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Carlos Medlock(Basketball Lowen Braunschweig) Looks To Stick In The BBL Like Stickum Did To Lester Hays

December 2, 2016

It really doesn´t matter what basketball player you ask in Germany that isn´t playing in the easyCredit BBL, they will answer that their ultimate goal of reaching it one day and the chance of that happening isn´t so off the rocker. What is funny the lower you go league wise, the more confident the player will get of their abilities while players in the Pro A are just as confident of their abilities, but seem to know that they are so close and will keep a more controlled mouth work as they know just having that one strong Pro A season plus having the right contact might be enough to be able to wear the jersey of that BBL club. The list of players that move up from league to league in Germany is as large as the beast magnitude that a guy like Demarcus Cousins displays each night and one of those guys that has experienced this move has been American Carlos Medlock of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. The 29 year old 183cm point guard needed some grooming in the Pro A, but so far this season the ex Eastern Michigan(NCAA) player has displayed that he can compete in one of the best leagues in Europe as in 11 games he is averaging 11,0ppg, 1,5rpg and 4,2apg while shooting 32% from downtown for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig as he finally reached his goal even if it took a bit longer to reach.

After coming out of college, he had to start at the bottom and prove himself in the always improving English BBL league where he led the Guildford Heat to the British trophy while playing 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-4(4.6apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 64.1%. He already showed as a rookie, that he could recover in a grand way from a set back as he came over the pond after making his first experience in the D-League with the Utah Flash. There he noticed quickly that the D-league wasn´t his route as he played three games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.3rpg and instead of wasting a whole season there, he reacted quickly and came over to Europe to try his luck and in hindsight, it turned out to be the correct decision. After sitting out the season in 2011, he came back strong in 2012 and the next destination on his basketball map was Iceland a place that always turns into an adventure with the beautiful scenery, daylight issues and weather, but at least the road trips are short and it isn´t worth it to switch on the lab top as you will have reached your next destination before the opening credits of Suicide Squad have even ended. In Iceland he wore the jersey of U.M.F. Skallagrimur Borganes (Iceland-Dominos League) and one could be cautious, but still say with pride that the rest is history. Like many players before him, he tore up a weak league, but for some reason many players that have achieved success here have moved on to bigger and better things. Just ask a Derrick Allen who balled with Medlock last season in Vechta as he won the cup in Iceland in 2004 and after moved to the German BBL and is currently playing his 12th season in that league and for a time belonged to the top three power forwards. In Iceland Medlock played 24 games and was second in scoring averaging 27.2ppg), 4.4rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-5(2.3spg), FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.9%.

After his break out season in Iceland, he made the next step in his professional career by moving to the higher league Pro A in Germany and hasn´t turned his back on the country that gave the world real Beer and real cars as is currently playing his fourth season in Germany and first for the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig in the first division, but once again to have gotten there, he needed to prove himself again and again as he played the last three seasons in the Pro A for Crailsheim, Wurzburg and Vechta. His first season in Crailsheim paved the way for his further development as a player as not only did he keep consistent stats and was always among the top three point guards in the league, but he showed leadership qualities which belongs to the most vital attributes that a point guard has to have in order to be successful. He led Crailsheim to the Pro A final, but lost to BG Goettingen that was just a number to tough for them. “I think if we could have capitalized on our chance to make a run like we did at home maybe it would’ve been different. But hats off to Goettingen they got the title”, stressed Carlos Medlock. However the disappointment of not getting the chip drove him on to become better and he would prove in the next two seasons that his leadership would continue to rise. He played his first season with the Crailsheim Merlins (Germany-Pro A) playing 37 games and averaging 17.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 82.2%. His stats weren´t just good, but magnificent as he showed his scoring touch on numerous occasions, but also demonstrated that his playmaking is solid and that he could shoot the three at crucial moments. In his first season in the Pro A, he scored in double figures in 33 games and 20 points or more 13 times as one could of called him the scoring machine from Detroit. He had some massive games against Science City Jena with 39 points on eight three´s or 32 points against Ehingen or 29 points against Heidelberg. One may have thought that one of these two games would have been his personal season best, but it was actually the game against Magdeburg where he poured in 20 points, dished out nine assists and stayed clean taking care of the ball. “I hate having turnovers especially bad ones. The game against Jena I did go into a zone but I was just trying to do whatever I could to help my team win”, stressed Carlos Medlock

In 2014, he moved on to Wurzburg who were in the second league and were looking to get back to the BBL. One may have wondered why he didn´t stay in Crailsheim, in a place he was comfortable with and with the chance of making the next step to the BBL with the team in the second season, but as is so often the case with any player, a new challenge and taking that best new opportunity for himself and his family stood out. He also always had the BBL in the back of his mind just like any other American player walking on the soil in Germany. “Just knowing Wurzburg was a good situation for me. I Feel the BBL will always be there and I know I can play in that league. When the best opportunity comes I will be playing in that league”, warned Carlos Medlock. He came into a new situation and just did what a point guard has to by running the team like a point guard should, had potent stats and at the end of the season reached the Pro A final again. With Wurzburg he played 39 games averaging 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 75.4%. His stats weren´t as big as with Crailsheim, but then again he was surrounded by more talent and he didn´t have to do as much himself. “The reason I came to this team was to show that I’m not just a scoring point guard, but I can run a team also”, stressed Carlos Medlock. He still found enough opportunities to score as he scored in double figures in 29 games and even put up the goose egg against Heidelberg in 30 minutes, but nobody remembered that performance 24 hours later as his team had won by 15 points and continued to rush through the season blowing most every opponent out of their way. The season ended in disappointment as they lost in Giessen 77-76 missing out on a second pro A title. His second blow came in the off season when he wasn´t retained by Wurzburg for the upcoming BBL season. Medlock remained professional and knew that this was just part of the professional process and that his time would come eventually.

Last season Medlock laced up his sneakers with SC Rasta Vechta and once again led his team to the Pro A final and had his best season in the playmaking department as he played 36 games averaging 14.1ppg, 2.2rpg, Assists-3(6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 78.5%. Being known for being more than just a scoring point guard seems to have always been a factor, but he finally proved with Vechta that he could be that vicious playmaker that could consistently deposit dimes the way a Scott Machado is doing this season in the BBL. Already with Wurzburg, he had set his mind on doing that. “One of my main goals was to improve on my assists”, added Carlos Medlock. With SC Rasta Vechta, he probably had the most talent in his three years in the Pro A as he had teammates like Derrick Allen, Christian Standhardinger or Chase Griffin. It was his most complete season as once again his scoring was there as he scored in double figures in 29 games including some monster games against Nurnberg with 32 points and 25 points against Science City Jena. He was more of a playmaker having big assist games with 13 against Hanau and 12 against Essen. At the end of the season though, he couldn´t finally say three was a charm, but moreover might have said one more loss next season in the Pro A and I can book a room together with legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly in the hotel for final losers as the Hall of fame quarterback actually reached four Super Bowls and never came home with that much desired ring. He did lead Vechta to a home 92-77 win in the final, but Science City Jena had done all the damage in the first game winning 80-54 and thus moved back to the BBL on account of a better point difference as that is how the Pro A champ is determined.

