Only a few days ago, it was carnival time in the Rhein area of Bonn/Bad Honnef and you had many many people dressed up in funny and in some cases memorable costumes acting crazy and just enjoying life while others in other parts of Germany were carnival free and going about their daily business. If the carnival craze had infected Americans Kameron Taylor and Brandon Watkins was unknown, but seeing a Taylor prancing around in a Trump costume or Watkins donning a OJ Simpson costume would have been enjoyable, but with only a few weeks left in the Pro B regular season, they most likely were already mentally locked in to the big game against the ScanPlus Baskets who are in first place while the Dragons Rhondorf had one victory less and were parked in second place. Watkins wasn´t with the team yet in October, but Taylor was and had bad memories of the 103-72 blow out loss in Elchlingen as they met an offensive powerhouse that averaged 28 points for the course of three quarters. The ScanPlus Baskets shot over 50%, dominated the boards and forced Rhondorf to cough up the ball an annoying 24 times. It was a game to forget for the ex Pro A team Dragons Rhondorf as they couldn´t find a defensive remedy on this day to combat the lethal offensive arsenal from the southern German team. Watkins most likely saw film from that horrible loss and also got some extra information from Taylor as both Americans and their German teammates were seeking revenge and wanted to extend their good home record to 10-1. As always it was a full packed house as the Dragon Dome was electric and burning with basketball passion as it was loud and the type of atmosphere that is rarely seen in the Pro B except if your in Rostock, but the home team Dragons were unable to keep their almost immaculate home record as they got overpowered by the ScanPlus Baskets 92-69. The Dragons Rhondorf did the best they could despite being without three key players, but just couldn´t withstand the potent consistent offense of the ScanPlus Baskets for 40 minutes. “Good defense was key for the win. In the last games we had been shooting too many three´s and we wanted to stabilize our inside game tonight and did. We had good communication and when we play good defense then our offense works. It was obvious that they had a hard time without Viktor Frankl-Maus, but we showed we could dominate in the first game where they were complete. Our ball movement was good as well as our pick and roll. It was fun to play”, stressed ex Ehingen guard Brian Butler. After the loss, a disappointed Brandon Watkins reflected on the 40 minutes, but was still proud how the team played despite the many injuries. “It was a tough game and we were missing key players. But guys that don´t usually play stepped up. These young guys know how to contribute now and it was a good learning experience. They are a good team and hurt us with their pick and roll. Our help side wasn´t good as they kept attacking it. We will have to work on it so other teams don´t do that”, stressed ex West Virginia(NCAA) forward Brandon Watkins.
Hayden Lescault is a 25 year old 196cm guard from Folsam, California playing his third professional season and first with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). Last season he played with the Glasgow Rocks (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 35 games averaging 12.9ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.5apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 75.3%. As a rookie he played with BG Karlsruhe (Germany-ProB) playing 25 games averaging 13.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 71.8%. He played at Point Loma (NCAA2) from 2011-2015 and as a senior played 21 games averaging 11.5ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.7apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 78.7%. In his junior season he won the NCAA 2 title and played 30 games averaging 16.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 38.8%, FT: 72.5%. He spoke to German Hoops before the game against the Dragons Rhondorf.
Hayden thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 104-96 win against Iserlohn. It was the second most points the team has given up this season. Was the defensive effort the main thing one could criticize about the win?
It’s never good to give up 90+ points but it happens sometimes when the game is played at such a fast pace.
Donte Nicholas and Julian Scott were a one man wrecking crew as they combined for 55 points. Nicholas as been one of the top players in the Pro B south with Kameron Taylor. What made it so difficult to control him as a team?
Those two guys are great players and they were working hard. Nicholas plays very physical and it was hard to keep him out of the paint.
You reached the BBL final with the Glasgow Rocks. What was so enticing about returning to Germany? Possibly the competitive ambitions of the ScanPlus Baskets?
The season was pretty successful in Glasgow and I enjoyed playing for the Rocks, but I had to weigh my options in the off season and coming to play for ScanPlus made the most sense. Sitting in first place right now, we have our goal set on winning the title and gaining promotion.
