BBL

Mateusz Ponitka(Polish National Team) My Goal For The Next Years Is To Be Ready To Be An Important Player In A Euroleague Team

Mateusz Ponitka is a 23 year old 196cm guard that will be playing his first season with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga Endesa) and currently is playing with the polish national team. Last season he played with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL) playing 27 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-4(1.7spg), FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 70.8%; BCL: 19 games: 10.8ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 70.7%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Kasprowiczanka Ostrow Wlk. He then played three seasons with Tempcold AZS Politechnika Warszawa (1Liga). In the 2012-2013 season he made the jump to Asseco Prokom Gdynia (PLK): 34 games: 8.7ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 70.7%; Euroleague: 10 games: 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 38.1%. He then played two seasons with Telenet BC Oostende (Belgium-Scooore League). Last season he played for Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL): 41 games: 10.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 76.1%; Euroleague: 10 games: 12.0ppg, Reb-3(7.9rpg), 2.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 67.6%; Eurocup: 10 games: 13.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 47.6%, FT: 69.4%. Last simmer he took part at the NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Denver Nuggets): 4 games: 2.5ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.3spg. The Polish player gave German Hoops his fourth interview before the Super Cup weekend in Hamburg

 

 

 

Thanks Mateusz for talking to German Hoops again. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

Right now I am at the airport as we are heading to Hamburg with national team to play tournament against Germany Serbia and Russia. My summer was pretty long because we finished season early in Turkey and I had a lot of time for rest and practice. So the first 10 days was holidays and then 1,5 month individual work.

You have been preparing for Euro 2017 with the Polish team the last weeks. The club beat the Czech Republic twice, split with Latvia and lost to Lithuania. How content have you been with the preparation of the club so far?

We are working hard since the 15th of July. Training camp and now friendly games so basically my season already started. We are practicing really hard the last few weeks and in those friendly games our performances are different. We are in a good spot and we are looking forward to finish preparation to start the real battles in Eurobasket.

When looking at the current roster that still will be trimmed down to 12 for the Euro 2017, one doesn´t see much change except that there is no Marcin Gortat and no Maciej Lampe. How will the 2017 Euro roster be different and better than last summer´s?

Maciej Lampe is with us and he will play in tournament in Hamburg. We are trying to quickly put him in our system. He is very talented and experienced player so his help is priceless. Marcin finished career in national team so we can´t count on him anymore. Last summer we won our qualification group because we built collectiveness. This year we will try to do the same thing.

There will be many players left from Euro 2016. You will have vetearans Damian Kulig and Aaaron Cel on board. How much stronger will Poland be this summer?

Every player witht such an experience like Damian and Aaron is for us big help. So basically we are happy that we can count on them. Both can really improve our game and make a big impact on the score.

Poland will have their real first test this weekend in Hamburg at the Super Cup. How excited are you to be heading back to Hamburg where you played at the U-17 world championships in 2010?
I have been there many times and its always going be great place for me. Memories are coming back very quickly. For me personally that was a great tournament and to be honest my career started form there. It all started from the silver medal in Hamburg and now we are here. So it will be a hard tournament for us playing against the best teams in Europe but also great test. We are looking forward to competiting with all three teams and to check at which point we are now.

What memories do you have of the U-17 World Championships in Hamburg. You were the second top scorer of the tournament averaging 19,0ppg. What players do you remember form that tournament that now belong to the best in the world?
I remember everything like it was yesterday. All games we played and of course the final against USA. I remember all them big players who are now playing in NBA or in Euroleague. Too many to count them but that was a great tournament with a lot of talented players.

You face Germany on Saturday whom you lost to the last two seasons. NBA players Dennis Schroeder and Daniel Thesis will join the team for the Super Cup. How confident are you that Poland will be able to win this game considering Poland has had the core of it´s team together longer?
I think the German team is always well prepared and well organized. I know Dennis and Daniel and I know how big of an impact they can have on the team. So I think Germany will be very strong especially playing at home. We are ready to play against everybody and hungry to compete with the best teams.

