The Fraport Skyliners Wake Up In The Third Quarter As Tai Webster Steers Them Past the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig 78-71

So far in the pre season and in the first two games, Fraport Skyliner guard Philip Scrubb has been exceptional and his scoring brought back memories to his days at Carleton(CIS) where he was that complete player, but also that consistent scorer that many deemed the greatest Canadian college player that ever played during his illustrious career from 2010-2015 where he won 7 titles and averaged 18,0ppg in his last three seasons. Many who see Scrubb as a type of savior this season as having that ruthless and annoying sniper like in the last years with Sean Armand and AJ English is missing and will need the ultimate Scrubb scoring production in many games this season. After dropping a solid 21 points in the victory in Jena and 25 points in the home win against BG Goettingen, the Canadian was brought down from his scoring crest in the disappointing 79-62 loss in Ludwigsburg as those southern German teams aren´t the most appetizing for the 2016 Fiba Europe cup winner as he last suffered such a drought in the 2016 BBL semi-finals 3-1 loss to ratiopharm Ulm where he averaged only 7,0ppg and his scoring diminished in every game where the only positive thing was his 7/16 shooting from downtown as at least his stroke hadn´t been totally dismantled, but his shots were simply cut down. Last Sunday, the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg also had done their scouting and did a super job taking Scrubb out of the game and just limiting his game. The Canadian finished with only six shots on 1/7 shooting. When you aren´t getting shots and when they aren´t falling, one tends to attempt to help out in other areas and he did hauling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists. However it is apparent when Scrubb isn´t an offensive presence, the Fraport Skyliners struggle and this will continue to be a big key of opposing teams to do in putting a dent in the Frankfurt offensive game plan. The Fraport Skyliners with a 2-1 record welcomed the 1-2 Basketball Lowen Braunschweig who roared into the Fraport arena with a bitter 76-73 loss to the Telekom Baskets Bonn and after a slow first quarter, Frankfurt erupted in the third quarter finding their game again disposing of Braunschweig 78-71. After the third win of the season, Philip Scrubb had rebounded from his poor Ludwigsburg game scoring 11 points, but for a second consecutive game, his shot was off the mark as he went 1/5 from downtown, but reflected on his game and was happy that the club had pulled out a hard fought win. “We came out slow on defense and they were getting easy lay ups and we had no offense. But in the second half we got stops and started to get out on transition and got easy buckets. I always try to come out aggressive in each game. It isn´t all about scoring. Tonight I wanted to be aggressive and not force anything and just make the right plays. Teams are starting to take away my catch and pop shot more, but that opens it up a bit for me being able to get in the paint and get other guys shots”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig played a very strong first half, but collapsed in the third quarter and never recovered. “It was tough playing in Frankfurt. They were tougher than we and were very physical in the third quarter. We missed too many plays and suffered too many turnovers”, stressed Braunschweig center Scott Eatherton.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has covered the Cinderella career of Deandre Lansdowne since he played in the Pro B with Herten via Pro A team Hamburg Towers. The American has adjusted well to the BBL as he dropped 11 points and dished out 6 assists in a 78-71 loss in Frankfurt

3,340 patrons turned out for a rare Wednesday night BBL battle as German national coach Henrik Roedl was on hand as was Finish national coach Henrik Dettmann. The Fraport Skyliners were without Niklas Kiel again while German Richard Freudenberg was back again. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig caught the Fraport Skyliners flat footed at the get go storming out to a quick 7-2 lead as ex SE Missouri St. (NCAA 26 year old American Jarekious Bradley showed his vast scoring qualities sneaking inside for an easy layup as Ex Hamburg guard Deandre Lansdowne supplied the dime and then nailed a trey. Lansdowne took advantage of transition getting a lay in. However Frankfurt quickly found a rhythm thanks to BBL rookie Tai Webster who got going as he tied the score at 7-7 scoring in the lane and nailing a jumper. Basketball runs dominated the first quarter as Braunschweig regained their composure going on a 6-2 run to retake the13-9  lead. In the run, they got vital production from ex Northeastern center Scott Eatherton who is a tough cookie to crack one on one as he blew by Mike Morrison from the wing, Lansdowne hit a free throw and ex Giessen guard Tim Schwartz connected on a trey. Both teams were battling back and forth as Frankfurt had a sudden spurt of offense taking the 14-13 lead as Jonas Wolfath-Botterman made an easy lay in after wonder child Isaac Bonga made a difficult pass in traffic and Webster scored again in the lane as he is almost unstoppable on the penetration. However Braunschweig ended the first quarter getting the lead back as Bradley finished a tasty tip in dunk and ex Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius guard Zygimantas Janavicius hit a tough off balance runner as Braunschwieg led 17-14. Frankfurt was led by Webster while Bradley carried Braunschweig. “We have been starting off slow in recent games. They shot very well not letting us get out on transition”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 57% from the field and 40% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 37% from the field and 0% from outside. Braunschweig had the 10-7 rebound edge, but four turnovers while Frankfurt only had one turnover.

In the second quarter, it seemed like the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig could easily lead by 10-15 points with the amount of mistakes the Fraport Skyliners were making, but in reality they never led by more than eight points as they just couldn´t break away from Frankfurt. Eatherton started off the second quarter with another tough finish a big speciality in his game this time over Wolfarth-Bottermann. Scrubb finally hit his first field goal of the game cutting the Braunschweig lead to 22-18. Whenever Braunschweig was threatening to break away, Frankfurt would crawl back giving an offensive answer. Trailing 26-18, Mike Morrison hit a rare 20 footer off a broken pay and Scrubb found an open Webster who dropped a trey to cut the Braunschwieg advantage to 26-23. The Frankfurt play at both ends was too inconsistent in that after a strong play followed a lousy play that always allowed Braunschweig to add on to their slim lead. Frankfurt also had some fortune as Mike Morrison hit free throws and Quantez Robertson played cherry picker as a third loose ball in the same sequence squirmed right to him allowing him to finish easily cutting the Braunschwieg lead to 28-27. But Braunschweig continued to score and keep the lead as Eatherton scored a lay up in traffic which followed another turnover by Frankfurt which led to a Bradley lay in and 32-27 lead. Frankfurt had a lack of concentration losing some easy balls before getting into the half court offense and had problems with their timing. Braunschweig had stepped up their defense and had become a pest in the passing lanes. Braunschweig played smart playing a zone against Frankfurt´s almost non existent ball movement and were going inside a lot finishing easily. Some of the blame on the offense lay on the shoulders of Tai Webster who was an ace finishing and creating for himself, but lacked finding his teammates better in the second quarter. After a Frankfurt time out Eatherton continued to wreck havoc inside scoring again and Bradley nailed a three for the 37-29 lead. Frankfurt didn´t let the second quarter go totally to waste going into the break with a strong 8-1 run to trail only 38-37. In the run, Frankfurt continued to have little team play and relied on their stellar 1-1 play as Wolfarth-Botterman scored inside, Webster made a fancy acrobatic lay in and Quantez Robertson scored inside with a second remaining. “We weren´t making shots. We were playing too individual as every guy was trying to make the big play. We have to trust our offense and then the easy shots will come”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 49% from the field and 29% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 11% from the three point line. Frankfurt rebounded better taking the rebound battle leading 17-15, but had seven turnovers coughing up the ball six times in the second quarter while Braunschweig had only six turnovers.