One may have thought that the American couldn´t suffer anymore hardship after a third consecutive Pro A final loss, but instead of being rewarded for leading the team to the final, just like with Wurzburg, Vechta didn´t retain him, but instead decided to give the point guard reigns to ex NBA player Scott Machado. Once again, Medlock stayed positive and let his game and agent do the talking and finally after six long seasons as a professional made the jump to the easyCredit BBL signing with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. This season has been one to forget as his winning ways of the last three seasons have been drastically reduced in Braunschweig as currently the club is riding a 2-9 record and is sitting near the cellar in 16th place. He has some nice complimentary players around him like a Dyshawn Pierre, Geoffrey Groselle or Carlton Guyton as well as German BBL veterans Jannik Freese and Nicolai Simon, and a handful of unproven young Germans, but all in all not really enough to compete with more than half of the other BBL teams. Head coach Frank Menz put together a risky roster with little proven BBL players and the result currently is a place near the bottom. Medlock has been holding his own incorporating his leadership qualities as best as he can leading the teams to wins against ex team SC Rasta Vechta and the Telekom Baskets Bonn. He knows that just like when he arrived in the Pro A three years ago, the BBL is all a new learning experience. “The speed of the game is different. Throughout my career my assists been pretty consistent it’s a little less than last year. But do I wish to average more of course”, stressed Carlos Medlock. Leadership is something that he has always done well and this season it´s been tough, but something he is still doing to the best of his capabilities. “It’s not a problem I been one of the leaders on each team that I played for. But what I try to do most of is leading by example”, added Carlos Medlock. Except for a close 77-75 loss against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen, most loses have been by more than 10 points and the club even suffered brutal massacres against Bavarian teams Bamberg and new BBL sensation 10 game winning streak team Bayreuth by 48 points. Despite the lack luster, start, he is upbeat that the season will turn around. “Very confident things will change. The team is starting to play well together and it’s a long season anything can happen when we playing to our potential”, said Carlos Medlock. The season has been a valuable learning experience for the American as he continues to grow day by day in a league that he has been dreaming of reaching since years. Medlock had to prove his worth as a basketball players for six years and his motivation to stick with it and continue to show the critics that he has game finally did pay off. He also knows that proving the doubters hasn´t ended in Braunschweig either. “Yeah it’s been that way for me my whole life. Wish it could’ve been easy like the so called big name players. But it just helps me appreciate the grind of basketball more. My motivation that keeps me pushing is my kids and keep proving people wrong”, stressed Carlos Medlock. Now the American continues to want to prove doubters wrong that he isn´t a one hit basketball wonder, but that he can not only survive the rigors of BBL life, but become a consistent solid player that will stick for good in the top German league like that stickum stuff did to for two time Super Bowl champion Oakland Raider Lester Hays back in the day. One for thing is for sure, this summer nobody will be able to tell Carlos Medlock that he came even with Jim Kelly with four lost finals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dane Watts(Gotha) I Always Want To Be Playing For Something Greater Than Myself

December 2, 2016

Dane Watts is a 30 year old 203cm forward from Warrensburg, Missouri that is playing his ninth professional season and first with the BiG Oettinger Rockets Gotha (Germany-ProA). In his first two games with Gotha, he is averaging 15,5ppg, 6,0rpg and 2,0apg. He played at Creighton (NCAA) from 2004-2008 with NBA player Anthony Tolliver. In his senior year, he played 33 games: 11.3ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 53.4%, 3Pts: 42.5%, FT: 71.8%. In 2008, he came to Germany and started his professional basketball career with EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) playing 32 games: 8.9ppg, 3.8rpg, FGP-1(68.4%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 68.7%. In 2009-2010, he came to The Walter Tigers Tuebingen playing 34 games: 10.2ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 71.0%. In 2010-2011 for Tuebingen, he played 33 games: 13.7ppg, Reb-4(7.6rpg), 1.1apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 54.5%; in May’11 moved to Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA): 3 games: 7.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg. He then played for ratiopharm Ulm from 2011-2013. In the 2013-2014 season he played briefly for the Fraport Skyliners before another injury forced him to cut his season short. In the 2014-2015 season he played for Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain-Liga Endesa): 7 games: 2.4ppg, 3.6rpg; Eurocup: 6 games: 2.0ppg, 2.0rpg, in Jan.’15 moved to Limburg United (Belgium-Scooore League): 15 games: 8.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 64.1%. Last season he played with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga): 27 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 74.8%; FIBA Europe Cup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.6%He spoke to German Hoops about his move back to Germany to Gotha.

 

 

 

Thanks Dane for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You were away for two years playing in Spain, Belgium and Austria. What did you miss most about Germany?

Spain was a totally different culture but Belgium and Austria were more familiar for me and my family after being in Germany so long. We have made a lot of good friends over the years being in Germany so we missed seeing them and of course the schnitzel.

I was actually preparing an article concerning your ex teammate Michael Jenkins who will play in Frankfurt again after 7 years where he played the first time in 2009 with Tuebingen and you as his teammate. I almost put Dane Watts as retired in the section with many players from that season, but didn´t because I was figuring you might not be done yet. An hour later I heard the news that you signed with Gotha. Did you have less offers this year than in the past?

Not less offers but with a rough market a lot teams were taking rookies or young players. With a family and two kids there are only certain situations I’m looking to play in overseas.

When I say you have a 7-3 record against somebody affiliated with Gotha could you guess off the top of your head who I mean?

Reading the question below is see Chris haha. Don’t know anyone else I could have played against 10 times

You owned your new head coach Chris Ensminger as a professional in Germany having a 7-3 record against him. You were perfect with ratiopharm Ulm 4-0 against him and Bonn, you were 3-1 with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen against him and Bonn, but 0-2 with Ludwigsburg against him and Paderborn. Now that you know this will you have some friendly ribbing with him at some point letting him know about your success?

That is in the past and when I was in Ulm we beat everyone except Bamberg. I want us to enjoy success together now working in the same organization.

Will it be strange having Chris Ensminger as a head coach or do you see it as being able to learn something new at age 30?

It’s not strange, just makes me realize I have been around for a while. When I was younger I thought it was weird when my teammates said they played against the coach or were teammates before. Now I played against the coach for many years and also was a teammate with the assistant.

You had some serious battles with him as a professional. One either hated or loved the guy. He was a very tough player on the court. What did you respect about him as a player and competitor?

I respected that he was able to play so long at a good level, especially as a big guy you never know how the body will hold up. To me that means he was being a true pro and taking care of himself. To do that for so long, have a family and still produce on a top level is impressive.

Currently the team is in ninth place with a record of 5-5 and still finding themselves. Do you see yourself as being a type of savior or a guy that will bring the needed energy to the team?

I am coming here to provide leadership and experience, playing in some of the top leagues in Europe over my career I have learned a lot and help this team with their goals. There is a good group of guys here and we will come together.

Last season you had a very solid season with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing 27 games and averaging 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 25.4%, FT: 74.8%; FIBA Europe Cup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 77.6%. Do you feel like your role will to be a scorer or more of a glue guy?

I showed last year that I can be the reliable veteran every night and lead a winning team. It was a crazy situation that ended our season but we were 29-4 before they didn’t let us finish the season. I am coming here to help the team win, if I need to score then I can but there are other intangibles that I bring that help teams win and that is probably most important at this point.

What do you believe is still your biggest asset as a player now at age 30?

Leadership and experience can’t be taught, having played so much you see things that younger guys don’t see yet. Having another voice tell a young something guy can help him learn quicker. I have played with some great guys and will help others just like they did for me when I was coming up.

How excited are you about this new experience? You will be the oldest guy on the team. Are you looking forward to be teaching the youngsters tricks of the trade on the court?

I am excited about this experience. It is good for my family and my wife is also excited to be back in Germany. My son was born here and we have had good experiences and memories here. Also for basketball it is a chance to help a club that has aspirations, I always want to be playing for something greater than myself. I was the oldest on my team last year in Austria, I don’t feel old, just experienced.

You didn´t spend much time with the Fraport Skyliners in 2013-2014 playing only four games, but when you see how successful they were the last two seasons and see how much their struggling now, do you feel a bit for your ex teammate Quantez Robertson who has his hands full as captain?

