Which young German improved the most this season for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen??

We had a lot of young German players on are team but toward the end of the season I noticed how much better Marvin Heckel got. With him being in my position at point guard, I would go against him throughout the season in practice he has a good future ahead of him

If you were to construct a NBA Rushmore, which 4 NBA heads would you make?

I don’t think its possible to make a NBA Rushmore to many great players that changed the game and inspired generations, so I can’t put 4 faces up there

What was the first American eatery that you sought out when you arrived back to the States?

I cooked most of my meals over there so I wasn’t missing many American foods by the time I came back.

What is going to be a place that you will try to visit this summer where you necessarily haven´t ever been to in your life?

By playing overseas I get to go to places I have never been already so when I come home it´s all about getting ready for the next season and improving my game, not really looking to go on vacation haven’t earned the right to take time away from training to go on vacation

What was the last movie that you saw?

The new Captain America Civil War.

Thanks Drew for the chat.

 

Donald Lawson(The SC Rasta Vechta Team Was A Band Of Brothers Whom I Will Forever Remember)

May 22, 2016

Donald Lawson is a 27 year old 208cm center from Chicago that completed his sixth professional season in Germany and second with SC Rasta Vechta. He played with BV Chemnitz from 2010-2014 playing a total of 118 Pro A games and two seasons ago played 30 games: 9.7ppg, Reb-2(9.4rpg), 1.4apg, 1.3spg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 47.0%, FT: 56.5%. Last season for SC Rasta Vechta he played 35 games averaging 2.6ppg, 4.4rpgHe started his basketball career at W.Michigan (NCAA) from 2006-2010 playing a total of 115 NCAA games. He spoke to German Hoops after the season ended.

 

 

 

Thanks Donald for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on moving up to the Beko BBL. Does the fact that the team move up lessen the hurt a bit of not winning the title?

Our goal was to win the title. We had a great season, but we want to finish on top. I’m sure it will be a dog fight between us and Jena.

SC Rasta Vechta and Science City Jena split the regular season series 1-1 and no game was decided by more than five points. However in game one SC Rasta Vechta was creamed 80-54. How could a devastating loss like that happen in a playoff final game?

 Jena executed their game plan perfectly. They moved the ball well and buried us early. It was hard to slow them down once they got going.

Would you agrees that the title was more or less lost with that game one loss?

 No, not at all. We battled and tied the point difference in the third quarter, it’s just really hard to maintain such a huge lead for a quarter and a half. Good teams will always find ways to score.

In game one Science City Jena hit 13 more three pointers, had the 23-8 assist advantage, played their usual strong defense keeping you at 1/12 from downtown. Did you have any feeling from the start of the game that these would be one of those nights where nothing would really go right from a team standpoint?

In the championship round anything is bound to happen. We knew they would come out to play their best game, at the highest level and intensity for 40 minutes. We buried ourselves with a bad start, which they capitalized on.

Sc Rasta Vechta gave a very spirited effort in game two winning 92-77, but needed to score even more with 27 points to capture the title. How proud are you still of the team of making this good last game effort?

 The 2015-2016 SC RASTA Vechta team was a band of brothers whom I will forever remember for the simple fact that no matter what obstacles stood against us we found a way every game to make sure we played and left everything out on the court. To lose as we did in Jena, and then come home to compete the way we did and almost pull off the impossible, is why I’m proud to be a part of this team. We showed a lot of character consistently throughout the season.

Sc Rasta Vechta was leading 75-51 after three quarters and were on a good way of possibly eclipsing the 26 points and getting the title. Did the team get tired down the stretch having to keep producing against their aggressive defense while containing their offense?

 It’s really hard to keep any team down plus 20 points. Pride comes into play, but when a league title is on the line you need to make the necessary shots to secure a league championship.

What do you feel overall was missing this season from winning the German pro A title?

We accomplished a lot this year but fell short of winning a league title.

SC Rasta Vechta was stacked with many very experienced guys, but also some younger players. If you had to choose one player who you feel was most improved who would you chose?

 Ollie.(Oliver Mackeldanz). He has continued to improve and get better over the course of the season.

