Author: frankfurtskylinervoice

Voice of The Deutsche Bank Skyliners in webradio/author Eurobasket.com

Terence Billups(Uni-Riesen Leipzig) Less Minutes Keeps Me More Humbled And Motivated To Work Hard And Be The Best Player I Can Be

Terence Billups is a 198cm forward from Jeffersonville, Indiana that is playing his fourth professional season and third in Germany. After tearing up the Regionaliga with Cottbus and Rendsburg, and now is playing a level up in the Pro B with the UNI-Riesen Leipzig. He started his basketball career with Western Dakota Tech (JUCO) and then moved to Indiana SE (NAIA) in 2012 playing 20 games averaging 9.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 46.0%, FT: 85.7%. In 2013 he started his professional basketball career with West Michigan Lake Hawks (ABA). In the 2014-2015 season he came to Germany to BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 22 games Score-3(24.8ppg), 8.2rpg, 2.8apg, 1.6spg, Blocks-2(2.0bpg), FGP: 54.2%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 76.3%.In the 2015-2016 season he played for Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games averaging 18.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 67.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about the playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig season.

 

 

Terence thanks for talking to German Hoops 2017 has come and we are already into 2017. Did you set any new years resolutions and if you did have to stayed faithful to them in the first two months?

Its always a pleasure! I didn’t set any new years resolution. I always want to continuously better myself and I don’t think I need a new years resolution to do this. However, I normally stay faithful to the plans I set for myself throughout the year.

You lost the last regular season game against the Licher Basket Baeren in a wild game that went back and forth. You were down by 9 in the fourth and took it into OT with a Cardell McFarland three pointer. Their Germans Kraushaar and Horstmann got the best of you scoring the last 6 points. Is the revenge factor going to be extra big against them in the playdowns?

I wouldn’t say its revenge. They didn’t give up as a team shouldn’t do. We allowed them nearly 100pts going into overtime. We just need to do better like I know we can. Now we are fighting to stay in the league and I think that when we play Licher, we need to be consistent in our game plan and execute on both ends of the floor. If we do this like I’ve seen us in the past, then we will come on top every time.

In the Pro B it´s either playoffs or playdowns and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig was close at making the playoffs, but lost their last two games not to get there. How disappointing were getting these last two loses after beating the two best teams PS Karlsruhe and Weissenhorn before that?

You would think that we would have gained a lot of confidence after beating the top two teams back to back. But in order to keep the win streak going, you have to be consistent play by play on both ends of the floor for 40 minutes. It was disappointing to see my team mess up on assignments throughout the game in which resulted in the loses in the last two games.

How do you explain beating the best two teams in the Pro B and then finishing the season losing to one potential playdown team and another playdown team?

Against PS Karlsruhe, we played team basketball for 40 minutes like I’ve never seen from us before. Against Weissenhorn, we kept the game close all the way to the end. And we were able to come out on top by 1pt. But then when we play Fraport, we missed countless assignments throughout the entire game which resulted in a big lose. And lastly, we lost to Licher because we didn’t play good basketball for 40 minutes. We had a good first half. In fact, I think we were up by double digits by the end of the half. In the second half, we made too many mistakes that let them back into the game. And from there, it was a dog fight to the end. They made some tough shots. We responded with some tough shots, especially pushing it into OT. But in the end, they came out on top. So basically, when we can be consistent in executing the game plan on both ends of the floor, we will find good results.

How vital was the pick up of Cardell McFarland and how confident are you that the club will remain in the league with his playmaking and leadership?

Cardell was important for us as he replaced the injured German point guard, Guy Aud. I think he had a few rough games, but I see more of his game in practice. So I know what he’s capable of doing on the court. He’s even shown it in a couple of games. He’s well educated on the court and has a good skillset at his position. But it’s a team game. And each individual must do their part well and in sync. At this point, I think we as a team will determine the clubs fate whether the club moves down or stays in the league. And that’s how well each player does their part starting in practice and carrying over into the games to come.

How have you followed the season of Jordan Faison and where do you rate it with all power forwards in the league? Is he overall over Aaron Nelson or is the Rhondorf big dawg the clear number one this season in the league?

It’s a tough call. I would say that Nelson is huge in the paint. He can give you buckets in the paint with ease. Jordan can do so also, but I think Aaron Nelson has more of an edge with his frame. But I would take Jordan’s defense over Nelson’s. Both are good players in my eyes. I would pick Jordan to play with over Nelson because Jordan has a better defensive presence in my eyes. But from a statistical point of view, Nelson would be number 1.

 

 

You had a great 2016 being very consistent, but as the second half of the season rolled around in 2017, you suddenly got less minutes. Did your role change?

 

 It definitely changed. We needed a point guard on the floor more than we needed a shooting guard or small forward. So I needed to accept the changes and help the team in different ways.

