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Jordan Talbert(PS Karlsruhe) I´m A Motivated And Driven Player So Coming Here It’s Like Adding Fuel To A Fire When Everyone Else Around You Is Just As Ambitious

August 28, 2016

Jordan Talbert is a 25 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that will be playing his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions. 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 about his new adventure with PS Karlsruhe.

 

 

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

No problem, my summer was great and fulfilling. I really enjoyed my time back in the states with family and friends. At the moment I’m in Karlsruhe preparing for the upcoming season.

Congrats on signing with PS Karlsruhe. How was the summer transfer period for you? You signed rather late. Did you have a good share of offers that made your decision making tougher?

 No the decision was fairly easy for me. And to my knowledge I didn’t have many offers to choose from but I’m happy that PS Karlsruhe had enough interest in me to bring me in.

There were some of your colleagues from last season like Elijah Allen and Julian Scott that made thr jump to the Pro A. I would have thought that you would be a sure shot. Did you have Pro A offers that just didn´t fit your situation?

No I didn’t have any pro A offers. I guess I wasn’t what any of the teams were looking for or they found better options than me which is understandable. I’m very happy for those guys that were able to make the transition and wish them much success.

Last season with Nordlingen you averaged 17,5ppg and led the league with 11rpg. Is Jordan Talbert a Pro A caliber player playing in the Pro B at this point?

I really don’t know what caliber player I am. I know that I’m a competitor that’s going to give 100% each game and at each practice to be the best player I can be. Anything other than that is out of my control, and anything that’s out of my control are things that I don’t worry about.

What were the main reasons for joining PS Karlsruhe? What sold you on their program most?

The club is up and coming, and very hungry from what I can tell. Me already being a very motivated and driven player it’s like adding fuel to a fire when everyone else around you is just as ambitious and prepared to put in the necessary work. I’ve felt right at home from the first day.

After two seasons with the Giants Nordlingen what is your personal goal this season?

Perhaps the most logical helping PS Karlsruhe move up to the Pro A? My personal goal is to win as many games as possible. I like to not have any expectations going in but we have a lot potential and I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure we maximize it.

The club just moved up from the Regionaliga and are very focused to keep their winning ways alive. The club has hauled in many German players. Do you see having the same type of role as last season in Nordlingen were you were the main scoring option?

It’s still very early to determine each players role from game to game. I think that’s apart of team chemistry building. My intent is to come in and do whatever is needed for us to win rebounding, defense, or scoring.

The club has talented forwards with German Bill Borekambi and Croatian Dino Jakolis. Will not necessarily having to carry that’ scoring load like in Karlsruhe like you did in Nordlingen be welcoming to you?

We definitely have talented guys here that are able to do a lot of things. In Nordlingen much of the season and for most of the playoffs we only had a 7 or 8 man rotation. So playing 35+ minutes a night and doing all the things I had to last season for us to have a chance won’t be necessary. But if coach asks that of me I will be prepared to deliver at any moments notice.

How excited are you to be playing in a city that has another team with BG Karlsruhe? In New York they call the Yankees-Mets series the subway series and in Karlsruhe they could call it the cross town series.

Being from another country I was definitely unfamiliar with the rivalry but just in week I think everyone has caught me up on the history. Personally I’m looking forward to it. Those games are always the best games because it means just a little bit more to everyone which raises the competition level. The energy for that game is building day by day and I know that we’re going to come prepared to battle that day.

You had a very strong season last season in Nordlingen. How did you keep the hunger alive this summer and keep working on parts of your game that you aren´t happy with?

 Motivation has never been a problem for me. My ambitions and work ethic are the only reasons I’m still playing right now. I wasn’t happy at all with my shooting percentages last season and with how my body felt towards the end of the season. So I really focused on things I could do to improve in those areas.

How did a summer work out session look like for Jordan Talbert on and off the court?

My day would start at 4AM with a good healthy breakfast and meditation. I would make it to gym at 5 and stay until 8 with some weight lifting and shooting. Then from 6PM to 830PM I was strictly on the court working on my craft. Off the court I had a strict diet. Cut out chocolate in particular which has always been an Achilles heel of mine. I would do this 5 times a week which now has me in the best shape of my life I believe.

Are you catching the 2016 Summer Olympics. What events besides Basketball do you enjoy watching?

 Yes I’m definitely keeping up with the Olympics. I enjoy track and field, swimming, gymnastics, and women’s soccer. I just love watching people compete. As an athlete I know how much this moment means to them and what’s not to love about watching someone put their heart and soul on the line for any event. It’s inspiring.

Is Australia a dark horse for a medal? They beat France by 21 points in the opening game and have a pretty motivated team with 4 NBA players?

When it comes to basketball I’m not sure nor do I care who the silver and bronze go to as long as USA brings home the gold.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Batman Dark Knight Rises

Thanks Jordan for the chat.

 

The Fraport Skyliners Glide By The RheinStars 77-59 In Basketball Aid Charity Game In Wiesbaden

August 25, 2016

 

 

