AJ English Is Back Watching The Fraport Skyliners Offensive Versatility Destroy The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven 95-69

From the shooting stats last weekend in Gotha that Philip Scrubb produced one could have thought on paper that it could have been a Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or even Larry Bird transported back to the court that had somehow been secretly been flown to the former Eastern Germany city and had worn a special Scrubb mask, but in reality it was really Scrubb. For many in North America he has been classified as the best Canadian college player of all-time and is on the verge of becoming the best Canadian to ever play in the EasyCredit BBL. Ok it was only one game, but the Canadian has been a sniper/scorer his whole life and making points on an regular basis and making it look easy like those superstars from the NBA has been a regular occurrence this season as he is flirting with winning the scoring title in Germany´s highest league.


Philip Scrubb carries Frankfurt’s offense this season and currently averages 18,7 points per game. 

Not only is this season fun again for players like Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and Scrubb who won a Fiba Europe Cup title in 2016 and reached the BBL semi-finals two seasons ago as last season was one to forget as the club missed the playoffs and all in all it was a very boring season except for seeing some AJ English shooting clinics and getting jealous whenever ex players like Jordan Theodore or Aaron Doornekamp were celebrating new titles. Not only is winning enjoyable, but since the 34 point Scrubb onslaught something else is exciting to watch each day with the Fraport Skyliners. Over the years, it was always fun to witness for how many points and assists a Dashaun Wood would go for the Fraport Skyliners in the 2010-2011 season as he won the MVP and also to see how many assists Jared “Mr pass” Jordan would hit you with with teams the Telekom Baskets Bonn and the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Now in Frankfurt, there is the Philip Scrubb watch and just how many points he will score on the next night as he is on course to possibly follow Dashaun Wood as the next league MVP. After the Gotha romp, the Fraport Skyliners and Scrubb returned home and had to face the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven who haven´t invented defense this season as they have given up 82 points on average which is 12th in the league, but they had brought some momentum after a much needed win against Tuebingen, but they had no chance against the Fraport Skyliner´s offensive versatility getting destroyed 95-69. For most scoring 19 points would mean having a good night at the office, but for Philip Scrubb who was scoreless in the third quarter, it was a solid, but not spectacular night. After the win the Canadian had to escape a horde of photo hungry girls and one could see he would rather have been attacked by a shooting machine, but as always he shrugged off his success and was modest even if the Scrubb watch produced a smile. “We didn´t need my points, because other guys were playing well and hitting shots. For me it´s not a big deal how much I score. After that Gotha game people may expect me to do that every game and have a Scrubb watch, but that won´t always happen. I will take shots if I get them”, stressed Phiip Scrubb.



The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven Continue To Swim In Mediocracy With Or Without NBA Bodies

The Last time the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were playing in mid May in the BBL playoffs, a Dennis Schroeder was only a household name on Braunschweig´s playgrounds, Jogi Low and Germany were getting ready for the World Cup in South Africa, BBL identity figures Quantez Robertson was a rookie and Rickey Paulding was only in his third season with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg  and Barack Obama was in the midst of his first term as President. It was the summer of 2010, the basketball world in Bremerhaven was in full force and everything was rosy. For those Bremerhaven fans that didn´t have time or money to enjoy a feast at Natusch and rap about Bremerhaven basketball, then getting that quick fish trip at the local Nordsee restaurant was always an option to philosophy about how easy a Lou Campbell could set up Jeff Gibbs for an easy bucket was something that was the norm in those days. Bremerhaven and head coach Doug Spradley was a few plays and breaks away from reaching the final, but the Fraport Skyliners won game 5 and went on to lose to Bamberg in five games. After entering the BBL in 2005, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven reached the playoffs in four of five seasons, but since 2010 have never reached the playoffs again. Every season not only Bremerhaven fans, but possibly a few more in the league are hoping and wishing that this might be the season where the club finally catches a few breaks with their player personal and run off a string of winning streaks and big wins to get back to the playoffs. However since 2010, the club has finished in ninth place once, and in 11th, 12th and 15th place twice. It didn´t really matter who was coach in the last eight years with Doug Spradley, Calvin Oldham, Muli Katzurin or now Sebastian Machowski, none could bring back the success that Sarunas Sakalaukas had. People really wondered from season to season how such talented and seemingly deep rosters couldn´t make the playoffs. A player is only as good as their character and for some reason, the club was unable to bring in exactly the right mix of players that could help the team make the promised land. Even with future BBL legend Derrick Allen on board for a season who knowingly has a top character and work ethic like no other, the club couldn´t make the best of it. Over the years the club has always brought in a lot of talent and players like Darius Adams and Kyle Fogg that would make the next step to better leagues, but the chemistry within the team just didn´t function properly. Even bringing in ex NBA players like Deandre Liggins and Tyrus Thomas were unable to bring any extra magic and infect their teammates as success remained invisible. Thomas retired after his Bremerhaven flop while Deandre Liggins returned back to the NBA and probably will never be reminded again about Bremerhaven. The club has maybe lacked the scouting expert like a Brendan Rooney who for years always brought the right players to Bamberg. A real true identity and chemistry has been missing from the playoff teams from 8 years ago. The team has lacked heart and have been clearly underachieving for years. With the dismissal of Jan Rathjen who was responsible for the success from 2005-2010, he lost his magic in the last years and now it´s Arne Woltmann turn who has the job. However nothing has changed as the team is in 17th place and under achieving again. When will it finally be fun again to go to Nordsee and talk about the exciting win from the night before?