Do you feel like with many experienced ex Beko BBL players that the team will try to hold most of the team and carry that momentum and chemistry into the Beko BBL next season?

 I’m not sure. We will have to wait and see how things play out. But I’m sure they will want to build a competitive team to compete in the Beko BBL, like Wurzburg and Giessen did.

In the last two seasons your role really changed very much from what you were doing back with BV Chemnitz. Was it easier getting used to your role in the second season than in your first?

 It’s always an adjustment when roles change. You just have to make sacrifices for what’s best for the team.

Do you feel like your time has come to an end with SC Rasta Vechta or could you imagine returning for a third season and playing in the Beko BBL?

 We will have to wait a see. I’m not sure what will happen.

What was your personal season highlight on the court with SC Rasta Vechta?

The entire season was a highlight. There are too many moments to just pick one.

Who was the most difficult player that you had to battle on the court this season in the Pro A?

Honestly, the most difficult player to battle was my teammate DA. He had a variety of moves and a counter to every primary move he made.

If you had to build an NBA Rushmore which 4 players would you choose to stand out?

Jordan, Erving, B.Russell, Oscar Robertson.

Which two NBA teams do you see reaching the NBA final?

 Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers

What was the last movie that you saw?

 Hitch.

 

Thanks Donald for the chat.

 

The Miles Basketball Minute: 2016 Beko BBL Semi-Final Playoff Preview Brose Baskets Bamberg-FC Bayern Munich 3-1

May 22, 2016

 

 

Sometimes just looking at the career stats and achievements of a young gifted player won´t always necessarily give you an overall picture of the person on the court, but then again when two seasons are as different as night and day, one has to wonder is a player only really made for a certain complicated system of a team? When looking at the young career of current FC Bayern Munich guard Justin Cobbs who is a 25 year old 191cm guard that calls Los Angeles, California home sweet home, he has played for 6 teams in just two years and is for the third time on the heels of winning his first professional title even if he still has to help contribute to 6 future wins with the mighty FC Bayern Munich. His whirlwind career started as a rookie where he was briefly with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (Spain-Liga Endesa), then was the final cut of the Charlotte Hornets (NBA) and played a month with VEF Riga (Latvia-LBL) before ending his rookie cinderella story with the Fraport Skyliners where he helped lead the team from last to the playoffs and was close to winning the 2015 Eurochallenge bowing out to the scrappy Romanian team Rovinari. With the Fraport Skyliners, the guard was instrumental in the teams success as he played 27 games averaging 14.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 80.3%, 2.9rpg, Assists-4(6.1apg), FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 83.1%. He was a legitimate MVP candidate and instead of staying with head coach Gordon Herbert who gave him all the freedom he needed to prosper, he left for Turkey for the bucks. He started this season with Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi (Turkey-BSL) where nothing fell into place for the talented guard as he played only 10 games averaging 7,6ppg, 2,1rpg and 3,3apg. There he played for a 1-9 team before departing in December and probably the only good memories he spoke about was his Frankfurt days with then teammate Sean Armand. He moved to FC Bayern Munich in December and played BBL and currently is averaging 7,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 3,2apg and 10 Eurocup games averaging 5,2ppg and 2,1apg. He went from a rookie season from being a main option in Frankfurt to a Munich team with endless super stars and having to come from the bench for Alex Renfroe. Cobbs has started games and had his moments like in the cup semi-final hitting big buckets in ousting Bamberg and scoring 16 points against ratiopharm Ulm, Alba Berlin and MBC, but other than that has taken on his role quietly and just been professional about his situation.  Even if he has played only a minor role in the Ludwigsburg series, the American now is focused on helping his team master the upset against Bamberg. Even if Cobbs has a lesser role, he now is on a stage where the little things could determine between a win and loss. Brad Wanamaker is the reigning Beko BBL MVP and there are many ex NBA players on the court, but Cobbs is always due for a big game and should Bamberg be up by many in games, Cobbs will always have his rookie memory of leading the Fraport Skyliners down 18 points at halftime to the biggest comeback in their history and clinching a ticket for the 2015 Eurochallenge final 4, so Bamberg will always be aware of his beast capabilities. Cobbs just needs a chance and more minutes to make a suitable impact.

