Keith Ramsey (RheinStars) Going To Sweden After My Rookie Season In Spain Changed My Life

Keith Ramsey is a 29 year old 207cm power forward that hails from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and is entering his eighth professional season and third in Germany and first with the Rhein Stars Koeln (Germany-ProA). He didn´t play last season as he was recovering from an injury and last played for Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) in 2015-2016 and played 28 games averaging 9.5ppg, Reb-5(7.8rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP-3(58.4%), 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 57.6%. He started his basketball career with  Missouri (NCAA) and as a senior palyed 34 games averaging 6.4ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.6spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 64.5%. He started his professional basketball career in 2010-201 with CB Promobys Hoteles Tijola (Spain-LEB Silver) playin 10 games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 59.2%, FT: 69.6%. In the 2011-201 season he joined LF Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 44 games averaging 13.5ppg, Reb-5(9.2rpg), 1.8apg, 1.9spg, Blocks-3(1.5bpg), FGP-3(63.0%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 74.4%. In the 2012-2013 season he moved to Ironi Kfar Hamaccabia Ramat Gan (Israel-National League) playing 31 games averaging 12.7ppg, Reb-4(10.6rpg), 2.0apg, Steals-5(2.5spg), 1.3bpg, FGP-1(66.4%), 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 57.1%. In 2013-2014 he joined Phoenix Hagen (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 7.0ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.0apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-5(1.3bpg), FGP: 61.4%, 3PT: 15.8%, FT: 40.5%. In the 2014-2015 season he remained with Phoenix Hagen (Germany-BBL) playing 32 games averaging 10.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 2.2apg, 1.3spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 67.5%, 3PT: 22.6%, FT: 48.5%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.

Keith thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been going?

Summer is good. Been in my hometown in Tennessee.

Your not even 30 years old yet, but have gotten around having played in countries like Cyprus, Spain, Sweden, Israel and Germany. Do you sometimes feel like a basketball globetrotter and what is most appealing about experiencing new cultures so often?

It’s been cool to play in all those countries. Cultures and myself learning about different things about life other than the life I grow up in is the best for me.

Congrats on signing with the RheinStars Cologne which will be your third season in Germany after you played two seasons with Phoenix Hagen. Your last game was more than 2 years ago against Braunschweig. What have you missed most from the country Germany and it´s Basketball?

Germany is just a good place to be. From basketball to the people to the business side. The fast pace of the game in Germany is what I missed most.

After a season away where you had been out with a severe injury your fit again and are hungry to gte back on the court. How tough was this last year for you having to sit out and get to learn a whole other side of being a professional basketball player?

My injury wasn’t so severe . I was just playing the field last season and ended up getting hurt and not having my surgery right away. But I’m hungry to get another opportunity to get back to what I love to do. You don’t miss it until it’s gone and I felt like it was gone so I’m excited to get back .

How thankful are you that the RheinStars declined to let an injury effect their trust in your game? What was most key in you wanting to sign on the dotted line with them? Possibly their unending ambition to get to the BBL?

I´m glad the Rheinstars reached out and still believe I can play after a year. A year isn’t really that long off . When you´ re in America you can always find high level basketball some where The coach and the city of Cologne made me sign and a great opportunity for me to show some skills that I have that other BBL teams haven’t seen in me.

With the RheinStars you will be playing for manager Stephan Baeck who won the 1993 European title with Germany and head coach Denis Wucherer who won a silver at the 2005 European championships with Dirk Nowitzki. Does this type of presence already get you in a total different mood when preparing on your own this summer to get ready to come to training camp in August?

It’s exciting. It’s always good to know that they guy running the team actually knows something about basketball and will make the right decision for the team. And I have been preparing for pre season for the last 2months so I’m ready.

You are a guy that will bring the team experience, hard nosed defense, strong rebounding, quickness and athleticism. You’re a guy that doesn´t necessarily have to score in double figures. How key will your defensive presence be this season for the team to be successful?

It´s good that I have all those things in me and it will bring a lot to a team. But every guy that plays in Europe knows that you have to have offense of presence to make some good money hahah. But I will do what’s necessary for the team to win.

Two seasons ago you played for Cytavision Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-Division A) playing 28 games averaging 9.5ppg, Reb-5(7.8rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP-3(58.4%), 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 57.6%. Did the cup win with Apoel somewhat help you digest the tough sweep in the final by AEK?

Apoel was a difficult and most unprofessional place that I ever been too. I was just happy to get through the season . My coach who now is an assistant with Panathinaikos helped me out a lot with my game and reading and slowing me down to play at a high level. When a team has double your budget it’s hard to win in Europe everyone know that so that sweep wasn’t tough hahahaha

You played for Phoenix Hagen from 2013-2015. You played a season with Dino Gregory. You have played with many experienced four players, but how special was your harmony on the court?