Early in the 2017-2018 Pro B season in late October, Dragons Rhondorf fans were witnessing an entertaining and exciting duel against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors who had been massive under dogs coming into the game as they only dressed 7 players as some of their key BBL double license players like Garai Zeeb were playing at the same time in Munich and weren´t available. Instead of running out the clock and being ready to celebrate an easy 20 plus point win, the Dragons Rhondorf were clinging to life as the game was dead locked at 80-80 with 11,2 seconds to play, but the Dragons team had possession. It was that moment in the game that Kameron Taylor had seen before and that time where he especially comes to life as having the ball in his hands when it counts most is when he flourishes and is in his special element. Back at Seton Hill(NCAA2), the Maryland native had celebrated some huge moments with game winning shots against Gannon and Edinboro, but was still waiting for that first professional game winning buzzer beater and against Frankfurt he would help propel himself another step into Dragons Rhondorf heaven and history. As the ball was inbounded, Taylor got the ball and had control of the court and everyone in the gym knew he would make that last play. Taylor was focused on the basket and this was the moment where he blocked everything out and saw only himself the basket and his man Englishman Jules Akodo. With the seconds winding down quickly he met Akodo at the three point line at the top of the key with six seconds and after a few dribbles lost a bit of the handle and almost lost the ball with three seconds, but gathered himself went briefly to his right and had his man off balance and fired away unleashing a lethal step back jumper that saw nothing but net and brought the whole Dragon Dome into an electric frenzy. It had been the club´s sixth game of the season and third home win in a row which had upped their record to 5-1. The season had been a total turnaround from the disappointing last season where the club had to fight in the playdowns to stay in the league and did, but the whole experience had been nothing for weak nerves. This season has been a total 180 degree turn as the club currently has a 15-5 record in second place in the Pro B south standings. A big reason for the success has been the incredible dominance of American Kameron Taylor who is on course of winning the Pro B 2018 MVP and the team have legitimate chances of winning the title as well. So often the success of the team is based a lot on the how well the player performs and meshes with his teammates and that has been the case with Taylor. But in a way Taylor shouldn´t even have been in the Pro B simply because he is way to good. It was his choice coming to the Pro B after having a solid Pro A season with Ehingen as a rookie. “Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward”, warned Kameron Taylor. He is on his best way of getting back to a higher league next season. However not only the Pro A will be calling, but perhaps even the easyCredit BBL.
Before Taylor became a living legend in the small city Bad Honnef by the Rhein in Germany, he had to learn the fundamentals at Seton Hill(NCAA).
With the Pro B regular season winding down, one can pretty much predict well where the post season journeys of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and TG s.Oliver Wurzburg teams will take them. Frankfurt has booked a ticket for the playoffs while TG s.Oliver Wurzburg most likely will play in the playdowns to be able to book their ticket for the upcoming Pro B season. One thing that is never as predictable is what lineup the Fraport Skyliners Juniors will go with on account of their BBL license players and injuries having been a huge factor in the success they have had this season. With Isaac Bonga, one never knows will he suit up or not as he has been concentrating more on the easyCredit BBL this season and only played sporadically in the Pro B. Especially on weekends when the BBL team Fraport Skyliners are in action, his chances of playing become less, but this weekend the team was off as they had back to back games within the week. Bonga had played in the last home game victory against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and had been a vital factor for the success as he took over the game in many phases and finished with a career high 30 points. Fans weren´t disappointed when Bonga arrived in the BCM gym for warm ups and then was present on the court ready for battle again. He didn´t score 30 again like two weeks ago, but this time it was Garai Zeeb again who was the fourth quarter savior as like some weeks ago against KIT Karlsruhe, he had a horrible first half and stepped it up in the second half sparking Frankfurt with 13 points and this time powered home 8 points down the stretch against TG s.Oliver Wurzburg pacing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to the 75-69 victory.
Seeing eye popping magnificent basketball clinics in the Dragan Dome has been nothing out of the ordinary or unusual in the last two seasons as fans have been spoiled like a kid can be when their long lost uncle comes to visit with a sack full of toys as they have witnessed special American talents Aaron Nelson and Kameron Taylor. The only difference has been that the Dragons have been winning this season more and are on course to not only reach the playoffs again, but are playing for the Pro B title. A big reason is the great team chemistry and German role players understanding their duties, but a even bigger reason has been American Kameron Taylor who took a step back in his second professional season coming from the Pro A in hopes of making two steps forward. He has been a candidate for Pro B MVP of the season since the start with his overwhelming all-around play. Fans saw another side of him in January as he put up amazing back to back triple doubles of 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the big 89-86 victory against Coburg and two weeks later did the basketball trick again under the watchful eyes of the home crowd posting a 22 point, 14 rebound and 12 assists outburst against the Dresden Titans as he helped the team keep their almost immaculate home record potent at 10-1 with a 91-74 win against the former Eastern Germany city. With January history and February having arrived, the American from Maryland who also produced a triple double with Seton Hill(NCAA) against Shippensburg was looking for the win first while fans were looking for that third triple double in a row at home, but it wouldn´t be easy as opponent Iserlohn had an identical 13-5 record and were seeking revenge for their 80-75 loss at home against Taylor and co. The game was a battle for three quarters as no team could get away from the other, but in the fourth quarter despite massive foul trouble, the Dragons Rhondorf buckled down getting the needed support form their German role players slipping by Iserlohn 82-71.