Last season the club finished in 12th place mainly due to a lightening finish finishing 6-3. They played their best basketball of the season and were close to beating Bamberg losing 85-84 and Ludwigsburg losing 81-78.


Various Greatest Labels Continue To Accompany Philip Scrubb Down His Path To Stardom


 -30- Philip Scrubb / FRAPORT SKYLINERS (blue) / -41- Geoffrey Groselle / EISBÄREN BREMERHAVEN (white)

Its approximately 3.20 pm in the afternoon on a cool Saturday afternoon and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have just completed the first quarter and are behind 25-14 against the ScanPlus Baskets and hadn´t found a remedy on how to stop Hayden Lescault until that moment as he had scored 10 points and later would win the game with a buzzer beater and the crowd is sparse for a Pro B game which is the third German basketball league. However there is one spectator sitting up in the stands by himself enjoying some take out chicken and looking very sporty in his attire. The young man explains to me that The ScanPlus Baskets are a very tough and physical team and have a lot of experience. You could see that Frankfurt was missing a big man and it was tough to match up. This wasn´t some dad of a player, coach or basketball writer sprouting his expertise knowledge of the game, but Philip Scrubb professional basketball player of the Fraport Skyliners. When he left his mark at Carleton(CIS) winning 8 titles, for some he became known as the greatest Canadian college player of all-time. On a free afternoon before the highly anticipated Sunday battle in Bamberg against top team Brose Bamberg most of Scrubb´s teammates are elsewhere and trying to free their mind before getting mentally focused for the Bamberg duel. A guy like Quantez Robertson was probably spending time with his cute kids, a Mike Morrison was possibly doing a play afternoon with his son and Tai Webster might have been skyping with his family back home in New Zealand. Having the label of being the greatest Canadian college player of all-time may not have the same clout as being the greatest Canadian basketball player of all-time which Steve Nash pretty much has racked up, but definitely an honor that he appreciates. If a Steve Nash, Andrew Bennett or Andrew Wiggins were sitting in Scrubb´s place in the stands fans surely would recognize them, but with Scrubb he looks like that normal Joe Schmo in appearance, but when he is on the court it´s a totally different story as he becomes that amazing player with phenomenal shooting abilites, but also overall excellent offensive skills and a basketball IQ that any player would die for. So what is the greatest Canadian college player of all-time doing at a minor league basketball setting? Most professional basketball players wouldn´t waste their time taking in a game like that even though his teammates Quantez Robertson and Mike Morrison are often there as well, but for Scrubb being a faithful spectator watching his team´s farm team is as normal as practicing free throws every day. “ I just like watching basketball and I think that it is important to support the guys. I´m living on my own so usually I don´t have anything else to do”, stressed Philip Scrubb. In his rookie season when asked about that greatest Canadian college player of all-time he responded very truthfully “There have been many great players from Canada. I played at the best program and for the best coach. There was much handed to me. Winning improves the way people look at you. I was lucky to be on winning teams. The media helps people remember this”, stressed Phiip Scrubb. His character really stands out and get´s lauded everywhere he goes. “He is quiet and humble and never talks about his self. He works hard, listens and always wants to help the team first”, stressed Valencia forward Aaron Doornekamp. Even if he missed his entire second season with a knee injury, the Canadian from Vancouver is back fresher than ever and on route with winning another greatest label if he continues his stellar play in Germany in the EasyCredit BBL.


