How many times does one hear the sad stories of how basketball players are unhappy in their surrounding area of play in Europe and then escape in sprint mode the torture of their new place of play like an enthusiastic New York Yankees fan has to flee Fenway park that had visited a weekend series in Boston and seen his team swept in rude fashion. However these type of horror stories of only running cold water, no internet, irregular payment or having to practice sign language with the head coach because he doesn´t speak English doesn´t happen in the well known German Beko BBL. All a basketball player wants and needs is to feel comfortable in his surrounding so he can do his job on the court successfully without any outside distractions. When you look at 24 year old new medi bayreuth center Brian Qvale who stands 208cm and weighs 107 kilos, it becomes apparent quite quickly that he has found a new home in the Bavarian city. His wishes to be happy in his new home Bayreuth are not as bizarre as Fast Times at Ringemont High character Jeff Suppcoli played by legendary Hollywood actor Sean Penn who marvels in the last scene in a convenient store “All I need are some tasty waves, cool buzz and I m fine”. Qvale has the picturesque Fichtel mountains only 20 minutes away that look as if he is back home in Lolo, Montana, has his companion and lovely wife Misty along for the ride, his new dog Turk that they got during their stay in Turkey and what better way to name their dog for their fond memories of his time as a rookie with Aliaga Petkim and he can always eat his favorite food pizza at the best pizza place in Bayreuth Pizza Ria. The eyes of the North Dakota native that now has a home in Montana sparkle when asked about his homeland and with his knowledge and love for his state, he probably not only could be a tourist guide in North Dakota, but could even moonlight as a tourist guide in Bayreuth since it reminds him so much of home. The fact that North Dakota at the moment is the least visited state in the United States doesn´t bother his optimisum that business will pick up. “There are a few nice state parks, Lake Sacacawea and the Missouri river. Right now my state is going through a giant oil boom so everyone is coming there to work and make good money”, said Brian Qvale.
Qvale is starting his third professional season, but before European fans could witness his big man qualities around the basket, he started his stellar career in high school at Williston, North Dakota. He was the typical all American sports boy lettering in four sports and was captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. He was named “Mr. Basketball” and “Male Athlete of the Year” in North Dakota as a senior and averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists a game. He then started his college career at Montana(NCAA) in 2007 and played until 2011 playing a total of 117 NCAA games. Already as a freshman, the big man head heads turning as he started eight games and led the Big Sky conference in blocks with 1,5. In his second season, he was second in blocks in the Big Sky conference, had his first double double of 15 points and 10 boards against Colorado State, had 15 games of two or more blocks and had a staggering six blocks against North Colorado State. As a junior he was the Grizzlies’ leading rebounder (7.1 pg) and second-leading scorer (10.2 ppg). He was ranked fourth in the Big Sky Conference in rebounding and 24th in scoring and was ranked second in the league and 47th in the nation in blocks (2.0 pg) and fourth in field goal percentage (61.5%) As a senior he was able to up his stats even more playing 32 games and averaging 14.9ppg, 8.8rpg, 3.0bpg, FGP: 62.6%, FT: 64.5%. He won All-Big Sky Conf. Defensive Player of the Year, All-Big Sky Conf. 1st Team and Big Sky Conf. All-Tournament Team. His best game as a senior was a 27 point, 18 rebound and five block explosion against Oregon State. His 26 point, 11 rebound and two block performance will also stay in the memory of many Montana fans as it was against rival Montana State. His rapid progression as a player was helped with constant hard work and extra shifts in the gym with grueling work outs, but a lot of his success at Montana has to be credited to his coach Wayne Tinkle. “Coach Tinkle has helped me immensely in college and now after college with my professional career. He played for many years in Europe and any experience I have he already went through so he can offer advice in almost any situation. He mentally prepared me to play over here and his advice was to always work your hardest and to be a nice guy off the court and a tough guy on the court”, stressed Qvale. The American also is thankful for his ex Montana teammate Derel Selvig who could make his decision to come to Germany more attractive when he visited him recently and their duels at Montana also remain present. “Derek and I have different styles of play. He can shoot the 3 very well and play inside also. I think one on one I could win in the post and he could win outside. I was able to go watch Derek play a game last year in Gotha and when I saw Germany I thought it would be a nice country to live and play in and now this year I am fortunate to be here”, stated Qvale. This season Qvale will meet a 21 kilo bigger man that has the initials of J.B and won the Beko BBL MVP award the last two seasons. He played against him and Santa Clara in his first two seasons and has a special ranking and place for John Bryant. “ I played against many good players in the NCAA but the few that stand out that are in the NBA now are Damian Lillard, Paul George, and big men are guys like Jon Brockman and John Bryant”, added Qvale.
