Chris Miller (Giessen Pointers) I Have Showed This Season That I Can Bring A Lot More To The Table Than Just Scoring

Chris Miller is a 24 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that is playing his first season with German Regionaliga 2 team Giessen Pointers. He completed his rookie season in Germany with VfL Bensheim (2.Regionalliga). Before coming to Europe, he got semi-pro league experience in the states with the jamestown jackals. He played college ball at Salem international University and graduated in 2015. He spoke to German Hoops recently about his season with the Giessen Pointers.

Chris, thanks for talking to German Hoops. You’re playing your second season in Germany and first with the Giessen Pointers. Last season it was sheer excitement about playing the game you love. What kind of a feeling is it now playing your second season? Has the excitement calmed down a bit or is it still as much there?

Thank you for taking your time to interview me. I still play the game the same way, every day that I get to live out my dream is a blessing and I want to live it to the fullest. The excitement is still the same since I was 13 years old in my first organized game.

You had such a strong season last year with Bensheim, one would have thought you would make the next step to the Regionalliga or Pro B. Did you not get offers from higher teams and what is your goal as a player this season?

After the Season finished I did not have many contacts. Even though I had much success individually, my team did not do very well. In this profession you have to be a winner and I was given an opportunity to lead the Pointers to a championship this year. The offer from the Pointers was great. Under Coach Kostic I felt I could add a lot more aspects to my game before moving to the next level.

How do you stay on the ground now in your second season not taking your success for granted. Do you remind yourself that there are 1000´s of guys wishing they were in your shoes?

Growing up I was always the underdog. I always had to work hard for what I got. I have seen many people before me come and go because they got too comfortable on top. I always told myself I would continue to work hard no matter if I was number 1 or 15 on my team. I do not take it for granted at all. Seeing the guys wishing they were in my shoes also adds fuel to the fire but most of the fuel is from my own passion to be one of the best players I could be.

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James Reid (Phoenix Hagen) Playing Like A Coach On The Floor Has Always Been In My Game

James Reid is a 23 year old 190cm guard from Bend, Oregon playing his rookie season in Germany with Phoenix Hagen currently averaging 12,2ppg, 3,1rpg and 4,5apg while shooting 37% from outside. He got college experience in the states with S.Idaho JC (JUCO), UALR (NCAA) and  Boise St. (NCAA). At his season with  UALR (NCAA,) he played 31 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 76.9%. Last season as a senior at  Boise St. (NCAA) he played 31 games averaging 10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 82.9%. He spoke to German Hopos about basketball earlier in the season.

James, thanks for talking to German Hoops. Thanksgiving just passed and you were in Germany spending this holiday. How did you experience it in Hagen and what did you miss most from this traditional holiday in terms of spending it with your family?

We actually had a nice Thanksgiving style dinner here with the guys on the team Wednesday night, and then Phoenix put together a dinner for us on the actual holiday. It was really special for the organization to go out of their way to celebrate one of our holidays and meant a lot.

You played at three schools and experienced a lot in young years, but you also have seen a lot as a rookie. How has your rookie season changed for you since the passing of head coach Matthias Grothe?

It has been tough. To be in such a tight community and on such a tight team (with 4 guys from Hagen) and have to go through something like that is not easy. There were some extremely emotional days, but I think it really brought us closer as a team and a community. No one prepares for things like that, but his impact on this team and city will live on for a long time to come.

Did the things that you heard before you came to Phoenix Hagen about the club remain true or did the short history and fans totally exceed the expectations that you had before you came to the club?

Phoenix has been great to me since the very beginning. Everything that has been promised to me has been true and the people running things now have done a great job managing the difficulties in coming out of insolvency. The fans are the best that I have seen and it is a lot of fun to play for a crowd like that.

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Vincent Sanford (Sharks Antibes) My Route Was A Little Longer But I Have Built Character And Humility Up Through The Journey

Vincent Sanford is a 27 year old 190cm guard from Lexington, Kentucky playing his fourth professional season and first with Sharks Antibes (France-ProA). He continues to make the next step in his career and development and is averaging 13,4ppg, 2,8rpg, 2,1apg and is shooting 42,0% from outside. Last season he played with TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) playing 10 games averaging 16.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.7apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 92.9%, played also at s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-BBL) playing 13 games averaging  11.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 71.4%. In the 2015-2016 season he played with  Barrancabermeja Ciudad Futuro (Colombia-Liga DirecTV)Liga DirecTV-1 playing 20 games averaging 14.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT-2(42.9%), FT: 76.8%. He started his basketball career with Georgetown (NCAA) in 2009 where he played until 2011 playing 54 NCAA games. He then played two years at Dayton (NCAA) playing 68 NCAA games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 9.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 69.8%. As a rookie, he played for Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 13 games averaging 22.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 73.0%. He spoke to German Hoops recently about his new season in France.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Vincent Sanford after scoring 10 points, hauling down four rebounds, dishing out three assists and getting three steals against Pro B team Dragons in Rhondorf.