Ekene Ibekwe(Oettinger Rockets) Has Mastered Ups And Downs Like No Other






Even if the EasyCredit BBL season has been one to forget for the Oettinger Rockets, there most likely have been times when Ekene Ibekwe made the trouble times just a tad easier being able to sprout some of his worldly basketball experiences with his teammates in the quaint city of 46,000 persons. Ebekwe is a 32 year old 207 center that is playing his 11th season and his basketball resume looks like a fine delicate mess simply with all the places he has discovered and played at in his stellar career. In his 11 year career he has played in 11 countries and laced up his sneakers for 19 different clubs. In Germany he has worn the jersey of five clubs with Artland, Bayreuth, Giessen, Frankfurt and currently with the Oettinger Rockets and last season for the first time played with four teams experiencing highs and lows like no other which has been transported into this season. With so many stations and teams, one can debate if he was even around enough to win titles, but he has racked up his titles over the years starting before he was a professional with Maryland(NCAA) winning the tough ACC tournament in 2004 and collected a Bronze medal at the 2005 African championships. As a professional he has done most damage in France winning the Pro B title in 2008 as a rookie with Besancon Basket Comte Doubs and was Pro A champion last season with Chalon. He also won the 2015 NBL title in Australia with the New Zealand Breakers and has had no problems living the nomadic basketball life. “I just will go there where a team wants me and where I fit in best”, warned Ekene Ibekwe. The Nigerian/American who has played with the Nigerian national team for ages also had very fond memories balling for the African Nation playing at the 2006 World championships and losing to Germany on a Dirk Nowitzki buzzer beater and priceless memories of taking part at the 2012 Olympics in London and 2016 Olympics in Rio where he led the tournament in blocks. His exciting basketball career just continues as he keeps chugging along past the ripe age of 30 as last season he encountered a period of ups and downs that has carried over into this season. Last season he played a total of 55 games in 6 competitions in four countries Czech Republic, Germany, Turkey and France. Even if he moved around as much a Russell Westbrook seemingly does on the court in each game his season ended with a happy experience e. He began in the Czech Republic playing seven games, but the club had a stacked roster and he quickly found himself with the Fraport Skyliners where he played very well averaging .9,3ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 65.6%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 90.0% in the Basketball Champions League and in the  German BBL 7.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 2FGP: 56.3%, 3FGP: 35.3%, FT: 69.2%. However in Frankfurt he also got lost in the shuffle and then had a very short stay in Turkey with Muratbey Usak Sportlif Basketbol where he didn´t get the desired minutes averaging  5.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.5bpg, 2FGP: 50.9%, FT: 52.8% in the Turkish BSL. With spring time having arrived, he was ready to pack up and go home to Los Angeles for the summer, but instead the big man that can hurt you from outside on any given night landed in France with Chalon as they needed an experienced player in their stretch run and playoff hopes. With Chalon he played 15 games averaging 5.2ppg, 3.2rpg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 70.6%. He averaged 15 minutes per game, but was an important player from the bench giving energy on both ends of the floor. He witnessed two very exciting playoffs series beating Paris in four games and overcoming Strasburg in five games to win the Pro A title as he powered 7 points in game five. Even if he could entertain a crowded Lantica Trattoria restaurant in Gotha with his basketball experience and wisdom for an evening, just reliving what had happened last season would have lasted a whole night into the wee hours of the morning. He finished off last season with a high and this season is currently encountering a low as he and the Oettinger Rockets are near the end of the EasyCredit BBL standings in 16th place as their biggest misfortune has been seemingly unending injuries. Despite the hardships, he is holding his own averaging 13,6ppg, 7,1rpg, 1,0spg and 2,4bpg while shooting 44,4% from outside and leading the league in blocks. He hasn´t lost his touch and is just as good as a player as when he was 25 or 26 years old. He has done the best he could and continues to prove that he can fit in anyway and takes losing like a professional. He may not win a title this year, but just being able to produce a wonder and somehow keep the Oettinger Rockets in the EasyCredit BBL for another season will be like winning a title.

The goals and expectations with the Oettinger Rockets have been huge for years as their rise from Regionalliga also has been huge. In 2009, they were still playing in the Regionalliga until they moved up to the Pro B in 2010 and in only two short seasons won the Pro B crown in 2012 and moved to the Pro A. They reached the Pro A playoffs in their second season and in their sixth season got to the EasyCredit BBL. A lot of the success and growth of the club had to do with the successful management of Wolgang Heyder who had been successful in Bamberg and had a new vision with Gotha. Also the coaching duo of Chris Ensminger and Steve Esterkamp was key, but they were unable to fullend their goal of the BBL as they were dismissed last season in a down period last where they weren´t winning and in a way were unjustly left out in the cold to freeze losing their jobs. Gotha finished the season with Ivan Pavic. They gave their fans an unforgettable playoff run beating Crailsheim in four and then doing the unexpected somehow overcoming Chemnitz winning three do or die games in a row as they had been down 2-0 early and won the last three games by a combined total of not more than 11 points.

            The Oettinger Rockets came into their inaugural BBL season going with a very risky plan by Wolfgang Heyder where he put a big focus on developing Germans, but as the summer wore on less and less imports were signed which got many to think how this club would survive a BBL season and not return back to the Pro A. A big problem is that the club brought in unproven Germans like Johannes Richter(7,0ppg, 4,0rpg) and Andreas Obst(11,3ppg, 2,4rpg, 1,3apg 49% from outside), but were very hungry to develop further and prove to their ex clubs that they have the talent to become very good BBL players. Both have had a good start and their confidence will carry them to good seasons. Robert Oehle(4,3ppg, 2,4rpg) is an experienced BBL player, but a player that would need to take a lot more responsibility here then he would anywhere else and putting up consistent solid stats with Gotha is rather unrealistic. The ex Bamberg players Daniel Schmidt(6,3ppg, 1,1rpg, 3,5apg) and Dino Dizdarevic(4,4ppg, 1,4rpg) are talented guys yearning for a chance and getting it, but also unproven that also need to take responsibility. All have shown flashes this season, but being consistent is a goal that is seemingly impossible for these players to be able to accomplish. On top of needing production from their Germans, Gotha has been hit with a massive injury bug as planned key players Dane Watts and Sava Lesic were lost to injuries putting a dent into their team chemistry. It also didn´t help the club that main club sponsor decided to turn off the clash flow fountain. The club has some talented Imports. Ekene Ibekwe is the leader and keeping Darrell Mitchell(6,0ppg, 3,5rpg) was a plus as his experience having played in the top leagues like France and Turkey has shown in the BBL as he has needed no time to adjust. Belgium national player Retin Obasohin also has done a fine job taking responsibility in his second season after coming from Scandone Avellino (Italy-Serie A) is taking the scoring load for Gotha averaging 14,5ppg, 4,6rpg and 3,4apg. Another bright spot has been Serban Nemanja Jaramaz(12,3ppg, 3,3rpg, 2,8apg, 42,9% from outside) who also adds Euroleague/VTB experience. But the club didn´t extend his short term contract as he moved to the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig.

