Alba Berlin Is At Close Range Of Reaching The Peak In German Basketball Again

When trying to fit these three terms At Close Range, Sean Penn and Alba Berlin together, the average observer born after 1990 most likely will be unable to piece together the similarities that they do have, but the older generation that follow movies and German basketball might just be so shrewd and be able to link it all together. Close Range was an 80´s movie and for many the only thing that will be remembered will be the theme song by Madonna “Live to tell” and that it featured up and coming actor Sean Penn. At that time in 1985, the American who was an up and coming actor was reeling off the critically acclaimed flick the Falcon and the snowman and followed that up with the next masterpiece “At Close Range”. The only problem, nobody noticed except for the critics as the movie theaters weren´t overflowing as it grossed only $2,347,000 at the North American box office during its theatrical run in 83 theaters, earning less than its production budget of $6.5 million which was a major disappointment. Ok so these three terms might not directly have too much in common with the famous German team Alba Berlin, but there is always a way how certain things can be linked. In the case of acclaimed actor Sean Penn, Close Range and Alba Berlin, it has to do more with success. At that time, Sean Penn was a big acting talent, but just hadn´t really had that big success at the box office, but they would occur later in his career. It isn´t much different for Alba Berlin either. The German basketball powerhouse have had a lot of talent over the last 10 years, but not had as much success as a Marco Baldi would have liked. Winning cup´s are nice, but not the same as going through the playoffs and standing at the top of the peak at the end of the successful run. Winning a cup translates in a successful weekend where you win two games and was able to play your best basketball in a short period of time. The fact of the matter is that Alba Berlin hasn´t won a league title in 10 years and the Alba Berlin drought has been as annoying for the traditional organization as it has been for the Boston Celtics who also won their last NBA title in 2008. Penn was looking for that box office success in 1985 while Alba Berlin is seeking that league title success after a long delay, but they are at close range. But not only is the Professional team Alba Berlin that is at close range this season of reaching the basketball peak, but also the two youth teams the JBBL(Under 16) team and NBBL(under 19) team that are battling this weekend in Quakenbruck for two titles. Alba Berlin is battling the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg for the ticket to the easyCredit BBL final as well. In a few days the German basketball world will know if the Alba Berlin organization will celebrate two youth titles and in a few weeks if Alba Berlin can finally win a league title again. Even if Sean Penn and Alba Berlin have no real connection, Penn often is at close range to the court at the Staples Center in Los Angles sitting next to his buddy Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson, so at least there is somewhat of a basketball connection as Alba Berlin is at close range of reaching the peak again in German basketball.

The organization Alba Berlin has been a top German address for more than 20 years and continue to keep that winning tradition alive even if it has been a bit blinded in the last 10 years. With the emergence of FC Bayern Munich in 2011 and the amazing run of Brose Bamberg of 11 titles in the last 9 years has put Alba Berlin in the shadow and have been chasing that next BBL league title since 2008. Professional sports have had those dominating teams and Alba Berlin once was at the top for a while. In the 60´s it was the Boston Celtics that dominated with Bill Russell for many the greatest player ever, the 70´s had the Pittsburgh Steelers that won 4 Superbowls with the guidance of great quarterback Terry Bradshaw, the 80´s spawned the great Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers that combined for 8 titles and the 90´s and early millennium had the power dynasty of Alba Berlin that won 7 straight BBL titles from 1997-2003 producing great players like Wendell Alexis, Henrik Rodl, Marko Pesic and Mithat Demirel. That amazing dynasty ended 15 years ago where they won 10 titles in seven seasons and since then the club has only produced six titles in 10 years. Most other clubs would love to win at least one like a ratiopharm Ulm who have been a finalist for years, but for an established club like Alba Berlin that is used to winning, the inability to win a league title in 10 years has been a bitter pill to swallow. But their luck in that department may be changing as they have perhaps their best roster in the last 10 years. It may not be the most talented, but perhaps the best team of characters that it has ever had. And at the moment the junior teams aren´t too shabby either.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Franz Wagner after he helped Alba Berlin win the 2017 JBBL title in Frankfurt