Vee, thanks for talking to German Hoops You’re playing your third full professional season with the Sharks Antibes (France-ProA). It took you many years of hard work to finally get the real recognition that you deserve for the talent that you have. How good is life for you at the moment playing the game that you love?

Hey miles! Yes all is good I’m enjoying the opportunity to play and do what I love. Far as recognition, we all have different routes in life. Mine just has happened to be a little longer but it has built character and humility up through the journey.

Last season you played in Wurzburg, Germany and this season with the Sharks Antibes. In what place did it take longer for you to find a Mcdonalds or Burger King?

Definitely in Würzburg, Burger King here in Antibes is right on the way to the gym I see it every day before practice.

You are living in paradise. Antibes is squeezed in between famous places Cannes and Nice and Monte Caro. Do you sometimes have to pinch yourself to even understand how blessed you are at the moment?

I have definitely grasped the beauty the south of France brings. And yes it’s a blessing to be in this mild to warm weather seeing the beach and wearing shorts almost anytime I want.

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Jordan Morgan (Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana) Has Become An Offensive Impact Player

Jordan Morgan is a 26 year old 203cm forward from Detroit, Michigan playing his fourth professional season and first with Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM). Last season he played with GS Kymis (Greece-A1) playing 11 games averaging 11.6ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.5%, FT: 69.2%. In the 2015-2016 season he split time with Hermine Nantes Atlantique (France-ProB) playing 14 games averaging 9.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 54.0%, FT: 56.4%, in Jan.’16 moved to Paris-Levallois (France-ProA) playing 7 games averaging 5.6ppg, 5.6rpg, 2FGP: 54.8%, FT: 55.6%, left in Mar.’16, later that month signed at Canton Charge (D-League) playing 7 games averaging 2.7ppg, 4.3rpg. As a rookie he played with Virtus Acea Roma (Italy-Serie A) playing  24 games averaging 7.5ppg, 6.0rpg, FGP: 48.0%, FT: 66.7%;In the  Eurocup he played 18 games averaging 9.1ppg, 6.7rpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 78.0%. He played at Michigan from 2010-2014 playing a total of 142 NCAA games and reached the NCAA final in 2013 and Elite 8 in 2014. He spoke to German Hoops before the basketball champions league game against medi Bayreuth in Bayreuth.

 Jordan, thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. In your rookie season with Rome you played against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg splitting the Eurocup series. Do you have any memory of the loss in Oldenburg or do the number of games you have played in your professional career make it difficult to recollect certain games?

I remember that game well. We lost to Oldenburg. I remember them having a good year. Rickey Paulding also was having a good year as he is this season. We didn´t have one of our best games.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Do you have any friends playing in Germany?

My current teammate Taylor Battle played in Germany as did Euroleague player Will Clyburn. Currently my friend Dwayne Evans is playing in Germany.

Your playing your first season with Petrol Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-Liga Nova KBM). After playing in Italy, France and Greece in Europe, what kind of experience has it been playing and living in Slovenia as a fourth year professional?

Slovenia has been great. It has been a very interesting season and I feel that we haven´t hit our stride yet. We had some great wins, but also tough loses. It has been a real challenge playing in three leagues. It´s a lot of games and not many practices. For me it has been good as a player to get experience playing in three leagues. I have gotten the chance and freedom to be able to make mistakes and be able to respond to them,

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The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Turnover Disease Pace FC Bayern Munich II To 81-58 Victory

With the Christmas goose digested and the new year celebration a little less than a week ago, it was time for the German Pro B to get rolling again as the 3 week layoff did seem to move along slowly even through the holiday season. It is always seems like a lottery with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and FC Bayern Munich 2 as to which BBL license players will be present or not. It was a good bet that all Fraport Skyliners Juniors could be present because the BBL team played at home the next day against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, while FC Bayern Munich was on the road the day after in Weissenfels, about a two and a half hour car ride from Frankfurt. One of the hottest players at the moment in the Pro B is German FC Bayern Munich swing man Karim Jallow who had scored 20 plus points in his last six games averaging 25,0ppg and is always a treat to see in the Pro B while for Frankfurt one of their top players American Alex Fountain had been in a little slump as after scoring in double figures in his first 8 games has done it only once in his last five games. FC Bayern Munich 2 entered the game having won all three games in the young head to head competition in the Pro B with Frankfurt, while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had been playing spirited basketball as of late having won four of their last five games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were motivated and very focused to finally win their first game in the Pro B against FC Bayern Munich 2, but were rudely denied getting mauled 81-58 as their turnover disease of 31 paced the visitors to the victory.

