When you look back at the last 15 years in the German BBL and try to name the real dinosaurs of the league, guys that stuck around longest and provided fans with numerous memorable experiences, you couldn´t put up more than two hands. Guys that come to mind at once are great players like Chris Ensminger and Bernd Kruel who have retired as well as the Science City Jena legendary trio of Derrick Allen, Julius Jenkins and Immanuel Mcelroy all outstanding players that are still battling with the best in their late 30´s. Another guy that you have to add to this list is Demond Mallet. He didn´t have the BBL longevity of an Ensminger, Kruel or the Jena Musketeers as he played only 7 years in Germany, but overall he belongs to a rare breed of player that played until he was 40 and can look back at a spectacular 17 year career. Demond Mallet is a player that will always be remembered for never losing that competitive edge as he had that obnoxious game face mask that he never took off on the court, but when you met him off the court, you always felt like he was your best buddy. He had that never ending winning mentality and gave the word leader a new meaning. He truly was the man in European basketball. It wasn´t only winning many titles in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Israel that will keep in the hearts of many, but the way he approached the game and how he handled himself off the court where he was the ultimate role model for all. Mallet played for 17 seasons in Europe and finally has decided to hang up his sneakers at age 40. He always wanted to retire at age 40. Thursday Februry 22 was his 4oth birthday and on Friday Februry 23rd he will be honored with a special retiurement ceremony in Bamberg before a Euroleague game against Euroleague team Crvena Zvezda.
Demond Mallet started his illustrious career with McNeese St. (NCAA) in 1997 and had a great 4 year career and as a senior played 31 games leading the Southland conference in scoring at 21.3ppg), 3.3rpg, 2.1apg, StealsSouthland-2(2.1spg), FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 79.6%. He finished his collegiate career at McNeese State as the all-time leader in career three-pointers made (331), and steals (206) and third in points scored (1,941). He started his professional basketball career in 2001 and would spend his first 6 years in Germany. He quickly became a lethal scorer in the BBL with Basket Braunschweig averaging a staggering 21,1ppg in his three years. His amazing offensive talent got the attention of Bamberg who swiped him up and Mallet would play 2 seasons there from 2004-2006 winning his first professional title. In that time, he belonged to the top point guards in the German BBL and in the title season he played 30 games averaging 15.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 41.5%. He also played 20 Euroleague averaging 13.6ppg, 1.7rpg, 2.0apg, 2FGP: 57%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 64.8%. The next season he moved to RheinEnergie Koeln (Germany-1.Bundesliga) where his winning ways continued with the German cup and played 13 Euroleague games averaging 12.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 2FGP: 46.3%, 3FGP: 37.1%, FT: 81.8%. In the BBL, he played 43 games averaging 12.7ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 55.1%, 3FGP: 40.4%, FT: 75.7%.In 2007 his path took him to DKV Joventut Badalona (Spain-ACB) where he proved he belonged to the top American players in the best league in Europe helping the team win the ULEB Cup. In both seasons, he had solid stats scoring in double figures in every competition. In his last 8 seasons as a professional, he would play three seasons with Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League) winning the league title in 2011 as well as being named league MVP. He also played one more season in Germany with the Artland Dragons, had a brief stay in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv and returned back to Spain and played two seasons with his former team FIATC Joventut Badalona who retired his jersey last season and his last basketball station last season was with Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProA) ). Some other achievements as he leaves the game was being a 5 time BBL allstar, German Cup MVP in 2007, 2007 BBL Allstar MVP, Spanish cup winner and Israel cup winner. He spoke to German Hoops a few days before his retirement ceremony in Bamberg about his basketball career.
Demond thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You are in Bamberg as your former club has prepared a special ceremony before the Euroleague game against Crvena Zvezda. What does it mean for you to be recognized for your two great years with Bamberg?
It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of history and to be recognized with this ceremony is just great. I won my first title and then the dynasties started. So to be recognized for my career is very humbling. I´m very grateful to be recognized for my longevity in my career.
Does it feel like time has flown by. It was 12 years ago that you last played here?
For me Bamberg is a basketball haven. When you go to Bamberg, you feel the basketball, love and culture. It is one of the best programs in Europe. I will always be grateful of Freak City.