At first glance on paper the Oettinger Rockets might seem like a team not deep enough for generating sufficient scoring power, but they are averaging a surprising 82 points per game and can light up teams on any night as they have scored 80 points four times, but there biggest problem is defense as they give up 89 points on average. They have allowed 90 points or more four times and even if they did win their last game against Tuebingen 90-83, there seems to be no cure for their defensive woes. They are also the worst rebounding team in the league getting only 25 rebounds per game. Granted the loss of Sava Lesic and Dane Watts has put a void into their rebounding core, but still they have big bodies with Richter, Ibekwe and Ohle that just need to be more physical and show more presence in the paint as well as the guards who need to help out more. Gotha isn´t a bad team as they have talent and can score on any night, but they simply need more effort and heart on the defensive end. If they could find some kind of chemistry on the defensive end then there might be some hope in saving their season, but at the moment they have some fortune and breathing room as seemingly way better stocked teams like Tuebingen and Bremerhaven are underachieving and worse than the Oettinger Rocekts. However the Oettinger Rockets are still one of the main favorites to move down. It is only a matter of time before Bremerhaven finds a groove and Tuebingen has the talent, but need the right coach now to save them. This coming weekend surprise team Fraport Skyliners come to Gotha with the sixth best defense in the league. Frankfurt have prided themselves on always defending well for 40 minutes as their defense hasn´t peaked yet and maybe Gotha should take some notes how well Frankfurt communicate, switch and clog the paint area to make life very uncomfortable for their opponents. The Fraport Skyliners have a slim rotation, but Niklas is back, but still needs time to  adjust after his concussion that kept him out for six weeks. Both teams will be rested after the World Cup qualifying period and have the needed energy for a 40 minute battle. But the Fraport Skyliners will grind it out on the road without problems as Philip Scrubb will be very motivated to get back on the winning track as he and Canada were upset by the Dominican Republic earlier in the week and with their combination of aggressive defense and well molded offense that continues to get better over time.

Rashid Mahalbasic (EWE Baskets Oldenburg) I Am A Real Austrian And Won´t End With This Disgrace Against Germany

Rashid Mahalbasic is a 27 year old 211cm center that was born in Jesenice (Slovenia), but also has the Austrian citizenship and plays for the Austrian national team and is playing his first season with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Mahalbasic started his basketball career in 2006 for the Worthersee Piraten (A Bundesliga) where he played until 2009. In the 2009-2010 season he played for Bosna ASA BH Telecom Sarajevo (Bosnia-D1, starting five): DNP, in Oct.’09 moved back to kelag Worthersee Piraten (Austria-A Bundesliga, starting five): 27 games: 18.4ppg, Reb-2(8.6rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 64.4%. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey-TBL), in Dec.’10 loaned to Tofas Bursa (Turkey-TBL) playing 10 games averaging 3.7ppg, 3.0rpg, in Mar.’11 signed at KK Split (Croatia-A1) playing 13 games averaging 5.0ppg, 2.3rpg. In the 2011-2012 season he played for Zlatorog Lasko (Slovenia-Telemach League) playing 2 Slovenian League games averaging 4.0ppg, 1.0spg, 1.5bpg; IN the Adriatic League he played 3 games averaging  4.7ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.7apg, 1.0bpg. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Asseco Prokom Gdynia (Poland-TBL) playing 36 games averaging 11.0ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 58.0%, FT: 68.7%; In the Euroleague he played 10 games averaging 9.1ppg, Reb-5(6.8rpg), 1.3apg, FGP: 58.2%, FT: 59.1%. In the 2013-2014 season he played for CEZ Basketball Nymburk (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 18 VTB United League games averaging 11.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 63.5%, FT: 72.2%. In the NBLleague he played 29 games averaging 10.1ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.0apg, FGP-2(68.8%), 3PT-1(66.7%), FT: 62.2%; In the Eurocup, he played 18 games averaging 11.3ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 60.6%, FT: 69.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played for BC Astana (Kazakhstan-D1) playing 33 VTB United League: 33 games averaging 14.6ppg, 6.6rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 61.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 77.8%. In the  EuroChallenge he played 12 games averaging 13.1ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 62.8%, FT: 73.6%; Kazakhstani D1 playing 11 games averaging  8.2ppg, Reb-2(6.5rpg), 2.4apg, Steals-2(2.0spg), FGP: 53.7%, FT: 51.4%. In the 2015-2016 season he played for BC Nizhny Novgorod (Russia-VTB) playing 27 games averaging 12.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 15.4%, FT: 73.1%; In the Eurocup, he played 20 games averaging 11.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 61.6%, 3PT: 8.3%, FT: 58.1%. Last season he played with  Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL, starting five)playing 9 games averaging 11.2ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 71.4%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%, in Dec.’16 moved to Betis Energia Plus Sevilla (Spain-ACB) playing 22 games averaging 10.1ppg, Reb-4(6.6rpg), 1.8apg, FGP: 57.5%, FT: 71.2%. He spoke to German Hoops the day after the brutal 90-49 loss against Germany in a 2019 World Cup qualifying game.



Rasid thanks for talking to German Hoops-. Normally this week you would be preparing for a Basketball Champions League game with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but instead are with the Austrian national team preparing for 2019 World Cup qualifying games against Serbia and Germany. What is your general opinion about having the qualifying games during the regular season?


At first I thought it would be an advantage not seeing the best players playing, but I was wrong. We showed that we were one of the worst teams. We weren´t prepared. We simply don´t have the quality of players to prepare for three days and then be ready.