A little more than two months ago, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed another great performance on the road taking apart the Bayer Giants Leverkusen for the second straight year as German wunder kid Isaac Bonga led the charge with 26 points last season and 19 points this season. Like so often this season, the Bayer Giants Leverkusen were unable to give a very good performance for 40 minutes as they have proven this season to have been underachieving despite having a very solid guard rotation of Alexander Blessig and Marvin Heckel and two potent import inside players with Bruce Beckford and Donovan Jack and all rounder CJ Oldham. The biggest problem has been their inability to defend at a high rate on a consistent level as they allow 80 points per game while scoring 78 per game. The club reacted at the start of 2018 bringing in talented 26 year old 196cm small forward Ron Mvouika from France who after a roller coaster ride from Sheridan JC (JUCO) and Missouri St. (NCAA), he finally landed with St Johns in his senior season 2015-2016 where he captained the team for legendary 1992 Dream team player and now coach Chris Mullin who treated him like a pro from day one. Leverkusen landed a coup with Mvouika as he prompt led the team on a two game winning streak. They did lose last weekend to Iserlohn as their lackluster defense reared it´s ugly head again on the court losing 95-84. However Mvouika who compares his game to Paul George has been more than just a fresh breath of air, but been a lot more as he has taken the Pro B by storm and proven to be a very versatile player that can do it all on the court as through three games he was averaging 19,0ppg, 5,0rpg, 4,0apg, 1,3 and is shooting 47,1% from outside. He has never had it easy in his career, but he has always believed in his abilities and his road up the basketball ladder continues now with Leverkusen. “I am a very confident person because I know the work I put in every day. Basketball is not a sport to me, it’s my life so me not finding stability since coming out of college never really made me doubt myself or anything else. I was just working very hard every day, waiting on the right opportunity to present itself, an opportunity where I could express myself and show the world what I can do and Bayer was the perfect marriage. I don’t feel or add any pressure, if anything, I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time so now its time to show all the work that I was putting behind close doors”, warned Ron Mvoiuka.
The French man came with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen to Frankfurt and was looking to start a new winning streak while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were looking for their second victory in a row in 2018 and they overcome a quick start by the Bayer Giants Leverkusen and controlled the game from the second quarter until the 40 minutes had eclipsed playing consistent offense and playing with passion on the defensive end winning 81-65.
Kameron Taylor is a 23 year old 198cm guard from Hyattsville, Maryland that is playing his second professional season and first with Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf and tearing up the Pro B averaging 23,9ppg, 7,6rpg and 5,3apg. Last season as a rookie he played with Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProA) playing 29 games averaging 10.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 43.9%, FT: 80.2%. He started his basketball career at DeMatha Catholic and in 2012-2013 started his career at Seton Hill (NCAA2) and as a freshman played 28 games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 70.0%. In his second season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 12.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.6apg, 2.0spg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 43.5%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 77.9%. In his junior season at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 16 games averaging 13.1ppg, 4.8rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 70.6%. In his senior year at Seton Hill (NCAA2) he played 27 games averaging 20.8ppg, 8.7rpg, 4.1apg, 2.2spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 76.8%. He spoke to German Hoops after the 91-74 win against the Dresden Titans.
Kam, thanks for talking to German Hoops. Congrats on the huge 91-74 win against the Dresden Titans. It´s Sunday and after Julian Gamble supported you watching play did you do the same in his game against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen?
Yes I usually always try to catch a Bonn game and not only support Julian Gamble and the Bonn team but to learn from the game.
When you watch a BBL game like that do you watch a Josh Mayo closely what he is doing or even put yourself in his shoes and draw a picture how you would have handled certain situations?
I know that I’m not the same player as Josh is, what I try to do is see myself contributing my strengths to the team while looking for the weaknesses of not only the Bonn team but the opposing teams as well. To see what both teams are lacking.