I really enjoyed the team and my time in Frankfurt. I was disappointed in how that ended for me there. I followed them ever since and was happy to see them succeed in the Fiba cup and see the players grow individually. It’s always tough to see friends struggle, I know the coaches and everybody around the team is doing things right so it’s hard when it doesn’t translate into wins.

Who won a one on one in practice last season you or Cody Larson?

I would give Orville buckets

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?

Shaq, Dirk, Larry, MJ and Bron Those are the guys that I liked watching growing up, there will always be debate but that’s who I like.

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

Not sure there will ever be a clear cut debate on who is the best all time. If a Bron wins more titles that will make it harder for sure

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

Not far behind Duncan. He was a great competitor and always played with intensity.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The man from U.N.C.L.E was on the airplane ride over here.

Thanks Dane for the chat.

 

 

 

Kyle Hines(CSKA Moscow) At My Age I Don´t Need To Always Rely On My Athleticism But More On My Basketball Wisdom

December 1, 2016

Kyle Hines is a 30 year old 198cm power forward from Sicklerville, New Jersey that is playing his fourth season with CSKA Moscow. He is a powerful player who loves to attack the basket. Has a good 1-vs-1 game and likes to go inside. He is undersized to play the power forward, but his great wingspan (7-1) allows him to guard taller players and to intimidate. He’s also a great leaper and reads the opponent’s game well. He played at NC-Greensboro (NCAA) from 2004-2008. In his senior year, he played 31 games: 19.2ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.4apg, 1.8spg, 3.1bpg, FGP: 55.6%, 3Pts: 12.5%, FT: 62.8%. He was invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 17.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.3apg, 2.3spg, 3.3bpg, FGP: 78.6%, FT: 72.7%. He then had predraft workouts with Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA). He then went to Europe to Italy and played with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 34 games: 16.9ppg, Reb-4(8.6rpg), 3.0spg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP-2(66.0%), FT: 58.5%. In 2009, he took part in the Orlando Pro Summer League (Oklahoma City Thunder). In 2009-2010, he stayed in Italy with Prima Veroli (Italy-Lega2, starting five): 40 games: 18.5ppg, 8.1rpg, Steals-2(3.5spg), Blocks-4(1.6bpg), FGP-3(64.0%), 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 57.8%. He played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (New Orleans Hornets) in the summer of 2010.In 2010-2011 he played for the Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): Euroleague: 10 games: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 64.3%, FT: 46.7%; German League: 46 games: 10.4ppg, 4.6rpg, Blocks-3(1.2bpg), FGP-3(61.1%), 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 52.4%. He won the double with Bamberg. He played for Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A1) from 2011-2013 winning two Euroleague titles. Last season for CSKA Moscow he played 39 games averaging 8.4ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 64.9%, 3PT-3(50.0%), FT: 63.0%; Euroleague: 29 games: 10.9ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 67.4%, FT: 65.8%.He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague game in Bamberg.

 

 

 

 

Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how are you enjoying basketball life at age 30?

 

I am in Moscow at home. I have experienced so much in Europe in the last years and it´s been an incredible journey for me. My 20´s went well with basketball and I hope it will continue in my 30´s.

 

 

Do you ever ponder about how much longer you will still be able to play?

 

I think every player thinks about the magic number. I am taking it year by year and hope to play as long as I can. In the long run, it isn´t really up to the player but your body and the market. I hope that I can stay healthy and play at the highest level for many more years.

 

 

 

You were used to colder winters growing up in New Jersey, but how have you learned to deal with the brutal winter´s of Russia over the last years?

 

I think that after a while I have gotten used to the winters in Russia. I am from the east coast and kind of got away from it when I played in Greece from 2011-2013. I really enjoyed the sun there. In Russia, it is important that you stay bundled up. You try to do as much as possible inside in Russia. There are tunnels to stores. You try to do as many activities indoors here.

 

 

You are 30 now and are playing your ninth professional season. How is your body and mentality holding up right now?

 

It is holding up pretty well. I had an injury over the summer which had me miss the pre-season. This was a set back for me, but I got in shape as the season went on. I would like to say that I still feel effective at age 30. I have been blessed and fortunate to have been playing at a high level and hope that it will continue.

 

 

Have you begun to notice that you aren´t 25 anymore, but getting older?

 

I definitely don´t feel like I am 25 anymore. I try to be more cautious with recovery and taking care of my body.

 

Do you notice things happening at times on the court where you make different decisions just to keep your body going instead of it suffering unneeded stress?

 

I don´t know. I still am playing my position and using my style. I have a high motor and as you get older you have use your experience and intelligence on the court. I am not wild or play out of control on the court. At my age, I don´t need to always rely on my athleticism, but more my basketball wisdom.

 

You are playing your fourth season with CSKA Moscow and have won four titles there. After two Euroleague finals back to back, you finally won it last season. How do you keep yourself and teammates from still being hungry this season and not losing that feeling?

 

We really have no choice. We play so many games against so many teams in the Euroleague and VTB that each game is crucial. It doesn´t matter if we are playing a Real Madrid or low ranked VTB team, every team is always giving their best against us. Each team knows that they are playing against one of the best teams and then against big tradition with CSKA. Each time we step on the court, each guy has to give their best effort. We know that our opponent will be very motivated, but we have to be more motivated.

 

Currently the club is 15-1 in Euroleague and VTB play. You are used to winning like few others. You lost   a few weeks ago to Turkish team Darussafaka and an ex Bamberg player Brad Wanamaker was a big reason why. Does losing become harder with age?

 

I think that every player takes losing hard especially when you haven´t played your best brand. We let up easy opportunities against them and didn´t play our best. That frustrated me more than the loss.

 

Once again the team has stayed together except for two new players coming this season. Team chemistry is the obvious as too why there is so much success this season, but what else do you fee is the secret behind the team success this season?

 

Our chemistry is very strong as we have many guys back and we know each other well. I think the other big strength is that everyone knows their role. We have no guy that wants to outperform the other or get out of their role.

 

 

 

 

CSKA Moscow brought one new American with ex NBA player James Augustine? He knows the European building as well as the VTB league and played the last four years with BC Khimky Moscow Region. This team is a Moscow city rival with you, but despite the size of the city did you ever have any deals with him over the last three years off the court or was it only on the court?

 

More on the court, but also some off the court. We all have mutual friends with the other team and here and there we see each other at a players birthday party.

 

 

Augustine brings stability form the bench and is another big body. What do you believe is his biggest strength on the court?

 

 

He has a lot of experience and has played a lot of international games. He is very agile and very athletic and is an underrated post player and mid distance game. He is a high quality player that gives us another component on offense and defense.

 

 

 

What have you learned to appreciate the most from ex NBA player Joel Freeland? As a Brit how have you experienced his charachter and humor?

 

He is one of the most charismatic guys on the team. He is always laughing and telling jokes. He has a great character and despite being injured, he was always positive and gets along with everyone in the locker room.

 

What has been your most fierce wow effect so far this season when watching Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic on the court together?

 

Mentioning one thing is difficult, because they do so much. I have seen them do it for the last years. They both make spectacular plays. Teodosic makes great no look passes. He had one of those in pre-season against Athens. He makes the game look so easy. Sometimes I don´t know how he makes those passes. De Colo is a great shooter and creator. Sometimes you can only shake your head as too how he made a shot. They have so much talent and I am very lucky to be able to play with them.

 

As always you have very solid stats in both competitions. What are you focusing most on your game this season on the court?

 

I am trying to continue to do the little things that help my team win like finishing plays, making free throws and being a solid defensive player. My goal is always how I can put my team in the best position to win the game.

 

 

How much more does effectiveness become on the court for Kyle Hines with each new season?

 

 

That is the most important part for me. Being effective allows me to be on the court. If you aren´t effective then you are a liability.

 

 

Your returning back to Bamberg this week. It has been five years since you last played there. Do you ever wonder how a Kyle Hines would have functioned with them last season?