Will Thomas(Valencia Basket) I Had To Wait My Turn To Reach The Euroleague

Will Thomas is a 31 year old 203 cm forward from Baltimore, Maryland playing his 10th professional season and second with Valencia Basket (Spain-ACB). Last season with Valencia he won the ACB title and averaged 6.7ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 92.3%. In the Eurocup, he played 23 games averaging 6.3ppg, 4.4rpg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 23.9%, FT: 65.6%. He started his professional basketball career in 2008 with Belgacom Liege Basket (Belgium-D1) and on the Belgium Super Cup in 2009. He then played with Ostende and in the 2011-2012 season played with Army Sport Klub Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague) with the Georgian league title in 2012. He then played the next two seasons with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-TBL) and with Sidigas Avellino (Italy-SerieA). In 2014 after 6 professional seasons and at the age  of 28 finally made the jump to the Spanish ACB playing two seasons for Unicaja Malaga (Spain-ACB). He played at George Mason from 2004-2008 playing a total of 131 NCAA games reaching the NCAA Final 4 in 2006. As a senior he played 34 games averaging 16.1ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 64.2%, FT: 67.2%.  Finished career ranked 1st all-time at Mason in games played (131), games started (118) and minutes played (4,144). Also ranks 1st all-time at Mason in field-goal percentage (.616) and 3rd all-time in the CAA as well as 3rd all-time in rebounding (993) and 6th all-time20in the CAA. He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague game against Brose Bamberg in Bamberg.






Will thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. In your long career you have played against German teams 15 times scoring in double figures in 8 of 15 games. Could you guess what your record is vs German teams?



It might be negative.




It is 8/7. Your over 500. What are your fondest memories of playing German teams? Possibly sweeping Alba Berlin last season in Europe Cup or BG Goettingen in the 2011-2012 Eurochallenge?




I remember that German teams have always been really good over the years. All the teams are always competitive and they play really well.



You are back in Bamberg. You split with them in the 15-16 Euroleague season. With Unicaja Malaga (Spain ACB). With what kind of feelings are you returning back to Bamberg and what memories do you have of then?


I remember the games against Bamberg as always being very tough. The atmosphere in Bamberg is great and their fans are unbelievable.




What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? You played three years in Belgium early in your career. Did you ever come to visit and do you have friends playing here?



I had one friend who played in Germany years ago with Folaran Campbell. We were teammates at George Mason. When I was playing at Liege early in my career, I was in Germany almost every weekend in Cologne or Duesseldorf.



Your playing your second season for Valencia Basket (Spain ACB) and won your third professional title last season with the ACB title. What stood out most for you in being able to win this title?


Winning that title meant everything to me. Winning the ACB would mean a lot to any player. It is good for the resume and just stands out.




Does the club feel a lot of pressure defending the ACB title and having a good Euroleague season?



We plan on having a very good season in the ACB. We also plan on competing every night in the Euroleague and trying our best to win. We have new players and a new coach and we plan on taking it one game at a time.





Your playing with very many talented and experienced players that are stacked up front. What kind of role do you have and is it any different from last season?




My role isn´t any different from last season. I am doing what I have been doing my whole career which is rebounding, playing defense, bringing energy and scoring when I can. I want to continue to be a good teammate and help lead with my experience.



How thankful are you to be playing Euroleague again? Do you appreciate it more simply because you played your first game in your seventh season at age 28?


I am very thankful to be playing Euroleague again and am very grateful. When you look over Europe at how many players there are and there are only 16 Euroleague teams, you notice that only a select can play Euroleague. I am happy I can show my talent against the best.


You have been a consistent scorer and rebounder your whole professional career. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player to who would you pick?


I don´t know. I wouldn´t compare myself to anyone. When I was young, I was trying to be Michael Jordan, but that didn´t work out too well.



What kind of experience has it been playing with the talented veteran Bojan Dubljevic. How do you feel have you both profited from each other on and off the court?


I think that we compliment each other very well. He can space the floor like a stretch four and be a tough guy in the post. I do sort of the same. We bring a certain toughness to the front court that helps us win.



After six seasons as a professional having played in Belgium, Georgia and Turkey, you reached the ACB in 2014 joining Malaga. Do you feel like you developed later than others or did people just recognize your talent later?


It really depends on being on the right teams and getting the right exposure. Early in my career I played in Belgium and Georgia that weren´t top leagues, so top teams didn´t see you play. When you are playing in leagues that have less exposure, it´s hard to move up. You have to play Euroleague and Eurocup for top teams to see you play. Euroleague teams want experienced players. I had to wait my turn to reach the Euroleague.



You had some very good Euroleague games, but was your 20 point game win against Maccabii Tel Aviv one of your most memorable games?


I remember that game in Malaga. I got in the zone and there was nothing that they could do about it. It was a very nice memory.



You played two seasons with Mindaugas Kuzminskas who reached the NBA last season. Did you have a feeling in your two seasons with Malaga that he could make it there?


Yes I did for sure. He was still young then and was very talented. He might not have shown his talent as much in Europe, but he had a game that he could use in the NBA. There was more space and 1-1 opportunities in the NBA which suited his game. It didn´t surprise me when he signed in the NBA.



After playing in Belgium, Georgia and Turkey, you moved to Sidigas Avellino (Italy-SerieA) in the 2013-2014 season playing 30 games averaging 15.3ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 70.7%. Do you feel this was your real breakthrough season in a real top league?


I never have looked at it like that, but I guess it was. That got me to where I am today. Italy was considered one of the top leagues then and I worked myself up and showed what I could do. Some NBA Summer league teams took notice of me then as did top teams in Europe.



In the 2012-2013 season you played with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-TBL) playing 30 games averaging 11.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 56.7%, 3PT: 19.0%, FT: 67.5%; In the EuroChallenge, you played 17 games averaging 14.3ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 72.2%. What memories do you have playing in Turkey in a league that was slowly developing into one of the top 5 in Europe?



