Rich Melzer is a 32 year old 203cm forward/center from Minneapolis, Minnesota that is playing his first season for the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. He played at : Wisconsim-River Falls (NCAA3) from 2000-2004. In his 8 year professional basketball career, he has played in countries like New Zealand, France, Israel and Australia. He had his first tour of duty in Germany in the 2007-2008 season with Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck (Germany-1.Bundesliga): ULEB Cup: 2 games: 5.5ppg, 2.0rpg; German League: 1 game: 11pts, 2reb, 1steal. In his rookie season, he took part at the Washington Wizards training camp. Last season he played for Hapoel Holon (Israel-Premier League, starting five): 30 games: 16.8ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 75.3%. He spoke to German Hoops before the 2012 Beko BBL playoff series.
How surprised were you that the s:Oliver Baskets Wurzburg got past Alba Berlin 3-1? What was key in this series for Alba Berlin getting an early summer vacation?
I was a bit surprised but only based on the budgets of both teams. I know the Berlin supporters and management is less than pleased right now. But you can’t underestimate a team who plays as gritty and as tough and as scrappy as Wurzburg. They’re no fun to play against, especially at their place. I know Berlin has a higher caliber of all around players, but sometimes when you know you should win it makes it even more difficult to do so and can be a disadvantage as it was for Berlin this season. Kudos to Wurzburg as well for pulling together for the upset in the series.
Were you surprised by the easy time that ratiopharm Ulm had in getting past the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig? What was key for Ulm advancing?
They’re a team that has obviously had great chemistry and synergy with one another and its only grown exponentially throughout the season. They trust in each other and they all play well together and it seems everyone knows their roles on that team. Aside from what I observed from the players while competing against them, they’re also well coached and to have a unit that close and willing to sacrifice for one another obviously has to be encouraged and facilitated from the coaches as well. Its no surprise in hindsight that they were able to for lack of a better word “cruise,” by us in the first-round. I give credit to all my teammates as talent-wise, we have what I believe to be one of the best group of players and veterans in the league and under most circumstances, would have shown a better effort to advance had we had the support system and ability to make adjustments faster like they did. The key for Ulms advancement is simple, they were better prepared than us and it continued to snowball for them through the season.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn won game one, but Bamberg then won the next three. What was key for Bamberg advancing?
I think Bonn could’ve put up a better fight had they remained a bit deeper in their bench. Bamberg is deeply talented in both their starting 5 and the backup guys. Also, knowing the coaches over there at Bamberg I’m sure they were a bit taken back after loosing the first game and clearly made the necessary adjustments to see to it the same mistakes didnt hapen twice. Despite Bamberg winning 3 games to 1, it seemed to be a well fought series of games.
The most exciting series was Artland-FC Bayern Munich. Why wasn´t FC Bayern Munich a title team this season?
I honestly don’t know. Perhaps because Holman and Troutman came a bit late. When I heard Chevy was coming to Munich, I knew things would change as he’s been a good friend of mine for quite sometime and after playing with him in France, I knew he’s the kind of player who can elevate a teams chances just by being on the floor. I’ve played with Wallace as well and I think he’s been underrated this season as he’s certainly a championship caliber player. With the quality of the rest of their team and Coach Bauerman, the pieces were certainly aligned for them to do well. However, after a slow start this season I think you have to appreciate how far they’ve come in one season especially after getting guys in late and having to gel quickly. Congratulations to Artland as well. Its no question they’re continually a contender year after year.
The most exciting semi final series seems to be Wurzburg-Ulm. Wurzburg comes in with a lot of confidence. What kind of series can we await?
Put it like this, the fans will certainly get their moneys worth. I can’t even predict or assume whats going to happen with this series. If I had to, I’d say Wurzburg needs to come down off of their high quickly and have a short memory because now they have to face another quality team that’s been waiting patiently with no regard for who they have to play. Use this last rounds success as fuel coming into the next round. And for Ulm, They’re going to have to increase their intensity and grit, even from the high-levels in which they played against us. New round of playoffs are going to need new levels of output clearly. Good luck to both teams and may everyone remain injury free.
What does Wurzburg/Ulm have to do to get to the final and what is your prediction?
Everything is going to have to come together for both teams. Where Ulm has both great star players and role players, I think their bench is going to have to continue to step up. Facing an ambitious and rough team like Wurzburg means Wurzburg is going to wear you down and make life difficult on the court. For Ulm, I think they’re just in a great all around rhythm right now and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Whatevers given them success up until now is going to continue to do so should they stick with it.
Who are the x-factors?
In this series I don’t know that there are any. Everyone is going to play a pivotal role at some point in this series. I’d hate to call someone out like some underdog. In the post-season, I believe you have to respect everyone because now is when players begin making real names for themselves. I believe a better question could maybe be “what” are the x factors? Then I’d have to say the road-games. Wurzburg is just as difficult to play at as Ulm is despite having a smaller attendance. Stealing the first road-game could be a game-changer for either clubs.
What kind of a series can we await with Bamberg-Artland?
I’m going to try to keep this one short and just say expect the unexpected. I’m not saying Artland is going to win and I’m not saying Bamberg is going to sweep this team either. I’m just saying, in all honesty, who the hell knows.
Do The Los Angeles Lakers have any chance being down 0-2 to get past the Thunder?
Absolutely not. Let’s quit playin’ games here and move forward to next season. We’ll let the Lakers obtain Dwight Howard, and move forward amicably to Kobes 6th and final championship. It’s not going to happen this year for the Lakers. Unless of course, Kobe starts doin’ what Kobe does which is in all realms and spectrums of unbelievable. I like Kobe as a player, but I think OKC is rollin’ right now and clickin’ on all cylinders.
The Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers series is at 1-1. Do the Pacers have any chance of advancing?
Is chicken pork? Do cats bark? Am I in any way, shape, or form satisfied with this tedious and trying season we just finished?
Derrick Rose is projected to miss 8-12 months. Could this injury change him as a player when he finally returns?
It could make him better I believe. Look what it did for Blake Griffin. I know Derrick is a bit older, but even so he still hasn’t peaked yet. I hope and pray for his sake and the sake of the game that this time off makes him hungrier and makes him appreciate his abilities and blessings more as I know it will. I’ve spent a year off of the court as a result of injury in my career and the things it does to your mind can trigger things that would’ve never been brought to light had something not happened. I believed the adversity was good for me, as it will be for him and has been for so many others. The game will miss him but it’ll be there when he gets back. I haven’t always been a big fan of his, but I always respected his game and I’m pulling for him now even more so.
Thanks Rich for the chat.