Around this time of year most BBL coaches are in their offices already scoping together new plays and contemplating which roles each player will perform except for Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert who is still looking for a few players to complete the new roster. Even tougher this season is that the Canadian isn´t even at the practices as he has taken a leave of absence recovering from back surgery and given the coaching reigns to assistant coach Klaus Perwass. In the last years the Fraport Skyliners haven´t been complete as their preseason schedule has started and it was no different this season as like last season the club faced German pro A team RheinStars Cologne in a neutral area Koblenz and this season in another unusual spot in Wiesbaden, Germany. Eight year BBL veteran and identity figure of the Fraport Skyliners Quantez Robertson has had his share of photo shoots and checking out runways with a basketball at Frankfurt international airport, but for a change he would also be stepping foot on another airbase in Wiesbaden only 26 kilometers away from Frankfurt international airport as the Fraport Skyliners met the RheinStars in an out of the ordinary place. As part of the Basketball Aid international tour, both teams were taking part in a very good cause to help kids stricken with the horrible disease cancer as all proceeds were going to this charity. The Basketball Aid international Tour had received a blow recently as previously invited touring team Northeastern(NCAA) cancelled their 10 day trip on account of the terrorism in Germany, but Basketball Aid organizer Hans Beth and his crew had done a fine job in a very short period of time finding replacement teams for the Huskies from Boston. It is typical that in the past American players tend to visit American airbases to get that extra special US feeling as well as cleaning out the food markets where they can buy and munch on Pop tarts, Oreo´s or Twizzlers candy and much more, things they would never get in a normal German supermarket. In the past ex Skyliners and two thirds of the then Bermuda triangle Tyrone Ellis and Chris Williams minus Pascal Roller would venture out to Wiesbaden to take in the flair of American culture or a Jimmy Mckinney would make the trip to Heidelberg to visit the army heliport. On a very hot day that had temperatures in the 90´s everyone was relieved to be in the gym at Clay Kaserne as it was air conditioned nicely and after 40 minutes of hard fought pre season basketball, it was no surprise that BBL club Fraport Skyliners had been victorious gliding by the Pro A  RheinStars Cologne 77-59. Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth was pleased with how the first event of the tour went. “It was a good atmosphere and a good game. It was a good start for the tour. The fans saw many young players competing and both general managers of the teams were present. It was obvious that the fans enjoyed the game. I hope to see them at Fraport Skyliner games”, stressed Hans Beth.

For both teams, this exhibition game was just another test for the rigorous upcoming season that both clubs will experience in their respective leagues, but the game also had a deeper meaning as it was in support of the organization Basketball Aid that support children with cancer and the game also gave the American players time to reflect on this cause as well as playing a game on an American army base. “Playing in Wiesbaden was like having a piece of home. I have a German mother and American father and to be able to see the Americana and German flags side by side reminds me of the partnership of both  countries coming together as one. This was a very nice gym. Any enjoyment that I can provide while playing for military families is great. I can imagine that their life is stressful at times, but it is nice if they could enjoy a Thursday afternoon relaxing and watching basketball. Win or lose, we did a good thing today and we could leave with a good taste”, stressed RheinStars forward Alex Foster. Fraport Skyliners center Mike Morrison was as usual his laid back self after the win, but when asked about his thoughts about the game and deeper meaning behind the cause of Basketball aid, the Florida native became sentimental. “This was almost like being on American soli. It was cool seeing so many American families in the stands. Being able to help the basketball aid cause is very important. Everybody was a winner today and it was a great day”, stressed Mike Morrison.

Both teams were missing key ingredients to their teams as the Fraport Skyliners were without Mr Canada Philip Scrubb and new player Shavon Shields who had arrived that morning and was battling jet lag while the RheinStars were without the services of big men Amric Fields and 217cm monster Dennis Heinzmann as their inside game suffered without them. The Fraport Skyliners started with their heart and soul with Americans Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison and Germans Max Merz, Stefan Ilzhoefer and Niklas Kiel. The RheinsTars started with David Downs, Robin Christen, Andreas Wenzl, Alex Foster and Hugh Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners dominated from the get go getting their offensive sets going while getting their staple defense established early as their aggressiveness was a few gears too much for the RheinStars as they trailed 15-3 after six minutes. Frankfurt got their inside out game going quickly as their big men Morrison and Kiel got easy buckets inside while their shooting didn´t lack any fine tuning early on either as Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer connected from downtown. The Frankfurt aggressive defense also led to easy transition baskets as well. At the 4.15 minute mark, huge German talent Isaac Bonga made his professional debut, but before he could make any waves on the court, Cologne got a quick mini 4-0 run with baskets from Lennart Steffen and Tim Van De Velde to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-7. Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with a Robertson dunk and Garai Zeeb three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners led 22-9 after one quarter. Isaac Bonga was controlling the boards in the first few minutes when he was on the floor. “Frankfurt hit us hard in the first quarter. We weren´t prepared well and need to be mentally focused better. We were unable to meet their aggressiveness on defense with offensive intensity”, stressed Alex Foster.

In the second quarter, both teams continued to sub their players in and out giving everyone their opportunity to work on their game as well as further team chemistry and harmony being developed. The Fraport Skyliners continued to have many more options on offense, worked on their inside out game and didn´t allow the RheinStars much opportunity to get anything going inside. Frankfurt Got a three pointer form Max Merz and a hook shot from Mahir Agva while the RheinStars got trey´s from Downs and Bendict Van Laack. Cologne then got their first solid bucket inside from Steffen who snuck inside finishing with his left hand as Frankfurt led only 27-17. Bonga was back in the game and the 16 year old who measures in at 205cm continued to help on the boards, but his athleticism and quickness was impressive as he showed it on both ends of the court making a quick block from behind on Hugh Robertson and then strolled into traffic and in midair made a no look pass to a streaking Morrison in the lane who finished with a routine lay in as Frankfurt led 31-17. Every once in a while Frankfurt would get careless and the RheinStars capitalized with buckets from a Downs who snuck inside, but overall Frankfurt always came back and had an answer on offense. After the Downs basket, Frankfurt went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 41-22. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got production from Ilzhoefer who had a totally new stroke of confidence and really had the green light in this game as he had that go to guy mentality brewing and connected on another trey, Merz scored inside, Tez Robertson made a steal and dunk on transition and Morrison finished inside for an easy two. In the last two minutes, Cologne got some needed offensive aid form Downs who dropped two trey´s and Robertson scored inside, but the Fraport Skyliners led at the break 44-30. “We were missing Fields and Heinzmann in the low post. It was the first game for Wenzl in 3 years. We have 100% belief that he can become the best center in the Pro A. He was a bit rusty today, but he will be a great player”, added Alex Foster. After 20 minutes the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 41% from outside while the RheinStars were shooting 39% from the field and 36% from outside. Frankfurt had the 17-12 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Cologne had 10 turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners started the third quarter with a few turnovers and the RheinStars capitalized on it getting a Robertson bucket and Wenzl lay up playing pick and roll with Downs to cut the Frankfurt lead to 45-34, but the RheinStars would never be able to cut the lead under 10 points. However it didn´t take the Fraport Skyliners long to get out of their offensive mini rut as they went on a 9-3 run as the German kids executed nicely with Agva and Bonga to extend the Frankfurt lead to 54-36. Agva was working on becoming that Skyliner beast inside as he scored twice and Bonga connected on a three displaying a smooth stroke in progress. After 30 minutes the Fraport Skyliners led comfortably 54-38. “We stepped up our defense in the third quarter, because we didn´t want to fold. I think that the game was pretty even for three quarters. It was just that first quarter that hurt us. We had more open looks and came together better as a team. Hugh Robertson also hit some big shots”, explained Alex Foster. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 32% from the three point line while the RheinStars were shooting 38% from the field and 24% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 29-20 rebound edge and both teams had 14 turnovers a piece.