How have you followed the development of German basketball in the last year. Dennis Schroeder continues to get better, Paul Zipser made it to the Chicago Bulls, Daniel Thesis was signed by the Boston Celtics and Isaiah Hartenstein was drafted by the Houston Rockets. Germany was also fifth at the U-19 World Championships. Is it just a momentary run or do you see German basketball continuing to develop better?
Germany have a great basketball system and they take care of their youth players. Taking care of the development of young players is very important and this has to bring some progress. As you see – more and more players from Germany are going to the NBA and young players are always high in standings of youth competition. With that good system German basketball is developing.

Poland is in a tough Group A with France, Greece, Slovenia, Finland and Iceland. This will be a real battle for the fourth and final spot. What will be vital for Poalnd to do on the court to help them advance?
We have to play as a team and compete against every team on 100% of our abilities. Its a hard group but we are not without chances to advance. We will do our best to make some surprises and win games we have to win.

How vital will the consistency and good play of AJ Slaughter be for the success of Poland? How is your relationship to him. Do you ever give him advice or do you see him having a big Euro 2017?
AJ adapted really well to our team and our system. He is very important player for us and we count on his good performances at Eurobasket. I think you don´t need to give him any advice as he is anexperienced player, he played in many good clubs around Europe and he excatly knows what to do to play good.
Poland has a lot of veteran players on the team this summer, but not as many young players. What is the state of Polish basketball concerning it´s youth. What young players on the team do you see making the next step in the next years?
Ok I see you don´t consider me as a young player anymore. I think experience is very important on  a tournament like Eurobasket. We have some young players who will be very helpful in the next few years. Right now is 4 players from the 93 generation in the team and we are looking forward for some youngsters to come and join us when they will be ready.

What has been your impression of young guard Andy Maturczak that played in the NCAA and last season as a rookie in Greece and this season will play in Germany with Chemnitz. He probably won´t make the 2017 Euro 2017 roster, but how bright is his future and what do you like most about his game?

I think he is a very smart player. He got feeling for basketball especially as a point guard. Also he is very cool and focused on basketball. I think he can really help us at some point and he will play good in the German league. Every year he will be better and I wish him all the best for his career.

In our last interview you stated that Tomasz Gielo has the potential to make the next step. Last summer Aaron Cel wasn´t on the team, but is back this summer. Do you see the hard head to head competition making Gielo even stronger these weeks leading up to the Euro 2017?
For sure its great chance for him to improve. He is around good, experienced players and no matter how long he will play this situation is perfect for him to develop.

Last summer you said this about Polish national team coach Mike Taylor “. He is a big time professional and his attitude and approach is awesome. He gives me this positive motivation to work every day. Great coach and great person”. After another year of seeing more basketball and having more experiences, how has coach developed further in the last year that you have seen the last weeks?

I know him for last 4 years and I know how hard he is working to prepare us to the Eurobasket. He is everything I said last year plus one more year of experience. I really like playing for him and probably not only me. He refreshed our national team, brought positive energy and taught us how to become the best versions of ourselves.

Let´s talk about your game in the Polish national team. Last summer I asked you what your role would be and you stated “I am trying to be as versatile as its possible because then I can fit to every basketball system. Mike knows me very well and he knows that whatever he will need me to do he will get it. I am working very hard to be an all around player and national team is a great place for me to develop those skills”. You averaged 15,3ppg at Euro 2016. How will head coach Mike Taylor want to use you this summer best so Poland has the most success?
Similar to last year. I will try to do everything its need to be done to win the games. Simple as that.


A quote that I have kept in my head in the last year was this. “You can be able to know how to score 30 points in the game but it is not the same if you don´t know how to win the game”. You definitely know how to win having won titles in Belgium and in Poland. Do you feel like you can transform your winning genes to your teammates this summer?
I think we have good potential and many players who won something during their careers so probably it´s not going be needed that much. I won 2 championships in Belgium and 2 in Poland but you can´t compere it to playing at Eurobasket its different competition and its much harder to win something out there.

