Reggie Upshaw is a 22 year old 203cm forward from Chattanooga, Tennessee that is starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He played at Middle Tenn.St. (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 139 games. As a senior at Middle Tenn.St. (NCAA) he played 36 games averaging 14.5ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 60.4%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT: 72.4%. Before turning professional he played at the well known Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) playing 3 games averaging 14.3ppg, 8.3rpg. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.
Congrats Reggie on signing with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in Germany. As a competitor who played a great Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft): 3 games: 14.3ppg, 8.3rpg as well as playing NBA Summer League with the Milwaukee Bucks are you a bit disappointed that the NBA dream didn´t continue on after Las Vegas?
No I’m not disappointed with how summer league went this past summer I felt like I learned a lot from the Bucks organization about what it takes to be a pro.
Now you will concentrate on your professional career. You have signed with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. How did you experience your first summer transfer period delving into the professional sector? What made the German offer the most interesting for you?
This summer going into my first year pro I’ve just tried to expand my game. Work as hard as I could on my game overall as far as shooting and ball handling. The deal in Germany was the most interesting because it’s in such a respected league where I could really see myself coming in and making an impact as soon as I got there.
You come over as a guy with a very good character. Just a week before you were battling NBA players every day and then you state how much it´s a dream of yours to play in Germany and for Tuebingen. How much of your good character has been rubbed off from your dad Reggie Sr?
He’s a big part of who I am today if it wasn’t for him I don’t think my character would be like it is now.
Sometimes there are certain factors that could come into play why a player wasn´t able to stay in a situation, but for Middletown, Delaware native AJ English, living in paradise in Brindisi, Italy on the beautiful Adriatic sea which was a far cry from the long grey winter nights in New Rochelle, New York where he worked on his basketball trade for 4 years at Iona(NCAA) didn´t seem to help his play that much there the last few months. So for his rookie season with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A):where he played 8 games averaging 7.9ppg, 2.0rpg, 2.6apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 38.7%, 3FGP: 25.0%, FT: 75.0% to turn out so unspectacular most likely had nothing to do with his surroundings as he could of spent all his free time on the beach in early autumn and annoyed his friends back home with the exotic scenery via a Skype conversation. Since leaving the kodak picture scenery of Brindisi, Italy where he had an unspectacular 4-4 record with the club, he has been nothing short of spectacular with his new home in Germany and the Fraport Skyliners as he came and conquered as he has helped the team to a 7-0 record and aided the team to the Champions League playoffs while scoring in double figures in each game. The grey winter´s of Frankfurt would remind him more of New York city with the skyscrapers than anything else, but moreover there must be a reason for his stellar play and being able to feel so comfortable in his new location. English came into his eighth game with the Fraport Skyliners looking to remain perfect and had very fond memories of the Walter TIgers Tuebingen as shortly before the new year, he made all Tiger fans hearts sink as he dropped a spectacular off balance buzzer beater in traffic that would even have had NBA legend Larry Bird smiling from his French Lick living room sofa as the American finished with 21 points and six threes. English has been a type of spark plug for the team as head coach Gordon Herbert made the right choice in hauling in English who could be that missing piece for that playoff hope. English didn’t have any last second buzzer beater heroics this time, but still played an instruemental part in the game as he was a major force coming into the game in the first quarter with Frankfurt down 11-2 and stinking up the Fraport arena with their play worse than a dead skunk could on the side of the road. English didn´t play as many minutes as teammates Kwame Vaughn or Shawn Huff or have their stats, but the American made key plays, shots, passes and got the team ball movement rolling in the last 5.08 of the first quarter which helped turn around the game and lead the team on the right path to victory where they would never look back. At the end of the day, The American finished with 12 points, three rebounds and five assists and everyone noticed. “English hit a big shot in Tuebingen and did again today. He attacks well and is like a snake that slithers around the court. I saw him play at Iona(NCAA) and he put up good numbers there. He can definitely play”, stressed ex Telekom Baskets Bonn point guard Jared Jordan.
