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Nando De Colo Powers France Past Germany In Crunch Time 68-63

August 31, 2015

48 hours after experiencing an annoying and embarrassing 76-52 loss in Strasburg to France where Germany suffered an inacceptable 31-0 run from France where they were unable to score for 13 minutes, both teams were back at it in Cologne Germany for the last test before the begin of Euro 2015 next weekend. Team Germany lost consecutive games against Croatia two weeks ago while last weekend Germany won the Super Cup in Hamburg beating teams Latvia, Poland and Turkey and after being crushed in Strasburg 48 hours ago, team Germany seem to be in no mans land not knowing exactly where the road to consistent success is as they are as up and down as the weight of American actress Delta Burke has been over the last years. It was the battle of Germany with its three NBA players with Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Schroeder and Tibor Pleiss against France and its six NBA players with Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne and a sold out house the Lanxess arena as German fans were hoping for revenge and possibly a victory dance from Dirk Nowitzki similar to what he did 17 hours earlier as he won the goal shooting contest on a German sports program, but France had the better nerves in crunch time as they closed out the game with a 7-2 run sparked by five points from ex San Antonio Spur Nando De Colo. Germany had had the number of France throughout the game holding the lead even if it wasn´t easy at times, but France got stronger in the second half and in the fourth quarter had that Allez Lez Bleus attitude and heart and showed again why they belong to the favorites to win the 2015 European championships as their mental toughness was there even if Tony Parker wasn´t his usual work horse self. “It was really cool to see Cologne stand behind their national team in the Lanxess arena. It was an intense environment for a preparation game and both teams played to win. I think the German team was most successful when they were able to establish themselves on offense. Germany has the talent to play against the best, they just need play to their strengths in order to come out on top. If they can continue to get stops on defense and assert their style of play, I think they can contend for the Eurobasket championship”, stressed RheinStars forward Alex Foster.

Germany started the game with their usual starting lineup of the last games with the NBA trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Schroeder and Tibor Pleiss, new shooting star Paul Zipser and ex Bamberg guard Anton Gavel while France started with four NBA players with Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Nicolas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic and Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow. Despite having played 44 hours earlier in Strasburg and both teams knowing the scouting report, both teams came out lackadaisical and seemed somewhat effected by the high temperatures of the late summer day in Cologne Germany. On the first play fans saw Rudy Gobert swat away a Dennis Schroeder shot on the penetration. Of course getting into the lane is as simple for Schroeder as it is for a basketball fan with bad eye sight to mix up an Antoine Diot with Bastian Doreth concerning the face hair, but then again the ex Braunschweig player can´t underestimate the wing span of Gobert. Germany got the quick 3-0 lead as ex Heidelberg forward Paul Zipser made an off balance shot with one second on the shot clock and dropped the free throw. France then finished up their first good play with superb ball movement and patience as ex Phoenix Suns forward Boris Diaw made a lay in and Parker tied the score at 3-3 with a free throw. Germany then regained the lead 5-3 as Dennis Schroeder hit a pull up jumper on the transition. However then it was ex Valencia shooting guard De Colo that displayed his shooting talent hitting a trey for the 7-5 France advantage. The Lanxess arena then had its first game time splurge of roaring sound after Nowitzki tied up the game with his routine step back jumper which he will probably still make when he is 70, but then without a man against him. Germany then regained the lead 12-9 as Tibor Pleiss who was back home again in Cologne where he started his career made a hook shot off the extra pass from Nowitzki and then it was Paul Zipser taking something from the game of Nowitzki making a pretty step back over Gobert who was a few steps to late. German head coach Chris Fleming was doing a splendid job working his bench as Fraport Skyliner center Johannes Voigtmann once again showed his effectiveness in few minutes scoring in bunches as he made a step back and then found the open daylight and made a massive two handed dunk as ex Seattle Supersonic Mickael Gelabale was a step too late. After one quarter Germany had the nice 16-10 lead.

The second quarter was the strongest quarter of Germany as they were able to build their biggest lead of the game of 10 points, but France was never totally out of the game as they continued to scrap back and trailed only 38-32 after 20 minutes. France confronted the annoying 9-1 run of Germany to end the first quarter as Denver Nugget Joffrey Lauvergne made a hard dunk and connected on the free throw as France trailed only by 16-13. However Germany was able to thwrat the France zone defense as two time NCAA champion Nils Giffey hit a three pointer getting the quick kick out pass from Bamberg guard Karsten Tadda as Germany led 18-13. However back up point guard Antoine Diot who reached the France Pro A final the last two years with Strasburg and will play in Valencia this season made a quick steal at center court catching Heiko Schaffartzik off guard bringing France closer to 18-15. Germany then went on a 13-6 run to get their biggest lead of the game at 31-21 as it was the NBA stars Nowitzki and Schroeder that took care of most of the damage. Schroeder drew two fouls making four free throws with his typical clever penetration that can mostly only be stopped by fouling him and then connected on a three pointer. Nowitzki made two step back jumpers which is his bread and butter in his shot repitore. Paul Zipser rounded out the scoring with an amazing spin move. Zipser has had the big breakthrough this summer with the national team and deserved his starting position as he continues to shine on the court. “He had a long injury and it wasn´t easy cracking the FC Munich roster. However he came back top fit this summer to the national team and everyone sees the talent he has and it is all deserved”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen center Bernd Kruel. France was playing without Tony Parker who was being rested in the second quarter and they got support from Gelabale with a jumper and ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket small forward Charles Kahudi nailed a three pointer. France then retaliated with a stunning 8-2 run to cut the Germany lead to 33-29. In the run it was the hot and timely shooting of Diot that got France closer as he buried two three pointers. Alexis Ajinca replacement Jaiteh made a tip inin the run as well. Schroeder and Nowitzki scored to close out the first half for Germany while Diot made his third three pointer of the game as Germany still led 38-32 at halftime. “Germany has a good mix of players and played a good first half. It isn´t always easy not to give the ball to Dirk Nowitzki”, stressed RheinStars center Bernd Kruel.