But before talking about the junior teams, one has to comment on the senior team Alba Berlin. The club has been successful in the past years winning  three cups under the leadership of 1995 Korac cup winner Sasa Obradovic which was a huge accomplishment, but in the storied short history of Alba Berlin is like a side note when teams like Brose Bamberg have been ruling the basketball landscape the last 10 years. Even if Alba Berlin finished in the top three teams in the regular season in five of six years since their 2008 last league title, they just didn´t have the right personal to make the next step in the playoffs when it counted most. In the years from 2015-2017, they even struggled in the regular season and that was mostly evident two seasons ago when they were swept by the Fraport Skyliners after winning the cup in Munich only three months earlier. The biggest problem that Alba Berlin have had in the past 10 seasons concerning their personal hasn´t been the talent, because that has always been abundant, but having the right character players that any team needs to win that much coveted title. Ok they were able to win 4 cups in the last 10 years, but it is always easier to come together and make it possible in a two day tournament then it is going through the highs and lows of long playoff series. This season everything has come together as Marco Baldi got the right coach and he found the right players. With the 70 plus year old Aito, many were questioning this move as another Caki type of coach who didn´t know the BBL, but instead he brought new life to the organization. He made basketball fun again and all players have bought into his philosophy and flourished as they have given the name team basketball a special new meaning. The key signing has been Luke Sikma who has carried the team with his MVP season and all have followed. After an injury and tough last season, Peyton Siva is reborn and a top 5 point guard, Joshiko Saibu has made a 180 degrees turn and isn´t a solid BBL player, but a very good player now thanks to Aito, Lithuanian Marius Grigonis is back to his deadly sniper ways having that feared season he last had in 2013-2014 with  Penas Huesca (Spain-LEB Gold, and Americans Spencer Butterfield and Dennis Clifford have been quiet, but productive pieces to the success. One could continue to go down the roster list as Aito has given not only the team an identity, but each player has developed their own identity and have had success carrying out their roles. Their pinpoint accurate shooting and depth are their biggest strengths and no matter who is in the final, they will give whichever team a very good run for the money. Aito believes in his team and the team´s confidence is continuing to grow and have their best chance since 2008 to win their next league title.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Luke Sikma in the Fraport arena in 2017

It is necessary to mention that Alba Berlin also has been an extraordinary and big time organization in developing it´s youth. Even if Alba Berlin is still a distant third to top youth team Urspring who have won 5 NBBL titles since the begin of the league in 2006, Alba Berlin have won two titles and one JBBL title and now have the opportunity to make the double sweep this weekend as both teams are in the top 4. The most notable players that Alba Berlin have produced in their basketball stables in the last years have been Moritz Wagner and Niels Giffey who have reached the NCAA final and currently have so many new talented players including Moritz Wagner´s brother Franz Jacob and Jonas Mattisek and Hendrik Drescher all who have already received BBL minutes and have huge futures in front of them. This weekend Alba Berlin will participate at the JBBL(U-16) and NBBL(U-19) top 4 championships in Quackenbruck where the once BBL playoff team is now just a pro B team, but one thing is for sure, the Artland arena will have an amazing atmosphere as the small compact 3000 seat arena is always bustling and loud. It would be an understatement to say that Alba Berlin wasn´t favorites in both competitions even if there are other very talented clubs like FC Bayern Munich and the Young Rasta Dragons ready to do battle not to mention other worthy teams from Ulm, Ludwigsburg and Goettingen. Alba Berlin is defending their JBBL title from last season and are led by ex German national player and coach Vladimir Bogojevic where they easily disposed of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners 88-60. Are they feeling any pressure? I doubt it. In last season´s run, they lost only one game and this season has been the same as they lost only to their city rival Tus Lichterfelde. They didn´t march to the JBBL top 4 in Quakebruck, but stampeded like ambitious elephants trying to get their way to the next watering hole sweeping all three teams. Alba Berlin crushed their opponents in a rude fashion showing no mercy. They then creamed Phoenix Hagen 104-39 and 125-50 and then crushed the Young Rasta Dragons 115-53 and 124-39. They didn´t stampede their way as easily in the quarterfinals, but still easily disposed of the Metropol Baskets Ruhr 93-77 and 96-85. They come to Quakenbruch having outscored their playoff opponents by a whopping 657-243. Their biggest strength is their overwhelming depth as they have 10 players on the roster that average in double figures led by Elias Rodl(19,3ppg, 6,3rpg and 2,9apg) who is the son of 1993 NCAA champion with North Carolina Henrik Rodl, Matis Sedlak(16,9ppg, 8,9rpg) and Nolan Adekunle(16,4ppg,6,4rpg and shooting 75% from outside at 11/17). They will face BBA Ludwigsburg in the semi-finals and it may seem like déjà vu for anyone that follows the BBL team. Just like the BBL team, the JBBL team likes to play everyone and has inserted 16 guys this season and 12 players have averaged 10 minutes or more. Alba Berlin has the overpowering talent and will reach the final and have good chances to defend their title from last year.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Hendrik DRescher and Jonas Mattisseck two of Germany´s biggest talents from the birth year 2000 after they helped Alba Berlin reach the 2018 NBBL Top 4 with a 95-62 win over Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners

The only real difference between the Alba Berlin JBBL and NBBL teams is age, because like the JBBL team, the NBBL team has an abundance of talent and seemingly unending depth that also will get them over the top even if there is also very good competition here. Alba Berlin is a two time NBBL champion having won in 2009 and 204. They are led by 2018 NBBL coach of the year Josef Dulibic and this season they marched through the regular season and lost only once surprisingly in the Artland arena against the Young Rasta Dragons 75-69 and could meet them again in the final should they advance over ratiopharm Ulm. They totally outclassed their two playoff opponents Metropol Baskets Ruhr and Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners sweeping them with extreme ease and winning each game by a point average difference of 33 points and come to the NBBL top 4 with extreme self confidence and a deep roster where even their 11th and 12th guys could start for other teams. Their experience is overwhelming as they have four German U-18 national players and three guys with 2018 NBBL MVP Jonas Mattisek(17,1ppg,3,7rpg,5,5apg), Hendrik Drsecher(15,6ppg,8,1rpg,2,0apg) and Franz Wagner(11,1ppg,3,4rpg,1,8apg) that have BBL experience. Mattisek has even played three Eurocup games this season. Overall the club has eight players that averaged double figures in scoring this season. Two other very significant contributors to their success are Lorenz Brenneke(12,9ppg,5,1rpg,1,9apg) and Abdulah Kameric(10,8ppg,3,1rpg,3,5apg). Alba Berlin have a real tough foe in the semi-finals with FC Bayern Munich in prime time at 8:00 pm and in a way this is the final before the final. It will be a very good first test for Alba Berlin and if they meet a very focused Munich team that starts hitting right away, then it could be a real dogfight of a game. Even if FC Bayern Munich has nice depth, Alba Berlin´s depth is even better and their undeniable experience especially with the trio of Mattisek,Drescher and Wagner who practice at a way different level and have played at the highest level in Germany won´t be able to be matched by the Bavarian team. Alba Berlin totally overpowered their playoff opponents in the paint and it won´t be as obvious against FC Bayern Munich, but Alba Berlin does have the size advantage and will be able to do damage in this area and help them get to the final. Sky is the limit for the two Alba Berlin junior team´s this weekend in the Artland arena and they pretty much have their own destiny in their own hands and if nothing totally goes out of control should be heading back to Berlin Sunday night with the double and having Marco Baldi in a good mood again after the possible BBL sweep of the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg. The club will then be a step closer to being at close range of reaching the peak in German basketball again while Sean Penn wonders if he is at close range of having success with his next movie with Mel Gibson called The Professor and the Madman at the box office opening later in 2018.

Seth Clark Knows That Responding To Authority And Fulfilling His Role Is Something Professional Teams Will Like About Him

Seth Clark is a 190cm guard from Olentangy, Ohio that recently finished a 4 year career at  Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). As a freshman he averaged 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.1apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 80.0%. In hiss econd season at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3) he played 30 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 76.8%. In his junior season at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3), he played 28 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 77.6%. In his senior year he averaged 19,0ppg, 5,0rpg and 3,0apg and reached two NCAC finals and one NCAA 3 Sweet 16. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.






Seth thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how did you experience the NCAA Final 4?


At the moment I am at home in Powell, Ohio. I experienced the final 4 by watching on TV while helping the family prepare for Sundays Easter dinner during the many commercial breaks.







You just finished your college career at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). What kind of experience was it for you playing 4 years at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?