After a less than satisfactory first half, it was more than evident that the Fraport Skyliners would come out a changed team and did taking over the game as the turning point came in the third quarter as they charged out on a 15-0 run which hurt Braunschweig and they could never fully recover from. Eatherton actually got Braunschweig on the board first with a massive tip in where the intensity level of Frankfurt on the boards looked meek, but that would change quickly. Then out of seemingly nothing the Fraport Skyliners rattled off 15 unanswered points and halted 6 consecutive Braunschweig offensive possessions to lead 52-40. Scrubb got Frankfurt going nailing a trey as he waited for Bradley to get upinto the Fraport arena sky moved to his right and fired away. Then Wolfarth-Bottermann got easy points inside and Finish national player Shawn Huff nailed a trey as Frankfurt led 45-40. The run continued with a Webster lay in, free throws and a Huff jumper. Frankfurt was a new team that played very controlled on offense and hit their three´s better. Webster did a fine job doing the playmaking as there was less one on one play and more team play. “The second half was the best that Webster has played this season. He was more engaged and got into the plays better”, stressed Gordon Herbert. Key for the Frankfurt turn around was also their much improved defense as they became more physical and their good defense led to good offense. They forced turnovers and a good chunk of their 10 steals and 8 blocks in the game came in this sequence as Robertson blocked a Eatherton dunk and Wolfarth-Bottermann denied Lansdowne on the slam down. 23 year old 206cm ex Tenn Tech (NCAA) forward Anthony Morse halted the big Skyliner run with a fast break bucket. Braunschweig was playing catch up basketball now and couldn´t do that as their defense couldn´t get the fair amount of stops as Frankfurt now could score more at ease something which they couldn´t in the first half. All of a sudden, Mike Morrison was a monster in the paint making a huge two handed dunk and then a hard alley-op dunk for the 58-45 advantage. Bradley did a good job keeping his team in the game somewhat, but Huff and Morrison closed out the scoring in the third quarter as Frankfurt led 62-49. “Coach Herbert told us at half-time to focus more on the defensive end. We started playing harder defense and were locked in. Once we got stops and really dug in and rebounded better our offense also came better. We allowed 11 points. That is how we should defend each quarter”, said Philip Scrubb. “Frankfurt got us out of rhythm and we didn´t get the shots that we wanted. They shot better and got out on transition. Once we found our rhythm, it was hard to come back”, stressed ex Herten guard Deandre Lansdowne. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 49% from the field and 24% from the parking lot while the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were shooting 41% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. Frankfurt kept the rebound lead 27-21 and had 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, The Fraport Skyliners never relinquished the lead as the closest that Braunschweig got was cutting the Frankfurt lead to seven points. Frankfurt got on the board first as Mike Morrison brought a little Derrick Allen as he made a hectic hook shot, but Braunschweig countered with a mini 5-0 run as Bradley nailed another trey and Eatherton scored inside again cutting the Frankfurt lead to 64-54.After Wolfarth-Botterman free throws, Braunschweig conserved some last energy going on a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 67-60. In the run they got instant power from Janavicius, Lansdowne and Bradley. After the loss, Lansdowne warned that Bradley will make a lot of noise in the BBL this season. “He is a scoring machine. He can do it inside and out and play the positions 2-4. He is a very good passer and uses the mis-matches well. He will be a scoring killer”, warned Deandre Lansdowne. Braunschweig was never totally out of it as even after a Scrubb turnaround and Robertson free throws for the 71-60 lead, they continued to counter as German big man Lars Lagerpusch made a dunk and Janavicius scored in traffic cutting the Frankfurt lead to 72-64. After a mini Frankfurt 4-0 run as Huff scored and Robertson nailed free throws for the 76-64 lead, Braunschweig closed out the game strong with a 7-2 run, but the Eatherton lay in at 1.08 and Lansdowne trey with 30 seconds remaining wasn´t enough as Frankfurt wormed out of their den with the hard fought 78-71 victory. “They had a little run at the end, but we had confidence in our defense and got stops when we needed to. We built that confidence on defense in the third quarter through talking and team defense”, warned Philip Scrubb. “We lost confidence at the end. We had them on their heels, but we didn´t fully want it. I think we could have got a lot closer if we had pushed each other more, but we weren´t there mentally”, added Deandre Lansdowne. The Fraport Skyliners had six guys in double figures and were led by Tai Webster with 16 points. Quantez Robertson had 15 points while Mike Morrison had 14 points. Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann added 12 points while Philip Scrubb produced 1 points and Shawn Huff supplied 0 points. The Baskets Lowen Braunschweig were led by Jarekious Bradley with 21 points while Scott Eatherton had 16 points. Deandre Lansdowne produced 11 points and six assists. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 21% from outside while The Baskets Lowen Braunschweig shot 47% from the field and 30% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 32-30, but had 15 turnovers while Braunschweig coughed up the ball 16 times.

 

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Will Scott Eatherton Be The Savior and Become An Elite BBL Center This Season With The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you were to take a stroll in Braunschweig´s most bustling shopping area Schloss-Arkaden which is a German version of a shopping mall which would pass very well and with flying colors in the states and notice a tall young man hovering over every other shopper with his 203cm, you probably wouldn´t even know who he was unless you followed basketball in Braunschweig. A Bremerhaven fan that has been in the basketball closet for many years might even mix up the Hersey, Pennsylvania native with a young Judson Wallace give or take three centimeters and six kilo´s, but that young man in fact is Scott Eatherton of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig who could be the team´s savior and become an elite BBL center this season. The American will be turning 26 in late December and is in his third professional season. He had a stellar NCAA career at St Francis and Northeastern where as a junior he averaged 15.5ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.2apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 65.8% and was a CAA Tournament Winner in 2015 with Northeastern. His steep road to the top of the basketball ladder has risen each season and as a rookie he played for Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 35 games averaging 12.4ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.2apg, Blocks-4(1.5bpg), FGP: 62.3%, 3PT: 29.0%, FT: 64.1%. Last season he made another step moving to the higher EasyCredit BBL to BG Goettingen (Germany-BBL) playing 33 games averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-4(6.9rpg), 1.5apg, FGP: 59.6%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 76.9%. Why can Eatherton be the club´s savior and become an elite BBL player this season. Quite simple, when one looks at the current Braunschweig roster, there isn´t much offensive force besides Eatherton. The club has a very limited budget and hauled in very inexperienced Americans who haven´t played in a high league like the BBL with Deandre Lansdowne, Jarkeious Bradley and Anthony Morse who have to prove this season that they can. They have talented young Germans, but none that have made their real BBL breakthrough yet. The only two proven players in Europe are Austrian Thomas Klepeisz and Lithuanian Zygimantas Janavicious. After his very strong last season Eatherton could have been even better had he not ran out of gas in the second half of the season, he could have been one of the top three centers in the league last season. With so much responsibility and offensive need on his shoulders, this could be the season where he has to put it all together and have monster stats and become an elite BBL center for the sake of his team. One could say that the American who describes his play to Argentine legend and NBA player Luis Scola played very well through mid March scoring in double figures in 19 of 24 games and produced five double doubles. He had some very good personal games early in the season against FC Bayern Munich and Brose Bamberg, but then did cool down in the last six weeks something that he wants to change this season. “I thought I had a very good season but I did realize a lot of things I still need to improve on and then just didn’t have the opportunity to finish it off”, stressed Scott Eatherton who lists Harrison Barnes as his toughest foe on the court in the NCAA.. This off-season the American worked very hard on his game and could also give his valuable hidden strength to his teammates when trying to involve them better in the offense. “I worked on gaining muscle to be a better defender on the block. I also am always working on improving my skills all over the court. My ability to get my teammates involved. I feel I do not need the ball a lot of possessions to have an impact on the game”, warned Scott Eatherton. Given his vast array of offensive tools, sky is the limit for Scott Eatherton this season as coupled with less talent and more responsibility, the American will have a very good season, but if he totally explodes depends on how well his teammates give offensive support, but becoming an elite center is makeable. He is a confident player as are all players, but then again not too cocky about his game, but in one area where you definitely don´t want to get in an argument is about chocolate. A German can laud the Milka and Ritter Sport as much as they want, but being that Eatherton comes from Hersey where America´s top chocolate bar Hersey is produced, he remains faithful to his home roots and like in the one on one taking himself over any opponent knows which chocolate bar he would choose. “I would still choose a Hershey bar”, smiled Scott Eatherton.

After barely missing the EasyCredit BBL playoffs in 2015 and 2016, the club last season had a season to forget as they struggled finishing in 16th place. That they only won six games and stayed in the league was mainly due to Phoenix Hagen closing down shop and Rasta Vechta playing an even worse season then Braunschweig. Braunschweisg started off the 2016-2017 season winning the first game against Vechta, but then prompt fell into a hole losing 12 of 13 games and never recovering and getting out. A huge problem was consistency, but also nights where they couldn´t offer more than a Pro A type effort on offense and just didn´t defend well giving up 80 points or more 24 times. It didn´t help their cause either when they did defend well, they still lost not being able to close out the game losing 77-75 to BG Goettingen or 67-66 to Wurzburg. On top of that they mustered under 60 points five times and just didn´t have that offensive stability. What has to bring some fear to Braunschweig this season is that last season´s imports were stronger than what is present this season. The club had massive fortune that Pro A players Carlos Medlock and Carlton Guyton panned out and were able to make the next step up and had solid seasons. On top of that there was Dyshawn Pierre who was one of the leagues biggest steals coming from  Dayton (NCAA) and having his breakout season with Braunschweig leading the BBL in rebounding and averaging 14.9ppg, Reb-1(7.9rpg), 2.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 80.7%. The other import Geoffrey Groselle also made the jump from the NCAA and Creighton to the BBL giving vital offensive stability averaging 10.9ppg, 6.2rpg, Blocks-2(1.2bpg), FGP: 64.1%, FT: 60.2%. All four players have departed and their skill with the exception of Scott Eatherton can´t be matched on paper. Braunschweig Head coach Frank Menz will need the kind of production he got from these players last year from his imports this year that will be difficult to match.