Qvale started his professional career in 2011 in Turkey with Aliaga Petkim (Turkey-TBL). The team didn´t achieve any monumental success, but the American was able to grow as a player get his minutes and share time with ex NBA player Trent Plaisted who will battle against him this season with 2012 Beko BBL finalist ratiopharm Ulm. As a rookie Qvale played 32 games averaging 8.9ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 56.5%, FT: 58.3%. This season the American has the classical pass first point guard with Kevin Hamilton, but already as a freshman, he had one of the best point guards in Europe to help him on the pick and role with and get a feel for the European game. He has fond memories of the Serb that is known as Bane and played with Artland and Tubingen and led the Beko BBL in assists one season as Branislav Ratkovica. “I think Branislav is a very talented point guard. He was one of the best passing and quickest point guards I have ever played with. I enjoyed playing on his team Turkey”, commented Qvale. Last season the American moved to Belgium and played for Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium-Ethias League). In his second season as a professional in Belgium, the American was able to taste success more from a team stand point reaching the cup final and reaching the semifinals of the playoffs. He also played internationally for the first time with Eurochallenge playing very strongly averaging 13.3ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.0apg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 71.1%, FT: 57.1%. In the Belgium league, he played 31 games averaging 9.8ppg, Reb-4(6.1rpg), Blocks-2(1.1bpg), FGP-2(65.3%), FT: 66.7%. He wasn´t as much of a scorer in the league play in Belgium or in Turkey, but there is a significant reasons for that and understandable with six Americans on the roster. “In Turkey and Belgium we had some very talented scorers on our team and I wasn’t relied on for scoring as much as I was in college. I shot a very high percentage, I just didn’t shoot very many shots. This year, I will play whatever role the team needs me to play and if they want me to score more I feel like I can do that”, stressed Qvale. He was able to develop a step further as a player thanks to experienced head coach Yves De Fragne who once coached TBB Trier. “ Coach De Fragne really taught me a lot and helped me mature as a European professional player. He developed me on many different aspects of defense and offense and really helped me be confident in myself. He also taught me how to work well within a team concept and how to keep offense and defense running smoothly with me in the middle”, said Qvale. A great thing about playing in different countries in Europe is that the possibility that one might meet an ex teammate are immense and that is something that Qvale is looking forward to this season when meeting Jonathan Wallace. “I enjoyed playing with Jonathan last season, I’m glad he is also in Germany this season. It will feel weird to be on a different team than him, but I know I will try my best to beat him when the time comes”, expressed Qvale.
After improving his stats each season as a professional and reaching the playoffs for the first time last season, Qvale is ready to make a further step in his career this season with medi bayreuth. After playing in Turkey and Belgium, he now will play in a league that is a step above those and it really wasn´t a surprise that he chose to come to Germany. “The BBL is a very good league and my agent and I thought Bayreuth would be a great team to come play for in Germany. Also, coach called and talked to me and he is a coach I have heard many good things about from other players”, expressed Qvale. He is coming to a team again that has quite a few Americans and guys that know how to put the ball in the cup and in bunches like a Ronnie Burrell, but he has that typical American perspective with team before his own desires and stats. “I will do anything I need to do to help the team win. I will play the role that coach wants me to play. I plan to be a solid defensive player in the middle with blocking shots and rebounding and offensively give the team an effective low post presence scoring and rebounding”, added Qvale. The scouting report on Qvale is long and immense and it is no secret that he can do so much around the bucket, but one thing that might be off the radar has to do with instincts. “ I would say I am good at being in the right position on defense involving blocking shots or helping out a teammate”, added Qvale about a strength that doesn´t get noticed right away. This is a big step in his career, because on one hand he has the chance to prove to the basketball community that he can be a solid starting center in a high class league in the Beko BBL, but on the other hand might have to fill the shoes of past ex NBA centers Jared Reiner and Brandon Hunter. One thing is certain that the American won´t let any past NBA names interfere with his focus on medi bayreuth. No disrespect to ex NBA players Jared Reiner or Brandon Hunter that made their mark in Bayreuth, but Qvale has the game without having played in the NBA to leave a mark in Bayreuth. “I will come in and do the very best job I am capable of. I am confident in my abilities and I promise to work hard and do the best I can and that is all I can do”, warned Qvale. One thing is for sure, basketball seasons come and go in the Beko BBL, and get forgotten at times quicker than Paris Hilton can change her shoes or patent big sunglasses during a photo shoot on the beach at Monte Carlo. Brian Qvale will have to either make a blatant in your face dunk in front of fan club Bayreuth Bats for the opposing team, start a false rumor that Oklahoma Thunder Kevin Durant is on the way to Bayreuth. hum the Brose Baskets Bamberg team song during time outs, or wear a Bastian Schweinsteiger jersey at the home game against FC Bayern Munich to have the fans forget Gary Mcghee before getting any negative vibes for the jovial country boy from Montana who just wants to play basketball, eat the best Bayreuth pizza and be the best mans best friend for his lovable pooch Turk.