Playing at OWU was a very positive experience for me. Over the years I was able to grow as a player and as a man. The Ohio Wesleyan basketball program is very different than many other NCAA3 schools. By that I mean the coaching staff is very laid back and trusts that we as players will do what it takes to get ready for each season. So, no there are no mandatory workouts, the coaches aren’t holding our hand through the off season. I learned as a freshman that we are expected as players to hold ourselves accountable. This allowed me to develop a very powerful work ethic and a love for the process leading up to a season. Since I was a starting point guard since my Freshman season, I was in a position to lead my team and developed skills in doing so year after year. Being in a leadership role for 4 years straight gave me great experience in leading different teammates as some graduated and new players came in.






You achieved quite a lot on the court reaching a NCAA 3 Sweet 16 and two NCAC Tournament finals. How disappointing was it not winning a title in the NCAC?

It’s very disappointing knowing we were right there twice in a row and couldn’t pull it out. Obviously as a player you want those games to go your way and end by cutting down the nets, but being able to win the regular season conference championship 3 times takes some of that sting away. Losing in the conference championship personally made me even more hungry for the upcoming season and since it happened again this past year its enhanced my desire to win championships for whatever team decides to add me to their organization.





You had a very strong career with Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). One doesn´t see so many NCAA 3 players being able to make a professional career. How confident are you that you don´t only have the game, but can play with NCAA and NCAA 2 guys on a professional stage?


I am very confident that I can play with the best out there. When I decided to go to college at OWU I was a 5’10 160 pound kid coming out of high school. Since then I have grown 4 inches and added roughly 30 pounds. I had opportunities to transfer up and play NCAA2 or NCAA 1 but I had roots here at Ohio Wesleyan and I liked it here. It was a good fit for me, and I was taught at a young age not to quit something you had already started. The competition is obviously higher at the other levels of NCAA but I think I was able to make my teammates better by being there and obviously I got a ton of on court experience by starting over 85 games.







You were able to average in double figures in scoring in every season. How do you feel were you able to develop as a player in your 4 years at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?

Coach allowed us to have freedom and work as we please. Some may take that as days off but I personally took it as an opportunity to work on what I felt I needed to. Scoring has always come easy to me no matter who or where I play. My defense from my freshman year to now has gotten 100x better. My freshman year I guarded the lowest scoring guard on the other team. This year, I guarded the other teams best player no matter what position he was. Many times I found myself guarding 6’8 post players on the block and was able to hold my own. This especially helps me because as a professional I expect to have to guard bigger taller guys and am confident I can do so.


You made a huge step in your senior year averaging 19,0ppg. What do you feel led you to really mature it a very good scorer instead of only being a good scorer which you were in your second and third seasons?

Over the offseason I worked a weight room desk at Ohio Wesleyan. There wasn’t much to do work wise. So I would get my lift in, then go back to my desk and research. I watched old college games on youtube. My favorite being the 1996 BIG East Final (Georgetown vs UCONN). I watched interviews of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Through this I learned a lot. My mentality changed. I wasn’t going into games worried about winning or losing. I was focused on the process. Taking the games possession by possession. Beating my man off the dribble, making the right reads off screens, and understanding the flow of the game are all thing that I was able to polish going into the season. That, along with countless hours in the gym working on my shot allowed me to become an even better scorer than I already was. It isn’t over either, I plan to do more of the same as I am preparing to go professional.





You had many great games at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). But would you say that your 44 point game against the College of Wooster was your best game at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?

That game against Wooster was wild. I would have to say offensively that was my best effort to this date as far as official games go. Defensively I could have been better. Id have to say my best game of the year was the first game of my senior season against Trine (NCAA3). That game I had 34 points 7 rebound and 6 assists. What makes me think this is my best game is how efficient I was. I shot 68%, 53% from 3pt line. Also I was able to shut down my matchup defensively. I had a balanced attack offensively getting to the basket, making mid-range pullups and sinking 6 3s.







Let´s talk a little about your game. You’re a combo guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you chose?

This ones tough, after some thought id compare myself to Damian Lilliard. The reason I say this is because like Dame, I know how to score in many ways. I can make shots in various ways and from different places. Stand still jumpers, off dribble shots and even deep range 3s are all things I have seen Dame and myself do. Whether its isolation, pick and roll or a set, both me and Dame know how to score the ball.




