ProB

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One always talks about LeBron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?

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

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

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

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Escape Plan.

Thanks Terence for the chat.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Live Another Day Forcing Another Do Or Die Game Beating Lok Bernau 76-61

Even if they don´t want to admit it, guys like Travis Thompson, Garai Zeeb or Konstantin Schubert will never forget the massive one sided drubbing they got last season in the playoffs as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got hammered by Weissenhorn in game one by 69 points, but for some reason, the club has had a knack of rebounding back from tough situations as they came back strong rebounding from that massacre and winning two do or die games in a row and advancing to the pro B finals where they were swept by Ehingen. This season, they had a do or die game on the last game day beating the Giants Nordlingen in fine fashion as they were led by Isaac Bonga who celebrated his first professional triple double. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors slid into the Pro B playoffs with a 4 game winning streak and a lot of momentum, but that came to a crushing halt as they were brought down to reality as they faced top Pro B north team Lok Bernau losing 75-64. German wunderkind Isaac Bonga was close to another triple double as he finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but the overall team carelessness with taking care of the ball in the second half set their doom as they coughed up the ball 22 times while Lok Bernau has only 10 turnovers thus giving them 12 extra possessions. It was time for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to rebound back again as they had another do or die situation, but they were at home in their own Basketball City Mainhatten living room and still had the memory of their big do or die win against the Giants Nordlingen two weeks ago and wanted to force another do or die game in Bernau and did setting the tone of the game early and breaking away in the second quarter and never looked back as the Frankfurt depth was too much for the Lok Bernau depth as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors brushed aside Lok Bernau 76-61. After the match, a content top scorer Travis Thompson was all smiles reminiscing about the big do or die win. “We came out good early and rebounded well. We moved ball better and Isaac Bonga hit some three´s. We were able to stop their run and were able to make our own run. We also hit many timely shots that helped us get this win”, stressed Alaska native Travis Thompson. After the loss, 31 year old BBL veteran Robert Kulawick who played 294 games in the BBL showed his role model style carrying the water bottles to the locker room something that usually is reserved for the kids was very disappointed with the performance of his team. “We slept at the start and didn´t have the needed intensity which punished us to the end. I have to compliment my team for the comeback, but it came down to not getting stops and then Frankfurt coming back and hitting a three. I have to compliment Frankfurt for holding us to 61 points. They did a very good job”, stressed 2010 Eurochallenge winner Robert Kulawick.

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Jordan Talbert (PS Karlsruhe) Making Those Little Plays That Don’t Show Up In the Box Score Is What I’ve Been Proud Of Most This Season

Jordan Talbert is a 26 year old 198cm forward from Little Rock, Arkansas that is playing his third professional season and first with the PS Karlsruhe Lions. He came to Germany as a rookie in 2014 and played with the Giants TSV 1861 Noerdlingen (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 26 games: 21.6ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.2apg, 2.0spg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 28.9%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college career at Missouri SO(NCAA2) from 2010-2014 and as a senior played 31 games averaging 11.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, 1.7bpg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 70.1%. Last season with Nordlingen he tore up the Pro B averaging 17.5ppg, Reb-1(11.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.7spg, Blocks-5(1.5bpg), FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 27.5%, FT: 73.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before the start of the 2017 playoff series.

Jordan thanks for talking to German Hoops. 2017 is now in its third month. Did you make any news year resolutions or are you more the guy that doesn´t believe in that?

No I didn’t make any resolutions. I’m not big on those things. I think if there’s any change that I feel is necessary then it should be made at the moment of realization. No reason to wait until the start of the year.

How long did it take to digest the bitter 76-49 loss against the kids of FC Bayern Munich? How can a loss like that occur shortly before the playoffs?

Not long at all. We locked up the number 1 seed for the playoffs which really took the motivation out of the team going into the game. We got caught looking forward to playoffs, it came back and punched us in the mouth.

Teams want to roll into the playoffs or playdowns with some force. Do you feel like PS Karlsruhe will be ready when game one with the Rostock SeaWolves comes around?

We’ve all been looking forward to the playoffs for a long time. I think we’re hungrier right now than any other point in the season. Our goal was not to finish the regular season number 1 but to end the post season in that position.

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Timajh Parker Rivera (Lok Bernau) We Are Capable Of Raising Our Game In Every New Playoff Game

Timajh Parker Rivera is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Milford, Conneticut playing his professional basketball career with SSV Lok Bernau. He played four years at Towson(NCAA) playing a total of 128 NCAA games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 6.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.2apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 58.1%, FT: 50.4%. He spoke to German Hoops before game two of the playoffs against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors.

Thanks Timajh for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the big 75-64 win against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. How did it feel playing your first professional playoff game?

Thank you and it was a great experience looking forward to many more .

The Pro B playoff game between the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and Lok Bernau was played in the giant Mercedes arena in Berlin. What did you enjoy most about playing in this state of the art arena?

I’ve been to many Alba games this year so go play on the court was extremely exciting I had a good time .

You played in many nice arenas in the NCAA with Towson, but where did the Berlin arena rank with your all-time nicest?

I would say Mercedes Bens was top five .

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