The only players the club was able to keep were their German players experienced Tim Schwartz and young talents Constantin Ebert, Luis Figge, Lars Lagerpusch, Niklas Bilski, Tom Alte and Austrian Thomas Klepeisz. Schwarz is a 29 year old 197cm forward that has the most BBL experience from the Germans having played four seasons with teams like Giessen, Artland, Crailsheim and Braunschweig totaling 91 games. Last season he played 31 games averaging 5.0ppg, 1.9rpg. He is the captain and a feared three point shooter and excellent free throw shooter. Him giving added stability a push in his BBL stats would be refreshing. Constantin Ebert is a 21 year old 184cm point guard that also has BBL experience with Wurzburg playing eight games and last season with Braunschweig played nine games and with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) 21 games averaging 8.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 25.5%, FT: 75.8%. He is a quick pass first guard that likes to penetrate and one of many Germans on the team looking for his breakthrough. Luis Figge is a 20 year old 197cm swing man that brought 57 Pro A games to Braunschweig last season and had his first taste of the BBL last season playing 20 games averaging 2.2ppg, He played also at MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 7 games averaging  0.0ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.0%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 71.0%. In the summer of 2016 he played at the European Championships U20 in Helsinki (Finland) -16 (Semifinals) playing 7 games averaging 4.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4spg. He is a well rounded inside out player, but still needs to be groomed at the BBL level as his breakthrough may still be one season away. Lars Lagerpusch is a 19 year old 207cm forward that has belonged to the BBL roster the last two seasons. He breathed his first BBL minute at age 17 against FC Bayern Munich. Last season he played 4 BBL games played also at MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 15 games averaging 5.8ppg, 4.1rpg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 16.7%, FT: 60.6%, and played also for Junior Loewen Braunschweig (NBBL) playing 7 games: Score-3(21.6ppg), Reb-1(13.0rpg), 2.4apg, 1.9spg, 1.4bpg, 2PT: 59.1%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 74.4%. He may be the current biggest Braunschweig talent and he has the complete big man game and should get more opportunities to showcase his game should he stay injury free. Niklas Bilski is a 19 year old 185cm point guard that started his career in the Giessen organization and played his first pro A game at age 16 .Last season he played with the  MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 20 games averaging 6.3ppg, 2.3apg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 41.2%, FT: 66.7%, He played also for Junior Loewen Braunschweig (NBBL) playing 10 games: Score-2(23.0ppg), 3.0rpg, 4.7apg, 2.4spg, 2PT: 51.9%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 60.9%. He is a very skilled point guard that can score and pass, but might get his first BBL minutes this season. Tom Alte is a 22 year old 207cm forward that is another player that will get big minutes with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB), but also hope for some BBL time. He first came on the scene and was noticed in the 2014-2015 season when he played with TV Langen in the Pro B playing 28 games averaging 10.6ppg, 6.6rpg, Blocks-2(1.8bpg), FGP: 53.6%, FT: 75.3%. He was rewarded with a season with Ratiopharm Ulm where he played 6 games and played in the Pro B with Weissenhorn. Last season he played one BBL game with Braunschweig and mostly played with MTV Herzoege Wolfenbuettel (ProB) playing 7 games averaging 8.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 73.3%, FT: 50.0%. Injuries kept him back last season, but this left handed strong inside player with good shot blocking qualities still has a lot of upside. Thomas Klepeisz is a 26 year old 185cm point guard that is going into his second season with the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig. The two time Austrian champion with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights last season with Braunschweig played 29 games averaging 6.5ppg, 1.4rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 39.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 91.9%. Last season he had some big games against Vechta with 23 points and 19 points against FC Bayern Munich, but he will need to make another step this season if his team wants to be successful. His organization may be the most important thing for the success as he isn´t the overwhelming scorer.

Besides Scott Eatherton, the team added five new players with German Bazu Kone, Lithuanian Zygimantas Janavicius, Deandre Lansdowne, Jarekious Bradley and Anthony Morse. Kone is looking for another chance and his breakthrough after not reaching that in Ludwigsburg or Giessen last season playing only a total of 15 BBL games and eight BCL games. He already got his first taste of the BBL from 2012-2014 playing 22 BBL games for Bremerhaven and then had two fine Pro A seasons with the Hamburg Towers, but he wants to prove that he is more than just a good Pro A player. He has the tools to be a solid BBL player, but has to finally prove it. He is an exciting guard that is lightening quick and gets in passing lanes well, but needs to show that he can take responsibility and hit the three with more consistency. Janavicius is a 28 year old 192cm guard that brings valuable experience to a very young team. He knows what it takes to win having won 4 titles in his homeland and reaching six finals. Last season with Panevezys Lietkabelis (LKL) he played 46 games averaging  6.0ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.6%; He also played 14 Eurocup: games averaging 3.7ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.4apg. The pass first point guard will be a plus for the young German guards, but also needs to show them that he can make the next step in a higher league. Deandre Lansdowne is a 28 year old 187cm guard that has lived the Cinderella basketball story not playing professional basketball for years after finishing at FT Lewis in the NCAA 2 where he helped his team to two RMAC tournaments wins. Via Mexico, he was discovered in 2015 by Herten where he exploded averaging 22,9ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.6apg, Steals-5(2.6spg), FGP: 61.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 66.5%. He didn´t disappoint last season making the jump from the Pro B to Pro A with the Hamburg Towers averaging 12.3ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 71.7%.. He is a physical guard that just has the knack for being able to score in many ways especially in traffic and is a great defender. His never die attitude will infect his teammates with positive vibes when the tough gets going. Bradley is a 26 year old 195cm forward that like so many players in the past have made the next step to the higher league BBL from the lower league Finland. The Memphis native brings two years of valuable European experience as he had a fine rookie season with BK Iskra Svit (Slovakia-SBL) playing 15 games averaging 15.7ppg, Reb-5(6.9rpg), 1.1spg, Blocks-4(1.0bpg), FGP: 57.9%, 3PT: 37.9%, FT: 87.8% and last season helped Joensuun Kataja Basket (Finland-Korisliiga) win the league title playing 43 games averaging 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 43.0%, FT: 85.3%; FIBA Europe Cup: 2 games: 7.5ppg, 7.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg; BCL: 15 games: 7.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 92.3%. He is an athletic player that can finish inside as well as hit the three with authority. He should be another player like a Ken Horton did in the past and make the next step in the BBL. Morse is a 23 year old 206cm forward from Georgia that played 106 NCAA games at Tennessee Tech, but didn´t get real minutes until his senior year averaging 7.6ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.9bpg, FGP: 60.3%, FT: 58.5%. Last season as a rookie he had his growing pains starting with SCM CSU Craiova (Romania-Liga Nationala), in Oct.’16 signed at Atomeromu SE Paks (Hungary-A Division) playing 8 games averaging 2.9ppg, 5.0rpg, He is hungry to show that he has game and it will be interesting to see if he can make his breakthrough under Frank Menz and get minutes.

So where will the journey of the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig go in the 2017-2018 season? The club isn´t quite as deep as last season and will have to rely heavily on their import players to get ample and consistent production and hope that a few of the young Germans can also help the team improve on last season´s 74 points per game average. The club isn´t as big, but smaller than last season, but more athletic and will have to use that to their advantage and play quick basketball. The club has a deep guard rotation and will have to live by that in large chunks of games and need extra help on the boards to improve their 28 rebounds a game from last season. Last season the team built a pretty good team chemistry despite the tough season and will need that to be growing and working early into the season. A slow start would be a catastrophe as they can´t start as slow as last season. It is a delight to see this organization function as Frank Menz has always had a special heart for the German youth and hopefully some of his race horses in his stable can make the next step and become good BBL role players already this season as they will continue to get their chances. Any serious injuries to their imports will be fatal. It won´t be an easier season than last season, but maybe tougher as their lack of depth will derail them in many games as well as lack of experience with the German players. The Basketball Lowen Braunschwieg will finish somewhere between 14-18

Lucky Jones(PAOK Thessaloniki) Has Heard It All From Lucky To Have Me To That Was A Lucky Shot

Lucky Jones is a 24 year old 198cm guard from Newark, New Jersey that is playing his third professional season and first with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1). Last season he played with Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA) playing 11 games averaging  5.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 25.7%, left in Jan.’17, later that month moved to ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1) playing 14 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 73.8%. As a rookie he played with betFIRST Liege Basket (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 31 games averaging 14.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 77.4%. He started his basketball career at St. Anthony’s High School and ten had an illustrious career at Robert Morris (NCAA) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 131 games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 14.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 33.1%, FT: 78.9%. He spoke toGerman Hoops before the opening Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Ludwigsburg Germany.

 

 

 

Lucky thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. You were here some weeks ago playing in a exhibition tournament in Bayreuth. Was that your first time in Germany or had you been here as a rookie when you played in Belgium?

 

 

That was my second time in Germany and now it´s my third. When I was playing in Belgium as a rookie we played against a German second division team, but I don´t remember the name of the team.

 

 

 

Some of the Americans felt the cooler weather refreshing coming off the plane in Germany weeks ago. Do you still appreciate that cooler weather or has the Greek weather already become something that your getting addicted to?