What are your biggest strengths on offense, and how would you classify yourself as a defender?

My biggest strengths on offense are my shot and ability to create space and shots for others. I shot 42% from 3 so if a team scouted me they would classify me as a “shooter”. This kept my defender close and didn’t allow him to help off me which in turn gave the other guys on the court more room to work. I´d say I am a smart defender. I take pride in stopping my guy. I take the time to scout and watch film to gain knowledge about what my matchup likes to do. I believe the game is just as much mental as it is physically. So being aware if habits my opponent has helps me gain an edge in the game. Some guys go right and try to finish at the basket but when they go left they are more likely to pull up or dish it out. Knowing these things helps me decide when to add pressure, when to step in and take a charge or even jump the passing lane. This strategy has helped me be a conference leader in steals year after year.





You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?

Definitely my passing. Our offense the past few years is very PG oriented. So majority of the assist go to the PG, but I know how to get my guys open and give them a pass in their shooting pocket or in a position to score.





How much of a pleasure was it playing with Nate Axelrod? How refreshing was it seeing a guy of his stature being able to dominate so well?

Playing with Nate was a huge pleasure. Me and him fed off each other these past few years. Often times in games we found ourselves picking each other up on off nights and talking out strategies and wrinkles in plays all the time. Its very refreshing to see him standing no taller than 5’8 driving relentlessly into 6’8-6’10 guys and finishing. It gives everyone else on our team confidence and I think it establishes a sort of fearlessness in the team as a whole.





How did head coach Mike Dewitt groom and prepare you best for a possible professional career?

Coach Dewitt prepared me first by playing me. LOL. He forces us as players to get ready in our own way. So coming up with pre game rituals and putting in work in the offseason is all on us. I think this prepared me for a professional career because through this I have learned how to get better on my own. Also the offense that he implemented had me coming off of a lot of high ball screens and pin downs which I think is a pro style offense. Before college I had never really used ball screens. In high school my coach had more of a flex and flare screen offense. So coming in as a freshman and running PG in a predominantly all ball screen offense the coaching staff had to work with me and teach me the reads and fundamentals of doing so.





Who won a one on one in practice you or Nate Axelrod?

HAHA, I win. Nate is the best PG I have ever played with. But one on one is a different game. I am a scorer so with my size and strength vs Nate with no help defense is a tough matchup for him. Also I have been around Nate so much, I know his game as he knows mine so I know what he wants and can attempt to take that away.






Who has been the toughest player that you have battled on the court that has made it to the NBA or to Europe?

Last year in a summer league I played a team full of professional players. Jared Sullinger, Stevie Taylor, LD Williams, Cameron Vines, Scott Thomas, Jamel Morris and a few others. It was a great experience but to this date the toughest matchup for me was when I went against Terry Rozier in an AAU game when I was 16. That was the year I was 16 playing up a year with the 17u program. I was a young and skinny guard going against Terry Rozeir and All-Ohio Reds full court press. Great experience but at the time, very tough to handle.





On what things will you be focusing most on now this summer to help refine your game and make it ready for the professional level?

Mostly athleticism, I’m aware that professional guards will be more athletic that what I have been seeing at the NCAA3 level. So lateral quickness and speed with the ball will be my main focus with the usual work on the jump shot and ball handling.





Not only on the court have you been able to mature, but also off the court you have been involved in many things not only in the class room. You were Co-Director of Ticket Sales and Game Management at Ohio Wesleyan University since your junior year. What did it mean to you having a duty like this having to not only focus on the next opponent, but other things important for the success of a home game?

It meant a lot. I was able to meet a lot of fans and get real close to the community. Not only that but I feel it was good experience for life after basketball. I know basketball isn’t forever and I know whatever I do when my career is over will be in sports so I was very thankful for the opportunity and experience.







You also were a big brother volunteer during your college career. How important was this experience for helping your character skills as a person?

This experience definitely humbled me. Having the opportunity to go hang out with a young boy from a troubled home and do what I can to be a positive male role model in his life is something I think every athlete should experience. Like Lebron James says we are more than just athletes so giving back to my community was nice especially when they have been supporting me over the years. It´s also given me experience in dealing with children which is something I anticipate doing as a professional.