In the third quarter France continued to stay on the heels of Germany, but still were unable to get the lead back. Ex Le Mans forward Nicolas Batum got France on the board first with an ally op dunk as France trailed 38-34. Anton Gavel then hit a runner and it was Lauvergne again using his physicality to score inside and get the and one free throw as France trailed only 40-37. The game continued to be very close and exciting as Tibor Pleiss hit a mini hook shot, but De Colo led a mini France 4-0 run with a jumper as Germany led only 42-40. Pleiss and Batum then traded buckets, but Germany still led 44-43. Voigtmann then made two free throws and one could see the twinkle of enjoyment in the eyes of Bernd Kruel watching the Frankfurt center. “He is a good player. I have enjoyed watching him the last years. He is a modern center that has a good eye and is very clever. I think that he will continue to develop well and have a good future in the national team”, stressed ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center Bernd Kruel. Schroeder then made a lay for the 48-44 advantage. However with 1,5 seconds to play France had one last opportunity and Chales Kahudi made an incredible shot from his own end ¾ from the rim cutting the Germany lead to 48-47 after three quarters. “That shot showed that anything is possible. That was a good example for young players to see that it isn´t over until you take that last shot”, added Bernd Kruel. “France played a lot better in the third quarter. It was tough for Germany that Nowitzki had three fouls. Germany is strongest when Nowitzki is on the court and play off him. Schroeder plays well, but there is no clear leader on the team when Nowitzki is out”, stressed ex Emory forward Alex Foster.

In the fourth quarter there were seven lead changes, but that last lead change was most vital and key because it paved the road to victory for France. It started going back and forth right from the start of the fourth quarter as Diot made a jumper giving France the lead back after a long wait 49-48. Voigtmann then displayed his versatility and no hesitation shooting when he is open making a jumper from the wing as Germany snatched the lead back 50-49. Then it was Gelabale dropping a three pointer as France grabbed the lead back 52-50. Gorbat then ended a mini 4-0 run of France with a lay in as France led 54-50. “France had the momentum at this point. One shot can really turn the tide as that buzzer beater of Kahudi seemed to do. France knew they had the momentum and took advantage of it”, expressed Alex Foster. However Germany stayed tough mentally and weren´t scared away by the sudden France momentum and returned going on a 5-0 run to win the lead back at 55-54 as Heiko Schaffartzik nailed one of his typical from the parking lot jumpers as one quick cross over and it´s bombs away and Schroeder hit a rare floater that he didn´t use much in the game. The game continued to have surprises as after Diot made a lay in to give France the 56-55 lead it was extra bench power as ex Frankfurt Skyliner Alex King nailed a three pointer and Schaffartzik connected on another three pointer as now it seemed as once again the game tide was turning in favor of Germany as they led 61-56 with four minutes to play. However France somehow stood up again and whipped a 5-0 run to dead lock the game at 61-61 as Gelabale nailed another three pointer and Diaw hit a turn around jumper. However with three minutes to go and everyone in the arena expecting heroics from Dirk Nowitzki, it was actually France that pulled away going on a 7-2 run to close out the game and win. De Colo was razor sharp in the crunch time as he made a jumper and connected on free throws while France knew the ball was coming to Nowitzki and shut him down. “France was able to keep Dirk in check during the fourth quarter and came out on top. After France bricked 4 straight free throws, Germany went to Dirk for the win, but Diaw played solid defense and forced him into a tough shot. There’s nobody better than Dirk in that situation, but the ball took a bounce in France’s favor. After that, France sealed the win by finally knocking down some free throws”, stressed Portland, Oregon native Alex Foster. France was led by Nando De Colo with 14 points. Antoine Diot took over the load from NBA superstar Tony Parker hitting big shots finishing with 13 points and seven assists while Mickale Gelabale rounded out the scoring with 12 points. Germany was led by Dennis Schroeder with 16 points while Dirk Nowitzki added 10 points and seven rebounds. France shot 43% from the field while Germany shot 39%. France shot 42% from outside and Germany 26%. Both teams had 38 rebounds a piece while Germany had nine and France 11. Both teams have ended their game preparation for Euro 2015 and will head to Berlin on Wednesday as they will see action this upcoming weekend as the Euro 2015 commences.

Vincent Collet(France National Coach) When You Have Such Great Players You Don´t Always Have To Say Much

August 30, 2015

Vincent Collet is the head coach of the France national team since 2009 as well as being head coach of French team Strasburg. He led France at the European championships to the silver in Lithuania in 2011, the gold in 2013 in Slovenia and a bronze at the World Championships in Spain in 2014. German Hoops spoke to Vincent Collet in Cologne before the exhibition game against Germany.

Vincent thanks for talking to German Hoops. France will play Germany in the Laxness arena Sunday. What memories do you have of the German city Cologne as a player and head coach?