I really didn´t know what to expect when I came to Turkey, but after a few months I really could see how competitive the league was. The style was slower than other places, but there were good players there, the league was well organized and was good coaching. Every game was a battle there. You had to play very well 90% of the season to make the playoffs. I knew then that Turkey would become a top league in a short time.


In the 2011-2012 season you played with Army Sport Klub Tbilisi (Georgia-Superleague) winning the league title playing 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 15.0ppg, 11.3rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 68.4%; In the Georgian League, you played 25 games averaging 16.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 27.6%, FT: 71.4%. How much of a privilege was it playing briefly with NBA player Sundiate Gaines who was there because of the NBA lockout?


He was a really good point guard. He really understood the game and knew how to get everyone involved in the offense and played very good defense. He wasn´t there long, but he helped me get off to a good start.



You played in Belgium with Ostende and in Spain with Malaga with American power forward Caleb Green. How vital was his presence for your game over the years?


He was a great guy and great teammate. We played against each other in Belgium and Italy and were teammates in Belgium and Spain. We played the same position and there was a mutual respect for each other. We battled each day against each other in practice. We made each other better and we also played together at the same time on the court an we played well together, because we knew each other so well from our daily battles in practice.





You played your first two seasons with Belgacom Liege Basket (Belgium-D1). What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Baltimore?



I had a lot of them, but they were off the court. On the court basketball is basketball. You shoot, pass and run up and down the court. The basketball part wasn´t much of an adjustment. Off the court, I had to learn to adjust to everything. I had to learn how to cook and drive a stick. In college you were never far from home so if you needed something from home your parents would bring it. It was also tough talking to people on the phone, but not seeing them for 3-4 months.



You have won three professional titles, but how special was winning the 2009 Supercup with Belgacom Liege Basket (Belgium-D1). What memories do you have of it?




That was so early in my career. I didn´t know at that point how important the cup competition is in Europe. No one expected us to win. We were a very young team and we beat the defending champs. It was great starting the season like that winning a title. Our season then really took off for us.



After playing at George Mason(NCAA) you took part at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): averaging 17.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.7apg, FGP: 64.7%, FT: 58.3%. You also played with the Washington Wizards NBA Summer league team. Are you disappointed that after your good showing at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament that you didn´t get more of a look from NBA teams?


I came out of college undersized. There was little interest. But then I had a good showing at the Portsmouth Invitational tournament. I showed there that I had a lot of talent. I got interest from European teams and some from Asia. I had no agent at that time. I remember that if you had one good game, then there would be hundreds of agents wanting to talk to you after the game with each one flinging their business card at you. It was crazy. I tried out for the Washington Wizards Summer League team, but got cut after 4-5 days.




You played at George Mason(NCAA) from 2004-2008. You reached the NCAA final 4 in 2006. What made the run so special? The club had no future NBA players, but how vital were Tony Skinn and Folaran Campbell?



We had a great run in 2006 at the tournament. No one expected to go that far. We just went out and had fun. We lost in the Final 4 to Florida who would win it all. It was a very tough game. I remember playing in Indianapolis in front of 65,000-70,000 people. I had never played in front of so many people. I´ll never forget that.




How did head coach Jim Larranaga groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?



He didn´t really prepare me for a professional career. I think that if you never experienced how it is in Europe then you can´t really prepare someone for it. Coach prepared me for college to be the best that I could be. He knew I was smart enough to learn to become a professional player.



Who won a one on one in practice you or Darryl Monroe?


We never played then. I would win today. I would kill him.


Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?



I would say Michael Beasley. He was a very tough guard. He had an NBA game already in college. He could do it all. There was a reason why he was the #2 overall pick in the NBA draft.




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



Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Lebron James





Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?





Jordan is the best. He is the best because of the way he always was able to perform in the moment. Lebron shrunk too much in the moment.


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?




I believe it´s not a fair assessment of the player Russell Westbrook. He always tries to do the most for his team to win.




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


I like Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma





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 don´t think so. They have pretty much the same team from last season adding Chris Paul. Nobody can beat the Golden State Warriors.


How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?


Right now the Celtics. I think that the Cavs will turn it on at some point of the season. The Cavs won´t win the NBA title, but beat the Celtics in the Eastern Conference title.




Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?




They can´t get past the Golden State Warriors. None of the stars on that team have been in a final except Westbrook.





What was the last movie that you saw?


John Wick 2.


Thanks Will for the chat.





Erick Green(Valencia Basket) Don´t Chase The Money But Just Play Well And Good Things Will Happen To You

Erick Green is a 26 year old 190cm guard from Virginia that is playing his fifth professional season and first in Spain with Valencia Basket (Spain-ACB). Last season he played with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus (Greece-A!) playing 31 games averaging 9.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT-2(47.3%), FT: 76.7%; In the Euroleague, he played 36 games averaging 9.9ppg, 1.9rpg, FGP: 47.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 81.7%. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2013 at #46 in the second round and played as a rookie with  Montepaschi Siena (Italy-SerieA) playing 45 games averaging 10.8ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 83.3%. In the Euroleague he played 10 games averaging 11.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 69.2%; In the Eurocup, he played 6 games averaging 11.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 70.0%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (D-League playing  2 games averaging 21.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.0apg, 2.0spg, and the Denver Nuggets (NBA) playing 42 games averaging 3.5ppg. In the 2015-2016 season he played with the Denver Nuggets (NBA) playing 3 games, the Reno Bighorns (D-League) playing 44 games: Score-3(26.5ppg), 4.4rpg, 3.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 43.6%, FT: 85.5%, in Feb.’16 moved back to Utah Jazz (NBA) playing 6 games averaging 2.2ppg. He played at Virginia Tech(NCAA) from 2009-2013 playing a total of 128 games and as a senior led the NCAA in scoring with 25.0ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.7%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 81.7%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Euroleague game against Brose Bamberg in Bamberg.