 

I know their coach well since he was my first coach in Europe. I know their style and I hope that I could function in any system. They had a very good team last season that had their most successful season in the Euroleague. They have a great tradition in Bamberg and it continues to grow season by season.

 

 

 

Bamberg is the big unlucky team so far having lost five games by four or less points and three games by one point. How dangerous is this team?

 

They lost some real close games and their record doesn´t reflect how they play. They were up big in some games and had control, but still lost. They are very strong at home. We know how dangerous they are and will be ready.

 

 

 

Is controlling the boards and wearing them down inside a key for success?

 

 

Yes that is always the key for us. When we can secure rebounds, it gives us more possessions and opportunities to score and it also allows us to control the tempo.

 

 

 

Last week you destroyed Spanish team Baskonia 112-84 in the Euroleague. What was your impression of German Johannes Voigtmann? Does he have NBA game?

 

 

Yes he does from what I have seen on film and in person. He is very skillful and you don´t see many big men step out and shoot the way he does. He has that perimeter style, but also can play with the back to the basket. He plays the modern game of basketball.

 

 

 

You recently wrote a very interesting blog concerning your experiences living in three different countries and witnessing three US presidential elections from the European perspective. Did you ever lean back and think how blessed you have been for living so long in Europe and making an amazing living?

 

Each day I thank the Lord that I am fortunate to be able to play the game I love. I have been blessed to have seen some of the most amazing places and live in cities that some save up a lifetime to visit. It has been very humbling having experienced so many places.

 

 

 

Which presidential election was the most intense for you to be a part of in Europe?

 

I wrote the blog, because I experienced it in three different places. When I look back, I realized that each election and place I lived in were different. My opinions at 30 was different than at 21.

 

Kevin Garnett has retired. Where do you rank him with all the best that ever did it in the NBA?

 

Garnett is definitely top 2 or 3 for me. He is up there with the Duncan´s, Malone´s and Barkley´s. He was one of the first to come out of high school and have success in the NBA. I think that if he hadn´t had that success then you may not have seen Kobe have that success either. He was a role model for everyone on and off the court. Every athlete would love to have emulated a career like that.

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Golden State Warriors end this season? Will they string up a big winning streak after the all-star race?

 

They have played very well and will get hot. They will be a force all season and win the NBA title

 

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

Suicide Squad.

 

Thanks Kyle for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Thompson(Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul )Defensively Quantez Robertson´s Hard Work And Desire Was Unreal

November 30, 2016

 

 

 

Michael Thompson is a 27 year old 177cm point guard from Chicago, Illinois that is playing his sixth professional season and first with  Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). He played at Northwestern from 2007-2011. In his senior year, he played 34 games: 16.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 82.5%. He turned professional in 2011 with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-1.Bundesliga) in 2011 and palyed EuroCup: 6 games: 7.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 34.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 83.3%; German League: 27 games: 8.5ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 76.1%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (France-ProA) playing  35 games: 10.4ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 84.8%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA) playing 30 games: 11.6ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.2apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 45.5%, FT-3(93.8%). In the 2014-2015 season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA) playing 33 games: 13.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 4.2apg, FGP: 47.0%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 86.1%. Last season he played for Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA) playing 36 games: Score-1(17.9ppg), 2.1rpg, 5.1apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 89.9%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

 

 

 

Mike thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are playing your first season in Turkey with Besiktas. How refreshing is it having such normal warmer temperatures at this time of the year? Something you never witnessed in Chicago, Germany or France the last years?

 

 Thanks for having me. It’s very refreshing to have had such wonderful weather, but it is starting to get cold. Last year in Pau, France the weather was warm for the majority of the season.

 

You are back in Germany preparing to play the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. How excited are you to be playing against your ex teammate Drew Craford. How strange will it be playing against him now five years after you left Northwestern?

 

I’m very excited to be playing against Drew! We workout together in the summer and I really enjoyed playing with him during our time at Northwestern. It will be a weird playing against each other for the first time, but we are very competitive so we both want to play well and win the game.

Congrats on a very strong start in Turkey as Besiktas is 6-0 in the Champions League and in the top 4 teams in the BSL league. What do you feel has been the main reasons for that has seven new imports?

 The team has worked hard all season long and the chemistry we have is very good. We have a talented team and we all compliment each other well.

Besiktas is 6-0 in the Champions League and last week I spoke to Michael Dixon of AEK Athens and he stated that your group is among the toughest this season. What has been the biggest challenge for you playing in both leagues this season?

 The hardest part for me has been the traveling and adjusting to playing twice a week. I haven’t played twice a week since my first season when I played in Germany.

After three very solid seasons in France, you last season had your breakout season in that country with Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA). You led the league in scoring and averaged 5,1apg. What do you feel was key for you having this type of season?

Last season in Pau, I played with a great team and the coaching staff had a lot of confidence in me and ran a lot of plays through me and for me so I was able to have a solid season and play in the playoffs!

Do you personally feel a little pressure from yourself this season needing to live up to what you did last seasons just in terms of your competitive nature to always want to get better?

 As an athlete you always want to get better and compete at a high level. I don’t feel pressure to live up to last years expectations, I’m playing for an amazing team and we have a good record so I’m focusing on my role and doing all I can to help us continue to get better and win games.

After having such a great season last season, what do you feel do you need to do on the court to be successful this season in taking that next step?

 I have to continue to work hard and play my game. I’m learning new things playing in the Turkish league for the first time and the coaching staff has been helping a lot with the transition.

This season´s teams has serious talent with guys like Earl Clark, DJ Strawberry and Michael Roll. How do you feel has just their presence had an effect on your mindset and overall game?

 Playing with great players like them makes things easier, they are talented and have a lot of experience so it’s never an issue to ask them questions and take advice from them. It has been a lot of fun playing with and learning things from them.

You are playing your fifth season since you were a rookie with Frankfurt. It seems like it was just yesterday when you were a rookie with the Fraport Skyliners. Has time flown by for you as it has for me?

Time has definitely flew by since my rookie season playing for the Fraport Skyliners.

You were back with Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-ProA) after having played there in the 2013-2014 season. It isn´t often a player leaves a club and after a season returns back. Did you have a special reason for returning back?

 I returned to Pau after a season away because I played for the new coach they signed and I knew his coaching style and the fact that he would give me a lot of freedom on the court led me to returning to Pau.

You have improved your scoring and assists average each season in France. Do you credit that more to hard work or just getting into better situations with teams as you have moved on?

I credit it to hard work, and understanding the game better. Each year I feel I have improved and learned new things about the game of basketball.

You scored 41 points in a 108-104 win against Nancy. Did you feel like a mini Steph Curry offense wise?

No I didn’t feel like Steph Curry, but I did feel good that game. I was more happy about the fact that we won the game after 2 overtimes, That was a big win for our team and it somewhat turned our season around.

What do you feel has improved the most in your game in the last four years in France?

My knowledge and understanding of the game

How much easier did a Steve Smith make your job when he is on the wing and playing inside?

Steve Smith makes the game a lot easier, he can do some many things and the defense has to focus on him so that freed up a lot of things for me, and when he had the ball he delivered a lot of buckets for our team.

What goals do you still have as a professional and how much further can you still develop?

I want to continue to improve and of course win championships. Winning championships has been my goal and I’m working towards that everyday.

What do you miss most about the game of Quantez Robertson? How did he make you a better defensive player as a rookie?

I miss his athleticism it was a lot of fun to watch him go coast to coast in practice and games. Defensively his hard work and desire was unreal and he was a lot of fun to watch and play with.

With what Fraport Skyliner do you still have the most contact with?

Jimmy “J Roc” McKinney

Ok Mike. Where were you and exactly what did you do when the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series recently?