The Fraport Skyliners arrived into the game in 12th place with a record of 7-11 and came into the game having won three of their last games and had lost their last BBL game in Oldenburg 71-64. Like in Oldenburg, they had problems against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in the first quarter, but rebounded from their funk and then played a complete game for 35 minutes. “We played good defense for long phases of the game and did a good job not allowing them any open shots. We had good ball movement and when we can do that in the game, we usually have a good chance to win”, warned Fraport Skyliner point guard Max Merz. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were clinging to their basketball lives at 16th place having a 4-15 record. They had lost their last eight games and last weekend to Science City Jena and in the first five minutes of the first quarter, one carefully could have thought that this may be the turning point of their long losing streak, but a basketball game has 40 minutes and Tuebingen was unable to offer any resistance against the Frankfurt offense for the last three quarters and couldn´t come to terms with the always aggressive and consistent defense. “We wanted to have a good start in Frankfurt something we hadn´t had in the last three games and did. But Frankfurt came back and did a good job making shots and getting to the free throw line. Shawn Huff gave them a huge boost with his shooting and they played good defense. You have to give Frankfurt a lot of credit with their defense. They play very good one on one defense, switch well and have good help. Coach Herbert always has good defensive teams”, added ex Marist(NCAA) point guard Jared Jordan. “We didn´t have a good start, but came back with our energy and defense. We did a good job staying calm and got back into the game”, added Fraport Skyliner forward Niklas Kiel.
It never gets boring watching guys in the NBA like a Lebron James or Draymond Green fill up the stat sheet on a regular basis with ease the way Tom Brady does winning games with an offense that any other quarter back would struggle with and wish they could flee the responsibility. You always know what you will get from a Lebron or Green as they do so much well, but then again on the other hand, you have players that in many ways are able to also do everything these guys can do, but to a way lesser extent, but then again have one basketball ability that they especially shine in and use mostly to their advantage on the court. Even though a David Bell can do many things well on the court and is a lot better passer than people might realize, he shines mostly with his scoring and is simply a knock down shooter. Another guy that excels the most at one aspect of the game is ex ratiopharm Ulm center John Bryant who plays for AS Monaco now and led the BBL in rebounds three years in a row as he owned the paint area from 2010-2013 averaging 10,0rpg as one could have named him Mr rebound for good measure. However one player that owns the assist in the easyCredit BBL the way Bill Russell owned the rebound back in the day is Jared Jordan who has inherited the nickname of Mr pass for a reason in Germany the past years. Jordan is a 32 year old 187cm point guard from Hartford Connecticut and is in his 10th professional season and sixth in Germany and second consecutive season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He has dominated the assist stat in Europe the way Michael Jordan dominated the scoring race in the 80´s and 90´s in the NBA as well as How Lebron James has in his career. He is currently leading the German easyCredit BBL in assists at 8,6 and has won the crown the last six years and two years ago in Spain and currently on track to win his seventh straight assist race dating back to the 2010-2011 season. He was no slouch in his first three professional seasons as he was fourth in the Baltic league as a rookie, second in the D-league in 2008-2009 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and fourth in the BBL in 2009-2010 which was his first season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn in a growing league. However he already put up mind boggling assists averages in college at Marist(NCAA) which already gave a premonition about what would happen when Jordan was a professional.