 

Not really. I am from New Jersey where it´s cooler and live in Maryland where the weather is about the same. I don´t really have any issues with the weather. When we came to Germany in September to play in that tournament in Bayreuth, we had just come from Thessaloniki where it had been really hot.

 

 

 

 

You have a very special first name Lucky. How did you experience having a name like this growing up and what has been the coolist and worst comments you have heard concerning your name?

 

 

The coolist comments I get is people saying they love the way I play or they are lucky to have me. The worst ones are when people say that was a lucky shot or move. At the end of the day all it is is words and I don´t let it bother me. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions.

 

 

Your playing your third professional season and first with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1). After a strong rookie season, last season you suffered some growing pains before finishing strong in Greece with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1). Besides winning what is your goal this season as a player?

 

My biggest goal is to keep getting better each season, perform at the highest level and help my team get to the best position to win games. I want to become not only the best defender in Greece, but in all of Europe. Playing against the best will bring out the best in me and I will always give my best for my team on the floor.

 

You have some very talented Americans like Kevin Dillard and Brandon Triche as well as Greek players. What type of role do you have and do you see yourself being an impact player in the Greek and Champions leagues?

 

 

My role is to always bring a lot of energy and have to defend the other team´s best player being able to hold my own in crunch time and not let him get the best of me. I think that I will always have some kind of impact on the game as long I am focused, attacking, defending and having confidence in my abilities than all will be fine.

 

Talk a little about the guard tandem of Dillard and Triche? How special are they to your team and what have you appreciated most about their games so far?

 

I appreciate playing with all my guards. But these two guys can score the ball and relive pressure off of everyone else. I think that I am a threat as well on the offensive end and that I am sure to compliment them as well as they compliment me.

 

 

 

 

 

Let´s talk a little about your game? You’re a forward that can score and rebound and a very tenacious defender. To what NBA player would you describe your game and does your defense often spark your offense?

 

 

Lebron is my favorite player that can do so much. I love his work ethic. It is too bad that so many don´t appreciate his game, but in my opinon they don´t know basketball. I would compare my game to a Kawhi Leonard or a Scottie Pippen from back in the day. I like how Pippen brought that defensive intensity and didn´t care how people felt about his game and on offense being able to step up and do anything. He seemed to always be in the right place at the right time and be efficient.

 

 

 

Last season you split time with  Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket (France-ProA) playing 11 games averaging 5.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 25.7%, left in Jan.’17, later that month moved to ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1) playing 14 games averaging 10.7ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 73.8%. How difficult were the first 5 months in France. What do you feel did you learn from this experience?

 

 

I did everything that was asked of me. It wasn´t like the coach or I was bad, but it just didn´t work out. We were winning when I left, but I felt that I had to be in a situation where I was really being appreciated and where I wouldn´t be asked to do things that I wasn´t supposed to do. Patras welcomed me with open arms in mid season and appreciated me and I was really thankful for that.

 

 

You then moved to to ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1) where everything worked out better. What do you feel was key here for helping you make the next step and rebound from your disappointing months in France?

 

 

I came to Patras knowing right away what I had to do. I knew that I was in a better situation than in France. The Patras Organization loved me as a human and as a player. They wanted to bring me back, but I wanted to take the next step and with PAOK I had the chance to play Champions League. I appreciated the chance I got with Patras and am happy to be with PAOK now. I think that in order to get to the top, you need to experience mishaps along the way.

 

You played against top Euroleague teams Panathinaikos losing by only three points and 72-53 against Olympiacos scoring 13 and 8 points. Were these games sort of your screen test giving you the satisfaction that you can play with these top teams?

 

I always believe that I can play with the top teams, but it is up to an organization to give me that chance. At the end of the day I feel that I can compete at the highest level. I continue to show that I can. Last summer I played in Atlanta with NBA players That is the confirmation to me that I can play at the highest level. The atmosphere playing against those two top European teams and players was amazing. That was just another opportunity to show that I can play at the highest level.

 

 

You played against top Euroleague players and Greek legends Vassillis Spanoulis, Antonis Fotsis and  Ioannis Bourousis. Which player will forever stand out most in your mind with what they displayed on the court? You will play two of the three again this season as only Bourousis left for the big bucks in China.

I caught those guys on down years. Spanoulis is a Greek legend. He is an older point guard, but still so smart and knows how to run a team. Those three guys have put in so much work to get to where they are and I want to do the same so I can be there one day.

The toughest guy that I had to guard was Mike James who is with the Phoenix Suns now. For me Panathinaikos was like the Golden State of the NBA while Olympiacos was like the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA being so balanced and not having to rely on athleticism, but rely on basketball principles

You played with one of my favorite guys Miro Todic who I covered 10 years ago in Germany. How will you always remember this Serbian big man?

Todic was a good big. He was a smart big body that would make you pay if you didn´t watch out. What I have learned in Europe is that the bigs here are so smart and make you work for everything. The foot work in Europe is the best I have ever seen. In USA there is a lot of athleticism and all the cross overs, but I give credit to the amazing footwork in Europe

 

As a rookie you played with betFIRST Liege Basket (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 31 games averaging 14.3ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.5apg, Steals-1(2.5spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 77.4%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from New Jersey?

The time difference really ate me up in the first weeks. It was very difficult getting used to the time difference. It took me some months to finally get to bed at 12 and not at 4 or 5am. But our schedule forced me to get to bed earlier. I learned very quickly with the veterans on the team that it was important to take care of my body.

You were the youngest of 5 Americans that season with Liege. How valuable was the more experienced Dominique Morrison for you getting a feel for the European life on and off the floor?

He was one of my close friends then and now with Jamie Smith. He showed me the ropes and what was right especially how important it was to get proper treatment before a game. I am considered a hard worker and I got adjusted to the European lifestyle right away. I made sure not only to spend time with my fellow Americans, but also my Belgium teammates. I didn´t want to be one sided.

You played at Robert Morris(NCAA) from 2011-2015. You were a two time NEC tournament finalist. Which loss was the most bitter?

 

 

Both loses were tough. But the final loss my freshman year, I didn´t know about the big deal and circumstances surrounding everything yet. We had had one of the best seasons in Robert Morris history so it hurt a bit. But reaching the final my junior year hurt the most as I had been through a lot with my teammates like Karvel Anderson over the years. It was a tough loss, but I wouldn´t trade it for anything in the world. In the next game we beat St Johns and then almost beat Belmont. Losing the final was a bad experience, but in the end, it ended all well.

 

As a senior you played top schools North Carolina with a starting five of future NBA players and Duke with 7 future NBA players and Grayson Allen. When you remember what some of these great talents were capable of doing then and remember where you were as a player, was there really so much difference between them and you? Do you feel that given the chance other guys including you playing for less known schools could have got to the NBA having that kind of talent to play with?

 

I am playing with a chip on my shoulder. Many don´t give me credit and that has made me the player I am today. I don´t see those ex North Carolina or Duke players playing in the NBA now as elite or special, because once you get to Europe or the NBA you still play against them as those NBA players come over here to play. They compete the same way I do. Those guys were more fortunate than me and very many other players to have been very skilled at a young age to be able to play for a North Carolina or Duke. I do credit their hard work. It doesn´t matter if you play in the NBA or Europe, because sooner or later you will see them somewhere on the court. It doesn´t bother me that they have had that opportunity, but it just fuels me to play harder. I am blessed to be able to call myself a professional, because millions would like to play professionally.

 

 

 

 

How did head coach Andrew Toole groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Robert Morris?

 

 

Coach Andrew Toole took his time to teach and mold me. We had our growing pains. We were two New Jersey guys that bumped heads on many occasions. But we understood each other at the end of the day. I would call him at 6am and ask him to work out with me. He put in the time and effort and helped me to become the player that I am today.

 

 

 

Who won a one on one in practice you or Rodney Pryor who played NBA Summer League last season and averaged 18,0ppg as a senior at Georgetown and is starting his professional season with Sakarya Buyuksehir Basketbol (Turkey-TBL)?

 

 

To be honest we never played 1-1. We played 2-2 and I won three years in a row. He is a great talent and has a lot of skill. We played against him in pre-season.

 

 

 

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

 

Lebron James, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

Everyone has their own opinion. Jordan is 6/6 in finals and Lebron has been to the most consecutive finals. I do love what Lebron is doing. I have stopped comparing them. They are the two greatest to ever have played the game.

 

 

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?

 

 

He has great energy in how he attacks the game. No one except Lebron has the work ethic that he has. He had unselfish teammates that let him get those extra rebounds. I feel his stats were earned. Without them, I feel that they wouldn´t have made the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

It was an incredible draft with guys like Fultz, Ball, Monk and Fox coming out. It will be interesting to see what they can bring with so many great teams competing this season. This NBA season will be one for the ages.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

James Harden is my second favorite player after Lebron. I love his beard, how elusive he is getting to the rim and how he involves his team. I am on their bandwagon. I hope that they get the third seed. Many say it won´t work, but they have great talent. I believe it can work.