 

 

 

 

As defending champions, one may have thought that there might be some added pressure this season to repeat, but in the regular season, The Brose Baskets Bamberg have proven that they have been the best team by a long shot. They finished the regular season with a potent 31-3 record and swept top teams Alba Berlin and FC Bayern Munich and only lost to Frankfurt, Giessen and Oldenburg. They were perfect from December to April and lost their third game recently against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. They could have been scratching at a perfect record had they not lost in Giessen by one point and in Frankfurt by two points. Bamberg not only has a powerhouse lineup, but also played like one making a name in Europe by reaching the Euroleague top 16 and with a little more luck here and there might have been able to reach the quarterfinals. When you are the second best scoring team in the league with 89 points per game and second in points allowed with 70, there won´t be many nights where you will have difficulty winning a ball game. The biggest strength of the team is their amazing sense of togetherness and lethal team chemistry. They kept a small core of players with Brad Wanamaker, Janis Strelnieks, Daniel Theis Darius Miller and Elias Harris and did a good job finding the missing pieces to help compliment their five remaining players. By bringing in Nicole Melli and Nikolaos Zisis, the club brought in old and new, but two Euroleague players that boosted the club like no other two players in the past. The development of ex Boston College(NCAA) guard Patrick Heckmann and late addition of Leon Radosevic have also panned out to be successful acquisitions. Besides their overwhelming team chemistry and never die attitude on defense, their other big strength is their overpowering offense where their ball movement is out of this world. There is seldom a night where their offense isn´t on as they scored 80 points or more in 28 of 34 regular season games.

It has been two years since FC Bayern Munich last won the Beko BBL title and for Germany´s most famous team, this feels like an eternity because nothing but the best is always expected. After losing in the cup final to Alba Berlin and losing in the Eurocup quarterfinals, the club wants to save it´s season by at least giving head coach Svetislav Pesic that last title before he moves on, but it will take extreme hard work as Bamberg will be in the way in the semi-finals. However before the club can think about freak city and the boisterous crowd, it has to dispose of Ludwigsburg who won´t just lie down and surrender as they will give FC Bayern Munich a hard series as nothing else is expected from a club led by John Patrick. FC Bayern Munich finished the regular season in fourth place with a record of 26-6 and had a very strong 9-5 against the playoff teams that were in the hunt as they split with Alba Berlin and Frankfurt, but lost both games to the Brose Baskets Bamberg. During the season they were able to post winning streaks of seven and eight games, but then again had loses against teams like ratiopharm Ulm and the Telekom Baskets Bonn that would have been wins on a normal day. The low point of the season was being embarrassed against the Mitteldeutscher BC who moved back to the Pro A losing 93-90 in Leipzig. Nobody can really complain about not keeping a healthy core of players as they kept six players with top players Anton Gavel, Bryce Taylor, Anton Gavel and Nihad Djedovic who are all players that any other team would drool over. The club fortified their club with guys like Alex Renfroe, Deon Thompson, and Maxi Kleber, but the German missed some months due to injury. Like any other team, the Bavarian side had to fight injuries to not only Kleber, but probably their best player Nihad Djedovic. It also didn´t help the team chemistry that they lost KC Rivers in the middle of the season and Vasiilije Micic. The club bolstered the roster by getting American Justin Cobbs who was instrumental in helping the club get by Bamberg in the cup semi´s and has been a solid back up to Renfroe. Recently the club got sharp shooter Chad Toppert who never met a basket he didn´t fancy and athletic high flyer Vitalis Chikoko. With an offensive attack like that, it didn´t surprise anyone that they had the best offense in the league scoring 90 points per game and ranked fifth in points allowed at 77 and sixth in rebounds with 32. With possibly the deepest bench in the league, the club still should have been able to perform better during the season despite the roster fluctuations and injuries. The team was unable to make the needed adjustments to rack up more wins. Their biggest strength is their firepower, bench and ability to give a top defensive performance when they need to.