Demond Mallett has had a storied 17 year career and had a lot of his success in Germany. He always wanted to retire at age 40. His birthday is Thursday February 22 and the American from Leesville, Louisiana will officially retire from the game he cherished at age 40. He will officially be retired in a ceremony in Bamberg Friday night before a Euroleague game against Crvena Zvezda. Exactly how the retirement ceremony will be is a surprise to him, but Bamberg fans will be in for a real special treat having the chance to recount those wonderful memories of the 2005 BBL title win where he was so instrumental as well as see him in person.
Mallet started his illustrious career with McNeese St. (NCAA) in 1997 and had a great 4 year career and as a senior played 31 games leading the Southland conference in scoring at 21.3ppg), 3.3rpg, 2.1apg, StealsSouthland-2(2.1spg), FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 79.6%. He finished his collegiate career at McNeese State as the all-time leader in career three-pointers made (331), and steals (206) and third in points scored (1,941). He started his professional basketball career in 2001 and would spend his first 6 years in Germany.
Ronald Ross is a 34 year old 188cm point guard from Hobbs, New Mexico playing his 13th professional season and third with Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-Division A) winning the league title last season. He returned back in January and has helped the etam to a 4-2 record in the country league averaging 10,5ppg, 3,5rpg, 3,3apg and is shooting 42% from outside. He played at Texas Tech under legendary head coach Bobby Knight. He started his professional career in 2005 and played in the States in the CBA and USBL leagues and in Europe in countries like Italy, Israel, Germany, Croatia, Greece and Romania. In Germany he reached the 2007 BBL cup final with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and also played with the Artland Dragons and Mitteldeutscher BC. German Hoops felt it was time to catch up again with the American in Cyprus.
Ron thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how did you spend the Christmas season this season?
Christmas was great! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend it with my family, but I made the best of the day reflecting on the things I’m grateful for and having gratitude towards the smaller things in life.
You have spent Christmas in countries like Germany, Italy, Israel, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus. Where in your opinion did you enjoy it the most?
My perspective changed when I started a family, but each of the countries had something special to offer in their own way. From Christmas markets, carnivals, and team gatherings I shared a lot special moments with some great people over the holidays.
The last time we spoke was in the summer of 2013. Times has really flown by for me. Does a season go just as fast for you now in your mid thirties like it did at say age 27 or don´t they fly by as quickly anymore?
Time definitely flies! I think as the years past you understand more and become more patient with the process. I think for vets it’s more about getting through that “burn” in preseason, but once that’s out the way it’s go time!
Your turning 35 years on February 11, 2018 and your still going strong in your 13th season. What is your secret to still being able to play now in your thirties? It has to be more than just discipline and taking care of your body?
You’re right, it’s more than discipline and taking care of your body. I would say it’s because I absolutely love basketball! Although it’s hard work, mentally I haven’t worked a day in my life because it’s something I’m truly passionate about and don’t take it for granted!
Michael Jenkins is a 31 year old 192 cm guard from Kinston, North Carolina that currently is playing his tenth professional season and first with Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A). Last season he played with Aris Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) playing 17 BCL games averaging 11.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 83.8%; In the Greek A1 he played 19 game averaging 9.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.2apg, 2FGP: 44.8%, 3FGP: 39.3%, FT: 75.0%, in Mar.’17 moved to The Flexx Pistoia (Italy-Serie A) playing 11 games averaging 10.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 95.5. Over the years he has gained valuable experience playing in countries like Belgium, Italy and Germany where he played with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in the 2009-2010 season playing 34 games averaging 14.0ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.3apg, Steals-3(1.9spg), FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.0%, FT: 72.6%. He played at Winthrop(NCAA) from 2004-2008 playing a total of 131 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 13.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PTConf-6(36.8%), FT: 71.3%: He finished his career as the 10th leading scorer in Winthrop history with 1,253 points. He spoke to German Hoops after the Basketball Champions League loss to medi Bayreuth.
Thanks Mike for talking to German Hoops. We spoke last season when you were playing with Aris before a Basketball Champions League game against the Fraport Skyliners. This season your playing with Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A). Your had a shoot around in the Oberfrankenhalle in Bayreuth before the game against medi Bayreuth. With so many seasons, teams and opponents is setting foot in an arena for the first time still exciting or has that excitement worn down a bit over the years?