A very short memory. I remember playing Euroleague in 2006 against the Cologne team. However we didn´t play in the Laxness arena, but in another one that was in a tent

You led France to a silver medal in Lithuania in 2011, a gold in Slovenia in 2013 and a bronze last year at the world championships. Do you have a special place for all your awards as a coach at a home?

I have a special place at home for all the awards, but I must be honest that I want to continue more medals to my collection. We want to win the 2015 European championships, but our main goal is the 2016 Olympics. We want a medal there and the loss to Spain in 2012 didn´t leave a good memory for us.

France basketball in the national team has been very successful in the last years, but lets be honest you continuously have amazing rosters with much NBA talent. Does it sometimes feel like you are a head coach like Phil Jackson where you kind of sit back and let the players play?

For sure sometimes I really don´t need to say much. We have great players and most important is to always keep the players focused and together.

How much of a challenge is it being a coach and coaching so much talent? What is the most difficult thing of coaching the France national team?

The most difficult thing is getting each player on the same page and having each guy know their role well. We had problems in the past where substitutes didn´t accept the hierarchy. Something like this can always come back, but it is my job to keep harmony in the team.

Congrats on the 76-52 win against Germany on Friday in Strasburg. How high can you rank a win like this against the pesky German team so close to the start of Euro 2015?

Well it was a good win yes and no. If you see the result then it is a good win. The first six minutes were close, but we then had a 31-0 run something that usually doesn´t happen. We played excellent in this phase, but Germany missed many open shots that they usually would make. We had such a high lead then that the game was over. This game didn´t have much meaning. It is already forgotten. The game Sunday in Cologne will be a lot different.

Where do you rate the 31-0 run of France against Germany? Was that the best 13 minutes of basketball you have seen your team play or just very bad German play?

It was a little of both. We played great aggressive defense and made tough shots. Germany played very bad in this moment.

What is your impression of Germany? They have three NBA players with Dirk Nowitzki, Dennis Schroeder and Tibor Pleiss. What is still missing in their game ?

That is difficult to say as I can only comment about this game. Germany has very good and reliable shooters with Gavel, Giffey and Schaffartzik, but they weren´t hitting anything. They definitely are a better team than what they showed in Strasburg. I am still waiting for Germany to play better. They didn´t move the ball well and were static. I saw other games from the last weeks where Germany was better.

Germany is in a tough group where they most likely will battle Italy and Turkey for the third spot to advance. Do you think that Germany will be able to do this task?

 

I think that Germany will advance. They have a big advantage that they play at home. I believe that Germany will get better during Euro 2015 day by day. It will be an emotional return for Dirk Nowitzki who last played a big tournament in 2011. Spain and Serbia are the favorites. I think that Italy could be the surprise team in that group. They have a good team and the young guys have matured over the last years and they have had the same coach since 2011. Be ready for Italy making a surprise.

France has had a very solid pre season. How ready is France for Euro 2015?

I don´t think were quite ready now, but we will be by Friday. It will be a process from game to game and we want to reach the final

France have a very interesting group with Poland, Israel, Russia, Bosnia and Finland. What country do you see making biggest surprise?

 

I think that in our group the surprise could be Finland. They have a team that has been together for a while and the chemistry is good. Their big men aren´t really big men as they play more away from the basket. Finland is a special team.

France are the favorite in this group. How difficult is it keeping the team grounded and getting self confident? Is the team chemistry that the club has had for many years half the rent to winning games?

Our goal isn´t necessarily being first in the group, but advancing. We have to look from game to game to get better as the tournament goes on. We will play against better teams so we will have to increase our level. Last year Spain was very strong in the early going, but lost to us in the quarterfinals. Important for us is to always get better as we get closer to the final.

Alexis Ajinca is injured and won´t play while you have added young talent Mouhammadou Jaiteh. Is he the future of French basketball and what does he bring to the table that Ajinca doesn´t?

Jaiteh is of the players of the future for us. He isn´t the same kind of player as Ajinca as he isn´t as tall, but he has very good skills especially around the basket and has soft hands.

The France team has many veterans and not getting younger. The youngest guys on the team other than Jaiteh are Rudy Gobert and Evan Fourner. How does the future of France basketball look like in the next years?

It won´t be easy to replace the Parker/Diaw era. This era has been so special and we have been lucky to have so many special players over the last years. It will be a real challenge to find new young talents. We have good young guys coming up. However there is a difference between good young guys and stars. We have many good young players but no one like Tony Parker. It is hard to replace a guy like Parker.

You have followed the career of Joffrey Lauvergne since his days with Chalon. He played last season for Denver and had a good 2015 NBA Summer League with the Denver Nuggets averaging 11,0ppg and 8,0rpg. Do you see him having a long career in the NBA?

Why not. Lauvergne is a young player that is physical and has a good mid range shot. He always plays with a lot of energy and I believe that he can keep a spot in the NBA for a long time.

Strasburg has been a finalist the last three years in the France Pro A. Do you sometimes wish some of the France national team success would carry over to the Strasburg team?

For sure that would be very nice. I like how much we have improved since I came in in 2011. The clock was at 12 when I came in as head coach and everything has been going well except for winning that league title. The final isn´t enough, but we want more. The last step is always the most difficult. We will keep going and try again this season.

You have coached many players in your life, but have you ever seen a better player at age 36 than Lou Campbell?

Now I need to think a minute. I have not coached a player at 36 that is in the same shape as Lou Campbell. He is in great shape and looks so young. He is very professional and a family guy. He doesn´t go out, but just takes care of himself. It also helps that he is a solid athlete still at 36.