Last season you had a very solid season with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BS) playing: 27 games averaging 13.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-4(1.7spg), FGP: 60.3%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 70.8%; In the BCL you played 19 games averaging 10.8ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.5%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 70.7%. You were a Turkish allstar, reached the Champions League quarterfinals and Turkish cup semi final. You weren´t the go to guy like the year before, but a guy among many that had a significant role. How did your game prosper most last season that will help you make the next step this season with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga)?
I learned a lot last season. As you pointed out my role was different and I tried to help my team in different ways. Like I said last year I am trying to adapt to every system you put me into so also in the Karisyaka system I found my role and tried to be the best at this particular role. I hope every next season will prepare me better for playing a solid role in the best teams in Europe. This is my goal for next years – to get ready for being an important player in a Euroleague team rotation. And Iberostar Tenerife is a great environment for me to do it.

What kind of a feeling is it for you going to Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga) who won the 2017 Basketball Champions League? Here it will be similar to last season in Turkey where there will be many talented players that can score. What part of your game do you feel will translate best to the style of the Endesa league?
I have never played in Spanish league before but it was always my dream. So now I am ready for every next challenge. I am really looking forward to start competing at this level. I know we have many good players in the team but I also have my experiences and I will try to use them as well. I hope this will be a great season for all the team not only me and that we can do something special.

You continue to develop as a player and after playing in Poland, Belgium and Turkey, you have reached the biggest league in Europe Endesa in Spain at age 23. Do you feel any pressure possibly in a few years having to be the guy that will take the torch from guys like Marcin Gortat and Maciej Lampe and be the guy keeping Polish basketball move forward?

I don´t feel any pressure. Pressure comes when you are not ready for the challenge. And I will be working hard every day to be ready and accept all those challenges life will put in front of me. Success with the Polish national team is very important to me and I take it personally. I want to do something special with this group of people. That´s why we are working so hard every day.

You recently played against New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis. He has had a very good NBA career so far. Do you see him becoming the next best European in the NBA after a Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol or is a guy like Nikola Jokic on a better way?
Definitely Kristaps is franchise player. He showed many times his talent and ability to play on the highest level for many years. I believe he can achieve a lot in his career when he will be healthy and that´s my wish for him.

What was the last movie that you saw?
I rarely watch movies I prefer reading books.

 

Thanks Mateusz for the chat.

Ricky Hickman (Brose Bamberg) I Feel Like I Still Have A Lot To Prove

Ricky Hickman is a 31 year old 190 cm guard from Kernersville North Carolina that is going into his 11th professional season and second in Germany and first with Brose Bamberg. He played his college basketball career at North Carolina-Greensboro from 2003-2007. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 14.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 36.5%, 3Pts: 27.8%, FT: 70.9%. In 2007-2008, he played in Romania for CS Otopeni Bucuresti playing 11 games and averaging 19.0ppg, 4.2rpg, 4.3apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 29.8%, FT: 70.8%. In 2008-2009, he played in Germany for LTi Giessen 46ers playing 24 games and averaging 6.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 65.7%. In the 2009-2010 season he played for Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 38 games leading the league in scoring at 23.7ppg), 5.4rpg, Assists-2(3.8apg), Steals-3(2.4spg), FGP-3(62.8%), 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 73.2. In the 2010-2011 season he moved to Fastweb Junior Casale Monferrato (Italy-Lega2) playing 41 games averaging 17.5ppg, 2.8rpg, Assists-4(4.0apg), 2.0spg, FGP: 55.5%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 84.3%. In the 2011-2012 season he moved another step up joining Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro (Italy-SerieA) playing 41 games averaging 16.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.9apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 81.1%. He then played at Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League) from 2013-3024 winning the Euroleague in his second season where he played 38 games averaging 10.7ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 82.7%; He also played 38 Euroleague games averaging 12.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 75.2%. He then played two seasons at Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-TBL) and in his second season played 10 games averaging 5.1ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 74.1%;He also played 20 Euroleague games averaging 4.6ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.3apg. Last season he played for EA7 Emporio Armani Milano (Italy-Serie A) playing 34 games averaging 10.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 71.4%. He also played 20 Euroleague games averaging 10.1ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 41.9%, 3PT: 34.9%, FT: 80.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

Thanks Ricky for talking to German Hoops and welcome back to Germany. So many great players and character guys come from North Carolina like you, Chris Oliver and Kyle Hines just to name a few. Is there really something special in the North Carolina air that has given the basketball world so many great players and basketball people?