You have been a guy that has been used to playing very much in your first two Regionalliga seasons in Cottbus and Rendsburg and first half in Leipzig, but how difficult was it getting your minutes shaved in half and how did you learn to cope with it?

 In the beginning, I was content with the change if it meant the team would win more games over loses. But this didn’t happen. It began to get difficult when the team is losing more games then it’s winning and my minutes are cut drastically. And I couldn’t do much about it because of the circumstances. So coach and I talked about it and decided that I should focus more on the defensive end and bring energy in that sense because I wont have an huge imprint in the game to make a significant difference offensively with the amount of minutes I play now. So I focus on defense more and play the game I know how to play.

Despite having less minutes you have been quite efficient. How important has patience become on the court for you and just making the right plays at all times now then before when you were playing 30 plus minutes?

 It’s more crucial now. You have less room for error. When you play much more, you will more likely make a couple of mistakes. But your positive plays on the court will usually outweigh the negatives. When you play for a much shorter period, those mistakes you make becomes your highlights of the game. All I can do is be prepared, focused, and ready to go in the game when my name is called. And when I do these things, I will have success.

Do you learn to appreciate the game more now with having less minutes and needing to be as efficient as possible?

I actually do now. It may be easy to take things like this for granted until its striped away from you. So it keeps me more humbled and motivated to work hard and be the best player and person I can be.

The Uni-Riesen Leipzig go into the Playdowns with an even 3-3 record against the three teams. How confident are you that you will stay in the league?

As long as we do our individual tasks on the court for 40 minutes, we will have a good chance at staying in the league. And for us, it starts defensively.

Defense will be the key as you have proved as a team that can defend when you want to keeping Ps Karlsruhe and FC Bayern Munich recently back to back to 66 points, but ended the season against Frankfurt and Lich averaging giving up 97 points. What aspect on defense will be most vital to consistently being successful?

 When it comes to our defense, we need to play as a team. But it first starts by playing good one-on-one defense. When this happens, we can have more success in keeping teams to lower points.

Which Pro B player was the toughest to guard this season?

 I think Jacob Mampuya was probably the toughest. He has good speed and quickness along with a quick first step. And if you don’t respect his shot, he will pull up from range. Play too tight, he’s quick enough to blow past you. So I have to play in between a try to keep my defensive unpredictable so that he either passes the ball or makes the wrong decision

. Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?

 This ranks pretty high with me. His teammates did a great job in finding him and he rewarded them and himself by making the shots. I think the confidence he had within himself to shoot like that made it more remarkable. It was definitely entertaining to watch.

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?

 I haven’t seen the stats of the players. I only watch the highlights of a few NBA teams. But when Westbrook is averaging a triple double and his team is plus .500, then its hard to say that statistically, he’s the best player in the world. But I wouldn’t say he is the best player. I still lean toward LeBron and Curry with Curry being my favorite player to watch.

Draymond Green recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?

Draymond is a special kind of player. He brings a unique kind of energy on the court. And with this uniqueness, he is able to do things like he’s doing now.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Escape Plan.

Thanks Terence for the chat.

 

KK Simmons (Licher Basket Baeren) I’m Extremely Confident That I Can Help Lich Stay In The League

K.K Simmons is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48% from outside in his junior season at Pikeville, but can also mix it up getting to the hole. In his first season with Pikeville, he played 25 games averaging 20.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 48.9%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to German Hoops during the 2017 playdowns and before the game against the Giants Nordlingen.

K.K thanks for talking to German Hoops. It´s playdown time again, a time that your teammate Lamar Mallory is used to. Last season he was a major force and reason why Lich stayed in the league. Do you sense as if the club will experience a special revved up Lamar Mallory in the rest of the games?

Lamar is the heart and soul of this team. His experience from being in the same situation last season is very beneficial to us as a team. He will continue to lead us in the right direction.

With what type of expectations are you going into the playdowns? Do you feel like this is a time that you will have to step up in an extra special way?

My expectations are to win as many games as we can in order to stay in the league. As a team, it’s time for all of us to step up and get the job done. If we play basketball the way we know we can and should, then everything will work out for the best.

How vital was it for the Licher Basket Baeren to close out the season with a two game winning streak? Is the self confidence with the team at an all-time high?

Us winning the last two games of the regular season was very important for us going into the Play-Downs. They were very big momentum boosters and helped us gain more confidence going into these couple of games.

