Kyle Fogg is a 27 year old 190cm guard playing his fifth professional season and first with Unicaja Malaga (Spain-Liga Endesa). Last season he led the German BBL in scoring with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL, starting five): 33 games: Score-1(18.5ppg), 3.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 89.7%. He started his basketball career with Arizona (NCAA) in 2008 an dplayed 138 games in his 4 year career and as a senior played 34 games averaging 13.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 44.1%, FT: 79.5%. He started his professional career in 2012 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) playing 43 games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 80.2%. In the 2013-2014 season he started with the Delaware 87ers (D-League), in Dec.’13 signed at Lapuan Korikobrat (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 29 games: Score-1(27.0ppg), 6.4rpg, Assists-4(4.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 84.2%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-Scooore League): 32 games: 15.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 81.9%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 16.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 75.5%. He spoke to German Hoops before the do or die Eurocup game against FC Bayern Munich.
Kyle thanks for talking to German Hoops Do or die in Munich for the rights to advance to the Eurocup semi-Finals. How excited are you for this game? Where do you rank this game in importance in your career in Europe?
Very excited this is definitely one of the biggest games of my career in Europe.
Do you have any friendly wagers going with your ex Arizona teammate Nick Johnson?
Haha nah we don’t have any wagers on the game but bragging rights are on the line.
You probably keep tabs on your ex teammates, but seriously is there that extra special competitive flair between you and Nick Johnson now on the court. You guys came off the bench in the first game and both started in the second game and in both games the stats were almost similar
I follow all of my ex teammates from Arizona, but Nick and I have been close friends since we played together in college. We battled every day in practice, and I expect the same on Wednesday.
FC Bayern Munich have rebounded very well in both games, but key was the Malaga defense in game two in Spain. What adjustments did the team make in game two and what will be key in getting the win in Munich?
For us it was a do or die game. I think we played with a lot more energy and a sense of urgency. We have to bring that same intensity on Wednesday especially playing in their gym. Trying our best to keep them off the glass will be a key factor in the game.
After leading the BBL in scoring last season you deservedly made the jump to the best league in Europe Endesa and play for Unicaja Malaga. Have you once felt having the need to coast in your new situation or isn´t it difficult to keep up that hunger to possibly make the next step with a Euroleague team down the road?
Making it to this level and being able to play in Eurocup as well, has made me even hungrier. Seeing the competition just shows me I have a lot of work to do.
Currently the club is in sixth place in the Endesa league and holding it´s own. Does the club have the talent to be able to annoy a big team in the playoffs?
Definitely, we have beaten all the euroleague teams in our league. We still have to get a lot better but when playoff time comes I think we will be a scary team to play
You’re the fourth most efficient player on the club and have seemed to need no transition period. What are the biggest obstacles on the court now than what you experienced last season in the BBL?
Thanks! Playing in Eurocup and having two games a week has been a tough adjustment, as well as the style of play in Spain. I’m just trying to be as efficient as I can and help our team get wins.
You are averaging 9,4ppg in only 15 minutes. Has it been a tough adjustment not being used to see you at the top of the scoring leaders like last season?
I expected to have a different role coming in this year, so the adjustment wasn’t too tough. Last year I was blessed with great teammates and the opportunity to show that I could score. This year all I wanted was to be on a team that would compete for a title.
How valuable do you believe has the Endesa league been for your playmaking abilities? How much do you feel has your decision making flourished in this league?
It’s been huge, there isn’t a night off in this league playing at the point. I’m learning every day in practice from our best PG Oliver Lafayette and have been working hard. I’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year
You scored 29 points in 29 minutes in a huge 95-80 win against FC Barcelona. You went to the free throw line an amazing 23 times. Was this your biggest win in your professional career in Europe and what will you always remember from this game?
Yep, being able to get that win in front of our home crowd was great. My teammates trusted me in key moments of the game and I was able to make a of couple plays. Making 3 free throws at the end of regulation to force overtime is something I will always remember.
Last season you played for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL, starting five): 33 games: Score-1(18.5ppg), 3.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 89.7%. Could you say this was your break out year as a professional. You showed that after a great season in Finland and solid season in the weaker Belgium league that you could tear up the BBL?