You signed German Kostja Mushidi. Too what player does his game remind you of and what do you like most about his game?

He visited us in May for a try-out. His father in law is French which helps. He made a great effort when he was in Strasburg. He is a very interesting player for us. He has many fine qualities like being physical, quick and explosive. Of course he is still a young player and needs to learn, but we believe in him. He reminds me of ex NBA player Jamal Mashburn.

What was the last movie that you saw?

I don´t remember. I have had much basketball the last 2-3 months.

Thanks Vincent for the chat.

Damarkus Lipscomb(What I May Lack In Height I Make Up In Heart And Hard Work.)

August 28, 2015

Damarkus Lipscomb is a 173cm point guard from North Little Rock, Arkansas that is currently in Germany playing with the Howard Hoops team. He helped the team to a 2-1 record beating Kronberg and Gelnhausen and they close out the tour tonight in Schwelm. He played college ball at Philander Smith (NAIA) and as a senior played 32 games: 7.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 7.7apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 22.8%, FT: 54.3%. As a professional he played with Team Dubai (Eurobasket Summer League in Houston, starting five): 5 games: 6.0ppg, 1.2rpg. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been GCAC Regular Season Co-Champion -13, GCAC Tournament Winner -13, and GCAC All-Tournament MVP -13. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

Damarkus thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. It was10:30 at night recently and after a 102-90 loss to TV Langen you had to walk 20 minutes to the train station to catch a short train back to Frankfurt and then take a bus to Offenbach. I guess it all comes with the territory when your trying to get a professional contract?

Yes it does come with the territory. If you want something you never had, you’ll have to do some things you have never done. I’ve never road a train to a game nor had to walk 20 minutes afterward. But I come to understand that things are different overseas than it is in America and willing to adapt.

You are in Germany this week on a touring team called Howard Hoops that play every night in Langen, Kronberg, Gelnhausen and Schwelm. On a team the goal is too win, but is your goal not more to put up the best numbers to help you get a contract?

Yes, my team goal is to win and play team basketball because I’m naturally unselfish and a team player. However, being the ultimate goal is to get a contract I’ll have to try to adjust my game to score more.

Howard Hoops lost to German Regionaliga team TV Langen 102-90 playing more street ball while TV Langen played more structured basketball. How tough was it playing on a team of strangers after having the first practice 5 hours earlier?

It wasn’t that tough on offense since Americans pretty much play the same style of ball. But it was tough for us defensively to adapt to the European style of play and the pace.

Howard Hoops had problems on one on one defense and are very small down low against TV Langen. What adjustments did the team need to do which helped in the wins against Kronberg and Gelnhausen?

We used our quickness on defense to speed up in the other team’s offense and pressure them into turnovers. Also, we pushed the tempo while on offense to get quick shots before their big man could get back to defend their basket.

What was your first impression of German basketball?

My first impression was that German teams run their offense with precision and they have a great basketball IQ. They seem to try to limit their mistakes and capitalize off of their opponents.

How happy were you with your first game overseas. What did you do well and what do you still want to do better in the upcoming games?

I was excited because it was my first overseas experience playing basketball, and that was a dream come true for me. I played defense well and handled the ball good with limited turnovers. I still want to transition my game in the upcoming games from a passive guard to a scoring guard.

Howard Hoops team won in Kronberg and Gelnhausen. Has the team began to get a better team chemistry in the last two games?

Yes the team chemistry is better. Were starting to be on the same page both offensively and defensively.

How thankful are you that tour maker Ronald Howard chose you for his team?

Very thankful. Not many people get a opportunity to travel abroad and to actively pursue a career in basketball while playing against professional teams.

Were you able to take some of his barking from the sidelines to heart when you were on the court?

Yes, Coach Ronald Howard is very experienced with overseas basketball and his insights are very helpful while in competition.

You will have a real big test Friday against German Pro B team Schwelm. This will be your last game on this tour. How confident are you that you will have a good game?

I am confident. I believe that my experience and that my training has prepared me for this level of competition.

You played at Philander Smith (NAIA) and as a senior played 32 games: 7.9ppg, 3.2rpg, 7.7apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 36.8%, 3PT: 22.8%, FT: 54.3%. You finished there in 2013. Do you feel that your size has scared away teams from giving you a contract?

I honestly do believe it has. But I believe in my skill set and what I can bring to a club. I will just continue to work endlessly until I find one club to believe in me the way that I believe in myself.

If you could describe your game in a few sentences and to why you could help any professional team now what words would you chose?

I am a true-point guard that can lead a team. I can give high assist numbers and also can score well. I give good energy on defense and pressure opposing guards into turnovers. What I may lack in height I make up in heart and hard work. I’m very coachable.

What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you think that he will ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?

Lebron’s state of mind is to return to the NBA Finals this upcoming season and win a championship. Anything less than that should be unacceptable. I think he will be discussed with the Greatest of All Time, Michael Jordan, because he is the greatest basketball player of today’s era. But final comparison can’t be made until Lebron’s NBA career is finished.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was “Madagascar 3”. I watched that on the flight from the U.S. to Germany.

Thanks Damarkus for the chat.

