In the Second German Bundesliga also known as the Pro A, there is an influx of American point guards controlling the starting job positions as rapidly as men do the remote control on Sundays during the fall between the time of 1.00-7.00pm when the NFL season is in full gear and the only thing getting a man away from the couch is that unwanted bathroom stop or the quick five second sprint to the refrigerator for the next cold beer. When checking all the teams in the league, you will find all kinds of American point guards from the ones that have battled in the EasyCredit BBL like Richard Williams of the RheinStars Cologne or guys like Diante Watkins that had to first prove himself in the Pro B before making the step up and now belongs to the top 5 guards in the league or a guy like Chris Alexander who seems to have lived in the Pro A his whole career, but the least can believe how a guy like him went from being the Pro A top scorer with Essen in 2015 to signing the next season with a Regionalliga team FC Schalke. All in all, fans can witness the American talent at the point guard position each weekend as the names go on and one with guys like basketball globetrotter Marcus Hatten or a Carrington Love of Kirchheim or a Chase Adams from Paderborn or a Devin Moore from Ehingen. It is important to mention though that the top point guard this season in the Pro A isn´t an American or German, but is a 21 year old Slovenian by the name of Aleksej Nikolic who is averaging 18,1ppg and 6,9apg who is only practicing his talent in the Pro A as he gets further groomed by Brose Bamberg with whom he has a double license. With so many top talented American point guards in the Pro A, isn´t there any room for home grown German talent? Statistics won´t lie as there are Germans around, but most likely filling a back up position or still developing and too young to be getting anything more than garbage time. However there are a few German starting point guards in the Pro A holding their own like 26 year old Anthony Canty of the Hamburg Towers who is considered the best German point guard in the league averaging 15,2ppg and 4,0apg, 25 year old Till Joscha Joenke of the Hebeisen White Wings who is averaging 10,6ppg, 4,7rpg and 4,6apg and 27 year old Simon Schmitz of the Romerstrom Gladiators Trier who is averaging 10,9ppg and 5,2apg. All three have played in the EasyCredit BBL, but never accounted too anything except a back up role. “Till is a good young German point guard that one can learn from. He has a good drive and is physically strong. Till has already breathed BBL air and I think he will go his way into the BBL”, warned Daniel Mixich. They definitely have the talent to be on a BBL roster, but the question is if they want to have that back up roles again? Where is the new generation of German point guards in the Pro A. They are around, but are as abundant as finding a priest convention in Las Vegas. One of the biggest German raw talents in the Pro A is Daniel Mixich who is only 19 years old and started his first pro A season with 17 years with BV Chemnitz where he is now playing his third full season. Mixich is a very interesting player who was a member of the German U-20 team in 2016 and has a bright future ahead of him, but has one obstacle in his drive to get to the top in that he first needs to earn that secure starting point guard job in the Pro A.
Mixich may be a 182 cm point guard and only 19, but has already experienced a lot of basketball at a young age and at times when seeing his name in the Pro A box scores the last years, one may have thought he would be in his early twenties to mid twenties, but he is in fact still a teenager that has a lot of basketball in front of him and like any other young German player wants to get to the top. A big advantage for him who is a player that plays beyond his age is that he was introduced to the men´s game when just about every other kid his age was playing Batman Arkham City or Portal 2 on Play Station or going to watch the big men play basketball in some huge 10,000 plus arena in Berlin or the small school gym´s where German Pro A, Pro B or Regionaliga games take place.
The only difference was that the young Mixich wasn´t watching the men battle, but was involved in the duel on the floor. In the 2011-2012 season, Mixich made his debut in the German Regionalliga 2 with RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf 2 at the tender age of 14. He remembers that first game as if it was yesterday. “I was introduced in very young years to the Men level in basketball. I remember being very excited for my first Regionalliga game. I have nice memories of my Stahnsdorf days like when I gained a lot of experience where I got my first points in the Regionalliga and Pro B. I also remember being introduced when I was 14 years old in front of 500 people before a game”, stressed Daniel Mixich. Having been introduced at a young age to the world of basketball played by men definitely helped him develop step by step and brought him to the Pro A where he has remained since. “It has helped me a lot as a basketball player. I have always appreciated the fact that I was able to work with experienced and older players. This allowed me to learn many new things on and off the court. At that same time, I was also playing JBBL and NBBL where I had a physical advantage over the other players”, added Daniel Mixich. In that first season at the age of 14 he got into 10 games and averaged 2,1ppg. The next season in 2012, he moved to a higher class the Pro B with Stahnsdorf while also playing for their second team in the Regionalliga while also playing for the youth team. The German was very busy on the court with three teams while also balancing his school work and would stay another year in Stahnsdorf doing it all over again on the court and off the court and then made the next jump to BV Chmenitz in 2014. He remembers that all the stress that he had on the court in Stahnsdorf with so many different teams couldn´t have been handled properly without head coach Peter Guenschel in his last year there who is coaching Pro B team TG Wurzburg now. “Peter Guenschel played an important role for me in that he gave me a lot of self-confidence as a 16 year old. I remember being in the gym for many hours with him working on my game. Unfortunately, I suffered a bad injury in November and didn´t return to the court until February where I was unable to develop further. I came back in mid March and coach continued to give me minutes where I was very thankful for”, commented Daniel Mixich.
