Lennart Okeke is a 18 year old 191cm guard that plays NBBL and Pro B for the Fraport Skyliners. He started his basketball career in 2011 for Eintracht Frankfurt. He played his first German Pro B game at age 16. Last season he played for the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt II (ProB) 9 games: 2.3ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.2apg, played also at Eintracht Frankfurt U19 team (NBBL). He spoke to German Hoops after the 69-42 NBBL win against the Young Tigers Tuebingen last weekend.
An easy NBBL win against the Young Baskets Tuebingen 69-42. What were the main reasons for the loss?
This win showed that we have gotten better as a team. This was the same type of game that we had in Tuebingen earlier this season, but then we had Niklas Kiel and Armin Musovic in the lineup. Today we had many young players in the lineup and played very well as a team.
How do you explain the success and consistency of the team that always has changing lineups?
The coaching staff does a great job getting all guys on the same page. No matter who is playing the coaching staff has everyone ready so that playing together doesn´t become difficult. We learn the basics well so that even if someone has never practiced with the team, they can do it right on the court.
Today you played two games in a span of seven hours. How do you prepare for a game like this?
I go to bed early and eat well. Last weekend I had three games so I had a similar schedule. When I played national team we had something like 11 games in 12 days so the body always has to be prepared. You always have to have energy. During the three hour break between NBBL and Pro B games today I will go to Jules Akodo´s place eat and rest.
You played recently at the 2015 NBBL allstar game. What kind of experience was this day for you?
It was a great arena playing on a big stage in front of so many people. I thought that it was great that even though we didn´t practice as a team there was still a flow in the game on the court. We were treated very well there getting food and drinks. I felt like a professional that weekend.
You scored ten points. How happy were you with your own performance?
I thought despite the circumstances that I did a pretty good job. My teammate Kevin Bright had told me from his experience that often in these type of games that players play their own game and push it so it isn´t easy to get the ball.
What players impressed you the most in the NBBL allstar game?
Of course my two teammates Niklas Kiel and Armin Musovic as well as Mahir Agva who I played with in the U-16 as well as game MVP Harris Hujic who is big but can shoot and has good ball handling.
You are playing your second full season in the German Pro B. You averaged in double figures in minutes in your first 8 games, but as of recent the minutes have gone down. Have you had a talk with coach why this is?
I feel that we had a big roster the last games and coach also had some of the injured players back so my minutes went down a bit.
If you could describe yourself to a German player that fits your style who would you take?
That’s difficult, but looking back at the 2015 Allstar game I would say David Brembly who won the three point shooting contest. I think that we share many similarities in our games. We bot can shoot the three pointer, penetrate and are athletic.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I think it is my three point shot. Last season I was more known for my penetration, but I have improved my three pointer.
Kyle Fossman has been getting many minutes at the position two with Armin Musovic playing point guard. What tips have you took from the play of Fossman that has helped your play?
I think just getting confidence in my shot. When you see him play you can see that he shoots with confidence.
How difficult has it been for the team with so many different lineups this season. Is there still a chance for the playoffs? I am sure the team takes it a game at a time.
I think that we still have a chance for the playoffs. We have good players and if we can bring much energy than we can always beat teams.
Head coach Eric Detlef is a guy that is very good with young players. How has he helped your game mature?
Coach has helped me much giving me a good strength and conditioning plan and also doing individual training with me. He has done a great job stabilizing my shot and teaching me when to insert it best into my game. He just gives me confidence in my game
What memories do you have of your first Pro B game back in 2013 where Dresden won 88-80. Did you remember Taylor Brown´s 28 points or Andrew Jones´s 38 points more?
I had heard that the Americans were always good. Brown and Jones really impressed me with their scoring in that game.
You also play NBBL. How do you keep school and sport balanced? What is the toughest in getting this all done?
You need to make a structured plan. You can´t live day to day, but be prepared and know what is happening that week. If you have an important test in school you need to tell coach well in advance if you will miss a practice. I have learned discipline and responsibility.
How do you see your future? Will you study in Germany, go to the States or start an apprenctiship and how serious are your basketball ambitions beyond the Pro B?
A year ago I was thinking about going to the States to go to college, but now I will finish school in 2015 and then study at university in Germany. I hope that I can reach the Beko BBL in the future. We will see what will happen.
It was made public that you teammate Jakob Merz has to retire at age 17 due to injury. How did you react to this?
This news really shocked me very much. I am very close friends with him and to see such a young talent have to retire at such a young age is very sad. He has such a strong personality and I know that he will get through this. He has already coped with this so well. It is just so hard when you have played from such a young age and now suddenly have to stop.
Who wins a one on one in practice you or Kyle Fossman?
I would say me, but it goes back and forth
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Thanks Lennart for the chat