There are thousands of talented 201cm players in the United States, but only a small majority actually can call themselves a professional after having played college basketball. One of the biggest dreams of Augustine Rubit was too be able to earn a living playing professional ball even if that unwanted label of achieving all this was against all odds, but like some and so many not, he chose the right direction early in his life instead of going the wrong route and is now excelling in his sixth year of basketball after graduating from Christian Life Center Academy. The 26 year old from Houston, Texas came from a poor family and lived in a bad area of town, but thanks to a close knit family and friends that cared, the American was sheltered from making any wrong decisions and after his basketball talent was realized concentrated on focusing only on that. He played at S.Alabama (NCAA) from 2010-22014 playing a total of 117 NCAA games and in his first year won the All-Sun Belt Freshman of the Year averaging 13.1ppg, 11.0rpg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 55.9%, FT: 67.6%. He continued to put up huge numbers and had his finest statistical season as a junior averaging 19.0ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.2bpg, FGP: 47.7%, FT: 79.3%. As a senior he averaged 17.0ppg, 9.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 66.7%. Just to put into perspective how dominant he was as a junior he scored in double figures in 27 of 29 games and had 16 double doubles. He had monster games against LA-Lafayette scoring 34 points and hauling down 12 rebounds and had 31 points and 11 boards against Georgia State. He won numerous awards while playing at S.Alabama like being named first team twice in the All Sun Belt conference and as a junior was awarded the All-Sun Belt Player of the Year. He left the school having recorded 54 double doubles, was second in points scored and third in blocks. Another big achievement was adding a three pointer to his inside game making him more versatile as after going 0/11 in his first three years in the NCAA worked on his shot and averaged a respectable 32% in his senior year. As a rookie he came to the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and had no problems adjusting to the European game filling in for the departed Tyrone Nash and totally convincing all that he has major game. As a rookie he played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, Reb-4(7.3rpg), 1.2apg, FGP: 57.2%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 77.3%. He scored in double figures in 26 of 33 games and had 4 double doubles. He had massive games against Artland with 27 points and had 24 points against Bremerhaven and Bonn. This season he moved to international club play with ratiopharm Ulm and once again had some odds against him how he would fit in to a team that had way more talent and scoring options than in Tuebingen, but in the first few months the American is the leading scorer, rebounder and blocker on the team in BBL play and in Eurocup second in scoring and rebounding behind Raymar Morgan. In a Ulm system that has less length under the hoop and likes to play fast, Rubit can use his athletic strength while still doing the dirty work inside and doing what he does best grabbing rebounds and scoring the mid distance shot. If Rubit can keep up the consistency and the club can keep moving further in the Eurocup play, the American will without a doubt keep developing and like ex Tuebingen alla round player Reggie Redding be an interesting option next season for a top team in the Beko BBL like Alba Berlin or other teams in Europe.
The best news that the Fraport Skyliners got in the week leading up to the game against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen was that German national player Johannes Voigtmann would not have to get operated on his knee, but the exact time period when the big man could be in uniform was not available or known. However that good news which really wasn´t any news since the Fraport Skyliners still had a walking wounded list as long as the sudden expectations put on the shoulders of Steffen Effenberg the once German national soccer player who has been brought in to Paderborn to save their sinking sink as the Frankfurt team had to go against a strong and healthy Tuebingen team with a slim rotation. Not only did head coach Gordon Herbert have to fight against his million of inner thoughts asking him “Why me” about the ongoing injury bug, but also the question why the basketball god had to scold and torture the team two times in a row losing on the last possession in Oldenburg and last weekend at home against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg. The game was robbed in Oldenburg through a bad call while the loss against Wurzburg came on a last second air ball from John Little who was as open on the wing as Steph Curry is when he is awaiting the ball and next splash to surface. The Fraport Skyliners could easily be 3-0 going into the game instead of 1-2, but basketball isn´t always fair as Gordon Herbert has experienced the last years. Bad luck can happen one time or maybe even two times in a row, but a third time? The Fraport Skyliners met the Walter Tigers Tuebingen in their second home game of the season carrying a 4-1 record against them in the last five games and didn´t let the Tigers cage them and have them for supper, but left the floor after 40 minutes with a top team effort letting Tuebingen crawl back on to the bus somewhat embarrassed with a 92-64 victory. The Fraport Skyliners got support from everyone from Quantez Robertson steering all his 14 points in the first half, stellar play from Aaron Doornekamp and John Little with 16 points a piece, the first BBL points of Niklas Kiel and a three from 17 year old Gari Zeeb in garbage time and leader Jordan Theodore unleashing some pretty Beko BBL showtime in the fourth quarter courtesy of the athletic presence of Lituanian Tomas Dimsa and balancing his scoring and playmaking perfectly. “This was a great team win. Each player contributed in some way. We played with high energy, shared the ball and played good defense. We took two tough loses in a row by a combined score of 4 points and we learned that to be successful we have to play good defense for 40 minutes. We all pulled together tonight and had no real lulls on offense”, stressed New York native Jordan Theodore. Shortly after the siren sounded the first word that Tuebingen head coach Igor Perovic uttered in the catacombs of the Fraport arena after looking at the stat sheet was 64, the amount of points his team scored, but he also knew that the Frankfurt win was well deserved. “Frankfurt played excellent and played with more power. They executed well on offense and hardly missed. We had problems to create and Frankfurt was more physical, better organized and supplied more pressure”, added Tuebingen head coach Igor Perovic. “We had a good week of practice and got better on defense giving up only 64 points. When we play good defense and hit shots then we always have good chances to win”, warned Florida native Mike Morrison. “This was not a good game for us. Credit Frankfurt because they are a great team. They took us out of our offense and forced us to too many turnovers which limited our shots and we didn´t get enough transition points”, said Sugar land Texas, native Jesse Sanders.