 I was in Istanbul, Turkey at home sleeping when the Cubs won the World Series.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?

In no particular order Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

 Lebron is top 3 players of all time in my opinion

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

Top 5 power forwards to ever play the game

What was the last movie that you saw?

Don’t Breathe.

Thanks Mike for the chat.

Tyrone Nash(Ironi Nahariya) My Last Game With Tuebingen Against Phoenix Hagen Felt Like A Playoff Game

November 29, 2016

Tyrone Nash is a 28 year old 203cm forward from Queens, New York playing his sixth professional season and first with  Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Winner League). He started his basketball career with  Notre Dame (NCAA) in 2007 and played 118 NCAA games until 2011 and as a senior played  34 games averaging 9.5ppg, 5.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 68.9%. He started his professional career in 2011 with the  Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played for three seasons playing 99 BBL games and in his last season there played  33 games: 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.6%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for SPO Rouen Basket (France-ProA): 11 games: 8.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.1%, FT: 50.0%. Last season he returned back to Germany to play for the Basketball Loewen Braunschweig (Germany-BBL) playing 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 66.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners.

 

 

 

Tyrone thanks for talking to German Hoops. Your playing your first season in Israel for Ironi Nahariya (Israel-Winner League). You played the last years mostly in Germany and one season in France. In terms to weather how close are you to living in a paradise atmosphere?

 

It is really great waking up to sunshine everyday and having the beach literally across the street from me. I can see why a lot of players choose to play here.

 

 

You played four years in Germany in the BBL and got used to it, but what for you has been the biggest challenge in Israel on and off the court? Has it been difficult to adapt?

 

On the court, the biggest challenge has been adjusting to the “Russian Rule”, where two Israeli players have to be on the court at all times. And with 4 other talented American players it is at times difficult to get extended minutes. Off the court, I had to get used to ‘Shabbat’ in which most stores and restaurants close from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Sundays are normal days here in Israel, with all stores and restaurants open, as compared to Germany where everything is closed. So that definitely took time getting used to.

 

People often say the BBL is one of most competitive leagues as anyone can beat anyone on any given day, but the Winner League looks very competitive this season as your team is near the bottom, but with a few wins could quickly be near the top again. Have you noticed that the Winner League is very well balanced from the competitive nature of the teams?

 

Yeah, this league is ultra competitive. Every team is beatable on any given night. I heard that last year four of eight teams who made the playoffs finished the season with a record below 500.

 

Ironi Nahariya started off slow in the Champions League at 0-4 losing to tough teams, but currently is riding a two game winning streak, but beat weaker teams Helios and Bakken. What do you believe has been missing from your team to beat stronger teams in the group?

 

Outside of Derwin Kitchen, most of our group is entirely new to European competition, such as the FIBA Champions League. I feel we had to get used to the style of play and in process learn how to win. I figured we would hit a few bumps in the roads early on, learn from them and improve in the second half of the season.

 

 

How much has switch of ex NBA player Marquis Teague to Derwin Kitchen hurt the development of the team? Do you feel like this move will benefit the team?

 

 

 

Derwin has been a great asset to our group. His experience playing on big teams throughout Europe has helped us a lot. He pushes the ball in transition constantly and rebounds very well for a guard. With all that said, Teague is a great, young talent. He worked hard and had a Knack of getting into paint and breaking down the defense. I feel often times it takes former NBA players some time to adjust to the Euro style of play and Teague some times struggled with that but the more he plays over here the better he will adjust.

The next game is against the Fraport Skyliners who are struggling this season. You played 8 times against them having a 3-5 record. Was your most memorable game the exciting 71-70 win in Frankfurt in 2014?

Damn didn’t know I had a losing record against them. Smh, have to change that! Lol — No, I think my first ever BBL game was against Frankfurt when they had Thompson, Gray and Leuer back in 2011. So, that definitely stands out as my most memorable game against them.

 

You have played mostly against Quantez Robertson in your 8 games against Frankfurt. To what NBA player would you describe him to and what is most annoying about his game?

Robertson has always been a good, tough defender, and always seems to make big shots when they are needed. He rebounds well for a guard too. He reminds me of Tony Allen.

 

How content have you been with your game this season. Your stats are down to what you normally averaged in other seasons. What exactly your role as you come from the bench and have started, but are you less of a scoring option this season?

 

It has been an adjustment for me this year dealing with the ‘Russian Rule’ in the Winner Cup League. It is something I didn’t realize until I got here. Sometimes you will play a lot and other times you wont. It’s an unfortunate situation because I want to play at all times but I am making the best of the situation and just try to produce when I am out on the court.

 

Last season you played for Braunschweig for head coach Raoul Korner and you almost made the playoffs. This season he has led Bayreuth on a early season 10 game winning streak. Is this something that you could have predicted after having him as coach last season?

 

Yes, I knew it was a matter of time before Coach Korner would be in the playoffs. His drive to get there is evident in the way his team is playing early on in the season. I hope they continue this style of play throughout the rest of the season. I am pulling for him and his group.

 

How much of a challenge was it battling American Amin Stevens each day last season? How did you make each other better on the court?

Amin is blessed with athleticism and long arms which makes it very difficult to score on him at times. He is deceptively quick and can really handle the ball so guarding him isn’t easy either.

 

Two seasons ago you played with Rouen in France. When you look back at that season and compare it to the BBL, what league do you feel catered best to your strength on the court?

I really liked the up and down play of the ProA in France. A lot of the guys there are extremely athletic and that was fun to play against. I feel like with my game I can adjust to different styles of play. I prefer either league.

 

You have played with many point guards in your career, but where do you rank a Michael Thompson? He has been steadily improving since years and belongs to the top point guards in Europe now?

I always thought “Juice” was a great player going back to our days playing against each other in college. Mike has steadily improved each year. During my year with him In Rouen he was always getting up extra shots after practice, it is no wonder he is considered one of the top guards in Europe.

 

You played three seasons for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. You played two seasons with Reggie Redding and Vaughn Duggins who really developed there well early in their career and made the next step. What do you believe was their best game trait that enabled them to develop so well?

Vaughn had a killer mentality. Once he flipped that switch there was no stopping him. He so athletic he puts you off balance thus allowing him to attack the lane or go for his patented pull up jumper. Reggie just did everything on the court. He Made the game real easy and made everyone around him better. He is a big guard who sees the floor well but can also score when needed.

 

How memorable will your last game as a Tiger be beating Phoenix Hagen to stay in the BBL as you, Jonathan Wallace and Daequan Cook combined for 73 points?

We never made the playoffs during my tenure in Tübingen but that game felt like a playoff game. It had that playoff game atmosphere because had we lost we would have been relegated. But it was a great effort by the entire team to pull out that win at home and keep Tubingen in the first league.

 

You played in Germany and France with Daequan Cook. What do you remember the most amazing thing that you remember him doing on the court where you said wow?

I think it was one practice we had where, and I am dead serious, he did not miss a single shot. He was hitting everything! At one point I just laughed because the defender couldn’t have played any better defense and DC still made the shot. I mean, he won the NBA 3pt shooting contest so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised of his shot making ability.

 

What was your wake up call to be a rookie in Germany in 2011 where you knew that you were very far away from Queens, New York?

 

Once I landed in the Stuttgart airport and heard everyone around speaking a language I did not recognize I knew it was not New York anymore. Then, after arriving in Tubingen…well, if you have been to Tubingen you just know it is not NYC anymore. lol

 

You played at the well known Notre Dame from 2007-2011. What kind of an overall experience was it for you playing for such a prestigious school? How did it shape you as a man?

Playing at ND was great not only because of the great education and the great competition of playing in the Big East, but also the connections you make throughout your time there with the people you encounter on and off the court. I really grew up during my four years there and learned many life lessons that will only prove beneficial later on in life.