After the victory one would have thought that all was good with the winners FC Bayern Munich 2, but apparently not as head coach Oliver Kostic disallowed Karim Jallow to talk to this reporter as the German was interrupted halfway through explaining the keys to the victory. “We saw that Frankfurt was weak without many players, but we took them seriously. We wanted to win big, but fell apart in the second quarter. At halftime coach got loud in the locker room with us, but that was expected”, stressed Karim Jallow. It is a shame that Jallow couldn´t talk more, but apparently coach Kostic thinks the Pro B is the NBA? After a few surprised faces had witnessed the abrupt departure of Jallow and Kostic, a disappointed Niklas Pons of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors explained the demise of his team. “We didn´t have the strength to win today. The second quarter was good, but we let up in the third quarter. We had a nice run at the end, but it was too late. We should of played like that earlier. We didn´t move the ball well and just couldn´t play our game. They defended very aggressively and we were irritated by them”, said ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons.

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Konstantin Klein Leaves The Steam On The Bench Rallying The Telekom Baskets Bonn Past The Fraport Skyliners 81-76

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing TJ Dileo of the Telekom Baskets Bonn after the hard fough 81-76 win in Frankfurt

The holiday season wasn´t  one of the greatest for the Fraport Skyliners in terms of their basketball success. Off the court a Mike Morrison could of played the perfect Santa Claus for the kids with teammate Quantez Robertson as his handy Elf, but on the court the club was unable to get some much needed wins that could of secured a visit to the 2018 EasyCRedit BBL cup top 4 qualifying game. Overall the Fraport Skyliners have been their own plague on the road having lost four of their last five games. A day before Christmas eve, they played one of their worst halves of basketball in the last 10 years as they totally collapsed against their worst enemy Giessen. Eight days later, they must not of had digested their Christmas goose well as they couldn´t escape Wurzburg with a win as their usual trusty defense couldn´t get stops on a regular basis in the second half. The good news for the 2000 BBL cup winner Fraport Skyliners is that whenever they lost on the road, they were able to bounce back and win at home in their living room where they are 7-1 this season and are always very very difficult to beat. The Fraport Skyliners had a do or die game with the Telekom Baskets Bonn for a ticket and chance to reach the EasyCredit BBL top 4 qualifying game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn came into the first game of 2018 with a lot of self confidence having won three of their last four games and had beaten the potent Giessen 46ers at home. The stakes were high for both teams wanting to get into 2018 on a winning note and get closer to that cup qualifying game and fans saw a very exciting game that was played at a high intensity for 40 minutes, but the Fraport Skyliners were unable to close out the game as they controlled the game for 35 minutes, but allowed ex player Konstantin Klein find a quick rhythm which shifted the game in the direction of Bonn who nipped Frankfurt 81-76.

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When Will The Real Telekom Baskets Bonn Please Stand Up?

Even if the weather in Germany doesn´t feel like January, 2018 is here and everybody is more than content that it is what it is as in cities like Boston and New York the arctic cold has made the one or other quick trip to the grocery store for top European players Daniel Theis and Kristaps Porzingis a struggle, so for Telekom Baskets Bonn guard TJ DiLeo who hails from Cinnaminson,New Jersey, the -13 degrees Celsius that his family and friends woke up to on the first day of 2018 was something where he could only half-jokingly mutter over the phone with “well better bundle up” as the seemingly tropic like temperature in comparison of 8+ celcius in Bonn was something that Americans on the east coast could only have dreamt about. In Telekom Baskets Bonn country, the last thing on the mind of basketball followers was the balmy winter weather, but moreover about the current season and the very suitable and topical question of “When will the real Telekom Baskets Bonn please stand up?” With 2018 here there have been interesting basketball topics that have developed rather nicely in the last months like the abrupt continuation of the rise of Slovenian wonder boy Luka Doncic. For many he is a one in a million talent that only comes around once in a century and for many is better than Dirk Nowitzki was at that age as he is easily the best Euroleague player at the moment and best 18 year old player on the planet. Some other interesting basketball developments has been the stellar play of the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg who continue to be a quiet title aspiration in the league and a Basketball Champions League title contender as head coach John Patrick continues to demonstrate why he is one of the best coaches in the league. In the NBA, the sudden rise of the Boston Celtics who belong to the top teams in the league despite having lost Gordon Hayward early in the season has been a hot news item. But one topic that just seems to drag on half heartedly and just seem to be going through the motions and not taking off the way the New England Patriots can at any time when they are behind in a game and can react like a wounded coyote are the Telekom Baskets Bonn who have so much talent, but aren´t developing the way they should, but there are reasons for that. The positive aspect is there is a lot of potential in abundance in the roster, but the question is will they be able to implement it n the best way possible which will lead to more success?

It is no secret that the Telekom Baskets Bonn have been the German basketball version of the NFL Buffalo Bills who reached 4 NFL Superbowls losing each one as Bonn have reached their fair of finals in the last 20 years, but are still looking for their first real club title as they are a five time BBL finalist and a three time cup finalist.

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