North Carolina is just a basketball state and so many guys just eat, sleep, and play basketball all day. I believe that guys in North Carolina just have such a strong love for the game and I believe it shows if you watch them play

I remember when you played with Giessen. You played 24 games averaging 6.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 65.7%. You lost twice to your future team Bamberg losing by an average 19 points and you scored a total of 3 points in 32 minutes. When you look back at the last nine years, were you just a slow starter as a professional and needed more time to mature and develop as a player

When I was in Giessen I was coming into a situation with a new team in the middle of the year and I was still young trying to find myself and I definitely remember playing against Bamberg and just thinking after we got smacked that it was another level I had to get to if i wanted to be at that level. So I worked and here I am.

 

The next season you went to Finland to play for Namika Lahti (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 38 games: Score-1(23.7ppg), 5.4rpg, Assists-2(3.8apg), Steals-3(2.4spg), FGP-3(62.8%), 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 73.2%. This was the turning point of your career as after this you got signed by Italian teams but even there in your first season had to play in the second division and after that became a Euroleague player. What was it in your season in Finland that really shaped your game and did the mental part of the game also play a role?

In Finland it was the first time at the pro level were a coach told me play your game don’t look at me on the sidelines and I trust you! This feeling was unbelievable and I took full advantage of the trust and the freedom. Maybe too much but I loved just playing like that and it showed throughout the season

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Jaleen Smith(MLP Academics Heidelberg) I Will Bring My Scoring Ability From All Levels On The Floor

Jaleen Smith is a 22 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that will be starting his rookie season in Germany with the  MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA). He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

 

 

 

Thanks Jaleen for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?

 Freeport, Texas and my summer has been good I’ve been working on different parts of my game all summer and I’ve been doing an internship with the Boys and Girls Club in Freeport.

Congrats on signing with German Pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg. How did you experience your first signing summer? Did you have more offers than what you expected? You played in the NCAA, but in a lower conference.

 It was an exciting experience my agent called me telling about the team and how they offered me right on the spot so I took it right away. I had another offer from a team in Germany Pro A as well but I felt comfortable with this offer more.

You stated that you can´t wait to test the German food. Have you heard of Wiener Schnitzel and Pommes? Translated Veal with French Fries. Would that wet your appetite?

 I haven’t heard of that but it sounds good. I would love to try it though

You did something that doesn´t always happen as you improved your scoring, rebounding and assist average each season at New Hampshire (NCAA). When did you know 100% that you could actually become a professional basketball player?

After my Junior Year, my coach came up to me in a meeting and was telling me that I can play professional so that’s when I knew I could play pro.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Do you have any friends playing in Germany?

 I know its one of the top basketball leagues in the world and I know this guy that played at a rival school in college and well play his team the first game of the year.

You will be playing your rookie season in Heidelberg which is a university town and a huge tourist attraction. What are you looking forward most to in your rookie season?

 To see the difference between Europe and the United States and learn about the German culture.

What was the deciding factor that made you want to sign with the MLP Academics Heidelberg? Did you talk to head coach Branislav Ignjatovic?

 The opportunity to showcase my skills with basically a whole new team playing this coming season. I have talked to the coach and he is a really nice guy and loves the city of Heidelberg.

Let´s talk a bit about your game. You’re a scoring guard that can fill up the stat sheet. What do you feel will help the MLP Academics most from your game?

My scoring ability from all levels of the floor and my leadership can help as well.

To what NBA player would you compare your game too? Your favorite athlete is Paul George, but why isn´t your favorite player a guard like you?

 I Just like his game he is one of the best 2 way players in the league.

You’re a guard that improved your stats each season. What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t always get noticed in your game right away?

 I’m a gym rat so I know there is always some to improve on with my game but now I’m trying to master it.

You did play in a weaker conference, but held your own in loses against Uconn and Boston College in your second and third years. Explain why the AEC is a conference stronger than what people may see from the names of the schools?

 It’s a really competitive league I enjoyed every single minute of it.

You scored 14 points in your last game at New Hampshire losing 74-41 against Vermont How disappointed were you to go out like that?

 I was really disappointed in how we lost because I know we are a better team than what the score indicated.