 

 

You played two seasons with future NBA player Luke Harangody. How much of a challenge was it for you in your first two seasons to battle him in practice each day? What do you feel was the most valuable asset that you picked up during your on court dealings with him?

 

It was a challenge early on because I expected to compete for some playing time during my Freshman year at ND but during that year Luke went on to have a breakout year and won Big East Player of the Year. And at the time the Big East was probably the best conference in the NCAA so that was a hell of an achievement. Luke worked so hard on the court and in the weight room. I definitely noticed that and decided I would have to go extra harder to be able to compete against him on a daily basis.

 

 

How did head coach Mike Brey groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

 

One thing that Coach Brey said that really stood out in my mind is that, “life is a marathon, not a sprint”, you can apply that quote to many things you experience in life, including my professional career. You can’t rush everything, no matter how badly when want something to come, at times you just have to be patient and let things develop.

 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

 

Kemba Walker.

 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Tim Abromatis?

 

Tim won all the shooting games!. I won most of the one on ones.

 

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?

 

 

Jordan, Dr. J, Oscar Robertson, LeBron

Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?

Jordan is still number one because he went unblemished with a 6-0 NBA Finals record but LeBron is right behind him. Jordan has a different mentality than LeBron, and that is fine. LeBron did it his own way, he does not have to be MJ, just continue being himself.

 

 

Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?

 

I loved Tim Duncan’s game. Plus TD won 5 rings and has a longggg list of accolades so I would have to put TD before KG.

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

Kevin Hart: What Now?

Thanks Tyrone for the chat.

The Fraport Skyliners Practice Conservativeness Instead Of Aggressiveness in Crunch-Time Falling To The EWE Baskets 80-77

November 28, 2016

 

 

 

 

Players come and go each season so developing an identity with one player over a longer period of time in the EasyCredit BBL at times can be as difficult as it is for Oklahoma Thunder fans for getting used to the fact that a Kevin Durat isn´t getting fed any longer from Russell Westbrook, but moreover from sniper Steph Curry. Of course there are so many exciting players to watch each weekend as so many bring their own special rare spice to the court, but there are really few players left that have been around in the league for a long time except for guys like Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy who are riding out their stellar careers in Jena, but there are also other guys like  Rickey Paudling and Quantez Robertson who battled each other head to head since 2009 and just coming to the arena to watch them duel is worth the price of admission as they have been top players in the league for years. Together they have amassed 19 years and this season Paulding is in his 13th season and Robertson is in his eighth professional season. They have had some very interesting battles over the years as Robertson usually is on the floor having to stop the others team best players as well as supply his freak athleticism as well as his all-around play as he can fill up the stats sheet deep the way Tom Brady can NFL records. Paulding on the other hand is the bona fide leader that has been one of the most consistent offensive performers in the BBL since his arrival in 2007. His overall play and character have made him one of the BBL identity figures for years. Paulding is 34 and Robertson is 31 and it is hard to believe that between them, they only share three professional titles, but knowing the competitiveness of both guys and will to keep performing at a high level, they will probably play some more years. Coming into a new battle, both teams have been struggling in the BBL as Frankfurt was riding a bitter 6 game losing streak while Oldenburg had lost two in a row, but both were coming off huge wins in the Champions League over top notch Greek teams PAOK and Aris and were looking to get back into the winners circle. Robertson has been struggling offensively as his trey has been shockingly off the mark at 23% while Paulding has been shooting out the lights at 45%. Both came into the Fraport arena with their fierce game faces on and as always went face to face combining for 24 points with Paulding making 15 and Robertson nine, but Paulding had the bigger smile at the end as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg shocked the Fraport Skyliners in crunch-time 80-77. If it wasn´t bad enough that Quantez Robertson had just suffered the seventh straight loss with the Fraport Skyliners in the BBL, he suddenly became all tense minutes after the buzzer sounded as everything else around him and the bench turned to air as he frankly was searching for his daughter who was no where to be seen, but soon the tension did clear as she had been recovered near the Oldenburg bench. Robertson that had time to reflect on his duel with Rickey Paulding and monuments. “It´s always fun to play on the court with guys you know on the court. He always fights on the court and is a very good basketball player. He deserved that monument. He has played two years longer than I in Germany, but was already there when they won their first title. He has seen the good and bad. I need more work and time to possibly get a monument”, said Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson. Rickey Paulding was as always one of the last to exit and not far behind him was his side kick Chris Kramer and after giving a sigh of relief about escaping Frankfurt with a win, he reflected on Quantez Robertson. “It is always tough to play in Frankfurt and Tez always gives energy and leadership. I can say we really know each other even if we only see each other twice a season. I always know that after playing against Tez that I have to get a good nights´ rest”, expressed ex Missouri(NCAA) guard Rickey Paulding. “It is really great for the game to have two players like Tez and Paulding. So many guys bounce around from league to league and country to country, but they have been playing in Germany for so long. They always bring out the best in each other and that makes it a good game for the fans”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Antonio Graves.

A thing that really has hampered the Fraport Skyliners this season has been not closing out games. One could count the number of loses that they have suffered this season in crunch-time on one hand. Like so many times this season, the club that won the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup looked like they would finally with a BBL game again, but instead seemed miffed as the buzzer sounded and once again they had less points in their own living room than their opponent. “I thought that we played solid, but we need to know how to execute on offense at the end. We did a good job forcing them to tough shots, but we just didn´t do a good job getting enough rebounds”, added ex Pittsburgh(NCAA) guard Antonio Graves. Rickey Paulding hadn´t left Frankfurt often in the last years as the winner, but today he had his smile going strong and was relieved that the club broke their two game losing streak. “It was good to get a win again here. We played good defense in the first half and kept fighting. We never got down, but stayed together and picked up our defense and put ourselves in the necessary position to make shots and we did”, added Rickey Paulding.

On a cloudy cold late autumn Sunday where the 2016 Formula One season was on the line with German Nico Rosberg in control of his own destiny and the chance of winning his first season title only 3860 patrons made their way into the Fraport arena. The ones that made it in didn´t see a good start by the Fraport Skyliners, but moreover a blazing start by the EWE Baskets Oldenburg as they shot out on a 7-0 run. Paulding was a menace right away as he got aggressive scoring in the paint with a difficult off balance shot high of the glass and then nailed a trey over Niklas Kiel. Ex Purdue(NCAA) standout Chris Kramer then found ex Bayreuth center Brian Qvale who finished with a floater. Robertson had started poorly with an air ball and got blocked by Qvale, but soon recovered hitting  a trey, but Oldenburg had too much firepower and accuracy as Paulding and ex Ulm forward Philipp Schwethelm hit back to back trey´s upping the Oldenburg lead to 13-5. After Morrison and Qvale traded buckets, Frankfurt suffered a turnover and Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert signaled for a timeout. Whatever Herbert communicated to his players, it seemed to work as they went on a furious 9-2 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 17-16. In the run, they got big support from Graves from Downtown and ex Nebraska(NCAA) forward Shavon Shields scored in bunches and Kwame Vaughn made free throws. Oldenburg kept the lead shortly getting important production from German Dirk Madrich and Belgium national player Maxime De Zeeuw, but Frankfurt stayed tough as ex Bayreuth forward Ekene Ibekwe scored twice and Shields burned De Zeeuw twice giving Frankfurt their first lead of the game at 25-23. Vaughn drained a step back buzzer beater to end the first quarter with Frankfurt leading 27-24. “I think that we underestimated them a bit at the start since they have had a bad start. We didn´t play our game and weren´t physical enough”, stressed Fraport Skyliner center Daniel Mayr. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 73% from the field and 60% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 69% from the field and 75% from outside. Frankfurt had the 7-3 rebound edge and both teams had two turnovers a piece.