John Turek Retires

August 28, 2015

After a 10 year professional career John Turek (205-C-83, college: Nebraska, agency: ISM Hoops) has decided to hang it up. Turek is a 32 year old 205cm center that was a very consistent player that Banged well inside, could score from outside, defended hard and always knew what to do and where to stay in almost any moment of the game. Another reason for his long career was that an organization and coaching staff could always rely on him becuase he had a great attitude and team mentality. He wasn’t a guy that felt comfortable in only one country, but enjoyed to explore europe as he played two seasons in Germany with Phoenix Hagen and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, played three seasons in Holland, three in Poland, and one in Belgium and in France. Especially German fans will remmeber him as he was a key player in the first BBL season of Phoenix Hagen in the 2009-2010 season. It was in this season where he experienced the documentary filming of Phoenix in der Asche where the Phoenix Hagen season was well documented. The big man from Council Bluffs, Iowa made the announcement of his retiring over the social media. “I just wanted to let everyone know that I have decided to retire from the game of basketball. After 10 professional seasons overseas and practicing a game that I love from the age of nine I have decided to pursue other opportunities. Thanks to everyone and anyone that ever encouraged, coached or prayed for me in my endeavor to chase a dream that became a reality. I am excited to see what the future holds and will always cherish the memories that I made throughout my time on the court”, stressed John Turek (205-C-83, college: Nebraska, agency: ISM Hoops).

Turek started his basketball career in 2001 at Nebraska (NCAA) where he played until 2005 playing a total of 115 NCAA games. He played under head coach Barry Collier and then already learned the definition of team basketball as he would play with future players that would go overseas like Andrew Drevo, Jason Douresseau and Wes Wilkinson and even a future NBA player with Aleks Maric. He started his professional basketball career in 2005 with Omniworld Almere (Holland-Eredivisie): 26 games: 17.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg. In the 2006-2007 season he remained in Holland and played for Hanzevast Capitals Groningen (Holland-Eredivisie): 40 games: 7.9ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.5%, FT: 52.1%, 3Pts: 16.7%. In the 2007-2008 season he had double double stats with the Gent Dragons (Belgium-D1) playing 33 games: 13.0ppg, Reb-2 (10.6rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, Blocks-3 (1.4bpg), 2FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 56.0%. IN the 2008-2009 season he played for PGE Turow Zgorzelec (Poland-DBE): Eurocup: 6 games: 5.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0spg, 1.8bpg; Polish League: 40 games: 8.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 61.2%. In the 2009-2010 season he played for Phoenix Hagen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): 28 games: 12.4ppg, Reb-5 (6.6rpg), 1.0apg, Blocks-1 (1.4bpg), FGP: 52.8%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 61.8%. In the 2010-2011 season he went back to Holland to ball for GasTerra Flames Groningen (Holland-DBL): EuroCup: 6 games: 8.2ppg, 4.5rpg, FGP: 34.2%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 61.1%; Euroleague Qualifying Round: 1 game: 7pts, 1reb, 1steal; Dutch League: 50 games: 9.5ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 54.4%. In the 2011-2012 season he returned back to Poland to Trefl Sopot (Poland-PLK, starting five): 48 games: 14.1ppg, 7.4rpg, FGP: 58.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 62.5%. In the 2012-2013 season he signed with Neckar RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games: 13.9ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 22.7%, FT: 70.4%. In the 2013-2014 season he had a year of basketball experience in France with Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket (France-ProB) playing 40 games avergaing 14.5ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 17.6%, FT: 65.1%. Last season he played for Rosa Radom (Poland-TBL): 34 games: 11.0ppg, 6.2rpg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 60.5%.

Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been All-Big 12 Academic 1st Team -05, Dutch Eredivisie All-Star Game -06, Dutch Cup Finalist -07
Polish Cup Semifinals -09, Polish League Regular Season Runner-Up -09, 12, Polish League Finalist -09, 12, Eurobasket.com Belgian League All-Imports 2nd Team -08, Eurobasket.com German Bundesliga All-Defensive Team -10, Dutch Eredivisie Regular Season Runner-Up -11, Dutch Eredivisie Finalist -11, Polish League All-Star Game -12
Polish Cup Winner -12, Eurobasket.com All-Polish League Center of the Year -12, Eurobasket.com All-Polish League 1st Team -12, Eurobasket.com Polish League All-Imports Team -12, Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention -13, Eurobasket.com All-French ProB 2nd Team -14, Eurobasket.com French ProB All-Imports Team -14, French ProB Play-Offs Semifinals -14, Polish Cup Finalist -15, and Polish League Semifinals -15

The Fraport Skyliners Hoping To Erase Current Uncertainty With Adding The Right Mix Of NCAA Type Lottery Picks

August 27, 2015

With the majority of the Beko BBL teams complete and in the swing of things practicing since weeks, the Fraport Skyliners started later into the 2015-2016 pre-season and are still searching for two import positions at the point guard and shooting guard position and while most teams can boast some well-known new players, the best press and show off material that the 2004 BBL champion Fraport Skyliners can boast in this young off season is the further consistent development of one half of the twin towers Johannes Voigtmann who will play at the 2015 Euro and in 20 years be able to tell his grand children that he played together with NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki and NBA star in the making Dennis Schroeder. Other than that the Fraport Skyliners are looking at some current uncertainty, but all that can be erased if head coach Gordon Herbert has that right endearing magical touch again and is able to bring in that right mix of NCAA lottery picks to the roster. The most positive news that the Fraport Skyliners have going for themselves is that they have kept many players from last season with the big three Germans of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein who will have an even bigger responsibility this season for the club. The organization also held on to their three imports Quantez Robertson, Aaron Doornekamp and Mike Morrison and also have retained the next generation of young Germans with Niklas Kiel, Max Merz and Stefan Ilzhoefer, so chemistry will be there come October second when the club opens up the season in Bremerhaven against ex head coach Muli Katzurin. The club also has new point guard Garai Zeeb who is a very interesting player that will mostly play for the farm team and NBBL team and the club also will continue to bring along young big man prospect Armin Trtovac. One thing is for sure nothing is ever dull when Gordon Herbert is around and if it ever does get tedious, just ask him about his Michael Jordan encounter at the 1984 Olympics.