The Brose Baskets Bamberg reached the Beko BBL semi-final by totally dominating the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and rudely sending them into an early summer vacation with the sweep. The numbers were mind boggling, but then again not a big surprise considering the domineering state of the defending champions. The Brose Baskets Bamberg outscored the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg 296-183 and averaged 98 points per game while Wurzburg was held to 60 points per game. Bamberg won game one by 41 points, game two by 37 points and game three with 35 points. It didn´t really matter what statistical category one dissected, because Bamberg came out tops in every one. In the first two wins, Bamberg had five and six guys score in double figures while the team netted 25 three pointers and won the rebounding duel. Despite scoring 93 points in game three, Bamberg only had two guys that scored in double figures, but their whole team was involved as all 12 guys were able to figure as a scorer. The big winner of the sweep was ex NBA player Elias Harris who has been the back up to rising star Daniel Theis mostly this season, but was in the starting lineup twice in the series. In the first 25 Beko BBL games, he scored in double figures only six times, but in the last four games each time. Not only has Harris been scoring, but doing it very efficiently as he averaged 16 points in 16 minutes per game in the Wurzburg sweep. It doesn´t really matter who or when, but any one of the 12 players on the stat sheet can be a top scorer on any given night which gives them a huge advantage over other teams. FC Bayern Munich didn´t have as easy of a time with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg as they had to grind out a hard fought five game series where it came down to a fifth game in Munich where the home team prevailed. The game was as tight as a packed elevator on the Empire State building at five PM on a Friday afternoon in the first half, but Munich just wore down Ludwigsburg in the second half winning 79-68. Even if the series went five games, FC Bayern Munich was able to keep a consistent effort at the defensive end as they kept a strong Ludwigsburg offensive team to 76 points per game and in the last three games kept them to 70 points. In game five when it mattered most, FC Bayern Munich shot a high 51% from the field and won the rebounding battle 36 to 28. One might think that a John Bryant and Nihad Djedovic would have been their two most potent scorers in the series, but like Bamberg, FC Bayern Munich can carve up any opponent with various scorers as Bryce Taylor averaged 16 points in the five game series and German Maxi Kleber 14 points.

After losing to FC Bayern Munich in the playoffs twice in a row, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick was hoping three might be a charm, but it wasn´t and FC Bayern Munich could be thinking the same in a way. Sand witched in between their Beko BBL title in 2014 was two playoff loses to Bamberg in 2013 and 2015 and they are hoping to finally get over the hump this time, but that is a lot easier said than done. The Brose Baskets Bamberg won the season series 2-0 and each game was a high scoring affair as Bamberg averaged 98 points per game while FC Bayern Munich averaged 88 points per game. However FC Bayern Munich did win one game in Munich getting past Bamberg in the cup semi-final. This is a semi-final that could easily have been the final in the last years, but this is just another opponent for the Brose Baskets Bamberg to continue to get warm for their potential final meeting with the Fraport Skyliners or ratiopharm Ulm. Both teams are high scoring explosive teams that can also defend at a high level on a nightly basis. FC Bayern Munich have been trying to find themselves all season long and the 5 game series with Ludwigsburg might have sharpened their competitive edge as nothing was given to them, but in retrospect the series just put more strain on their bodies as they will travel to Bamberg on 72 hours rest while Bamberg had a week to recuperate. Bamberg´s biggest asset is their undeniable team chemistry and sense of team basketball and an offense that no defense can contain for 40 minutes. Bamberg also have the deeper and more talented bench and the leagues MVP Brad Wanamaker that averaged 27 points in the two regular season games. FC Bayern Munich will give a good fight, but won´t peak in this series as Bamberg will waltz into the final in four games.