Both teams found their scoring touch again better in the fourth quarter, but Cologne couldn´t make any ground as they were still outscored by Frankfurt 23-21. The fans also got to see some Tez/Morrison show time as they connected on the alley-oop twice with Robertson being the perfect flicker while Morrison was as tame as a Florida kitten tapping home the ball twice and saving the hard throw downs for the regular season. Hugh Robertson who played last season with Helios Suns Domzale (Slovenia-Telemach League) and can decide a game by himself did his best hitting big shot after big shot cutting the lead down to 60-47, but the Frankfurt bench was too much for Cologne as they stepped up and executed as well. The difference was that in this phase, the RheinStars only had a Robertson who was hitting shots while Frankfurt went on a 7-0 run as Pro B player German Konstantin Schubert hit a 20 footer and a lay it and Quantez Robertson made a three pointer as Frankfurt led 67-50. The game was decided and in the last few minutes Alex Foster did some work for his stat line hitting a three and then making a beautiful off balance shot high off the glass. Frankfurt got last baskets from Agva and Ilzhoefer to secure the win. “We were a bit tired in the fourth, but not physically. It was more mental. The two alley-opp´s were mental break downs. Frankfurt played very physical. We have to emphasis to play harder defense in practice so we can be ready for teams like Frankfurt. Frankfurt played their defensive concept the whole game and we shied away from it. We couldn´t stretch and challenge their defense. This game was part of the process to get ready for the season. I feel we made a good step in the right direction”, stressed Alex Foster. “. “The game went ok. We still need to correct many mistakes on defense. We found our rhythm on offense today. I feel that we have picked up on many things in two weeks. Coach Perwas has done a good job making things clear to each player what he has to do”, added Mike Morrison. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Stefan Illzhoefer with 15 points. Mike Morrison added 14 points while Max Merz had 10 points and eight assists and Quantez Robertson supplied 10 points, four rebounds and four steals. 16 year old Isaac Bonga played 23 minutes scoring six points, hauling down six rebounds, dishing out three assists and getting one steal  The RheinStars were led by Hugh Robertson with 19 points while David Downs had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 31% from outside while the RheinStars shot 43% from the field and 37% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 33-24 and had 18 turnovers while Cologne had 21 turnovers.

Karl Moore(Crailsheim Merlins) Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard

August 24, 2016

 

Karl Moore is a 203cm forward born in 1987 and is playing his third professional season with the Crailsheim Merlins 2 team. Last season he played for Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2). As a rookie, he played for TV 1872 Saarlouis (Germany-ProB) where he played 28 games averaging 16.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 60.7%, FT: 73.5%. He scored in double figures in 25 of 28 games including three double doubles. He scored 20 points or more eight times. His best scoring games was 28 points against Hanau and 27 points against BG Karlsruhe. He played college ball at Schoolcraft Community College (JUCO), Rio Grande(NAIA), and Culver Stockton (NAIA). He spoke to German Hoops about basketball and his next experience with the Crailsheim Merlins.

 

 

Karl thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You have been only a short time in Crailsheim, but what has been the biggest difference there to when you were a rookie in Saarlouis?

Hello Miles! Thanks for the opportunity. The biggest difference are the times that we practice. While in Saarlouis, I practiced once a day with the Pro B team during the night. Here In Crailsheim, I practice three times a day. Twice with the Pro A team and once with the Regionaliga team. Physically it is tough but mentally I cant say that it’s something that I can’t survive, because right now there is a person in Africa growing up in conditions that I can’t survive.

In Saarlouis you had the best German regionaliga player of all time Ricky Easterling on your side. Will his explosive scoring mentality and ability always for some reason be in your thoughts because he made you a better player as a rookie?

Yes, Ricky is one of the best players that I played with throughout my professional career. He has taught me so much on and off the court. From the first day that we met, he saw how much potential that I have as a player and only wanted to see the best for me. A scoring machine like him will never be forgotten about.

He was also a vital part in pushing you the last months as you were looking for a new team. A week ago he gave you advice to go back to Germany and go for the Crailsheim offer. Is he a friend for life?

Yes, Ricky is a friend for life. When first hearing about the Crailsheim opportunity through Hans Beth (basketball-aid), Ricky was one of the few people that I contacted for advice upon taking the opportunity. I knew that the Crailsheim offer was going to be another sacrifice for me and my family. But when I looked at the opportunity within this opportunity to move up, I noticed that God was up to something. Sometimes in life when we are trying to figure things out, God has already worked it out.

You have signed with Crailsheim (Regionaliga) team which in a way is a step back, but there is a twist in that you can practice with the pro A team and this will promote your game as well as get the chance to possibly make their roster. If I recall correctly, didn´t you always feel like that you could play in the Pro A?