Of course one should never doubt a Gordon Herbert as he has been known for doing the best out of lesser means in the last years and a best example last season was taking a team near the bottom in November to a playoff team that finished sixth as not many would have had the audacity to believe a small wonder like this could happen. However the success of the upcoming season still does depend on if Gordon Herbert can find the right mix of NCAA lottery picks. I say lottery picks, because in the NBA draft the few worst teams obviously get to pick the best players in the draft and those are called lottery picks. Some pan out and achieve greatness like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash or Kevin Durant or others become busts like Greg Oden, Joe Alexander, Adam Morrison or Kwame Brown. Herbert most likely will go the same route as last season and get two rookies that were in the NCAA last season. And these players have to be a type of NCAA lottery picks for the Fraport Skyliners in play on the court in Germany. It will most likely be a make or break season as good team chemistry combined with skill and character of these two new NCAA players will depend how well the Fraport Skyliners will fare this season. Last season Gordon Herbert probably made the two best decisions compariable to getting a beaten up Dashaun Wood in 2010 that had about as many question marks pointed at him as does an ice cream man in Phoenix, Arizona that closes down shop on a 110 degree day. Wood beat all odds and led the team into the semi finals and won the 2011 Beko BBL MVP. Last season Herbert brought in Justin Cobbs who turned around the season in November leading the team to the Beko BBL playoffs and Eurochallenge final 4 in Turkey. Without the services of Cobbs, this team accomplishment would not have been made. The other positive signing was Sean Armand who had a strong rookie season with Frankfurt displaying his scoring power on occasion many times. One doesn´t always have the luck and find these two kind of players coming from the NCAA and breaking out and having huge first seasons. If Herbert can do it again is the question, but if any one can than it is him. Herbert did attend the NBA Summer League, but that was six months ago and those good players he scouted have been signed. There was speculation about the possibility of a Dashaun Wood coming back, but at the eve of his 30th birthday, the ex Wright State guard and Detroit native has about three good years left and will take good money something he wont find in Frankfurt. It is a bit of an enigma why Wood is still not signed, but who knows if something doesn´t happen soon it wouldn´t be surprising to see him play for righteous bucks in China or Korea. Ex Fraport Skyliner Devin Gibson is also still on the market and has improved his three point shooting and scoring consistency in the last two years in Estonia and Belgium. Gibson has matured in the last two years, but if he fits into the plans of Herbert is probably less of the case. If one wanted to bet then speculating about Herbert reeling in a Canadian is always a possibility. A Kevin Pangos, a controlled point guard, but less of a scorer in the mold of a Justin Cobbs from Gonzaga could have been a nice fit with the Fraport Skyliners, but he signed with Spanish team Gran Canaria and probably was in a different budget category. Another fascinating scenario would have been bringing in ex NBA player and 1999 NCAA champion with Uconn Khalid El Amin. Even if he is 36, he had a strong season with BG Goettingen last year and the idea of him and Konstantin Klein sharing the point guard duties and having 20 minutes a piece would have been enticing and a thing that could make you go hmmmmm. However El Amin chose to play for Sigal Prishtina and I guess the money was even better in Kosovo than in many other places for the American who has heads to feed. NCAA stat wise players of Justin Cobbs´s caliber are as ample as top players for Team France for the Euro 2015. A guy like DJ Newbill stirred up the BIG Ten with Penn State last season as a senior averaging 20.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 37.0%, and probably would have given a Konstantin Klein a good workout in practice with his foot work, but the closest he ever got to the Fraport Skyliners was customs at Frankfurt airport as he was rudely detained before moving on to his new destination ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA). Players get cheaper every passing day, so the question will be can Herbert find two gems like Cobbs and Armand still available and if he does, can they bring the same individual qualities on the court as rookies with success. Or could Herbert actually surprise everyone with hauling in two experienced players, or bringing home Jimmy Mckinney?