Dino is a great guy and teammate. With him around made it just more easier to play with a guy like him.

You had huge games in your second season including a great start where you had 19 points against FC Bayern Munich, back to back games with 25 points against MBC and 24 points against Oldenburg as well as a 12 point, 13 rebound and five assist game against Ludwigsburg. Do you feel like after that second season with Phoenix Hagen where you averaged 10,6ppg and 6,2rpg that you didn´t get the respect from other teams that could have kept you in the BBL until this day?

Yes for sure I had an amazing first half of the season. And showing all my skills on the court putting up good numbers against all the big money teams. And I feel like since I played for Phoenix Hagen I didn’t get any respect for my numbers. David Bell lead the whole year in scoring or maybe second and wasn’t even honorable mention for best scorer of the league . The season after Hagen I had offers in the BBL from lower teams and lower from what I was making in Hagen hah so yea I didn’t get any respect for sure.

You also played two seasons with David Bell who could shoot the lights out. What do you remember him doing in a practice that left you dumbfounded and totally amazed?

David Bell´s work ethic and mode control of what he eats and how he trains is eye popping. He does all the right things and you can tell by his play at the games.

Before coming to Phoenix Hagen you played a strong season with Ironi Kfar Hamaccabia Ramat Gan (Israel-National League, starting five): 31 games: 12.7ppg, Reb-4(10.6rpg), 2.0apg, Steals-5(2.5spg), 1.3bpg, FGP-1(66.4%), 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 57.1%. What was your fondest memory of living a year in Israel and just being able to take in the culture and playing at a high level?

Israel is one those places that you can talk about all day. If you don’t listen to all the political things about their country and get there. It will be all love. And they don’t beat you up in practice out there so you can play a high level all through the season.

In your second professional season you played for LF Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) playing 44 games averaging 13.5ppg, Reb-5(9.2rpg), 1.8apg, 1.9spg, Blocks-3(1.5bpg), FGP-3(63.0%), 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 74.4%. You made your professional break through after a shortened rookie season in Spain. What was key in this season for you being able to make the next step and become a name in Europe?

Spain was a good bad job for me. Haha great place for basketball. Wrong time as a rookie . So when I got to Sweden . I was in love with the basketball and the culture and the professionalism. And my coach Charles Barton was an American guy that made me comfortable from day one. And that made me have the type of season I had there.

How important was it having ex Missouri teammate Justin Stafford on the team in Sweden. He was a rookie, but had a great season. How did both of you help make that season a bit easier for each other?

It was great having him there and he is one of my really good friends . And to help him with his rookie season benefited both of us.

How vital was head coach Charles Barton for you coming out of your shell? Did he just let you play your game?

Coach Barton made me comfortable and my game and ability so we got along fine and made me play up to Standards.

As a rookie you played for CB Promobys Hoteles Tijola (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 10 games averaging 10.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 59.2%, FT: 69.6%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee?

I had been away from home a lot in my life. But never to a 900 people village in the middle of southwest Spain and no one speaks English. It was the worst place for a rookie to be. And my coach was a piece of work. I have never been treated so badly from a coach. And it made me not want to play overseas anymore. But then I went to Sweden and it changed my life.

You had a stellar career at Missouri(NCAA). How did head coach Mike Anderson help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Mike Anderson is definitely someone that can teach about the game of basketball. And to be unselfish and play within the team.

You played one season with future NBA player Demarre Carroll. Did you know then that he would make such an impact in the NBA?

Demarre  was having a hell of a year so I knew he would be a good player in the NBA.

You won the Big 12 tournament, but also reached the NCAA Elite 8. Was your performance in the game against Uconn where you played against so many future NBA players one of your most memorable game at Missouri(NCAA)?

Just playing in the Elite 8 game was memorable. But playing a sold game made it a little bit better for sure.

Who was the toughest player that you battled down low that reached the NBA?

Really can’t say since I faced a lot of good players. But Blake Griffin is a tough match up for anyone so I would say him. 

How does a normal summer work out day look like for you on and off the court and what are the main things you will be working on in your game?

I wake up at 5:30 during the week for morning workouts. I’m been working on my body with flexibility things and a lot of shooting from 3. And ball handling . And endurance getting my legs stronger so I can stay at a high level through a long season in Europe.

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title an dhas three to Michael Jordan. There are so many experts that keep proclaiming that Lebron is the best of all-time. Where do you rate him in the neverending debate about who the best of all-time is?

At the end of Lebron James career  he will be the best in the history of the game. But Micheal Jordan hands down is the best winner and talent that ever played the game

Thanks Keith for the Chat.

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