Yes, during my rookie year, I averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds from off the bench while shooting 60% from the field in less then 20 minutes of game playing at the Pro B level. During that time, I strongly felt as if I can easily compete on the Pro A level.

You dominated at Telstar Hesperange (Luxembourg-N2) last season, but how hungry are you to demonstrate your basketball abilities in your third professional season?

Last season, I averaged 34 points a game out in Luxembourg at the N2 level. Before going separate ways with the club. I had an opportunity to play against an N1 club during a cup game. I finished that game with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 steals. Throughout my last two seasons, it felt as if I played with a chip on my shoulder which caused me to go hard for my team. Here I am in my third professional season and it feel as if I am in the underdog seat once again. The hunger is still there and it’s go be interesting to see how far that it will take my God given abilities on the court once again as I help reach the club goals for this upcoming season.

How have the first few days been like in Crailsheim? Did you know any of the guys and how have the Pro A players taken you in?

The first few days for me in Crailsheim has been tough. My sleeping pattern is all messed and my body is trying to adjust to the three a day practices that I have to attend. Other than that, my time out here is going good so far. This club is very professional and family orientated, I feel as if we are one big family. I love the fact of that because back at home family is all I got. Last week was my first time meeting all the players. They have taken me in quickly. They seem to have a grasp of what I bring to the team and constantly give me advice throughout practice so that I can be up to speed with the team system.

You are playing with some very well known players that have performed at the BBL and Pro A level. Now that you are practicing with these very talented players how much is your self confidence rising in that you know that you can compete with them?

I am a workaholic and within that territory comes confidence to compete on any level. Here in Crailsheim, while competing with these experienced guys in practice. I am still trying to figure out the team identity and players personal. In which causes me to think extremely a lot on the court which takes away from my ability. By next week, I am confident that I will have everything figured out in my head, which will then cause me to think less and the flow of things will become more smoothly.

You recently showed your abilities in an exhibition game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (BBL) in a 77-67 loss, but you held your own scoring 8 points in nine minutes. How happy were you with your own performance?

I wasn’t happy with my own performance because we lost in a game that I felt was winnable. As a team we had made some mistakes in which we are correcting during practice. But I understand that it is still early and this is only preseason. With the great coaching staff that we have, the potential of this team will definitely be where it needs to be before regular season begin.

What have been the biggest differences in style that you have witnessed now at the BBL/Pro A level that you had never seen before as a professional?

I don’t see much of a different style but the players are much taller and stronger. Its like the higher the league the better the Germans are.

You played against many top players in Europe with guys like Chad Toppert or Alex Ruoff. Is at times difficult to calm your own emotions and not get too motivated about performing very well?

To be honest with you I don’t get excited when I am playing against top players. I know how to find motivation within myself regardless of how high or low the competition is. When out there playing against top players, my goal is grind harder than them. I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

What has it been like going against ex German national player Konrad Wysocki? He guarded Lebron James at the 2008 Olympics and at age 34 can still compete with the best of them?

It was just another day in the office for me. He is getting up there with age but I believe that he still has the juice.

Patrick Flomo is a true professional and still lives above the rim at age 36. Is he a guy that you feel will be able to give you the right pointers as the season progresses?

Patrick is a vet. He has been playing the game for quite some time. He even played Regionaliga as well before playing in top leagues. From the first day of practice, he gave me advice right away. Every right pointer that he has given me, I am quick to listen. He is one of the players that constantly stays on me during practice. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate.

What things on your game are you working on in hopes that you can continue to be a consistent performer with the pro A guys and continue to compete for a role on the team of Thomas IIsalo?

Let me start off by saying that coach Thomas is one hell of a coach. Very down to earth man. He understands the game of basketball inside out. I love his passion for the game in which makes me go harder when he feels as if we as a team is not playing to the best of our ability. Some of the things that I am working on is becoming a leader and being more under control with my quickness. I am an extremely athletic player in which causes me to be a little wild at times.

You obviously can´t forget your duties with Regionaliga team Crailsheim 2. Could you feel some pressure down the road having to put up high consistent stats or can you erase those thoughts?

Just because it’s a regionaliga league, I don’t think that it will just be a walk in the park but at the same time I don’t feel under pressure at all. Coach Kai Buchmann is also a great coach and experienced being that he used to coach Pro A. He already gave me the blue print and I’m ready to go get it. Both clubs have one goal in mind which is to win nothing less than a championship. Throughout my last two professional seasons, I set all type of personal records to scoring 54 points in a game to grabbing over 20 rebounds. One thing that I haven’t done yet was win a championship. I worked hard all summer before an opportunity was even given. Now it’s time to go win that gold and hang a banner.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?

#1 LeBron James, #2 Michael Jordan, #3 Magic Johnson, #4 Wilt Chamberlain

Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?

It puts him at #1 in my eyes.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Race (Jesse Owens).

Thanks Karl for the chat.

 

Alex Foster(RheinStars) Playing Against The Fraport Skyliners At The Wiesbaden Airbase And Supporting Basketball Aid Will Be A Special Game For Me

August 23, 2016

Alex Foster is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship and will be 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 before the exhibition game on August 25th against the Fraport Skyliners at Wiesbaden Airbase with all proceeds goingto the Basketball Aid foundation.

 

 

 

Alex thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are playing your second season now with the RheinStars. When you look back at your rookie season and progression of your German, what was your most used German sentence?

I always say “eben so,” after someone wishes me “ein schönen Tag” at the grocery or bakery. A lot of my German teammates tease me for using that phrase, because I guess it’s more formal than what they’re used to. Or maybe it’s because it’s a Southern-German thing. My mom’s family is Schwäbisch.