 

 

 

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?

 

The Cavs got the better deal short term while the Celtics got the better deal long term. In 2-3 years the Celtics will be scary.

 

 

 

Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder end this season with the trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony?

 

 

I think that offensively they could beat Golden State. Those three players are so versatile and key is that they can guard multiple positions. If they gel then they should get to the Western finals. But you can never count out the Spurs. They are always capable of making a splash. They always seem to be able mold together at the right time.

 

 

 

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

 

Rush Hour.

 

Thanks Lucky for the chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The EN Baskets Schwelm Didn´t Need A Serious Chris Hortman Scoring Show Taming The Fraport Skyliners Juniors 76-63

So it´s been only two games, but things sometimes never change and for EN Baskets Schwelm versatile guard Chris Hortman he could be singing the same song he did last season when he exploded game after game and so far has continued to be a menace in the higher league Pro B. Last season the Cinderella career of the Milwaukee native continued after having to prove himself in three lower college level´s Juco, NAIA and NCAA 3, the 29 year old 191cm point guard who compares his game as a mix between a Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker who had only one brief gig in Australia as a professional in the last three years just dominated the Regionaliga like no other averaging (25.0ppg), 9.7rpg, 5.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.9%. He scored in double figures in all 26 games, scoring 20 points or more 16 times, thirty points or more 10 times and totally blasted off against Frintop with 45 points and also registered a triple double against Herten with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists displaying his knack for not always having to go off on teams like a Steph Curry, but can also be that playmaker like Chris Paul. Often those players that were left off the radar and had to prove themselves in the Regionaliga have been able to make the jump the way a Ricky Easterling did with Saarlouis and BG Karlsruhe in the Pro B and with Horton it has been no different in the Pro B. After two games, he has exploded again and is a one man wrecking crew and putting up mind boggling stats leading his club in scoring with 24,5ppg, rebounding with 11,5rpg, assists with 6,5 and three point shooting at 54,5%. On a talented EN Baskets team that has many international veterans, he has meshed in perfectly and also been that special anchor on defense as he has helped lead the team to giving up only 63 points per game in the first two games against new Bavarian Pro B team Coburg and new Pro B team Kit Karlsruhe. Hortman brought his perfect 2-0 EN Baskets Schwelm to Frankfurt for a nontypical 3.00pm afternoon matinee and had less veterans to contend with except Tobias Jahn, but more German talents like  Garai Zeeb, Konstantin Schubert, Armin Trtovac and Cosmo Gruehn who wanted to put a dent into his perfect season. However the American from Milwaukee, Wisconsin remained perfect and didn´t need to put on a serious scoring show as he had enough support from his teammates taming the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 76-63. “We had our ups and downs and key was sticking together and getting the 50/50 balls. We let our offense take over which led to easy offense. We communicated very well on the defensive end and helped one another”, stressed Chris Hortman. The American who had a stellar rookie season at Ibbenburen finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds and had an off night shooting only 5/13 from the field and 4/8( from the free throw line. The American knows that making the jump from the Regionalliga to Pro B is a process. He also showed that he doesn´t have to score right away, but tried to get his teammates going before he started taking shots. “The speed at the Pro B level is a lot faster, but I feel that I am keeping up well. The most important thing for me is always being focused and getting the win. My game comes from the feel of the game. If the team needs me to score then I bring it, but that wasn´t the case at the start and I focused on rebounding and being aggressive on defense”, stressed Chris Hortmann. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continue to struggle and were once again unable to put together a solid team effort for 40 minutes as they struggled shooting, rebounding and closing the lane. After the loss, German Tobias Jahn struggled to find the right words for the loss. “We hit nothing and didn´t get the job done on defense. Experience was a factor as it seems they average 30 years of age and we 20 minus me. They played with more intensity and we didn´t play Frankfurt basketball”, stressed ex Ehingen center Tobias Jahn.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing EN Baskets Schwelm guard Chris Hortman after producing 15 and 14 stats in 76-63 win against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors on the road

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without Isaac Bonga who was questionable for the game and being rested for the BBL game in Ludwigsburg on Sunday while Richard Freudenberg was sick. Hortman was disappointed that he couldn´t battle Bonga who is a projected 2018 NBA draft pick. “I have heard of Bonga´s notoriety and I would have liked to measure up to him. But it was all about the team and I was focused on winning. It would have been the same if Kobe would have been on the floor”, stressed Chris Hortmann. Both teams didn´t need much time to find their rhythm as both teams got going quickly as 30 year old 206cm forward Dario Fiorentino who has played with teams like Herten and Essen showed his precise inside out play scoring inside and hitting a trey while Frankfurt countered with an old school hook shot by German Armin Trtovac and three pointer from rookie Alex Fountain who played at Houston Baptist (NCAA) and was making his home debut. However with the score dead locked at 5-5, Frankfurt showed first signs of defensive lapses allowing the EN Baskets Schwelm to go on a 7-0 run as they were sharing the ball as three guys scored with Hortman draining his first three, 29 year old Lithuanian Andrius Mikutis who played at John Brown(NAIA) from 2007-2011 hit a pretty turn around shot and ex Iserlohn small forward Thomas Reuter scored on the fast break as Frankfurt trailed 12-5. However basketball is a game of runs and that was once again proved as now it was Frankfurt´s time to shine as they escaped out on a 9-2run to tie the game at 14-14. Alex Fountain was extremely vital in this phase as he scored twice demonstrating that he may not be that total Travis Thompson replacement in terms of ruthless sniper qualities, but he will be a very important scoring threat as he can really shoot the ball. Trtovac scored again showing that the hook shot has slowly become his bread and butter and third year man Konstantin Schubert hit a jumper. Frankfurt couldn´t keep that offensive consistency as they allowed the EN Baskets Schwelm to break away again on a 6-0 run to trail 20-14. In the run, Reuter nailed a beautiful fade away jumper while 33 year old Croatian Alexsandar Cuic who played at Oregon State scored on a lay in getting a nice pass from 207cm big man Sebastian Schroeter and then connected on free throws. Reuter then dropped a three, while Frankfurt got some production from the bench from second year man Cosmo Gruehn getting a bucket inside. Hortman put some added salt in the Frankfurt comeback wound hitting an amazing off balance lay in at the buzzer as the EN Baskets Schwelm led 25-19 after 10 minutes. “Frankfurt had intelligent ball movement and we didn´t bring the intensity on defense yet and that is why we couldn´t break away sooner. Hortmann didn´t have to show his scoring and did what was important for the team. In some games he doesn´t even score in the first 10 minutes, but has great stats at the end of the game”, stressed EN Baskets Schwelm manager Omar Rahim. The EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 67% from the field and 50% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 44% from the field and 18% from outside. The EN Baskets Schwelm led the rebound duel 8-6 and had two turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.

The second quarter remained tight as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to battle back and even led for the first time in the game, but gave it back to Schwelm as they went into halftime with the lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors played their best basketball in the first four minutes of the second quarter exploding on a 11-4 run to take their first lead of the game 30-29. In the run, Frankfurt finally found a healthy groove in their offensive sets and did a lot of damage in the paint area playing the EN Baskets Schwelm game. Schubert scored twice, Fountain nailed a jumper and Gruehn finished inside. Garai Zeeb had been hit hard on the chin earlier in the game and was playing with a patch and chip on his shoulder nailed a three pointer to close out the run. Frankfurt was aided by Hortman being off the court and were their most aggressive in this phase in the paint and offensive boards. However Frankfurt just was unable to put it all together and stay consistent as the EN Baskets Schwelm crawled out of their funk ending the second quarter going on an annoying 10-4 run to lead 39-34 at the break. In the run, the guests got a lay in from Mikutis and a trey from Fiorentino. Frankfurt got buckets from Jahn on a turn around shot and a nifty finger tip roll lay in from Zeeb. “In the Frankfurt run, we didn´t play clean sets and had timing problems. After we missed a few shots, we got unsure and were in a rut. However we found back into the game which showed the quality of our team”, stressed EN Baskest Schwelm manager Omar Rahim. The EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 45% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 19% from the three point line. The EN Baskets Schwelm had the slim 19-18 rebound edge and three turnovers while Frankfurt had four turnovers.