In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to extend their lead by as much as nine points only to see the EWE Baskets Oldenburg regain the lead back. The Fraport Skyliners started off the second quarter going on a 8-0 run to extend their lead to 35-24 as they had enormous energy as Ibekwe hit a three and Vaughn got busy in the paint penetrating and getting two baskets. However the EWE Baskets Oldenburg then turned the game around again going on a huge 19-4 run to regain the lead back at 40-39. In the run, the Ewe Baskets Oldenburg were fortified by four different players and also took advantage of three consecutive Frankfurt turnovers that were results of traveling violations by three different players. In the big run, Oldenburg got massive support from Qvale who three times twice, De Zeeuw made a big dunk where he came streaking in from the win and Kramer fed him perfectly and he also nailed a trey. Paulding also used his still dangerous athleticism at age 34 with a drive from the wing around Shields and making a tip in. Ex Mitteldeutscher BC Franz Massenat also connected on a three. However Frankfurt did go into halftime with momentum as they closed out the second quarter with big plays at both ends of the court as a Graves made a dunk and found Shields for the hard one hand dunk and then Robertson found Florida native Mike Morrison with the lay in. “We lost a little focus with the nine point lead. I was surprised a bit by the three traveling violations. You have to look before you go. Our defense was good as was our rotations. Oldenburg hit many tough shots and there is nothing you can do about that no matter how good defense you play”, added ex Science City Jena center Daniel Mayr. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 72% from the field and 71% from the three point line while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 52% from the field and 42% from the three point line. Both teams had 12 rebounds apiece, but Frankfurt had eight turnovers and Oldenburg had only five turnovers.

The game remained very tight in the third quarter as no club was able to lead by more than three points until the last minute where Oldenburg went on a mini run as both clubs picked up their defense. Massenat started off the third quarter with a left hand lay in, but Frankfurt countered with getting to the free throw line as Shields and Robertson connected for free throws for the 50-47 advantage. Oldenburg got the lead back at 52-50 as Qvale and and Massenat scored giving Oldenburg the 52-50 lead. Frankfurt would tie the game three times with buckets from Robertson, Vaughn and Shields knotting the game at 56-56. The Fraport Skyliners got the lead back at 61-60 as Ibekwe gave the club some spark making a brutal tip in dunk and then hitting  a trey on the fast break. However the EWE Baskets Oldenburg closed out the third quarter with a 6-1 run as De Zeeuw got going again with a three pointer and then retrieving a touch-down pass from Dominic Lockhart as Oldenburg led 67-62 after 30 minutes. “Both teams took care of the ball better and executed. There weren´t many second chance points”, said Quantez Robertson. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 51% from the field and 445 from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 61% from the field and 55% form the parking lot. Oldenburg had the 21-18 edge and six turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners got off to a bad start, but continued to defend well not allowing to let Oldenburg take advantage of their carelessness on offense, but later when it counted most, they fell apart in crunch-time. Frankfurt didn´t execute on their first three possessions, but Oldenburg only got a Qvale hook shot out of it extending their lead to 69-62. But then out of nothing the Fraport Skyliners went soaring on a 9-0 run to recapture the lead at 71-69. In the run they got timely support from many heads and got big plays on both ends and also played better team basketball. Robertson started the run with a lay in getting a backdoor pass from Graves, Ibekwe blocked Qvale which led to a Shields lay in. Ibekwe then took matters into his own hands scoring five unanswered points with a dunk, runner and free throw. Ex Wright State(NCAA) guard Vaughn Duggins who had been quiet all afternoon long in the scoring department hit an off balance shot tying the game at 73-73. Even if the game was as tight as could be, one had the feeling that Frankfurt was in control and exerted more energy as Shields set up Graves inside with an easy back door pass and Vaughn hit a pull up jumper with three minutes to go and Frankfurt up 75-71. Then came the turning point of the game as Oldenburg executed and connected and Frankfurt didn´t. Frankfurt would be unable to connect on seven straight possessions while Oldenburg continued to claw back step by step. Duggins made free throw at 1:46 of the fourth and Paulding who had been held scoreless in the second half after hitting 13 points in the first half made a turnaround shot which tied the game again and with 42 seconds to go in the game gave Duggins too much room inside as he finished with his left hand. Duggins and Schwethelm closed out the game with free throws while Vaughn nailed his last shot as time ran out. “We didn´t execute and gave up a few offensive rebounds”, stated Quantez Robertson. “Frankfurt was too stagnant in the last few minutes relying too much on one on one play and got lazy. We drew up a play for Paulding and it is was like automatic. I didn´t play too great, but my team believed in me and I made the play that we needed”, stressed Vaughn Duggins. “We held the ball too much. We wanted to play smart, but there was too much time left. We were too conservative when we should have been more aggressive”, stressed Antonio Graves.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Brian Qvale with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Maxime De Zeeuw had 16 points while Rickey Paulding added 15 points and Franz Massenat supplied 10 points and four assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Ekene Ibekwe with 18 points. Shavon Shields added 16 points and Kwame Vaughn had 15 points. Antonio Graves added 13 points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg shot 45% from the field and 35% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 55% from the field and 40% from outside. Oldenburg won the rebound battle 34-25 and had nine turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had 11 turnovers.

Mahir Agva Fires The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past The Bayer Giants Leverkusen 83-80

November 27, 2016

The EasyCredit BBL may still be a dream and as far away for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen at the moment as it is for the New England Patriots not reaching the playoffs again, but one thing is for sure over the last years, the club has brought in very raw talent and some of those Americans have blossomed in their short time shooting the lights out and having head coach Achim Kuczmann leave the court with a content smile more than once. Back in the 2010-2011 season, the club reeled in highly talented Josh Young out of Drake(NCAA) and he immediately tore up the Pro B playing 11 games and averaging 26.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.0apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 79.0%. He then went on to a consistent BBL career with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Three seasons later, the club brought in Josh Parker who was also a rookie like Young and he came out of Dayton(NCAA) having been a decent role player there and he rapidly displayed that he was way too good for the Pro B as he totally dominated leading the league in scoring at 28.5ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2(7.1apg), 2.2spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 80.3%. He had 15 games where he scored 30 points or more including massive scoring explosions against Dresden with 48 points and 44 points against Schwelm. He also displayed a knack of not only hogging the ball, but being a fine playmaker as he dished out 10 assists or more four times. After this unforgettable season, he also made the jump to the EasyCredit BBL with the Mitteldeutscher BC and then gained further experience in Turkey and Poland. This season the Bayer Giants have another raw scorer in Kerry Carter who isn´t a rookie, but playing his second season after playing briefly last season in the best league in Europe with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias and showed his mastery scoring nine points in 10 minutes against Real Madrid. This season he is averaging 25,7ppg and 4,6apg in nine games and still has a bit of catching up on Parker´s 15 30 plus games as he is at four, but so far Carter has shown that he is too good for the Pro B. Almost four years ago, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors held Parker to his lowest point total of the season at 11 and kept him honest at 3/15 shooting. Carter made his debut in the BCM in Frankfurt where NBA players like Alan Anderson and Carlos Arroyo have tested the rims and was looking to give another shooting clinic and did scoring 24 points and even if he did shoot the ball 26 times, he did display his versatility as he can do so much more than just score as he gave out 10 dimes, hauled down seven boards and had four steals, but it wasn´t enough to bring home the win as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors squeaked out a 83-80 win as Mahir hit them with 30 and the  winning bucket with a few seconds remaining winning their first home game of the season and third game of the season. After the game, one could sense that Kerry Carter was more than perturbed about the loss and he had erased everything about his own game as he was nibbling too much about the loss. “My own game wasn´t good enough today”, sighed Kerry Carter. “Carter is a good player that is hard to guard. He is one of those players in that when he puts up a shot, it has a good chance of going in”, stressed Alaska native Travis Thompson. Not only Carter was disgusted with the loss, but so was assistant coach Hansi Gnad. “It was dumb how we lost and we can´t really let that happen. Frankfurt played clever at the end. They gave the ball to Agva and he finished. I remember doing that from my days”, added Hansi Gnad. “We made shots and Agva was a big presence. The game was up and down and we were lucky that we won. We knew that they would rush and we wanted to slow down the game. This was a big home win and we can build off the momentum”, stressed Travis Thompson.