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Jordan Burris (BBC Coburg) Has The Game And Kobe Ammunition To Fill A Gym

The life of a professional basketball player in Europe obviously is worlds apart from the glitz and glamour of the NBA, but it´s still an occupation and a meal ticket for so many Americans living their basketball dream. A professional basketball player in Europe has so much free time on his hands during the day something any normal Joe Shmoe that is working a 9-5 job would dream of having at least once a week, but professional basketball players have it almost every day and sometimes worry too much about what and what not to do. Usually a club will have a weight room workout and light shooting somewhere in the vicinity of 10-1 and then a hard practice at night for 1-2 hours and in between and after a player has many options to fill their time. Back in the 80´s and 90´s a player had to be very imaginative about their free time as their was no social media, state of the art cell phones or Skype. Back then a player actually went into book stores to fill up on reading material and had possibly more interesting encounters of how to pick up women simply because then it was a work of art whereas now you can find a new one every night in the internet. However an interesting thing that clubs have done over the years is send players to schools to talk about their experiences with basketball and life or to help aspiring young kids how to play basketball. Usually it seems the taller and more gregarious a player is, the more interest a player will get simply because you don’t see many 208cm men walking around in Europe. Fraport Skyliner Mike Morrison can fill the Fraport arena alone with his crushing dunks as it is always a highlight to see him running the floor and getting served up an alley-op hard throw down from a AJ English, Kwame Vaughn or Quantez Robertson as his 8 dunks recently against Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka seemed like an eternity for the Champions League team on that night. Of course, Morrison could also tell great tales about his experiences in Finland and Cyprus or school days at George Mason as well as other players recalling their great moments, but it´s not every day that a player can rock the court with his play and also fill a classroom with his Kobe Ammunition. One of these guys is Jordan Burris who currently is living his basketball dream in the German 4th league with up and coming team Coburg. He is having a great third professional season which in a way is his rookie season after his first two professional seasons didn´t really pan out the way he wanted to. He is filling the gym in Coburg with his game as he is averaging 20,8ppg, 9,1rpg, 2,6rpg and 2,4spg and if he had to would be able to fill any other room with his Kobe Bryant story. Burris had the opportunity to film a commercial with NBA legend Kobe Bryant that would fill any room to capacity, but then again if Mike Morrison would film an interview with his son Mike junior, it would surely get the thumbs up in Frankfurt and fill any room as anything they would do could only be entertaining as this father and son duo had the perfect wedding proposal plan and party time plan when mommy left for a trip to the States recently. If Burris really wanted to and needed extra cash, he could surely come up with a way to spice up the Kobe Bryant experience and just tour the country. He will forever cherish his time with the LA Laker legend. “ He’s been my favorite player since I can remember. So to meet him and be able to pick his brain was the experience of a lifetime. At one point he stopped the production of the commercial and gave me a personal lesson on his fade away. That’s a memory I will cherish forever. He’s also a big trash talker man. But I guess in 20 years of NBA basketball he’s heard it all”, stated Jordan Burris.

Burris also had the audacity to talk trash with Kobe and warned him about blocking his shot, but instead saw the master drop 10/10 on him. “I told him I’m Jordan I’m the guy that’s going to lock you down. To that he said that’s not what my 30,000+ points say. After that I had nothing to say. But just being a huge fan of his, I admire his work ethic and tried to incorporate that into my game. Be the first one in and last one out as much as possible. A line that sticks with me from Kobe is rest in the end; not in the middle”, stated Jordan Burris.

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Rilwan Bakare (Fraport Skyliners Juniors) I Will Never Forget Practicing With The BBL Team and being treated like Family

Rilwan Bakare is a 26 year 201cm forward from Chicago,Illinois playing his third professional season and first with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors after starting the season with Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) and then moving to Union de Santa Fe (Argentina-TNA). Last season he played for BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 18 games averaging 11.2ppg, 6.8rpg, FGP: 57.8%, FT: 58.5%. As a rookie he played for TuS Breckerfeld (Germany-2.Regionalliga) playing 18 games averaging 19.9ppg, 10.5rpg. He played his college ball at four schools including Columbus State Community College (NJCAA), Danville Area Community College (NJCAA), Campbellsville (NAIA) and Texas Wesleyan (NAIA): He spoke to German Hoops after the game 3 loss to Lok Bernau ending his third professional season.

A tough loss to Lok Bernau ending the season. How much of a basketball culture shock was it coming from the big beautiful Mercedes arena to the tiny Bernau gym for game 3?

 It was a difference I just had to adjust very quick.

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors took only 8 players. Did this already put some pressure on the players knowing that total aggressive defense could have put guys in early foul trouble?

 Just felt a little pressure but we had to just work harder and play as a team.

How key was the quick 9-0 Lok Bernau start for the rest of the game? They jumped on the Fraport Skyliners Juniors right off the bat. Did this fast start already have an effect on the team mentally for the rest of the game?

 I will say yes or no we knew they were going come out strong we just didn’t adjust fast enough to stop the run.