Per Guenther Buries The Fraport Skyliners In OT Leading ratiopharm Ulm To 90-86 Win In Game One

May 21, 2016

It wasn´t all to long ago where the Fraport Skyliners couldn´t buy themselves a win as who could forget the second half of the 2013-2014 season where the 2004 Beko BBL champion seemed to grow this nasty phobia that they were unable to win games in crunch time as their reluctance to pull out close battles in that time was about as unlikely as any sane basketball fan now to doubt the possibility of Durant and Westbrook of achieving the upset of the Golden State Warriors. However in the last two years, the Fraport Skyliners have had a steady progress and development in the players play and team chemistry that has put the team into a viable position to reach the Beko BBL final again something they last did in 2010. What the club has produced in the last two months has been extraordinary as they have constructed a 12 game winning streak in the Beko BBL, brought home the Fiba Europe Cup title and swept the helpless and caged Alba Berlin who wanted to fly, fly, fly away, but instead were stopped by the bars in their nest penitentiary. If someone had boldly predicted before the season that Frankfurt would sweep and totally lock down the Alba Berlin offense to an average of 65 points in the three game series, one would have declared you as crazy. The Fraport Skyliners may have been idle for almost a week, but were able to stich up their walking wounded and rest while ratiopharm Ulm had to recuperate faster from their exciting 3-1 series win against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were the last three games were decided by  a combined total of nine points. Some may have been thinking, if one can sweep the mighty Alba Berlin then why not ratiopharm Ulm? Ratiopharm Ulm entered the Fraport arena with a very strong roster and with their heart and soul diminutive German national player Per Guenther who is their motor and their own Godzilla Raymar Morgan who had not been a beast in the Oldenburg series, but a super beast averaging 24 points and nine rebounds in the four game series. Ratiopharm Ulm wanted to steal the Frankfurt home court advantage on the road and did shocking the Fraport Skyliners in game one 90-86 in OT as they were the first team in five and a half months to depart the Fraport arena with a win. It was a first in many areas for fans and players to bear as the Fraport Skyliners couldn´t execute and hit open shots as if they were on the beach and missed the water and played defense as if it was the first day of training camp as their Skyliner brand of basketball was nonexistent. Fraport Skyliner American Jordan Theodore who enjoys to take over in crunch time couldn´t get the job done in OT and was the first to point a finger at himself. “I didn´t play well at all. I have to play better and will in game two. We didn´t execute on offense and just got beat over and over on defense. In the playoffs, you need to play with a lot of intensity, but we didn´t. We weren´t ready to play. I give a lot of credit to Ulm for getting the win. We lost the game in the first half”, explained Englewood, New Jersey native Jordan Theodore. One may have thought, that ratiopharm Ulm may be more fatigued after the hard four game series against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but they were ready to play from the jump and just played an overall solid game and were the first team in months to have scouted correctly in making so much so difficult for Frankfurt. “We played hard tonight. We knew that Frankfurt does a great job with their high low play with Voigtmann and Barthel and I felt we did a good job taking that away. On offense we did a good job executing despite Frankfurt keying in on me and not letting me get more shots”, stated ex Boston Celtics shooting guard Chris Babb.

Only 4,210 fans showed up in the living room of the Fraport Skyliners, but two German basketball legends were on hand with Mr Skyliner Pascal Roller who won two titles with the club and ex North Carolina forward Ademola Okulaja who currently is the agent of Atlanta Hawk Dennis Schroeder. Frankfurt started Mike Morrison instead of Johannes Voigtmann to combat Raymar Morgan with the American´s athletic abilityIn the first quarter, fans were able to witness classic playoff basketball as there were nine lead changes and no club could unleash themselves from the other. In the first few minutes ratiopharm Ulm got support from ex West Virginia(NCAA)  player Da Sean Butler who dropped a trey and work horse and ex Michigan State forward Raymar Morgan made free throws while Quantez Roberston scored inside and made free throws. Theodore than gave Frankfurt the lead back as he finished off his bread and butter in the paint with a lay in and 6-5 Frankfurt advantage. Morgan and Butler kept disrupting the Frankfurt defense with buckets while Frankfurt got baskets from Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel to tie the game at 10-10. Barthel then made a tip in while Voigtmann was fed inside with the hammering two handed dunk as the Frankfurt high low game was working well here, but ratiopharm Ulm countered with a Morgan lay in as ex Charlotte(NCAA) guard Pierria Henry supplied him with the perfect lob pass for the 16-15 Ulm lead. Theodore closed out the first quarter with a swift lay in as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 18-17. “We weren´t surprised how well Ulm came out to play. They showed that they could win in Oldenburg twice. They were very aggressive and came to compete and we let them do what they wanted to”, stressed ex Carleton guard Phillip Scrubb. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 60% from the field and 40% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 0% from outside. Frankfurt had the 11-4 rebound edge and had three turnovers while ratiopharm Ulm had four turnovers.