It’s still exciting sometimes but it has definitely worn down a bit.
Umana Reyer Venezia (Italy-Serie A) are having a very strong season in Serie A and are in a dogfight for position 2 in the Basketball Champions League with three other teams. What do you feel has been the secret of the success of the team this season?
There’s no secret. It’s been our coaching, our talent, work ethic, our fan support, and a bit of luck in some of the close games
Elmedin Kikanovic is a 29 year old 211cm center from Bosnia playing his first season with AS Monaco Basket (France-ProA). He played the last 2 years with Alba Berlin and last season played 36 BBL games averaging 15.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 56.1%, FT: 78.1%; In the Eurocup, he played 13 games: Score-2(19.6ppg), 3.8rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 58.4%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 78.8%. Previously he played four years with Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-PBL) and three seasons with KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd (Serbia-A League). He won the 2016 BBL cup with Alba Berlin and played at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 European championships with Bosnia. He spoke to German Hoops after the Basketball Champions League win in Oldenburg.
Elmedin thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. With Alba Berlin you never won in Oldenburg. With what kind of feelings did you return back to Oldenburg?
Oldenburg is known as having sa trong home court with great fans and it is always hard to play there. We are having a great season so far and we prepared well and I think our win is well deserved. Oldenburg is a tough team especially on their home court. They have great shooters and play very aggressive defense. In the Bundesliga it is even harder to play them than in the Champions league because their gym is sold out and you know that 6000 fans will be against you.
You beat the EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Monaco and returned back to Oldenburg with an undefeated Basketball Champions League record. Congrats on a hard fought 84-78 win. The game was back and forth in the second half, but what was key for taking command of game in fourth quarter and winning the game?
Thank you. Key was our great energy and aggressive defense. All the teams have special motivation against us because they want to stop our winning series but we don’t want to stop. We were missing Craft and Sy but we found additional energy to win this game.
You played against Rickey Paulding the last years and he hit you for 23 points. It seems like every player can tell some kind of story about him. How did you get to learn about Paulding the player? He will retire from the BBL as one of it´s absolute legends?
He is an absolute legend playing ten years for Oldenburg. He showed a million times what kind of player he is. At the age of 35 he looks like a youngster playing with so much energy putting so much effort pushing Oldenburg in key moments. He is a great leader and I don’t think he will retire soon. Watching him now he could play a couple of years on this level. Big respect for him.
DJ Richardson is a 26 year old 190cm guard from Peoria, Illinois playing his fifth professional season and started this season with s.Oliver Wurzburg(4,0ppg, 1,7rpg) before moving to BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp(Poland-PLK) where he is averaging 11,0ppg, 17rpg and 1,3apg. Last season he played for Proximus Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Euromillions League) playing 37 games averaging 13.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT-3(44.7%), FT: 75.4%; In the FIBA Europe Cup:he played 2 games averaging 21.5ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.5apg;In the BCL, he played 9 games: averaging 12.7ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 63.9%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 93.3%. As a rookie he played in Austria with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga) and then played two seasons in Finland with Kouvot Kouvola (Finland-Korisliiga). He played at Illinois(NCAA) from 2009-2013 playing a total of 138 NCAA games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 12.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 81.5%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
DJ thanks for talking to German Hoops.After a short stay in Germany with Wurzburg, you now are balling in Poland with BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp. (Poland-PLK). You have had a steady rise playing in leagues in Austria, Poland and Belgium and reached the German BBL one of the top leagues in Europe in your fifth professional season. How disappointed were you not to make the next step in Germany?
Honestly, I am not disappointed at all. It was my decision to leave the team. There’s more basketball Germany is not the end of the world. I made a quick decision because I wasn’t happy in my situation. The team made an agreement to let me leave.
Do you feel like had you been healthy from the get go that you would still be a member of s.Oliver Wurzburg now?
I had a few early injuries in the preseason and one entering the beginning of the season. I play my best game of the season against Oldenburg playing around 14 minutes. Every day up until the next game I had great practices. Coach told me I was getting better and better every day. Then next game he plays me three minutes. Any basketball player knows being put in a position like that is frustrating. (Especially if your opponent plays with small players). So it was my decision to play somewhere else to be happy. Nothing to do with injuries at all.