Last season you were a rookie and new to a new culture and new club. Now in your second season what have been the biggest advantages that you have in comparison to last season around this time?

It’s really nice coming back to the same surroundings in Cologne. I’m in the same apartment as last season and feel more like home than last season. The biggest advantage, however, are the relationships I’m coming back to. Especially with Coach Woltmann.

The club has been together for some weeks now. How has the preparation gone from your stand point? The club brought in four new players. How is the current team shaping up?

Our preseason has been going really well. The club organized a new practice facility for us, in which we’ve been putting in the time and effort to take the club to the next level. The new guys have fit in seamlessly and we’ve spending lots of time together on and off the court.

In comparison to last season´s team is this team as strong as last season´s on paper?

Stronger.

You played your first pre season game recently against Schwelm. How pleased were you with the team and on what areas does the new team still need to work on?

We still have lots of room for improvement, but it felt good to suit up together for the first time. There were some segments where we played really well, but going forward, I’d like to see us assert ourselves for the entire 40 minutes.

Last season Lakeem Jackson was a key point of the offense and this season the club got Hugh Robertson. What does he bring to the table that will help the team most?

Hugh is a talented player and a natural leader. He’s got all the skills to take over a game, but he also knows how to elevate the level of the team as a whole.

Amric Fields has come in to replace Aaron Jones. Fields had 16/7 stats last season in Slovenia. What has been your early impression of him and can he be a dominating Pro A player with consistency?

Amric is one of the most talented players I’ve played with. He’s got athleticism to go with a smooth stroke, which makes him a nightmare matchup in practice and for the rest of the league for sure.

The club also brought in 202cm forward Robin Christen who has established himself in the Pro A with Essen and Hanau. How challenging has it been battling him in practice on a daily basis?

Robin can do it all. We definitely push each other in practice, but we have the most fun when we’re put on the same team. We have a natural sense for finding scoring opportunities for each other.

216cm center German Dennis Heinzmann is a big German talent and project. How has his development been coming a long.

Dennis is the guy on the team that everybody gravitates towards. He brings tremendous energy every day. You can’t even compare where he’s at now to the beginning of last season, when we matched up with him in Leverkusen. He’s gotten so much better and I know will continue to develop into a dominant force in German basketball.

You and David Downs will lead the team this season. Do you feel any pressure that you have to step up your game a bit at the start to get the team and new players going?

I felt the pressure to get better all summer, which I did. Now back in Cologne, I feel confident enough to where I can worry less about my own game and focus on bringing the team together.

What has been your main focus in the preseason. What parts of your game are you working especially hard on?

Defense. I always try to keep my matchup from scoring, along with helping my teammates within our defensive concept.

How confident are you that you will be able to raise your game even higher from last season?

I improved my game this summer and have better players around me, so I’m very confident that I’ll be able to play at a higher level. I feel that way about all my teammates too.

How excited are you about playing an exhibition game against the Fraport Skyliners on the Wiesbaden Army Airbase which is the headquarters of the United States Army Europe. Will this be one of the more unusual places that you have played a game before?

I look forward to any chance to match up with a BBL opponent. Ultimately, that’s the level our team wants to play at, so I’m excited to show that we can hang with those guys. I’ve also been hearing a lot of good thigs about the Army base and I hope we can show the service members our best. It’s going to be a special game for sure.

The proceeds of this special game will go to the Basketball Aid which supports kids effected by cancer. The RheinStars jumped in for Northeastern who dropped out. How important is it for you to be a part of this important cause?

It’s a personally important cause for me. My grandfather is currently battling cancer. I also lost a teammate to cancer in the 6th grade. I think what Basketball Aid is doing is great and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Your good friend from Emory Will Trawick will play for Rhondorf this season. Recently you showed him Cologne city. What has made this friendship so special?

We’ve been through a lot together, so it’s fitting that he’s starting his professional playing career only 50 km away. I plan on watching him play as much as I can and I know we’ll find time to hang out away from basketball too. He’s a super smart dude so we can talk about anything and the conversation is always interesting.

Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?

That’s a tough question that I don’t think can really be answered, but I will say that Lebron has won me over again. After “The Decision” I was pretty critical of his self-indulgence, but I respect him as a player and leader again.

If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?

I’d make it my favorite players from my childhood: T-Mac, Nash, Dirk, and B-Roy.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Captain Fantastic. You gotta see it!

 

Thanks Alek for the chat.

 

Lamar Mallory(Licher Basket Baeren) I Don´t Look At The Expectations As Pressure Because That Was Just Me Playing Basketball And Enjoying The Game

August 22, 2016

Lamar Mallory is a 198cm forward from Dayton, Ohio that will play his second season in Germany with the Licher Basket Baeren (Germany-ProB). Before coming to Germany, he started his professional career with the Albury Wodonga Bandits (Australia-SEABL) playing 5 games: 17.8ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 57.9%. He played at Glenville St. (NCAA2) and as a senior played  25 games: 18.6ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: NCAA2-2(68.1%). Last season with the Licher Basket Baeren (Germany-ProB) he played 21 games averaging 17.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.5%. He scored in double figures in 19 of 21 games and had monster games against Speyer with 29 and 28 points and had a 28 point explosion against Wurzburg. He spoke to German Hoops before the start of the 2016-2017 season.

 

 

 

 

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

No problem guys, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. I am in Germany, I stayed here over the summer. My summer has been great, a lot of off season workouts, individually and with groups. Its good.

What was your summer highlight this year? Were you mostly in Dayton this summer or were you able to venture to other parts of the States that you hadn´t been too before?

Actually I wasn´t in Dayton at all this summer, unfortunately. I say that because I do miss my family and friends. I stayed in Germany over the summer which was good because staying here also allowed me to stay seriously focused. So its good.

Have you been moonlighting this summer working on expanding your model portfolio or were those pics that you did in Germany a one time thing?