In the second quarter, ratiopharm Ulm was able to go on a run and take the lead, but not ultimately run away from the Fraport Skyliners as they kept the lead under double digits. In the first few minutes despite getting some instant scoring production from Henry as he scored two field goals, the Fraport Skyliners were able to get the lead back as ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson made a trey which was the first of the game for Frankfurt and Barthel made a turn-around jumper as Frankfurt led 27-24. German national player Per Guenther had seemingly been invisible in the first 13 minutes and then reappeared out of nowhere hitting his first shot from downtown tying the score at 27-27. Scrubb then scored eight points in a span of two minutes as he nailed a three pointer and made four free throws as Frankfurt led 33-29. However this spurt of offensive production didn´t faze ratiopharm Ulm as they buckled down on defense and rode on a 11-0 run to take the 40-33 advantage. In the run, the club got vital support from Butler who nailed another three pointer as he found his touch early and got a 20 footer and fast break bucket from ex Tuebingen forward Augustine Rubit. Babb and ex N.Dakota St. (NCAA) shooting guard Taylor Braun hit free throws. Frankfurt stayed composed and didn´t allow this sudden momentum from ratiopharm Ulm let them take control of the game as they got buckets from Mike Morrison, a Aaron Doornekamp tip in and Theodore pull up jumper. Frankfurt understood in this phase that when their three wasn´t falling, then bang the ball inside and they executed. Ratiopharm Ulm got production from Butler from the parking lot once again and free throws from Rubit as they strolled into the break with the 45-39 lead. “We gave up way too many points with 27 in the second quarter. We didn´t rotate well and they moved the ball well and knocked down shots. We didn´t play any defense”, stressed Mr Canada Phillip Scrubb. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 62% from the field and 45% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 17% from outside. Frankfurt had the 16-13 rebound edge and five turnovers while ratiopharm Ulm had five turnovers.

In the third quarter, the game continued to be exciting and tight, but Frankfurt couldn´t recapture the lead back as they twice tied the game. Theodore got the Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a pull up jumper on the fast break to cut the Ulm lead to 45-41, but then it was 2010 Miami Heat draft pick Butler then once again displayed his three point shooting savoy as he extended the Ulm lead to 48-41. Frankfurt came out in the second half with an overall seemingly better focus and confidence and used it going to a 6-0 run to cut the Ulm lead to 48-47. It was the German twin towers of Voigtmann and Barthel who combined for three baskets. However ratiopharm Ulm continued to get key buckets whenever Frankfurt was threatening to reclaim the lead back as Guenther hit a trey to give ratiopharm Ulm the 51-47 lead. Barthel then muscled inside for a lay in and Braun made a runner high off the glass as ratiopharm Ulm led 53-49. Frankfurt continued to be on the door step of ratiopharm Ulm, but it seemed like they always had an answer from different players as Rubit made a jumper and free throws as Frankfurt trailed 57-52. Frankfurt then surprised ratiopharm Ulm with a 5-0 run to tie the game at 57-57 as Morrison scored inside off the Doornekamp bullet pass and Scrubb teed off on a trey. Rubit continued to be aggressive scoring insde and drew a foul and connected from the free throw line as Frankfurt trailed 60-59. Robertson nailed a three pointer, but didn´t get the shot off on time as it didn´t count so Frankfurt was still trailing. “Coach Herbert told us at halftime just to compete and not let Ulm outwork us. We finally got more stops and got out on transition”, added Canadian national player Phillip Scrubb. “Any good team like Frankfurt will make shots, and they did that better in the third quarter. We just stayed consistent and stuck to our guns and made plays”, stressed ratiopharm Ulm guard Chris Babb. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 51% from the field and 46% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 46% from the field and 20% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 26-20 rebound edge and eight turnovers while ratiopharm Ulm had 11 turnovers.