Mixich came to Chemnitz in the summer of 2014 at age 17 and prompt had American Virgil Matthews the perfect experienced point guard to learn from on a daily basis in practice and take in his poise and expertise play during games. That first season was tough as BV Chemnitz struggled and finished only in 13th place while the German received 12,1 minutes per game averaging 2,9ppg and 1,4apg. He scored in double figures once netting 10 points against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. Last season the club got a new head coach with Rodrigo Pastore and their fortunes changed as the team reached the playoffs finishing in seventh place. Right away Pastore liked the German´s game and gave him self-confidence as he averaged 20 minutes per game averaging 5,1ppg, 1,3rpg and 2,1apg. During the regular season he scored in double figures four times including a 22 point explosion against Paderborn and a 14 point game against Trier. In the playoffs, BV Chemnitz were swept by top team Science City Jena, but Mixich averaged 24 minutes in the three games including scoring 11 points twice. Pastore has a lot of expectations for the young German, but one that he accepted. “I would say that we have a good relationship with each other. Coach often talks to me and gives me confidence on the court. It is not common for such young players to see so many minutes, so therefore I am very thankful that I am getting minutes. He played my position and gives me many tips. He wants me to improve my shot and take more responsibility. He wants me to be a leader“, said Daniel Mixich.
The good season from last year has carried over to this season as BV Chemnitz are holding their own in the very competitive Pro A and currently have home court advantage if the playoffs started tomorrow as they are in fourth place with a record of 14-7. Recently the team had been playing great basketball having won nine out of ten games, but currently are riding a two game losing streak having lost to Trier and Crailsheim. The team is the second best ranked defensive team in the pro A giving up 70 points per game. The German revels what the secret of their defensive success is. “I think it is our hard practice and the good team chemistry that we have. Everyone tries to be better than the other and that’s why the intensity is so high in practice. A lot of our success also has to do with coach who put together a team that plays well on both ends of the court”, added Daniel Mixich. The German continues to be an important piece to the success of the team as he is averaging a little less minutes this season at 16 and is averaging 4,3ppg, 1,1rpg and 1,6apg, but knows that simple math explains why he is playing less. “I think it has to do with the fact that this year our bench is much lower than last year. We are not playing this year with a rotation of 7 but with a rotation of 10”, expressed Daniel Mixich. So far he has scored in double figures in two games netting 18 points against Paderborn and 11 points against Trier. Sometimes one has to rub their eyes when reading the vita of Mixich who is a three year Pro A veteran and only 19 years of age. “I have been dealing with older players on a daily basis, one tends to feel older than what you actually are. I also notice that when we are out together. But that feeling does subside like last season when I was still playing NBBL and studying for exams. Then one does realize that one is a bit younger than the other guys. After three seasons in the Pro A, I don´t feel like one of the younger guys anymore”, said Daniel Mixich.
Even if Virgil Matthews is the starting point guard for the third straight season,, Mixich is still thankful that he has such a valuable mentor in the American. “ Virgil is so important because he the head of the team. He is an allrounder. Through his long basketball experiences, he knows exactly what he has to do. Virgil has always the right answer on the court. That is why he is so important for us. It’s really fun to see him playing or to play against him. I was able to take a lot from his game in the last three years. He often came on and off the court to me and always gave me good advice. I have drastically improved my court vision thanks to his game and advice”, warned Daniel Mixich. Matthews took the German under his wing in 2014 and has seen what he has been capable of doing on the court and how he has developed further since and also can take some of the credit for how he has improved. “Daniel has developed a lot coming in the first year he didn’t do much and was just there learning played a bit more than probably everyone expected. His second year he was great. Towards the second half of the season he was starting, I am pretty sure a role that no one saw him in, and probably played better in the playoffs than any other player on the team. I appreciate his defensive pressure and intensity. he really helps out by picking up guards and pressuring them, which allows other players to not have to do that. I think I have just helped him a bit to see the game, know where the ball needs to go, and sometimes make the plays that aren’t designed sometimes”, added Virgil Matthews.
The logical next step continues to be the EasyCredit BBL. When one looks at the rest of the young German point guards in the Pro A like Justin Hedley, Leon Baeck, Dilhan Durant, Luca Kahl, and Zaire Thompson who are around the age of Mixich, none of them have the experience or are skill wise as developed as the BV Chemnitz point guard. The best bet for Mixich now is too shoot for that starting point job somewhere in the Pro A in the next few years. “It will not be easy, that’s true. But I have already gained 3 years Pro A experiences, which has helped me a lot to develop physically, so I’m ready to compete with the American point guards. This also motivates me to want to continue to keep working hard and to get better”, stressed Daniel Mixich. Fighting for more minutes and getting that coveted Pro A starting point guard job is his immediate goal, but his long term goal is too play in Berlin, Munich and Bamberg and battle against the best players like a Peyton Siva, Nick Johnson or Maodo Lo. The German knows that the odds to reach the big basketball show in Germany isn´t impossible as there have been guys to reach the EasyCredit BBL from the Regionalliga like a Steve Wachalski or a Devin Uskowski, but he won´t have to put in just 100% on the floor, but rather 180%. Matt Reid of the Artland Dragons recently stated that confidence is always good, but too much can be deadly. Mixich has a good healthy confidence and is ripe enough at 19 too know that he still has time to develop further with his ever growing experience. “My goal has always been to play one day in the BBL. I’m still a young player which has still to learn a lot, but I think I can make it. Because of the confidence that I get at the moment from my coach in the Pro A, I feel like I can develop further”, warned Daniel Mixich. Even Matthews believes that a guy like Mixich can play at a higher level like the EasyCredit BBL. “I think he has a chance. It is always hard for smaller players to play basketball in general, but I think if a coach looks past that and sees the good things he can bring to a team, such as defensive pressure and his shooting he has a chance.”, warned Virgil Matthews. When the day does arrive that his name is introduced in an enormous EasyCredit BBL arena, he will remember back to that day when he played his first professional game at age 14 in the German Regionalliga 2 with Stahnsdorf and be glad that he was there starting to live his basketball dream with men and not at home on the couch being a kid playing NBA 2K 12.