You reached the AEC semi-finals your last three years. What do you feel was missing from winning a title?

I feel like we were just missing that toughness about us. We were talented but I feel like we weren’t mental tough in those semifinal games.

How did head coach Bill Herrion groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

He was really like a mentor to me. My freshman year really opened my eyes on how to grind for playing time. He has really helped me a lot through the process.

What kind of relationship did you and Texas native Daniel Dion have as teammates and how did you grow as players?

 We were close friends and we grew physically as players and smarter too from our freshman year.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Daniel Dion?

 I did.

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 work from 9-5 and after I workout for 2 hours on different things for my shooting because that’s the most improvement I need to make in my game.

If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?

 Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaq, and Lebron James.

Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and has three to Michael Jordan´s six. 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?

 Number 2 all time

There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?

Yea I feel like he should hold his own on defense.

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?

 I liked the draft I wish I would’ve got drafted but overall it was good haha. I didn’t even watch the draft to even know.

What will the Houston Rockets be capable of doing this season with the guard duo of Chris Paul and James Harden?

I think they can co-exist but not right away. They both just too ball dominate right now.

What was the last movie that you saw?

 Transformers: The Last Knight.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat.

 

Elijah Allen´s Goal This Season Is To Prove That He Isn´t In His Prime Yet And Feels There Is Always Room To Grow

Elijah Allen is a 27 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his first season with Gotha in the Pro A averaging 5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played the last two seasons for Lich and last season played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.2% He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

 

 

 

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

 

Thanks for the interview. I am currently home in Lollar, Germany. My summer has been great. I have been training hard, Watching a lot of game film and spending time with the family. 

 

After reaching the EasyCredit BBL with Gotha, you and the team took a trip to Mallorca. How was that trip and what interesting story do you have from this experience with your teammates? 

 

The trip to Mallorca was great. It was nice to have some off time to enjoy with the guys. I don’t have anything really interesting to tell from the trip. It was just a great time and a moment that I will not forget. 

 

I just read an interesting article about your career in the Maryville Daily Forum and the first line said “You wouldn´t even recognize”. At first I thought you meant your looks, but you meant your game. I looked at the college pic in the article and thought wow “he has really held his own in the aging department. Sometimes all the game stress, family life put a toll on you, but nothing has affected you. What is your secret? 

 

 

Haha I wouldn’t say that. I have a few gray hairs now. I appreciate the compliment tho! 

This is our seventh interview that we have done since November 2014. It is actually surprising that we hadn´t done one already years earlier. Anyway time really flies and our first interview seems like ages ago. Do you feel like time has flown even quicker by the last three years compared to your first two seasons in the German Regionaliga? 

 

To me I don’t feel it went by so fast. Spending two years in Regionaliga and two in the Pro B while working on the side felt very long to me. It was a lot of work and stress. That is why having a successful season with the club moving up was a bittersweet feeling. 

 

You stated in our last interview in May concerning the new season” I have no clue what the next step will be. I’m just thankful to be able to play the game I love. I will speak with my Agent over the next few weeks. I feel I can contribute and help a club with the right situation”. That was more than two months ago. Apparently you have had offers from the BBL and Pro A. Have you gone a different strategy this summer concerning your basketball future?  

 

My main focus is finding the right situation for my career and family. The key for me is to be patient and trust my agent. I am confident that I will get signed soon. 

 

August is around the corner and teams are slowly getting filled. What is the present status of your search. I am sure Gerrit at Scorer´s First is doing all he can to place you in a good situation. 

 

I have learned over the years that sometimes good things take time. I trust my agents judgement. In meantime I will keep working hard and stay ready. 

Lich is history, but BBL team Giessen 46ers now will have a second team in the Pro B. Wouldn´t this as an ex Giessen Pointer be a perfect situation to go back to your second home and be near that BBL atmosphere and practice with the team and give the kids on the Pro B team experience and mentorship? 

 

It’s unfortunate that Lich is not there anymore but I think it’s great for the youth of Giessen that there is a team in Pro B in the area.  

 

Any guy that helps a team move up to the EasyCredit BBL must be disappointed not to stay there. Did you get a response from Wolfgang Heyder of Ivan Pavic as to why they were planning without you? 