For now, I would say it was a one time thing. Lol Im no model man, I just wanted to take some nice pictures.

The Licher Basket Baeren survived and stayed in the league. What was your general impression of the Pro B structure in that you either make the playoffs or you have to qualify to stay in the league?

I guess I would say, its interesting because with that being the situation, you have to play hard until the very last game. The Pro B is good competition, I think its a good start for players to build and possibly move up.

You got a contract extension for the Licher Basket Baeren being rewarded for your exceptional rookie season in Europe by averaging 21 games: 17.9ppg, 7.8rpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 60.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.5%. What were the main reasons for coming back to Lich this season?

My reason for coming back was for the challenge. From what I understand Lich didnt have a very successful 2014-2015 season, and last season (2015-2016) wasn´t very successful, in my opinion. So basically I just want to help try to overcome that burden.

What do you feel did you learn from your first season in Germany that will make your second season even more productive?

I have learned a lot, but the most important thing I have learned was the European style of basketball, which is very charismatic, very focused, there is not a lot of reckless play.

This season you will have to do without teammate Elijah Allen. How much will you miss his play and character on the team?

I will say this, it will be tough playing without Elijah, for the simple fact that he brings a lot to the table. I will definitely miss my bro, his character period would make you want to play hard and enjoy the game. He’s a natural born leader.

How proud are of Elijah Allen making the jump to the Pro A to team Gotha? Do you see him making an impact in the Pro A?

I am super proud of Elijah, I think he definitely deserves this opportunity. I think he will definitely make an impact because He’s an all-around player, He can do it inside and out, and that is what is going to make him hard to guard.

You had a longer summer then many other players around the world simply because the Pro B season ends a lot sooner than other leagues. How hungry and excited are you about starting your second professional season in Germany?

Very excited, with all the changes, new talent coming in, and the guys that we have returning. I am excited, I am definitely looking forward to this season.

What things have you been working on this summer to help improve certain areas´s of your game? Did you put up more three pointers than usual?

I worked on my 3pointer as much as I could, considering that I had limited access to a gymnasium. But I’ve really I have been working on my footwork, ball handling, quickness, upper body strength. Basically some things that I might not get a chance to really focus on while in the season.

Do you feel some pressure this season in that you want to expand on your very strong first season in the Pro B with Lich?

I would say slightly not, I don´t feel the pressure necessarily , but I do feel that there is a bar that I’ve set for myself, so I think there is an expectation of me from the fans and Licher. But I don´t look at the expectations as pressure, because that was me, just playing basketball, and enjoying the game.

This season´s roster looks like one of the better one´s in recent years. You have two very talented guards coming in Jeffery Martin who has BBL and Pro A experience as well as rookie K.K Simmons who can shoot out the lights and experienced German Patrick Horstmann who played in the UK. How much does this team have on paper?

I think that is great. Plain and simple, we need talented and experienced players to add to the puzzle.

Last season you were a kind of go to guy which could change this season as there is more talent. Would you be ok with a change in your role? What kind of role could you imagine having this season?

Honestly, I don´t feel like I was the “go-to guy”, You understand. So when you talk about my role, I think it´s the other way around. If I became the go-to guy based off my performance from last season then I would definitely take on the challenge and try to lead the team to as many victories as possible. But other than that I think my role would be the same, which is to be aggressive offensively and defensively and produce as much as I can.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?

My best 4, I would have to say Lebron James, Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, and Dewayne Wade or Paul George. Or take both of the last two selections and just have a substitute.

Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?

I think that championship solidified his greatness and Kyrie Irving’s greatness as well. Lebron is significantly one of the best players in basketball history. He led both teams in every statistical category during the finals except for turnovers, thats incredible. Give him credit. He’s a legend, and still playing in the league.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I seen was Law Abiding Citizen. Great movie.

Thanks Lamar for the chat.

 

DJ Bennett(Mitteldeutscher BC) I Have To Take My Game To The Next Level And I Love That Challenge

August 21, 2016

DJ Bennett is a 203cm forward from Chicago, Illinois that will be playing his second professional season and first with the Mitteldeutscher BC. As a rookie he played with the BSW Sixers Sandersdorf (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 18 games averaging 15.3ppg, 8.7ppg, 2.3bpg, FGP: 66.9%, FT: 67.9%. He started his basketball career with Indian Hills CC (JUCO) and moved to Oklahoma (NCAA) in 2013 where he stayed two years playing a total of 61 NCAA games and reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2015. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

 

 

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

My summer has been very productive, I went to China for almost 2 months on a basketball tour representing America playing a lot of Chinese teams and now I’m currently in Thailand finishing off the second half of the season with a team here. So I’ve been just trying to keep my self going and in shape until an opportunity like this presented itself.

Congrats on making the jump from the German regionaliga to the Pro A with the Mitteldeutscher BC.. One could say better late than never. Did you know already earlier in the summer that you might go this route to MBC or were you weighing your options a bit?

And earlier this summer I had no idea that I would be playing with MBC, they contacted me halfway through the second half of my Thailand season and I felt like it was a great opportunity for me, also I know the program from being with the Sixers so it should be easy for me to get in the routine of things.

One could say that your living a type of Cinderella life. First going from JUCO to the NCAA and now making the jump up two levels from the Regionaliga to the Pro A. Do you feel at times like you are living the charmed life?

And I definitely feel blessed, I know not a lot of people have some of the opportunities I was fortunate to have, so I’m thankful for every chance I get to travel to new lands to play basketball.

Did you have to think even a split second about going to the Mitteldeutscher BC? What is the biggest attraction about signing with the Mitteldeutscher BC?

It was a pretty fast decision for me when they contacted me, the only obstacle was figuring out how soon I could get there from here in Thailand because I was still in season at the time, so within 2 or 3 days of working out dates for me to arrive I finally signed the contract.

Did the fact that you already knew the organization a bit make signing easier?