The EN Baskets Schwelm took over in the third quarter leading by as much as 15 points as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to struggle at both ends of the court. The EN Baskets Schwelm didn´t need much time to get going as they slapped the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the face with a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 49-37. In the run, the EN Baskets Schwelm got vital support from Hortman with a step back jumper, Fiorentino trey and two buckets inside from Mikutis. The more aggressive defense from the EN Baskets Schwelm forced Frankfurt too numerous tough shots and turnovers which were key in the run of the guests. Sometimes a few three´s can change the dimension of a game as Fountain who was the only consistent offensive Skyliner on the afternoon hit a trey which was followed by a trey by Jamine Knothe to cut the EN Baskets Schwelm lead to 49-43. However the lack of Skyliner consistency continued to be that unneeded monkey on their back as their run didn´t faze the guests as they shot back with a devastating 9-0 run to extend their lead to double digits again at 58-43. The EN Baskets Schwelm continued to make chaos in the paint as after easy lay ins by Hortman and Cuic, it was 23 year old 188cm guard Jean-Louis Marley who played 66 Regionaliga games for Alba Berlin 2 got started making one difficult lay up after another making one seemingly in New York traffic and the next in Tokyo. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t hide their faces in the sand, but continued with their comeback going on a 9-2 run to close out the third quarter getting back into the game trailing only 60-52. In the run, Frankfurt was aided by Zeeb getting aggressive in the lane scoring twice including one difficult lay in high off the glass where one could clearly see his fast first step, Trtovac hit a 20 footer and ex Kronberg NBBL star Felix Hecker hit a beautiful trey from the corner. “We played good team defense and didn´t let any of our guys hang out to dry. We were helping out on screens and just working together on the defensive end”, stressed Chris Hortman. “We came out of half-time wanting to minimize our defensive mistakes. We wanted to play well, but just couldn´t execute the way we wanted to in certain situations”, added Tobias Jahn. The EN Baskets Schwelm were shooting 47% from the field and 33% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 28% from the parking lot. The EN Baskets Schwelm led the rebound duel 29-24 and had seven turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, the EN Baskets Schwelm wore down the Fraport Skyliners Juniors with solid inside out play and played good defense to preserve the win holding them to 11 points. Frankfurt and Knothe started off the fourth quarter with a 5-2 run nailing a trey and Fountain connected on a 20 footer to cut the EN Baskets Schwelm lead to 62-57. However the EN Baskets Schwelm then slammed the door shut on the Fraport Skyliners Juniors with a 8-0 run extending their lead to 70-57. In the run, Mikuto drilled home a three and Marley continued his lethal rampage inside scoring his fourth and fifth difficult lay ups of the second half. Hecker connected for his second three of the game cutting the guests lead to 70-60, but with time elapsing the EN Baskets Schwelm put an exclamation point on their third win of the season as Mikuto nailed another trey and Schroetter scored inside closing out the game. “Marley was key in the second half. He is our toughness. When we need tough things then we go to him. He is our bully Bob. He is our Ron Artest and put his stamp on the game”, warned Chris Hortmann. “Marley hit all tough shots. There will be days where that doesn´t happen. When you are scoring and they continue to score then it is hard to come back. We just weren´t able to put our stamp on our defense the way we should of. The only positive thing in this game was that we never gave up”, warned Tobias Jahn. The EN Baskets Schwelm were led by Andrius Mikutis with 20 points.Chris Hortman supplied  15 points and 14 boards and Jean-Louis Marley produced 12 points and Thomas Reuter 10 points. The Frapor Skyliners Juniors were led by Alex Fountain with 22 points. The EN Baskets Schwelm shot 46% from the field and 36% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 40% from the field and 26% from outside. The EN Baskets Schwelm won the rebound battle 42-30 and had 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors coughed up the ball 8 times.

Chris Hortman(EN Baskets) Developing My Mentality Will Come With Dedication And Continually Pushing Myself To Get Better And Not Accepting Mediocrity

Chris Hortman is a 29 year old 190cm guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that is playing his second season in Germany and first with the EN Baskets Schwelm. Last season he played for the TVI Basketball SWAP Ballers Ibbenbueren (Germany-Regionalliga) playing  26 games: Score-1(25.0ppg), 9.7rpg, 5.1apg, 2.9spg, FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 76.9%. He got vast experience in the states before turning professional playing at various schools like  Milwaukee Area Tech JC (JUCO), Missouri Valley (NAIA),  Wisc.-Stout (NCAA3) where as a senior he played 27 games averaging 14.7ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 42.2%, 3PT: 36.0%, FT: 85.5%. He also played with the  Gold Coast Rollers (Australia-SBL) in 2014 averaging 28,6ppg. He spoke to German Hoops after the 76-63 win against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in Frankfurt.

 

 

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber post game interview with EN Baskets Schwelm guard Chris Hortman after he led his team with 15 points and 14 boards in the 76-63 win against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors

 

Chris thanks for talking to german hoops. The EN Baskets Schwelm are 3-0 at the moment. How good is basketball life for you presently?

 

 Life is good right now our team is winning and I’m playing descent. Excited for what is to come of this season.

 

Congrats on the 76-63 victory in Frankfurt against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. It was a game where you were never really in danger of losing. In comparison to the first two games, where would you rate the teams third performance?

 

 I think this was a real character check game. Our opponent was a very young team, but also talented. We were able to jump out and be aggressive with them on both ends of the floor which resulted in an early lead. The game went on and they made their run. As a team, we never folded, we stuck together and the bench came in the game and made big plays. This game really shows who we are, a deep experienced group with talent in every position that can hurt you!

 

The EN Baskets Schwelm shot ok, but dominated the boards. What do you feel was key for getting the third win in a row in the Pro B?

 

 I believe there was two main factors first, our bigs. Sasa, Dario and Sebastian did an amazing job bodying up and boxing out and keeping them off the glass. And our teams defense. Really trusting each other and finishing out the defensive possessions with the rebounds.

 

Is there a secret to why the EN Baskets Schwelm have started off so well?

 

No secret. Just old fashion hard work and attention to detail

 

l How key is the team´s experience and early season chemistry gelling?

 

 It’s everything. We got tons of guys with experience and being able to put it all together has been the most important part of our season so far.

 

The EN Baskets Schwelm are averaging giving up only 66 points per game. The communication has been spot on. What do you feel can still be improved on the defensive end?

 

 Defensively we have been great but yeah I do think there is room for improvement. Just more communication to each other and more intensity on keeping your man under maximum pressure without fouling.

The club has so many experienced guys like Mikutis, Schroetter or Fiorentino as well as Cuic. If you had to have the annoying choice as to which guy has especially been most vital in your adjustment to the Pro B who would it be?

 

 Choosing would be tough they all play their roll, each one of them help me make the adjustment and they all give me little things that they think will help maximize my talents on and off the court.

 

Jean-Louis Marley was a one man wrecking crew in the paint hitting 5 tough buckets in traffic in the second half. The team has a special name for him and how important is it to have him on the court?

 

Yeah, Marly was amazing for us in the second half. We actually have a nick name for him and its Bully Bob. He is our toughness; he is our Ron Artest. He brings intensity every practice and games that foresee the rest of us to match his level.

 

How important do you feel are you for a guy like Matthias Perl? Granted he has BBL experience and has played at a high level, but it seems like he is especially motivated more with you on the court. Does his playmaking precision give you some freedom to not always have to create for others, but concentrate on scoring and other things which you excel at?

 

Yes, playing with him is great. He has an uncanny ability to get into the lane with ease sucking all the defense then having the ability to make the pass to the open man. Having him on the court defiantly relives me of the play making and just lets me relax and focus on putting the ball in the basket.

 

Your putting up great numbers through three games averaging 21,3ppg, 12,3rpg and 4,7 apg. How content have you been with how you have arrived in the Pro B?

 

Not too content. Don’t think I ever will, maybe when I have a game of 100% field goals and no turn overs then I’ll probably want more rebounds and assists, but I am very excited about what this year could be for me if things keep going at this pace and our club keeps winning games!

 

You told me after the game that a big difference to the Regionalliga is the speed. What other factors have been challenging for you making this new step?

 

 I’ve got used to the speed and now the main challenge is just learning and adjusting to my teammates. Making sure I can help put them in situations where they are successful as well.

What was really interesting to see in the Frankfurt game was that you didn´t need the ball right away and take the first shots and score many points, but allowed other guys to get involved first. Do you always take what the defense gives you or first look to get the team going before you start to get to work on scoring?

 

 Honestly its more about what the team needs. Other players were in rhythm, so it was more about me finding where else I could impact the game.

 

What will be key for you to keep consistency intact this season?

 

 Simple. Stay in the gym. Get up quality reps. Bring it every practice. Listen to the coach and things will go to plan!

 

How important will the mental side be for your development as a player continuing this season in the Pro B? What are you focusing most on in your defensive game so that you will continue to be a high impact defender in the Pro B?

 

I believe mentality is the most important when it comes to any form of completion. For me developing my mentality will come with dedication and continually pushing myself to get better and not accepting mediocre. Defensively I’m just focusing on the coach’s game plan on how we want to play defense and then just making it tough for my opponent.

 

In recent days the it wasn´t so much the talk about Lonzo Ball in La La land but Kyle Kuzmar. Is he the real deal? Can he become an impact player with Ball around?

 

 Yeah I think Kyle is going to be a baller and having ball around will only help him. It will be interesting about what type of season they can put together.

 

How do you summarize the Kyrie Irving/Isaiah Thomas trade? Which team got the better deal and will profit most from in the long run?