 

At the end of the day it is a business. I wish the club and fans nothing but success going forward.  

 

Does the fact that there is interest from BBL teams help erase the trust that Gotha must not have continued to have with you helping them in the BBL? 

 

I have nothing against Gotha. I had a good time there. I am thankful for the opportunities I had there. 

You must still follow what Gotha is doing with player personal. How have you seen their off season work. Do you feel like they will be able to survive in the EasyCredit BBL? 

 

Gotha is a ambitious club. They signed young players that are hungry to prove themselves. Along with that the veterans Mitchell, Watts and Ohle have worked hard this past off-season. I think they will do just fine this year. 

 

You will be turning 28 in September. You have seen much in your basketball career, but where do you currently see you in your development? Are you nearing your prime or are you there or  will be there in 2-3 years? 

 

I have grown a lot on and off the court and feel I have so much to prove still. Statistically I think I am better than what I showcased last season in Pro A. This upcoming season my goal is to prove that. I am not in my prime yet and feel there is always room to grow. 

 

 

In that nice article you stated that you expanded your game in Europe and are a much better defender. How do you feel you would be as a player today had you not gone through your European transformation? 

 

I don’t think I would have a career in Europe if I didn’t get better.  

You stated in the last interview also “Knowing your role and picking when to make plays was a challenge this season. Making the most out of your role is essential to team success. I’m very hungry and determined to prove that I can play on a high level night in and night out”. What else would you need to show at the BBL level? 

 

I feel I have the tools to help any team. It’s just about putting it all together and making the most of opportunity that is given. 

 

You stated in our last interview in May concerning how you have become a better offensive player with Gotha “The main thing that I have learned is spacing. Having good spacing makes the game so much easier. This summer I will spend time watching film and looking for ways to improve”. On what things have you been working on the last two months to make your game even better? 

 

This summer I have focused on attacking the basket and working as a ball handler in pick and roles. I showed that I shoot the ball. Now I want to show that I can do a lot more. 

 

How does your summer work out schedule look like? With 2 kids now, are you still working as hard grinding like you did four years ago without kids or even toning it down a bit with age? 

 

Weights and stretching everyday at 8am and at 9pm at night time I am in the gym conditioning and shooting. I have toned down a bit on running long distances. This schedule gives me enough off time to spend with the family while staying in shape. 

I had no idea that you played in Ireland as a rookie. When you look back at that time what was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were  far away from home? 

 

Ireland was a great experience. I think the food and lifestyle was the biggest difference. It took some time to get used to things. 

 

 

 

How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA? 

 

Very strong draft class. I think Luke Kennard will surprise some people in Detroit. He has the complete package. 

 

Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing? 

 

I wasn’t a fan of the Chris Paul trade. Harden and Paul are both players that need the ball a lot in there hands. I don’t see it fitting well. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

 

War for the planet of the Apes  

 

Thanks Elijah for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Hollins (Giessen46ers) I Inherited My Work Ethic From My Father

Austin Hollins is a 25 year old 195cm guard from Tennessee that is the son of ex NBA player Lionel Hollins and will be entering his fourth professional season and first with the Giessen 46ers. He started his basketball career at  Minnesota (NCAA) in 2010 where he played until 2014 playing a total of 136 NCAA games. As a senior he played 38 games averaging 12.4ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.4apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 77.1%. He started his professional basketball career in 2014 with Denain ASC Voltaire (France-ProB) playing 35 games averaging 8.5ppg, 1.7rpg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 40.3%, FT: 76.9%. In the summer of 2015 he played  NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Brooklyn Nets): 3 games: 2.0ppg and Las Vegas (Brooklyn Nets): 6 games: 7.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 42.9%. In the 2015-2016 season he remained with Denain ASC Voltaire (France-ProB) playing 34 games averaging 12.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 76.6%. Last season he played with Karhu Kauhajoki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 47 games averaging 17.2ppg), 4.7rpg, 2.6apg, Steals-3(1.8spg), FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about Basketball.

Austin thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how is your summer coming along?

I am in Memphis, Tennessee right now which is my hometown. My summer is coming along well. I have been enjoying my time off as well as working out and trying to get better.