The fourth quarter remained a battle as Frankfurt brought the game into overtime. Scrubb got Frankfurt the lead back with a three pointer as Frankfurt led 62-60. However ratiopharm Ulm didn´t waste anytime reacting by swiping the lead back with a 6-0 run as ex BG Goettingen forward Raymar Morgan nailed three free throws and Guenther hit a tough three pointer as Frankfurt couldn´t react to his quick release as ratiopharm Ulm led 66-62. However Frankfurt continued to battle back going on a 8-4 run to win back the lead 70-68. This was a very strong shooting faze of Frankfurt as 2010 Eurochalleneg winner John Little and Barthel hit from the parking lot and Voigtmann connected on a 20 footer. After Babb tied the score at 70-70 with free throws, it was Robertson hooking up with Morrison on the massive alley-oop dunk for the 72-70 Frankfurt advantage. Morgan then hit free throws as the game was dead locked 72-72. In the last two minutes, it was money ball time for Jordan Theodore as he scored twice on the penetration with his right and left hand giving Frankfurt the 76-73 lead. However at this time, Frankfurt wanted too much and didn´t close out the game in a calm fashion as Morgan made a lay in to cut the Frankfurt lead to 76-75. Then Theodore coughed up the ball which led to a Guenther three pointer as ratiopharm Ulm had snatched back the advantage at 78-76. With 20 seconds to go, it was Theodore time as he made up for his last turnover sending the game into overtime 78-78 with a lay in going to his left. “I made some buckets, but also missed shots and had turnovers. I have to get better”, warned Jordan Theodore. “I didn´t try to do too much in the fourth as point guard, but space the floor and get the ball to guys. Theodore was big in the end getting us to the OT”, stressed Phillip Scrubb. “Frankfurt hit big shots. Theodore is the back bone of their team and took over in the last minutes”, stressed ex NBA player Chris Babb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 26% from outside while ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 45% from the field and 41% from outside. Frankfurt had the 34-28 rebound edge and 12 turnovers while ratiopharm Ulm had 13 turnovers.

In the overtime period all it took was one run which helped propel ratiopharm Ulm to the game one win. Theodore started off the OT period with a three pointer and it seemed like that might be the burst of energy that the Fraport Skyliners needed, but two minutes later after a few missed shots and the hot shooting of Guenther, the home team were in a hole deep enough that they couldn´t crawl out of anymore. Ratiopharm Ulm went on a 9-0 run to regain the 87-81 lead as Rubit made a lay up and free throw and Guenther scorched  Frankfurt with two deadly three pointers that made the difference. “We couldn´t get stops. Guenther did what he does best making two three pointers. We have to do a better job of taking that away from him in game two”, warned Phillip Scrubb. “Guenther did what he has been doing all season long hitting big shots. He has the confidence in himself as we do in him to make those kind of shots. We did a better job not letting them crash the boards and just rebounding better. We packed in the defense and let them only take contested shots”, stressed ex Iowa State(NCAA) guard Chris Babb. Doornekamp hit a big three pointer to cut the ratiopharm Ulm lead to 87-84. Scrubb then forced Braun to turn over the ball, but Theodore made only two of four free throws while Rubit made both and Guenther made one of two sealing the win for ratiopharm Ulm. “It was a very interesting game and key in the OT period was that Ulm were comfortable in taking shots while Frankfurt was always down on the shot clock when taking their shots”, stressed ex ex teammate of Danilo Barthel with USC Heideleberg Japhet Mcneil. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Augustine Rubit with 24 points. Per Guenther added 19 points and Da Sean Butler contributed 18 points while Raymar Morgan had 12 points and seven rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jordan Theodore with 22 points. Phillip Scrubb added 14 points and Danilo Barthel 13 points. Mike Morrison and Johannes Voigtmann chipped in with 10 points a piece. Ratipharm Ulm shot 45% from the field and 44% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 28% from the three point line. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 39-33 and had 13 turnovers while ratiopharm Ulm had 15 turnovers.

 

 

 

 

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