Currently the club has started practicing, but besides the two key missing players still not having been found, Gordon Herbert has had some injury woes that became worse and worse with the rate that its taking place one has to ask when will it stop? Max Merz is back in Frankfurt after his university semester in Australia and isn´t totally fit and resting and should be active again in 2-4 weeks while Stefan Ilzhoefer is expected back in mid-September and has a foot injury. German national player Danilo Barthel who also breathed some German national air this summer is suffering back problems and should be back full duty by next week. Injuries is nothing new to the Fraport Skyliners organization as this has been a problem that they have experienced much in the last 10 years, but somehow always recovered from in some way. Aaron Doornekamp is on tour with the Canadian national team and Johannes Voigtmann is preparing for Euro 2015. Coach Herbert doesn´t have a full squad for practice. The sooner the two new imports arrive the better, but the club has communicated that it could still take a few more weeks. Its not even September yet, but there is a lot of issues to ponder about the Fraport Skyliners at this point. The club has another full pre-season schedule as they will play in a few tournaments and have a training camp on the exotic island of Crete. Their first pre-season game was supposed to be this weekend against new German Pro A team Hebeisen White Wings against old friend head coach Simon Cote .After three years in China and last head coaching job in Germany in Giessen in 2009, the friendly and competent basketball mind Cote has received a new chance with Hanau. However this wonderful reunion for Herbert and Cote as coaching foes won´t happen yet as the ugly injury bug has shown its head again and game has been cancelled as they last celebrated the 2004 Beko BBL title together on the floor in the Fraport arena while Bamberg head coach Dirk Bauermann was fuming in his black attire wondering why Bamberg couldn´t be a new Leverkusen in that moment. Yesterday the Fraport Skyliners announced the next injury victim is 2014 NBBL MVP Niklas Kiel who suffered a torn ligament in practice and should miss 4-6 weeks. This would have been the first organized game for the Fraport Skyliners while Hanau have been already practicing longer, so one shouldn´t have expected too much from Frankfurt in this game. Maybe with no game there will be time for a few beers between the two coaches in a quiet and cozy restaurant in Frankfurt and who knows both might reminisce about 2004 and the spectacular play of American Chris Williams. Herbert then may ask Cote “Did you see Chris in Asia in the last few years and do you know what he is doing”? Then on Monday morning all that day dreaming about the past will be over and it will be back to Fraport Skyliners basketball business scouring the current transfer market for the possible make or break NCAA players that the 2000 Beko BBL cup winner are yearning for.

Barry Johnson(I Give It My All Everytime On The Court)

August 26, 2015

Barry Johnson is a 183cm guard that is in Germany chasing his basketball dream and playing with a touring team called Howard Hoops at the moment. He played college ball at Clarendon CC (JUCO), W.Texas A&M (NCAA2) 28 games: 3.9ppg, 1.1rpg and at Wayland Baptist (NAIA) 34 games: 14.8ppg, 2.9rpg. Awards and achievements in his basketball career have been LSC Tournament Semifinals -13, SAC Regular Season Runner-Up -14, SAC Tournament Finalist -14, and SAC All-Tournament Team -14. He spoke to German Hoops about his experiences in Germany

Barry thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome to Germany. Its 10:30 at night and after a 102-90 loss to TV Langen you had to walk 20 minutes to the train station to catch a short train back to Frankfurt and then take a bus to Offenbach. I guess it all comes with the territory when your trying to get a professional contract

Yes it is very different but can´t complain. Do what I have to do.

You are in Germany this week on a touring team called Howard Hoops that play every night in Langen tonight and then in Kronberg, Gelsenkirchen and Schwelm. On a team the goal is too win, but is your goal not more to put up the best numbers to help you get a contract

I mean, a little of both. Winning is always good and people like winners. But also I want to do the best I can to help with that process.

Howard Hoops lost to German Regionaliga team TV Langen 102-90 playing more street ball while TV Langen played more structured basketball. How tough was it playing on a team of strangers after having the first practice 5 hours earlier?

It was very tough. Just barely meeting these guys today and practiced for 1 hour its hard to get used to playing with someone that fast and to know how to play off of each other.

Howard Hoops had problems on one on one defense and are very small down low. What adjustments does the team need to do in the next games to get some wins?

I think everyone on the team has good defense and ability to not get eaten on one on one. I think the problem was more of being tired. We flew over to Frankfurt from the USA and had a couple hours before we had to practice and then a game the same night. We will be better next game for sure.

TV Langen has a young roster with American rookie Ian Sheldon and German veterans Maxim Schneider and Yannick Schiktanz. What was your first impression of German basketball?

They play really good structured basketball. No one was trying to do too much, just a lot of passing and moving around. It was good.

How happy were you with your first game overseas. What did you do well and what do you still want to do better in the upcoming games?

I wasnt happy at all. Could have done a lot better. I missed a few shots that I normally make.

How thankful are you that tour maker Ronald Howard chose you for his team? Were you able to take some of his barking from the sidelines to heart when you were on the court?

I am very appreciative of Ron for the opportunity. Its always good to know that there are good people in the world who care about helping others and not looking for benefits in return.

If you could describe your game in a few sentences and to why you could help any professional team now what words would you chose?

I am a very tough player. Good point guard that can score easily but also get team involved. Really good 3 point shot. Any team would be good to get me because I give it my all every time on the court and I am good in the community.

You played professionally in Mexico this season averaging 25ppg. If nothing comes out of this basketball trip in Germany what will be the next step for Barry Johnson?

Yes I played pro in Mexico where I averaged 25ppg and 5apg. My highest scoring game was 42 points. Hopefully I get a look in Germany with a team but if not maybe I can get a contract in Australia

What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Do you think that he will ever be mentioned in the same breath as a Michael Jordan?

Lebron is a VERY good player. He can do it all. Him, Jordan, and Kobe are all the same caliber of player.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I watched was ” Straight Outta Compton” a biography about an old rap group NWA. It was really good.

Thanks Barry for the chat.