Erick thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You split last season with Brose Bamberg in Euroleague. With what kind of feeling are you coming back to Bamberg?



It is a good feeling coming back to Bamberg. It will be a tough game. They have another good team this year. They have a good crowd and nice atmosphere in the arena.



Overall you have a positive 3-1 Euroleague record against German teams. In your rookie season with  Montepaschi Siena (Italy-SerieA) you swept FC Bayern Munich. What memories do you have overall playing against Germans teams?



I don´t remember too much to be honest except for playing against my ex teammate Malcolm Delaney. I am really happy that he got a chance to play in the NBA after that




You have played in Italy, NBA, G-League, Greece and now in Spain with Valenica. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Do you have any friends playing here?



I have a friend playing in Germany with Daniel Hackett of Bamberg. I have known him for four years. Other than that I don´t know too much about Germany.



Valencia Basket are the ACB defending champions and have started off well in both competitions ACB and Euroleague. You have the two big powerhouses Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and many other title candidates. The team has kept a healthy core of players from last season and added some new pieces. How confident is the team after this start that it could repeat?



I think that we are confident at the moment and also know that we will be competing against the two tough keepers Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. But we have another great team and coaching staff and if we continue to improve as the season goes on, then I believe that we will have good chances to repeat.


How inspiring has it been playing with 35 year old veteran and heart and soul of Valencia with Rafael Martinez who is in his tenth season with the team and won two Eurocup´s. How vital is he for the success and what have you tried to soak up from his game?



He isn´t only a great leader, but a great guy. He has been helping me a lot pushing me and giving me a lot of confidence. He keeps continuing to stress for me to score and make plays. He is so valuable for me and a great captain.



Two seasons ago, you were in the Utah Jazz organization and played one game with German Tibor Pleiss. How has his game progressed since that time and what added dimension does he give the team?



Tibor has gotten so much better since being with the Utah Jazz. He has such a great touch and can finish with his left or right hand. He has a nice mid range shot that spreads the floor and is that seven footer and important presence inside that every team could use. He continues to get better and better. I feel he didn´t get a fair opportunity with Utah. He was in the right place at the wrong time. So many guys can play in the NBA, but so can he. I am sure that he will get another chance. He is an NBA player.



Let´s talk about your game. You a scoring combo guard. What is your role this season with Valencia Basket and is it different from last season in Greece?



My role this season is to score and be that player that they didn´t have last season. They want me to be that go to guy that will finish well 1-1. Last season in Greece we were stacked with a lot of talent and there were many great players. It was tough playing behind Vasilios Spanoulis, but I didn´t pout, but learned as much as I could from him. He was a great leader and guy.





You have been a scorer all your career, but if you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you choose?


I would compare myself to Lou Williams. We have something in common in that we can both score and are great 1-1 players. We both know how to get buckets. You can watch him and see him having four points and before you know he will have 20 points. It is crazy how fast he can fill the stat sheet.



Your also a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?


My ability to create. I think that I can be a really good passer when I am aggressive.



After two seasons in the NBA, you returned back last season to Europe and played with Olympiacos S.F.P. Pireus. There you played with Greek legend Vasilios Spanoulis who has won 12 Greek titles, three Euroleague titles and numerous medals for his country. Do you feel like some of winning genes and leadership rubbed off on you last season that will help you lead Valencia to tiles?


Yes I think so. He is a winner. He doesn´t care about how many points he gets, but just wants to win. At the end of the day that is what it´s all about. I learned so much from him, but one thing really stuck. He told me that I can do so much on the court especially score and that it is important to pick and choose carefully. In Europe it´s not all about scoring, but picking and choosing on the court. You also have to know how to find your teammates. He also told me “Don´t chase the money just play well and good things will happen to you”. There are too many guys in Europe thinking too much about the money. I learned so much from him and he told so many interesting stories


You played parts of two seasons in the NBA with Denver and Utah. When you look back at this time, what did you learn to appreciate most about the whole experience?


It was a great experience. I played behind some very experienced and older point guards like Jameer Nelson, Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson. Most important was that I learned great work ethic from these guys. These guys were all around and over 30 years of age, but their work ethic was incredible. A Nelson was already in the gym at 8:30 in the morning when we had a practice at 11am.and he already had a full out sweat when I got there. I was 23 years old and this kind of work ethic made me get my butt in the gym seeing that an older guy was putting in the work.



In the 2014-2015 season you played 42 games with the Denver Nuggets and on the last game scored 17 points and dished out seven assists in a loss against Golden State. Is this one of those games that stick in your mind knowing you held your own with some of the best players in the world with Curry, Thompson and Green?



100% yes. I had the chance to showcase my abilities and a game like this gave me confidence that I could play with the best. My goal continues to try to get back to the NBA. I hope my dream of the NBA will come through again.


When you look back at that season with Denver do you feel like you could have done anything differently that would have earned you more minutes or were you content with your stay?