The game had an interesting anecdote in that 53 year old Hansi Gnad who is the assistant coach of the Bayer Giants Leverkusen had a similarity with 25 year Fraport Skyliner Junior Travis Thompson. Both played at Alaska Anchorage(NCAA2) and Thompson had the distinction of passing Gnad on the all-time scoring record into second place on his last field goal which gave him 1667 points while the German ended with 1666 points. After the game, Thompson revealed that he had spoken to Gnad before the game to catch up on this record and their old school. “This was the first time that I had met him. We played for the same coach Rusty Osborne and talked about him and I told him about the new facilities there. He is in the hall of fame there and it´s cool that I passed him and to know how much he has accomplished. One day I will be able to tell my kids what I did. It´s a small world”, commented Travis Thompson. Both teams found a healthy rhythm early as both teams found their range. Ex Tuebingen center Mahir Agva found his rhythm right away sinking a baby hook shot, but Kerry Carter responded rapidly nailing a trey for the 3-2 Leverkusen advantage. Agva continued to make buckets getting a lay in and ex Ludwigsburg German Stefan Ilzhoefer scored on the fast break to extend the Frankfurt lead to 6-3. Ex Dresden Titan Damon Smith knotted the score at 6-6 as he sunk a trey. Both teams continued to score at a high rate as Thompson nailed his first trey of the day and German Konstantin Schubert leaped into the passing lane like a guard and went coast to coast for the lay in and Frankfurt led 11-6. Leverkusen didn´t let up and tied the score as Michael Kuczmann tested his 46% three point percentage scoring and ex Rhondorf Dragon Tim Schon born got aggressive scoring inside as no Skyliner challenged him. After Ilzhoefer and Carter traded buckets, it was Agva that made an offensive rebound and put back and Thompson made his second three of the game as 17 year old Isaac Bonga made the perfect unselfish pass as Frankfurt led 18-13. Frankfurt kept the lead with a Ilzhoefer trey and Agva hook shot. Young 17 year old German Niklas Pons made a pretty floater to add on to the lead as Frankfurt led 25-19 after one quarter. “We moved the ball well on offense and Agva did a good job in the paint scoring. We still had too many turnovers”, warned Fraport Skyliner Junior Lenny Okeke. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 52% from the field and 38% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen shot 41% from the field and 40% from outside. Frankfurt had the 10-9 rebound lead and two turnovers while Leverkusen had four turnovers.

The Bayer Giants Leverkusen came out red hot in the second quarter getting back into the game going on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 28-28. In the run, they were aided by young German big man Martin Linnsen who got to the free throw line twice and Carter scored a trey and an off balance shot. The game remained very close now as the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were able to tie the game a few times, but never get the lead. Rookie American Brandon Nazione tied the game at 31-31, but Thompson once again supplied the hot hand nailing a three, but Kuczmann thought two can play that game also scoring from the parking lot dead locking the game at 34-34. Frankfurt continued to keep the lead getting valuable production from Agva who scored twice in the paint as Frankfurt led 40-36. Frankfurt kept their nose ahead as Schubert scored in buckets and Agva scored again inside as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 46-42 lead at the break. “Leverkusen went to zone and we had difficulty with that and they forced us to more turnovers. It was a back and forth game. I thought that we defended pretty well, but still didn´t do as good a job on Carter as we could off. We gave up too many open three´s”, stated Lenny Okeke. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 38% from the three point line while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 43% from the field and 59% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 22-16 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Leverkusen had six turnovers.

The third quarter remained tight as no team could run away with the lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors started off with a quick 5-0 run as Agva made a running hook shot and Thompson made the extra pass to a streaking Schubert in the lane for the easy basket as Frankfurt led 50-45. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen then rushed out on a 8-0 run to snatch the lead back at 53-50. In the run, it was Carter who played at St Marys(NCAA) that did what he does best and this is scoring in bunches as he lit up the scoreboard with a trey and then made a steal and went coast to coast and got a free throw. 31 year old German Gotz Twiehoff added on to the run with a lay in. the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were the more consistent offensive team now and were getting more stops. They continued to keep the lead as hot shooting Kuczmann connected on another trey as they led 56-52. They were able to extend their lead to 59-54, as Nazione made his second crushing dunk of the game. Basketball is and will always remain a game of runs and that is what the Fraport Skyliners Juniors practiced as they scored 9 unanswered points snatching back the lead at 63-59. In the run, Frankfurt got ample support from Ilzhoefer who had the needed extra energy which also gave their defense a spark as he made a lay in in traffic and also scored on the fast break. Bonga and Agva also scored. Smith hit a shot clock buzzer beater, but Frankfurt still led 63-62 after three quarters. “We had good ball movement and were more aggressive and did a good job attacking the rim”, stated Travis Thompson. “We had too many untimely turnovers and that will always cost you on the road”, stressed Kerry Carter. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 31% from the parking lot while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 53% from the field and 50% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 29-26 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Leverkusen had nine turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, The Bayer Giants Leverkusen had a horrible start, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t take much advantage of their first five possessions that led to no points. Tim Oldenburg started off the fourth quarter sinking a 20 footer and then Frankfurt stopped four possessions, but could score themselves. After making their fifth stop on Leverkusen, Thompson then hurt Leverkusen with a trey extending the lead to 68-62. However Leverkusen then finally scored their first field goal of the fourth quarter as ex Rollins(NCAA2) guard Alexander Blessing nailed a trey cutting the Frankfurt lead to 68-65. Frankfurt then got some quick offensive spark with a 4-0 run as Ilzhoefer scored on an off balance shot and Garai Zeeb scored an acrobatic finger tip floater for the 72-65 Frankfurt advantage. However just when it seemed like Leverkusen was wilting before crunch-time had even arrived, Leverkusen didn´t get that killer scoring touch from Carter, but from Kuczmann  who nailed consecutive three´s suddenly tying the game at 73-73. Frankfurt then upped their intensity a bit more and were aggressive getting to the rim as Bonga drew two fouls and Agva made a tip in for the 78-73 lead. Frankfurt then made two huge mistakes letting 188cm guard Alexander Blessig get an offensive rebound and put back back to back cutting the Frankfurt lead to 78-77. Agva then made free throws and Leverkusen had 25 seconds remaining in the game and every one knew Carter would get the ball and he did what all big time scorers do which was nail a three pointer tying the game at 80-80 with six seconds remaining. Frankfurt had the ball and enough time to win the game. They elected to get Agva the ball and he finished successfully inside like he had all game long and then secured the victory with a free throw. “We started out flat and it was a game of runs. On that last play, I thought we did a good job denying him the ball, but they made a good back door lob pass and he did a good job getting to the rim. We did a good job taking away all their other options and he did what he had to do”, stressed Kerry Carter. “They didn´t deny Agva the ball bad, but it was a good play from us”, smiled Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Mahir Agva with 30 points. Travis Thompson added 15 points while Stefan Ilzhoefer had 12 points and Konstantin Schubert had 10 points. The Bayer Giants Leverkusen were led by Kerry Carter with 24 points and Michael Kuczmann added 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 30% from outside while the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were shooting 40% from the field and 32% from outside. Frankfurt had the 41-38 rebound edge, but 20 turnovers while Leverkusen coughed up the ball 14 times.