Yes this was my breakout year. It was the best league I had played in and I was blessed to have a good year statistically. I had some great assistant coaches in Chris and Jason who really helped me improve. As well as great guards on our team who pushed me everyday, Jerry Smith, Braydon Curry and Larry Gordon to name a few
After a strong first season in Finland, you played your second season in Europe with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-Scooore League): 32 games: 15.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 81.9%; EuroChallenge: 12 games: 16.4ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.8apg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 75.5%. Did you have a small chip on your shoulder after having to play in Finland first and proving to all GM´s in Europe that you had game before making the next step?
Yea, a lot of teams passed on me that year and said I wasn’t good enough to play in leagues such as Belgium and Germany. Once I got the opportunity I just wanted to show that I deserved to be there.
In your first season in Europe you played for Lapuan Korikobrat (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 29 games: Score-1(27.0ppg), 6.4rpg, Assists-4(4.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 53.5%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 84.2%. What was your wakeup call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Brea?
The second I got there haha it was freezing cold, and we were walking to practice. That was a great year for me and I learned a ton from the older guys I was playing with
After a strong showing at the Portsmouth Invitational tournament you played as a rookie for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League): 43 games: 5.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 80.2%. Were your expectations of your rookie season diminished with your lesser of a role for the Vipers?
That was probably the toughest year of my career, I didn’t play much and had an injury that set me back. At the same time it was the best year, because after it was over I was hungrier than ever.
What was the best example that you noticed in the D-league where you knew that the whole D-League/NBA route is really just a business and talent doesn´t always factor in to a club´s decision?
There were a lot of great players who just weren’t getting the opportunity to play. The D league is great for some players, but personally I wanted to help my Mom out financially and get the chance to show people I could play at a high level. I got the chance to do so my first year in Finland
What are your memories of German Tim Ohlbrecht with whom you won the D-league title in 2013? He went on to play three NBA games. Last season German big man Tibor Pleiss played in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, but his run ended also. Did you sense from your D-league experience that toughness coupled with a healthy self-confidence plays a big role with guys reaching and staying in the NBA?
Tim is a great guy, one of the nicest guys we had on our team and can really play. He was with the Rockets at the time but would come down to play with us on assignment. We definitely wouldn’t have had the success we did without him. I’m sure if his goal is to get back to the NBA, he will make his return soon. Confidence and perseverance goes a long way. You can’t get complacent in the NBA it’s too competitive
You played at Arizona(NCAA) from 2008-2012. How important was a guy like Nic Wise your freshman year? What was the most important thing you got from him on and off the court?
Nic Wise was one of the guys I looked up to as a big brother in college. He had tremendous work ethic and was a wizard with the ball. He showed me by example of always working and playing with a lot of heart.
You reached the Elite 8 in 2011. What do you believe was missing that season to reach the NCAA Final 4?
One shot haha, we were inches away from making the final four I don’t think we were missing anything as a team. We ran into a great Uconn squad who was on a crazy streak and a couple plays didn’t go our way.
Who was the toughest point guard that you faced in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
There were a lot but Kyrie Irving & Isaiah Thomas were probably the toughest
Who won a one on one then you or Nick Johnson and who would win today?
Haha we never played back in the day, but if we played now it’d be a good game. I think I have a few old man tricks the little bro doesn’t know about
How did head coach Sean Miller groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Arizona?
He helped me realize that you have to earn everything and if I worked hard I could reach the highest level. Coach has supported me and still does, I’m able to go back to Arizona and workout whenever I want. Definitely a blessing to have a coach who didn’t recruit you but still supports you in everything you do.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Tough question, I’d say Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Tim Duncan, but Lebron is still going so I’m sure he will end up on the NBA Rushmore
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?
It’s amazing what he did for the city bringing a championship to Cleveland. I think he’s definitely in the conversation for one of the greatest of all time. I think he will get more championships but don’t think he will pass Mike
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I’d say he’s in the top 5
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Yea that was unbelievable, definitely one of the craziest performances I’ve ever seen
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Yes, Westbrook is a monster. I think it’s between him or Harden for MVP this year
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
Because it’s really hard to do haha, he’s one of the most important players on that team, if not the most important
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kyle for the chat.