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Dallas Anglin (Hannover Korbjäger) I’m A Student Of The Game And I Take Bits And Pieces Of Guys Games

Dallas Anglin is a 23 year old 185cm guard from Mountclair, New Jersey that played his rookie season as a professional in Germany for the  Hannover Korbjaeger (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career at  Hofstra (NCAA) in 2012 playing 6 games averaging 3.2ppg, 1.2apg. In the next three years he would play at three schools starting with S.Idaho JC (JUCO) playing 32 games averaging 13.4ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 77.8%, S.Mississippi (NCAA) playing  6 games averaging 6.0ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 93.3%, and N.Colorado (NCAA) playing 20 games averaging  13.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 79.6%. He spoke to German Hoops recently before the club announced it had to withdraw from the Regionaliga before the end of the season.

Dallas welcome to Germany. Your last college game is almost a year old as you strapped on your N Colorado(NCAA) shirt against Portland State. Did you ever lose doubt that you might not sign your first professional contract?

A little, as time went by I was preparing for the worst and hoping for the best and then New Years Eve came and before I went to celebrate my agent called me and said I had an offer out in Germany.

Talk a little about the last 10-11 months. How did you experience your first time in the shark infested waters world of having to try to find that first professional team. How rough was it and how did you stay positive?

 It wasn’t as rough as people would think, during that time I was home in New Jersey around family and loved ones that kind of took my mind away from the negatives, believe me I had my days though. I stayed positive by having positive people around me.

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Eric Kibi (Randers Cimbria Basketball) Reaching The BBL After Starting In The Regionalliga Has Been A Huge Goal Of Mine

Eric Kibi is a 26 year old 198cm forward from Ontario, Canada that is playing his fifth professional season and first with the Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen). Last season he played with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-ProB) playing 3 games averaging 4.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, left in Oct.’15, in Jan.’16 moved to KK Strsljen Gusinje (Montenegro-Erste Liga): 4 games: 3.8ppg, 5.5rpg, in Mar.’16 signed at London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 23 games averaging 1.7ppg, 2.5rpg. Two seasons ago he completed his second season in Germany and first with Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 20,5ppg and 15,0rpg. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Jacksonville College (NJCAA) where he played until 2010. He then played a season with UALR (NCAA) playing  29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.2rpg. He finished his college career in 2012 with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing  20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0%. In 2012 he started his professional basketball career with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing  20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0% He then played with Ottawa SkyHawks (NBL Canada): 29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.7rpg. He spoke to German Hoops about his season in Denmark.

Eric thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

I’m in Randers, Denmark we are getting ready for our last regular season game against Naesved and then hopefully a successful playoff run.

2017 has come and already into it´s third month. Did you make any new years resolutions this year or aren´t you the type of guy that does that?

I came into the year just wanting to keep growing as a person but other than that my hunger or work ethic never changes just because the calendar flips year it’s always the same.

You were close last season to getting your first professional title with the London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada). Does one feel more and more how close one was to getting a title after time when you realize just how close you actually were?

Yeah I mean losing in Game 7 of a championship series was really tough last season especially after we battled back from being down 3-1. That team was a special group and I’ll never forget going to war with those guys.

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Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners Cruise Past The Igeko Nurnberg Falcons BC 80-70 in NBBL Playoff Action

Now is a very special month in the States concerning college basketball as it is the time of the year where March Madness takes over and fans are transformed into a special world where players are made into hero´s, some unknown teams create their own special Cinderella stories and upsets are always present as Duke recently was kicked out with the winner being crowned at the start of April in Phoenix. But also in Germany is March a very special time for youth basketball as the NBBL playoffs begin and teams battle for the ticket to the Final 4 at the end of May in Frankfurt and where upsets are also not uncommon as defending champion Breitengussbach lost their first game getting hammered by ratiopharm Ulm 82-58. In Frankfurt Eintracht Frankfurrt/Fraport Skyliners started their mission to reach the NBBL top 4 on their home base in the 5,004 seat Fraport arena as they came into the playoffs with a 11-3 record in third place while the Igeko Nurnberg Falcons finished with a record of 12-4. There are no real easy opponents in the NBBL playoffs and Eintracht Frankfurt knew that they would be facing a sound defensive team with Nurnberg as they had relinquished 70 points or less in 10 games while Frankfurt did 9 times. After an offensive first quarter, both teams settled down on the defensive end and the game was even for three quarters, but in the fourth quarter the Igeko Nurnberg Falcons BC ran out of gas as the depth and fire power of Comso Gruehn and Isaac Bonga was too much for the Bavarian team as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners won 80-70.

“We knew that it wouldn´t be an easy task. We played very well and got the needed support from the bench. We know that whenever the clock is down and we need a basket, we can rely on Isaac Bonga to making the shot. He has improved his three pointer the last weeks. He has been practicing his shot extra hard the last weeks and is a motivation for all of us to want to get our chances and produce like he does”, stressed ex USC Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn.

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