I would never say that I was content, but it´s hard to get minutes when you are the third string point guard. It was difficult to really be able to show what I could do. In the games where I did get a chance to show what I can do, I felt I did well for the minutes that I received.



This is your second season back in Europe and you last played NBA Summer League in 2015.Have you pretty much ended the NBA chapter or do you feel with more Euroleague experience you could make it back to the NBA soon? I think your ex teammate Malcolm Delaney is a great example of a guy reaching the NBA after some years in Europe.


Yes that dream never closes. My goal is to get back to the NBA and I really do hope that I will get another chance. I feel that where I am now is the best route in trying to get back to the NBA. I have the chance to prove and play well at the ACB and Euroleague level where NBA scouts are always present. Last year there was something like 5 Euroleague players that went to the NBA.


As a rookie you played for  Montepaschi Siena (Italy-SerieA): 45 games: 10.8ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 83.3%; Euroleague: 10 games: 11.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 69.2%; Eurocup: 6 games: 11.2ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 70.0%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home in Virginia


I had quite a few wake up calls. I was thousands of miles away from the states and it´s tough for a young guy coming out of college to come to Europe. At Virginia Tech, I was three hours from home, but in Italy I was 9-10 hours away by plane and my family only visited twice a year. There were some times where I thought about going back home. It was difficult being in a small city and getting used to the language barrier. All in all, Italy was great. Siena was a beautiful city and I am happy that I didn´t walk away and go home. In Italy I matured and became a better player.




How important was it having many Americans on the team that helped you make the adjustment easier? Was there a particular guy that you felt you profited most? You had teammates like Marquez Haynes, Josh Carter, Spencer Nelson, Matt Janning and Othello Hunter?




All of them. They are all great people and I still have great relationships with them today. We are all in a group chat and keep in touch. They showed me how to play in Europe and without them, I don´t really know if I would have survived.




You played at Virginia Tech from 2009-2013. How tough was it your senior year being the best scorer in the nation, but the team playing below 500. Despite playing so much did you ask your self at times if you could have been doing more?


Yes for sure. I remember my parents saying what you scored only 25 points? You have to be getting 30 points to help your team win. It was cool getting all the honors and winning the scoring title, but in the end I never made the NCAA tournament in my four years there. That really got to me having to hear my friends talking about their experiences in the NCAA tournament.



After struggling your freshman year at Virginia Tech, you became a gym rat and your game rose after that from season to season. Even after leading the nation in scoring as a senior, have you continued to practice that same focused work ethic now in the pro´s?


Yes for sure. Work ethic is what got me to where I am today. I have had this type of work ethic my whole career. I love being in the gym. I love seeing how my game improves. I strive to get better every summer and then keep improving during the season. I want to continue to improve each year.



You didn´t have much to cheer about in your senior season concerning wins, but was the 66-65 win against Wake Forest where you led all scorers with 22 points one of your most memorable wins as a senior?



That was a nice memory, but the best memory was beating Oklahoma State when Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics was on the team.




In the 2012-2013 season Adam Smith was with the team, but couldn´t play, but he practiced daily with the team. What memories do you have of your battles on the court?



Adam is a great player, shooter and guy. When he came to Virginia Tech(NCAA), he didn´t expect the level of the ACC to be so high. He was also a gym rat like me and worked his tail off in his time at Virginia Tech. Seeing how he improved was great and he had a heck of a career there.





How did head coaches Seth Greenberg and James Johnson help groom and prepare you best for s professional career?



Seth Greenberg was a great coach. He was my first coach for the first three years and was very demanding. I remember when I came in as a freshman in open gym and him telling me that he thought I would be an NBA player. He stayed on me the whole three years and demanded a lot from me. Johnson was the assistant coach in my first three years and became head coach in my senior year. I had known him since I had been 15 years old and he always had recruited me wherever I went. He was a big role model for me and was like a father figure.




Who won a one on one in practice you or Malcolm Delaney?



He got some of the best of me as I was a freshman. He is a very good player and taught me a few things. In my second year I did some work on him though. I always thought that he would get drafted. In one on one you saw two great scorers going against each other. It would be fun going against him today.





Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?



I would say the toughest guy I faced was Grevis Vazquez. He gave us 40 points. That was one of the best performances that I ever saw in the NCAA. I have had the chance to play against Kyrie Irving in high school and other guys like Kevin Durant and Brandon Jennings in the summertime.




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


Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaq






Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?




When looking at rings it´s Jordan, but when you look at the player it´s Lebron. He is so dominant and a player that we haven´t seen before. I saw Jordan play at the end of his time, but in my era Lebron is the most dominant.



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?




Westbrook is one of my favorite players. I don´t think that it is a fair assessment to him. It was crazy to average triple double stats. He helped lead the team to the playoffs without Kevin Durant. He has the most edge of any player. He goes 100 miles and tries to kill you when he has the ball.



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



My two NBA rookie of the year candidates are Ben Simmons who can change a game and Dennis Smith Jr.




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?



They can make a good run, but Golden State will be too strong for them.




How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?



Boston got the better deal. The deal shows just how much Boston was willing to give up for Irving. Lebron probably has 2-3 more good years, but Boston is young and if they stay together will be very scary in a few years.




Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?


I think they could. They are losing at the moment, but they will be clicking soon. They are missing a bench, but will be scary. They could give Golden State a run, but won´t have enough in a series against them.






What was the last movie that you saw?


It. It´s a clown horror movie.


Thanks Erick for the chat.