 

This trade was about one team getting rid of a guy who didn’t want to be there anymore and another team who needed a major piece to the team to beat Lebron. Who better than the guy who just left his team with high ambitions to be him. I think it’s a win in for both teams in the long run!

What do you see the Oklahoma Thunder doing this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony on board? Can they make a run in the west?

 

 I see them being another power house in the west. The MVP and 2 All Stars, they will make the playoffs just a matter of how bad do they really want to win after that.

 

What was the last movie that you saw?

 

 

Thanks Chris for the chat.

 

Will This Seasons American Basketball Troops Version Lift The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg To New Glory?

 

It isn´t always the most exciting time during the dog days of summer when the EasyCredit BBL is on hiatus and while teams are filling up their rosters at a gradual rate with some massive signings in Ulm like Luka Harangody or Toure Murray or the higher quality players that land in Bamberg or Alba Berlin most other teams land some interesting players here and there, but can´t really compete with these three teams in marque players. However one club that hasn´t belonged to the top 4 teams in the last years has been the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, but head coach John Patrick continues to make the summer exciting as he keeps staying faithful to bringing in American basketball troops to help bolster his roster. No Patrick doesn´t look to the Army bases for his future basketball talent as American troops are just a delicate figure of speech, but loves to experiment and haul in American players from the NCAA or NBA and D-league that gives him that unique challenge of having to mesh together talented American players that in most cases have never played in a European league and need to get adapted to the European style of play and get that we mentality strapped into his mind instead of that I thinking. Patrick has done a great job over the years spicing up the EasyCredit BBL with exceptional prospects. Since arriving in Ludwigsburg in 2013, he has a long list of players that he has signed like Coby Karl, Jon Brockman, Michael Stockton, DJ Kennedy, Jack Cooley, Tekele Cotton and Royce O´Neale who has made the jump to the NBA with the Utah Jazz. This season head coach John Patrick has fortified his roster with two European newbies with Thomas Walkup and Elgin Cook. Walkup was a three time Southland Conf. Tournament Winner with SF Austin and last season as a professional rookie was teammates with German national player Paul Zipser with the Windy City Bulls (D-League) playing 40 games averaging 7.6ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.4%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 84.5%. He has the all-around game that loves to fill up the stat sheet and could be a smaller version of a Alex Ruoff. Elgin Cook like Walkup comes from the NCAA, had a rookie season in the D-League and played in the NBA Summer League, but has a famous father Alvin who was a 4 time NBA allstar. Cook is a 198cm forward that played at Oregon (NCAA) and as a senior played 38 games averaging 14.8ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.3%. Last season as a rookie he played with the Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) playing 20 games averaging 16.2ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 59.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 77.8%. He is a very athletic player that will get many buckets in the paint, but not so dangerous from outside. Once again John Patrick has reeled in two very interesting and talented players and will be worth watching develop in their first season in Europe. One or more will probably be added throughout the season so seeing those new troops develop further with be a joy to watch how well John Patrick chooses new gems from overseas. Sometimes Americans falter in their first season abroad, but when looking at the Patrick track record if in Ludwigsburg or Goettingen where he hauled in guys like Jason Boone, Taylor Rochestie, John Little or Chris Oliver, all made the next step and have had long and fruitful careers in Europe. There were some other players that didn´t make the grade in Patricks system, but the majority have passed in flying colors which has made this coaching general proud of his American basketball troops.

Head coach John Patrick is in his fifth season with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and reaching the playoffs with this club with him is as self-evident each season as it is for for the San Antonio Spurs getting to the post season. Patrick´s playoff track overall is excellent as he got teams like Goettingen and Wurzburg there in the past and playoff record in Ludwigsburg is perfect as he has led his team there each season and was extremely close the last two seasons to pulling off the major upset and reaching the semi´s. In his first two seasons there, he played FC Bayern Munich tough losing in four games and then was swept by Brose Bamberg in his second season. In the 2015-2017 season, he took FC Bayern Munich to the wire losing in five and last season in the Schwaben series took last seasons surprise club ratiopharm Ulm also to the distant losing in a hard fought five game series. Last season they strung together two four game winning streaks and big wins in the regular season included a win against ratiopharm Ulm, but that was it in terms of beating the top teams. The question remains as always in the Patrick tenor when will the team make the next step and get through the quarterfinals? One can almost say just reaching the playoffs and losing right away has become boring. The organization and fans want more and could that step be this season?

Patrick always has a very talented roster and depth is always present, but he also always has to contend with an almost new roster as the fluctuation process of players coming and going is large. It is always more difficult to start over and be able to mesh together the many different playing styles and characters of players, but Patrick is a coach that has vast experience and has always been able to overcome adversity even during seasons when players came and went. His biggest losses were ex NBA players Jack Cooley and DJ Kennedy. Cooley who played with the Utah Jazz belonged to the most efficient players averaging 13,0ppg and 6,8rpg. DJ Kennedy came for the stretch run last season averaging1 2.1ppg, 6.2rpg, 4.1apg, As always his leadership was vital and not only his scoring was huge in two wins against ratiopharm Ulm, but his overall team play infected his teammates. The other big loss was Tekele Cotton who offered offensive stability averaging 9.1ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 86.3% and will play for Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia-VTB) this season. The team also lost valuable experience with Cliff Hammonds and Rocky Trice. The club held on two Germans Johannes Thiemann and David Mccray. Thiemann who couldn´t develop further in Bamberg made his breakout last season averaging 8.3ppg, 4.8rpg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 71.2%; BCL: 20 games: 9.4ppg, 4.3rpg, FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 75.3%. His day to day battles with Cooley last season helped him mature into a real BBL player and he should make the next step this season if he continues to get ample minutes which won´t be easy as the club has so much depth. Mccray will be turning 32 this season and entering his 12th full BBL season and eighth with Ludwigsburg. He won´t get you back to back 22 point games, but he is always good for a huge game. He is the ultimate team player that gives 110% on the floor on both ends of the court and with Adam Waleskowski has the most BBL experience on the squad. The team also held young German talent Mateo Seric is a 18 year old 205cm that didn´t start to play basketball until age 14 in 2013, but his development has been exceptional as he played his first BBL game last season against Alba Berlin at age 17. He played in three competitions last season playing six BBL games averaging 3.3ppg, 1.3rpg, played also at BSG Basket Ludwigsburg (Germany-2.Regionalliga) averaging 18.4ppg, played also at Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg U19 team (NBBL) playing 13 games averaging 18.5ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.4apg, 2.9spg, 2PT: 52.5%, 3PT: 23.5%, FT: 77.8%. In his second game last season against Alba Berlin, he scored 12 points in 18 minutes. His potential is unending as he can score inside and has developed a nice mid range shot.

This season John Patrick hauled in nine new players and besides the two American troops with Thomas Walkup, and Elgin Cook returned two players that had reached the playoffs with the club some years before with Adam Waleskowski and Kerron Johnson. Waleskowski is a 203cm center that will turn 35 in November and is one of those guys that just keeps chugging along and won´t hang up his sneakers. The ex Flordia State player is going into his 13th professional season, eighth in Germany and fifth with Ludwigsburg. Patrick and the American/German already worked together in Goettingen in the 2010-2011 season. Last season he returned back to BG Goettingen averaging 9.2ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 23.4%, FT: 80.0%. He proved that he can still be a consistent and valuable player despite his age. His athleticism is still there and his work around the rim is immaculate and he always finds a way to sting the opponent with a big three. He will be one of many weapons from the bench. Kerron Johnson is a 26 year old 183cm point guard from Huntsville, Alabama that won two A-Sun Tournaments with Belmont(NCAA) and is going into his fifth professional season after stops in New Zealand, France and Poland. This will be his third tour of duty with Ludwigsburg as he played the entire 2014-2015 season with Ludwigsburg averaging 14.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 79.2%. He came back in 2015-2016 averaging 10.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.9apg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 80.5%; In the Eurocup he played six  games averaging 8.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 4.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 14.3%, FT: 77.8%. Last season he played with  MKS Dabrowa Gornicza (Poland-TBL) playing 34 games averaging 14.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.2apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 81.5%. After a big season in Poland, he will be another force in the BBL with his overall strong point guard skills and lead Ludwigsburg to success as he led the team twice to the promised land.