Me knowing the team made it a lot easier for me to sign because I’ve seen the facilities, the players, coaches, know how they play and how the fans love the team so I kind of knew what to expect and very excited to get there.

You seem to have been the type of underdog your whole basketball career. Do you feel some pressure going into this new situation and having to prove yourself again?

Me having to prove myself throughout my career I feel like was a huge motivation factor for me, I’m very competitive and confident in my abilities so I’m just excited to contribute to the success of the team.

You made a radical jump like this before going form Indian Hills(JUCO) to the Oklahoma Sooners. Is there anything that you can take from that experience then into this new experience that will help you make the transition easier?

Making the jump from juco to Oklahoma made me realize that in order for me to make a mark in this league I’d have to take my game to the next level, including work ethic, my mentality and also taking care of my body, so making this jump to Pro A, is the same principle. I have to take my game to the next level and I love that challenge.

How confident are you that you can carry your game from the Regionaliga to the faster and more competitive German Pro A?

I am very confident that I will transition my game to pro A, because in my preparation in China and Thailand I’ve played against top league teams and top recruited players since I’ve left Sandersdorf, so my confidence is very high right now going into this season.

How vital was it having ex Sooners teammate Tashawn Thomas last season in Germany as you were a rookie. How was your relationship different then then it was in college?

It was very comforting having Tashawn in Germany with me as well because in a land far from home he was a familiar face, and someone I knew I could depend on if I needed anything. Our relationship grew stronger since college because we were both new to playing overseas and we had to grow and adapt together.

How do you feel did Tashawn Thomas help make you a better player the last years on the court?

Tashawn definitely made me a better player throughout my career because we for the most part would guard each other in practice every day in Oklahoma, so we had to step out of our comfort zones and practice moves we wasn’t used to doing; and seeing him playing for MBC while I was with the Sixers motivated me to keep giving it my all to hopefully get to that next level.

Last season you played for the BSW Sixers Sandersdorf (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 18 games and averaging 15.3ppg, 8.7ppg, 2.3bpg, FGP: 66.9%, FT: 67.9%. What do you feel will be your biggest asset coming into this higher league this season?

My biggest asset coming into this league I feel will be my athleticism and speed over guys my size and bigger, and turning into a player that can score at will is also the challenge. So I plan to bring a lot of energy and quickness to the team

At Indian Hills you had solid stats of 7,2ppg and 4,6rpg and 1,7bloks per game. What do you believe was the main factor in your game at that point that gained the interest of Oklahoma?

Oklahoma saw potential in me and athleticism as well so I’m great full they took a chance on me to help develop me into the player I am today.

Did you always have that feeling at Indian Hills that you would be able to make that next step to the NCAA one day?

I’ve always knew that I would play division 1 basketball in Juco, but didn’t know where. We were one of the nation’s best Jucos at the time and I was confident that I would continue to grow as a player.

Do you sometimes have that 62-58 loss against Michigan State riding in your mind and what the team could have done better in crunch time to have won that game and reached the elite 8?

I think about that game and other moments in my career all the time, and I use it as constructive criticism to build my game in any way I can, I try to learn from any my situation I am in

How did head coach Lon Kruger groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Oklahoma?

Lon Kruger helped prepare me to play professional ball by constantly pushing me to my physical and mental limits and I am thankful for everything he has done for me in my college career.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Tashawn Thomas?

In practice we would go at each other so often we could not keep track of who won the most haha it was always back and fourth.

How excited are you about the 2016-2017 Chicago Bulls chances? With Dwayne wade and Rajon Rondo and many young hungry kids, what do you believe can this team achieve this season?

I’m excited to see Dwyane Wade in Chicago. I’m a huge bull’s fan and I know he and Jimmy Butler will only make the team that much better along with the guys they are bringing in.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore and chose 4 NBA heads which best four would you pick?

My NBA Rushmore would be Michael Jordan, Julius Irving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell

Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs where does this further NBA title put him against the best that ever played the game?

LeBron is the best player in the world right now and this title is another part of the legacy he is building to put him among the greatest to play the game.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was superman VS batman.

Thanks DJ for the chat.

 

Mateusz Ponitka(Polish National Team) You Can Know How To Score 30 Points But It´s Not The Same If You Don´t Know How To Win The Game

August 20, 2016

Mateusz Ponitka is a 22 year old 196cm guard that is currently with the Polish national team and playing at the Super Cup in Ulm against teams like Germany, Russia and Finnland. He will play for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL) this season. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Kasprowiczanka Ostrow Wlk. He then played three seasons with Tempcold AZS Politechnika Warszawa (1Liga). In the 2012-2013 season he made the jump to Asseco Prokom Gdynia (PLK): 34 games: 8.7ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 70.7%; Euroleague: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 38.1%. He then played two seasons with Telenet BC Oostende (Belgium-Scooore League). Last season he played for Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL): 41 games: 10.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 76.1%; Euroleague: 10 games: 12.0ppg, Reb-3(7.9rpg), 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.6%; Eurocup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 47.6%, FT: 69.4%. Recently he took part at the NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Denver Nuggets): 4 games: 2.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.3spg. He spoke to German Hoops during the Super Cup weekend in Ulm.

 

 

 

Mateusz thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Welcome back to Germany. You are currently in Ulm preparing for the games in the Super Cup with team Poland. You were in Germany last at the start of 2016 in Ludwigsburg playing Eurocup with Stelmet. You led your team to the win scoring 14 points. What other memories do you have of this game?

That was very tough game for us. I remember the whole game was like one big war. In the end of the day we found a way to win and that was really important one for us. To be honest that was even funny because in Eurocup we were wining everything on the road and losing everything at home. And all this streak started in Ludwigsburg. I think there is very good atmosphere at the games in Germany. I like coming here.