Congrats on signing with the German team Giessen 46ers. After a stellar season in Finland, were you swamped with offers or did you pretty much take one of the first offers that came with Giessen?

There was some interest from some teams and some offers and I could’ve waited a little longer to see if more teams would come along. But, I felt this was the best fit for me. It felt right so I ran with it.

What do you know in general about German basketball and the country? Some of your former teammates at Minnesota like Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins have played in Germany. Did you get some feedback from them?

I don’t know a ton about German basketball but I know that it is a very good league and a high level of competition. 2 of the 3 guys mentioned had short stints in Germany but I’ve gotten positive feedback from all of them about their experiences and I’m excited for the upcoming season.

You will be joining a very ambitious club with Giessen that are rich in tradition, but haven’t won  a league title since the 70´s. they also have a new head coach with Ingo Freyer who likes to play run and gun and where giving up 100 points isn´t a rarity. Do you see yourself being the defensive enforcer this season?

I’m excited for what Gießen is building and I’m glad to be a part of it. I love to play defense so I will try my best to help the team in that area.

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David Taylor (Gotha) I Know I Will Have To Prove Myself

David Taylor is a 22 year old 190cm guard that was born in Bayreuth and grew up in Eckersdorf, Germany. He started his basketball career with the BBC Bayreuth 2 (2.Regionalliga) team in 2009. He then played two seasons with the  Nuernberger Basketball Club from 2010-2012 getting his first taste of pro B ball at age 15 and pro A ball at age 16. He then moved to TSV Troester Breitenguessbach (ProB) in 2013 where he played 16 games averaging 6.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 73.7%, played also at Troester Cybex Breitenguessbach U19 team (NBBL). He moved to the United States in 2013 to Pacific(NCAA) where he played until 2017 playing a total of 104 NCAA games. His most productive season was his second where he played  31 games averaging 7.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 40.9%, 3PT: 35.9%, FT: 80.6%. he spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

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

I am still in Stockton California right now working on my individual skill work and body. It’s been a productive summer so far getting my body ready for this up coming season.

Your last NCAA game was on Feb 25th and you got signed on June 13th by BBL team Gotha. You had a lot of time from then until now. How was the whole transfer period for you? Was going to a BBL team one of your big goals?

After the NCAA season I talked to a lot of people who wanted to help me in the process of finding the right opportunity for me. It took a while because I wanted to make sure it was the right option for me and I found a good fit with Gotha. Yes playing in the BBL was always a goal of mine. Now that I am part of a first league team I will work even harder to help my team succeed.

How important was it that a Wolfgang Heyder is with Gotha and the team is going in a very youth direction wanting to develop German talent?

I think it is great that Wolfgang is a part of the team. I have known him for a long time now and he is one of the people I respect a lot.

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Dee Davis (Giessen 46ers) I Believe I Can Adjust To Whatever Style Of Play But I Enjoy Getting Up And Down The Court

Dee Davis is a 23 year old 183cm point guard from Bloomington, Indiana playing his third professional season and first in Germany with The Giessen 46ers. He played as a rookie with Rogaska Crystal (Slovenia-Telemach League) playing 18 games averaging 13.2ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 76.9%. Last season he remained with  Rogaska Crystal (Slovenia-Liga NovaKBM playing 35 games: Score-3(16.3ppg), 2.9rpg, Assists-4(5.0apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 75.6%. He played at Xavier and as a senior played 35 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.5rpg, 6.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 70.4%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.

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

Hello at the moment I am home spending time with my family and friends in Bloomington Indiana when I’m from. Having a good start to my summer.

Congrats on signing with German EasyCredit BBL team Giessen 46ers. What do you know in general about the German basketball and it´s country?

I’ve heard that the German league is very competitive and is has regarded as one of the better leagues in the world to play professionally basketball. I’m very excited for the this opportunity.

After two strong seasons in Slovenia, you have made the next step to the higher league EasyCredit BBL. What were your main reasons for signing with Giessen?

It was a good opportunity to further my pro career in a respected league. Also it’s less stress throughout the summer worried about what team I’m going too

Did you have any talks with new head coach Ingo Freyer? What kind of impression did you get of him?

I haven´t had a chance to talk to him yet.

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