Patrick did a good job getting experienced BBL players with Dwayne Evans, Justin Sears, Niklas Geske and Florian Koch. Dwayne Evans is a 25 year old 201cm forward that continues to develop very well in Germany making the step from the Pro A with the Gladiators Trier (Germany-ProA) playing 36 games averaging 15.6ppg, 8.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 31.5%, FT: 68.8%, and last season moved to the Giessen 46ers (Germany-BBL) and proved he can be an impact player at the BBL level with the Giessen 46ers (Germany-BBL) playing 30 games averaging 11.8ppg, Reb-3(7.1rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 80.3%. He will be a force on the boards with Patrick as well as bring excitement with his athleticism and be one of many good scoring options. His heart carries him to be that special player and Patricks best pick up from the BBL players. Justin Sears is a 23 year old 203cm forward that played tennis at age four before moving to basketball in the eighth grade and was the All-Ivy League Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 with Yale. He came to Germany last season had had no problems making the jump from the NCAA to BBL with the Giessen 46ers (Germany-BBL) playing 31 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 64.7%. He will be another very athletic inside player that will excite the crowd with spectacular finishes around the rim, but also make the mid distance shot. Niklas Geske is a 188cm point guard, but only 23 and like so many talented German players still searching for his breakthrough at the BBL level. He brings four seasons of BBL experience with three with Phoenix Hagen and one with Vechta and 116 games to Ludwigsburg. In the last three seasons he has averaged 15 minutes per game in the BBL, but is still searching for that chance of responsibility that can make him into a 20 plus minute BBL player. Last season with SC Rasta Vechta (BBL) he played 31 games averaging 4.2ppg, 1.3rpg, 3.6apg. He has all the good tools of a good point guard, but at times gets problems with more physical guards. All he needs is a chance, but that will also be difficult here with Patrick´s strong guard rotation. Florian Koch is a 197cm forward that played his whole career in the Telekom Baskets Bonn organization and in six seasons played 113 BBL games, but did become a more used player the last two seasons playing 68 BBL games. Last season he played 34 BBL games averaging 3.4ppg, 1.2rpg; In the FIBA Europe Cup he played 15 games averaging 5.0ppg, 2.8rpg. The German seemed to be getting more integrated into the Bonn system the last few years, but feels that he can make that next step in Ludwigsburg. He has a nice game and can shoot the three, but he wont increase his minutes in Ludwigsburg either with the stocked rotation. The last pick up of the season was 24 year old 190cm guard Adika Peter-Mcneilly from Canada who is a rookie out of Ryerson College (CIS) as he won a OUA title and was able to improve his scoring and rebounding each season and as a senior played 25 games averaging 18.6ppg, 7.2rpg, 3.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 85.0%. He is an all-rounder that can score at a high rate and his excellent rebounding skills stand out. On a team that is stacked with very much talent and as always strong Americans, this Canadian could be the big surprise of the season for Patrick if he can make the next step from the CIS to BBL.

So where the basketball journey of the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg end this season? Last season the club averaged 77 point per game while allowing 77 points. They were a solid rebounding team, but with the talent they had and duo of Cooley and Thiemann probably should have averaged more than 31 per game. This season the club is younger, but not less hungry as they have many BBL veterans on the team and with Thiemann and Mccray two guys burning for more than what the club reached last season. The club most likely will play a quicker form of basketball than what they practiced the season before, but nothing uncharacteristic to how Patrick has played the game the last 10 years starting in Goettingen to Ludwigsburg via Wurzburg. With the quickness and athleticism that the team has more of this season, the club should make a step on the defensive end and improve in that area. Since the club is smaller have more of a void on the boards, but with Evans/Sears should be able to make up with the losses to Cooley and Kennedy and with the adept rebounding of Mcneilly have another strong rebounding guard helping out. There are question marks as the club needs to build new chemistry and get the three American troops, Walkup, Cook and Johnson BBL ready, but there is a reason why John Patrick is one of the best coaches in the BBL and he will as usual have a playoff team come May 2018. If it is ready to make that next step and reach the semi finals will depend how well the three American troops play, if the club can defend better than last season and how well Patrick can mesh the talent and characters together to form a strong successful unit. The MHP Riesen will end up somewhere between 5th and 10th place in the regular season.

 

Adika Peter Mcneilly(MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg) Bringing Immaculate Work Ethic from Ryerson To John Patrick´s Lab

Adika Peter Mcneilly is a 24 year old 190cm guard that was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Scarborough that is making his professional debut with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. He played at : Ryerson College (CIS) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 93 games and as a senior played 25 games averaging 18.6ppg, 7.2rpg, 3.5apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 85.0%. His career highlights at Ryerson included winning the 2016 OUA championship and being a 2017 CIS finalist. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about basketball.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for talking to German Hoops Your full name is Adika Peter Mcneilly, but your new club MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg titled you as Peter Mcneilly. How do you like to be called best and does a nickname slip in at times?

 My first name is Adika and everyone calls me that. Don’t have a nickname

Before we get to basketball, I have to ask you about Family  Fued and Steve Harvey. You’re a huge fan. In every episode, it isn´t rare for Harvey to have hilarious lines. Out of all all the shows you have seen, which Harvey line has stuck with you most?

 There has been a lot of lines that Steve Harvey gets me laughing at. I think the funniest moments is when he doesn’t say anything and he has this blank expression on his face because of the wild answers he hears.

Congrats on signing with German EasyCredit BBL team MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. How was your summer following the transfer market. How did you experience your first contact with an agent and teams looking for your services. What kind of offers did you have?

This first summer transfer window has been an amazing opportunity, I am happy that MHP Riesen saw potential in me and I am excited to put on their jersey and play for the organization, the city, and the fans.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Some of your teammates from the Canadian national team like the Scrubb brothers have played in Germany. Did you ask them for any last minute advice or other friends like Jahmal Jones who played in the Czech republic or others who have had dealings with playing in Germany?

 It really helps having Jahmal Jones and Aaron Best as friends that goes beyond basketball and that I have kept in touch with after their time at Ryerson. They told me that playing professional basketball will be an experience and that I should go out and play as hard as I can.

 

You had a stellar career at Ryerson improving your points and rebounds each season and like Michael Frazier will be a rookie starting in one of the top leagues in Europe. Patrick has to have high expectations otherwise he would of signed more experienced players. Do you feel pressure coming in and living up to what you achieved on the court in the CIS to let it carry over into the professional ranks.

 I feel no pressure, I have played basketball a very long time and I am confident in my abilities. Nothing will be easy, as the league is very good but once again I am excited to go out on the hardwood and play.

We have loud guys on the team, like energy guys, but Adika is a different type of energy. He’s always there to help guys with anything they’re struggling with,” says your ex teammate Jean-Victor Mukama. Does this special energy trait that you have come from your big focus of family?

 Of course it does, my family instilled positive vibes throughout our household that helped each of us grow as individuals and I use those philosophies with basketball and everything I do in life.

You played four years in the Canadian college league CIS which continues to make strides and send more and more Canadians to the professional level. You probably have watched your share of NCAA games over the years, but with your experience in the CIS, how do you feel has this league grown over the years and is it still very far away from being as top level as the NCAA?

 The CIS has grown a lot, coming into the league several years ago to now I have seen the shift of players coming and out and playing oversees.

You played four years at Ryerson and to no surprise lost the CIS final to Carleton in 2017, the Golden State Warriors of the CIS. Do you feel like your development playing at a school like Ryerson was better in the long run than if you would have played at a Carleton where the top competition probably wouldn´t have hurt, but still would have been a different experience than having played at Ryerson?

 I enjoyed my time playing at Ryerson and I’ve learned a lot playing for coach Roy Rana. He has taught me the game to the best of my abilities and always believed in me. These last four years I’ve grown so much as a student and basketball player and there are countless people at Ryerson that helped me along the way.

You won the 2017 OUA title against top team Carleton 86-79 where your 29 points, 12 boards and four assists were significant in the win. What will you always remember most from this victory?

Our team perseverance during times of distress and how everyone in the locker room dealt with adversity.

Eight days later you lost the 2017 CIS final to Carleton 78-69? You gave your all with a 23 point game, but as a competitor I am sure even 40 points and the loss would of meant nothing to you. Did this put somewhat of a damper to the end of your CIS career?

 We played a hard game and gave it to Carleton as they won another Championship. One game would not define my CIS career, of course a national championship would be nice but I was more than happy with the way we played and how our season was played out.

You had many great games at Ryerson, but was your 36 point explosion/10/13 three´s), seven rebounds and six assists against Western your best game as a professional?

 It may have been and I have to thank my teammates and the coaching staff in putting confidence in me that game. Having a group of people wanting you to excel feels great.

How did head coach Roy Rana groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at Ryerson?

 Coach Roy taught me how to work hard and be the best player I can possibly be every time I stepped out on the court, whether that was in practice or individual workouts.

How does your summer workout plan look like on and off the court in 2017?

 Every day I am in the gym training with some teammates at Ryerson or in the weight room getting stronger, other than that I was finishing up summer school in preparation to graduate.

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

 Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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?

 LeBron is will always be behind MJ.

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?

Russell Westbrook is an amazing player and I love to watch him play. The effort he gives and the will to win the game inspires me to be better whenever I play.

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

 I think it is too early to know but I try and keep up with the season and let you know.

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?

 Both CP3 and Harden are phenomenal players with the very high IQ coming off the pick and roll. This season it is going to be amazing to watch them both work their craft to help the Rockets win basketball games.

What was the last movie that you saw?

 Shutter Island on Netflix

Thanks Adika for the chat.