Depending just how many Green´s had babys in the last two weeks which was about as possible as it is Tom Brady almost always finding tight end Rob Gronkowski in that needed second when he has to for a quick touchdown or German national goalie Manuel Neuer making that all so important big save time after time as he displayed against Georgia last weekend, the number of Green´s living in the United States recently was 492,338, and there is only one Green named Garlon that can be so very proud to say that he is the brother of NBA player Gerald Green who has performed spectacular dunks for years in the NBA scene winning the 2007 NBA dunk contest. Garlon Green is a 24 year old 201cm swing man from Missouri city, Texas that is playing his third professional season after having a stellar career at TCU (NCAA) and has got his foot wet in professional waters in Australia and Japan the last two seasons. Green compares his game to Dwayne Wade and Andre Igoudala and comes to Tuebingen already having to fill big shoes in the jumping department as Tigers manager Robert Wintermantel has never seen such an amazing jumper like him in the BBL. His athleticism is so extreme one could be bold and even compare him to a Quantez Robertson in the freak athlete department, but he takes it all in stride and doesn´t let his mouth do the talking, but his legs. “It’s kind of hard to think of myself as a “freak athlete” but it’s nice to know people enjoy how I play”, expressed Garlon Green. Green was a go to guy at his previous stations and will be again in Tuebingen as he currently leads the team in scoring, but will also need to distinguish between taking good and bad shots and that he will have teammates that could lead the club in scoring on any night. Showing that he is a versatile player is high on his priority list, but when it comes to dunking and his brother Gerald he always has a special place for these two issues as he was the best dunker in 2011 in Houston and took part in the college dunk contest in 2013. His brother Gerald is only 5 years older than him, but is already starting his 11th professional season and despite all the success that his brother has had there is not an ounch of jealousy there. “He is my brother and I love him just like my other siblings”, warned Garlon Green. Green won´t be transformed into the savior role that ex Miami heat guard Daequan Cook had a few years ago, but will be an important part of the puzzle for success for a talented Tigers team that should be somewhere in the middle of the standings and not have to fidget in April about the possibility of moving down to the Pro A. At home growing up, Garlon had to take a seat backwards when it came to quenching his thirst when Gerald was around. “I don’t see him as “Gerald Green the NBA player” He is the same older brother who drinks all the soda”, smiled Garlon Green. If Gerald ever does come in for a lightening visit to Tuebingen at least then one would hope that Garlon will have the oversight of the remote control and of course the soda in the refrigerator.
Jesse Sanders is a 25 year old 190cm point guard from Sugar Land, Texas that will play his fourth professional season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Liberty where he played until 2012. In the 201-2013 season he started his professional career in Europe with Fileni BPA Jesi (Italy-Lega2): 25 games: 9.7ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 75.7%. In the 2013-2014 season he played down under with the Sydney Kings (Australia-NBL, starting five): 13 games: 10.5ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.5apg, Steals-2(1.8spg), FGP: 53.7%, 3PT: 17.2%, FT: 89.5%. Last season he led the Belgium league in assists and played withLimburg United averaging 11,5ppg, 5,1rpg and 5,0apg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Jesse thanks for talking to German Hoops Where are you at the moment and how have you been enjoying the early part of the summer?
I’m in Sugar Land visiting my parents. It has been great to be back and to introduce my daughter (Ava Michelle Sanders) to all of my family. Having some of our favorite Mexican food has been great as well.
You have signed with German beko BBL team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. How excited are you be playing in the fastest growing league in Europe?
This is an awesome opportunity and I’m really looking forward to getting over there and beginning work with the team!