Team Poland arrive to Ulm having played exhibition games against Iceland, Slovenia and Austria. How has the early preparation period gone for Poland leading up to the 2016 European qualifying games in a few weeks?

We are trying to get ready for those most important games which starts on 31st of august. We played 5 games until now and each of them was a great opportunity to catch the rhythm, find out which sets and which rosters are the best for us. So I would say that we are slowly getting ready for to have the best performances during the eliminations.

Team Poland will play against Russia, Germany and Finland in three days. This will be a real test for every team. On paper which of these opponents would you say will be the most difficult to battle?

All of those teams have great players in their rosters. Many NBA, Euroleague and experienced guys so you can´t tell that this or that team will win this tournament. I think everyone can beat everyone and that is why this tournament will be so exciting and fun to watch.

Poland has a lot in common with Germany when comparing the misfortune of the 2015 European championships where both countries played well, but lost some tough close games. What do you feel did Poland as a team learn from their experience at the European championships from last summer?

I think for us it was great step ahead. We got a great Coach Mike Taylor, assistantss and players plus our federation is doing everything to provide the best conditions for us to practice and play. We have a young team with few older guys who are shearing their experience with us. Thanks to that are growing as a team and as a players. We will do everything to be better and better every year.

At the 2015 European championships you were a starter that logged 29 minutes per game averaging 9,3ppg, 4,0rpg and 3,7apg. You are a guy that fills up the stats sheet and is so valuable in many aspects of the Poland game, but could you have been more of a scoring threat than what you were last summer?

If coach want me to I will be. But I am not going to force anything. You won´t see me shooting the ball from 8 meters in first 5 seconds of the 24 shot clock. For me the most important is winning and you can be the best player on the court not scoring a point. I don´t have a problem to score points but winning is the thing I am looking for the most. Also you can be able to know how to score 30 points in the game but it is not the same if you don´t know how to win the game.

Team Poland still has much scoring power with guys like AJ Slaughter and Maciej Lampe as well as others. Does head coach Mike Taylor have the same kind of role for you like last summer or has your role changed now?

Like you said in previous question I am trying to be as versatile as its possible because then I can fit to every basketball system. Mike knows me very well and he knows that whatever he will need me to do he will get it. I am working very hard to be an all around player and national team is a great place for me to develop  those skills.

You and Tomaz Gielo are among the youngest on the team. How much potential does your teammate Gielo have who just finished his college career at Mississippi? Does he have the game to follow into the foot steps of an Aaron Cel?

He has great potential and he is able to play. Now when Aaron is not here Gielo has a chance to prove that he can be a good player when important games will come.

In the 2016 European qualification games, Poland will play against Portugal, Belarus and Estonia. Poland seems the favorite. How focused and on the ground is team Poland not to get too overconfident with the task at hand?

We are focusing on us. We don´t over think, but we are just locked in on our team and on our game. We can beat great teams when we are focused on ourselves..

Head coach Mike Taylor has developed nicely as a coach and is now in his third summer with Poland. He is a strong supporter of your game. What further step do you feel have you taken this summer with your game through the guidance of him?

We know each other for three years now and we know what to expect from each other. I learned a lot from him. He is a big time professional and his attitude and approach is awesome. He gives me this positive motivation to work every day. Great coach and great person.

The Dick Nowitzki era is over, but team Germany is filled with NBA players like Dennis Schroeder, Tibor Pleiss and Paul Zipser as well as many other talented players like Daniel Theis, Madao Lo etc. Do you see Germany being able to make an impact at the next European championships?

I think Germany is in similar situation to us. The generation is changing and know it´s time for young blood to achieve something. I am sure they will be hungry and of course with such a talented team they are able to achieve something more than advancing from the group stage. I wish them that.

Let´s talk a bit about your game. The last time I interviewed you you were playing for Ostende of Belgium. You were the third best rebounder in the Euroleague last season. Do you feel like last season was your real break out season?

I think that was a great choice for me to come back for this one year to Poland and play in Euroleague and Eurocup. I had a great coach with Saso Filipovski who believed in me and who gave me an opportunity to spend precious time on the court. That gave me confidence and good performances. I think it was a good season for me.

Your shooting seems to continue to be a work in progress, but you did shoot 47% from outside in the Eurocup last season. Do you feel like you can be a consistent shooter at 40%?

This is why I am working before and after practices. I know I still got a lot space to improve in every segment of my game and I am trying to work hard on it. I believe also that my work will pay off and I will be the best player I can be.

Recently you played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Denver Nuggets): 4 games: 2.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.3spg. What kind of experience was this for you and what separates you from the NBA?

It was a great 3 weeks I spent in USA. Having an opportunity to play and practice with the best players in the world is something you can´t compare to anything else. I received great feedback and I know what I have to work on if I want to play there on day. We will see if that will happen.

One of the assistant coaches was Chris Fleming who is team Germany coach. Did you have any special interaction with him and what really stood out in his coaching?

I think he was not there when I was.

You played with many talented guys like Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley or Darius Carter not too mention Jimmer Fredette. What teammate impressed you most on your team?

Believe me all of them are great players. I was really happy that I could play against and with them. I hope they will make great careers in NBA and one day I will tell my grandsons that I played with those NBA stars.

This season you will be playing for Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL). How excited are you to be playing in the Turkish league and will you be able to get your share of buckets with the many talented Americans that will be on board?

I can´t wait to get there to play for this team and those fans. They are amazing and I didn´t get there yet and they already are cheering for me and waiting for the season. I think this is the best choice and the best way for me for now. Turkish League is one of the strongest if not the strongest in Europe and its going be a great challenge for me to compete against all those great players.

Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?

I respect LeBron but Michael is Michael – he will always be the greatest of all time. No doubt.

If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?

Michael, Kobe, LeBron and Shaq

What was the last movie that you saw?

Yesterday I watched Creed.

 

Thanks Mateuz for the chat.

 

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