Thanks for the interview I hope to have some luck getting interest with teams. If anyone is interested and want more info or film they can contact me on facebook at Barry Johnson or by email at barrykeairjohnson@yahoo.com

Devin Gibson(Quantez Robertson Was The Most Competitive Guy I Have Played With On And Off The Court

August 26, 2015

Devin Gibson is a 26 year old 180cm point guard from Austin, Texas that last season played for the Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 26 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.2apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 79.0%. The American started his basketball career in 2007 at UTSA (NCAA) playing a total of 119 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 17.0ppg, 5.2rpg, 5.4apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 78.1%. He started his professional basketball career in 2011 with the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), only pre-season, in Dec.’11 moved to Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 18 games averaging 8.4ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-5(1.4spg), FGP: 42.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 72.8%. In the 2012-2013 season he remained with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 29 games averaging 6.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 62.0%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia-KML): Eurocup: 10 games: 7.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.1apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 51.5%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 72.0%; VTB United League: 16 games: 5.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 34.6%, 3FGP: 42.1%, FT: 78.6%; Estonian League: 23 games: 7.7ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.3apg, Steals-1(2.4spg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 62.7%. He spoke to eurobasket about basketball.

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

Currently in Austin and my summer has been great.

The last three summers you were signed by Frankfurt, Kalev and Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek in Belgium. This summer however you are still unsigned in mid August. How has the summer signing process been for you? Not enough offers or not good enough offers that have come your way on the table?

The summer signing process has been good. Difference in this summer and past summers I have chosen not to sign as early and kind of weigh my options. There have been decent offers on the table but not quite what I am looking for right now.

Are you getting a little nervous now that the summer has been dragging on and you still have not found security with a team for the 2015-2016 season?

As of now I’m not getting too nervous because I am in contact with a few teams and I’m sure something good will come out of it. Right now In my career I would just like to go to the right situation.

Last season you played for Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 26 games and averaging 11.7ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.2apg, Steals-4(1.8spg), FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 79.0%.Statwise would you say this was your strongest season as a professional?

Statwise this is my strongest season as a professional. I think a lot of that goes to playing more minutes consistently and having a bigger role in the offense.

Was last season the perfect situation for you in that you had no serious American competition at the point guard position only from Belgium player Geoffry Hockins?

It was a good situation although I wouldn’t say the perfect not because of no American competition because Geoffry Hockins is a good player but because we had a very talented group of Americans and Belgiums. No one saw it until we could mesh as a team and that didn’t happen until the very end of the season when we made our late playoff push.

You scored in double figures last season in 15 of 26 games. What was your personal season highlight?

My personal season highlight had to be the late playoff push. Won seven of eight games came up a little short but we’re really firing on all cylinders during that push. It really showed me that when a team comes together on and off the court it makes for great basketball on the court.

Is scoring consistency still a part of your game that you aren´t pleased with and can still get better?

Yes scoring is definitely something that I can still continue to improve and to do that I have to continue to shoot a high percentage from the two and keep improving my three point percentage.

I noticed that your three point shooting has really improved since Frankfurt. Is this something that has to do more with repetition and practice or working on the mechanics of your shot?

It has a lot to do with repetition and practice. Getting that confidence to not only shoot it but make it. I have really been concentrating on shooting a better percentage from three.

After two seasons with the Fraport Skyliners you went to cold Estonia to play for BC Kalev. What was your wake up call to being there where you knew that you were very far away from the comfort of the NWZ center in Frankfurt where you lived?

Didn’t really have a wake up call because Talinn was a great city and the Kalev organization was great. Gym was nice. As for as the cold it wasn’t to bad when I was there. Actually it was one of their warmest winters so I was very happy about that.

How valuable was it having experienced Curtis Millage who played at Arizona State and has played in 11 countries as a teammate with BC Kalev. What was the most important thing that you were able to gain from his basketball game on the court?

The most important thing I was able to gain from Curtis on the court was slowing the game down and really picking your points of attack. His shot was the mid range pull up and he never let me forget it.

You played two seasons with the Fraport Skyliners and with many different type of players and characters. If you had to pick one player where you feel you gained the most from on and off the court who would it be?

That is very hard to only pick one. But it would have to be Tez. Probably the most competitive guy I have played with on and off the court. Every day he competed at a very high level.

Konstantin Klein your ex teammate has developed well and become a German national player. His defense has really become more and more nasty since you left. Even though it was only your second professional season, do you feel that Klein picked up on your defensive play in that season where you were teammates?

I would like to think so but I don’t know for sure.

The Fraport Skyliners are looking for a point guard. Would you ever consider coming back to the Fraport Skyliners?

Yes would love to go back love the fans, organization, and it’s always nice to see familiar faces and play with and for people you have already established a relationship with.

If you had to describe your game in a few sentences and to why you could help any team now how would you do it?

To any team I would bring defense, play making ability, competitiveness, and energy, and after four years in three countries and three teams I would like to think experience.

How does a summer work out day look like for you in the summer of 2015?

Starts off with early morning conditioning usually two to three miles and sprints after that. Try to run hills but Houston and Austin are very flat. After conditioning weights and then late night skill work and shooting.

A big strength in your game is the penetration. Do you feel like as a player that one can still become quicker if one works on agility and quick sprints in the off season?

Yes I believe whatever you work on you will be able to improve even if it’s just a little bit.

You played with both Jermario Davidson and Zach Peacock. Who would win a one on one in your opinion?

Hard to say both great players, both have their strengths and weaknesses.

What do you see the Houston Rockets achieving this season in the NBA?

I’m not sure maybe a run at the finals. Have to go with the home team.

What is the state of Lebron James in 2015? Will he ever be mentioned din the same breath as a Michael Jordan?

Don’t like the Lebron James and Michael Jordan arguments. In my opinion it’s still too early to compare. Let Lebron play out his full career and then compare. And after he plays out his career I feel like his numbers and achievements will allow for him to legitimately be compared to Jordan.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Last movie I saw was Straight Outta Compton

Thanks Devin for the chat.

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