Nowadays having a very good character is essential for professional teams when choosing the right players. How would you describe your character and what is the most important aspect for you in having a good character?

I´m a very laid-back person, I don’t like to cause problems and can get along with anyone. I know who I am, and I don’t try to be someone I am not. Along with that I am upstanding and honest which I think is the most important aspect in having a good character. Honesty is a huge deal and I feel can prevent many problems or altercation.


Explain in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team next season?

I feel like I can help any team next season with my skills on the court. Not only that but my leadership skills and mental preparation are top tier. I know how to interact with players and coaches and have a very high level of respect for anyone in a professional organization. So being able to respond to authority and fulfilling my role to the best of my ability no matter what it may be is something professional teams will come to like about me.







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

Michael Jordan John Stockton Hakeem Olajuwon Kobe Bryant







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 for me is in third right now behind Michael and Kobe. I think Lebron has many great seasons ahead of him but I don’t think Its fair to talk about him being the best of all time when he still has years left.








What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?

I still put on Michael Jordan’s movie “Space Jam” to sleep to, so I technically the last movie I saw was that but Black Panther is the last movie I have went to the theatre and watched. I liked the movie a lot and I think it has a great impact on young African Americans growing up.


Thanks Seth for the chat.





Mike Taylor (Hamburg Towers) There Is A High Ceiling In Hamburg And Am Fired Up To Help Make Basketball Dreams A Reality

Mike Taylor is in his 18th season as a professional coach and was anmed head coach of the Hamburg Towers and also currently head coach of the Polish national team and preparing the team for the World Cup 2019 qualifying round. He is the son of Dick Taylor who was an NCAA coach and assistant with the New York Knicks. Mike Taylor started his coaching career in 2001 with Chemnitz (Germany-2.Bundesliga). In 2002-2003, he got valuable experience in the UK with the Essex Leopards London (United Kingdom). In 2003, he started to coach for ratiopharm Ulm leading them into the Beko BBL in 2006 and Beko BBL playoffs in 2009 before leaving in 2011. He had a record of 101-15 in four years of second Bundesliga basketball. He also has coached Kansas Cagerz (USBL) in the summer time as well as being an assistant for the Czech national team. In 2011 he made the jump back to the states and was an assistant for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers(D-League). He then was head coach of the Boston Celtics D League team Maine Red Claws and they reached the playoffs for the first time in team history. He spoke to German Hoops after getting the Hamburg Towers job.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber visiting coach Mike Taylor in Maine when he was head coach for the Boston Celtics D-League team Maine Red Claws in 2013

Mike thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany and congrats on signing with the Hamburg Towers. 14 years ago you went into your first second Bundesliga season with ratiopharm Ulm. How good does it feel to be coaching in Germany again?

Thank you Miles!  14 years has been a long time filled with a lot of different basketball experiences from all over the world and I am thankful for the opportunities! I feel like I am arriving in Hamburg at an excellent time.  The Towers organization has tremendous potential and I believe there is a foundation for success.  I hope with a lot of hard-work and team-work we can write a similar success story to my time in Ulm.  It feels great because I think Hamburg is a good fit for coaching and for family off the floor.

You probably selected the prettiest city in Germany to work in. What is your early feeling about where you will be hanging out more to watch videos and do scouting more on the Alster lake or at the harbor and Elbe river.

Hamburg is a great city with big potential.  I will try to keep things simple and stick to the gym or the Towers team offices at Inselpark for video work but there is no debate that Hamburg has a lot to offer.  During my visit, I was able to see the Hafen Geburtstag and there was so much action.  I loved it!  My hope is we can bring high level basketball into this fun city.


The Fraport Skyliners Fairytale Playoff Run Was Fun But Unrewarded

Basketball will most likely never match the interest level of football in Germany as old footage of the 2018 Eintracht Frankfurt cup win will show as the entire Romer place in downtown Frankfurt was covered in a sea of Eintracht Frankfurt colors and estimated 25,000 fans with about as much room left for an undernourished fly while in 2016 as the Fraport Skyliners celebrated their third club title Fiba Europe Cup, only 400 fans showed up while innocent bystanders were wondering who the tall dudes up on the balcony who were celebrating as hard  like little kids who had been told school had been cancelled for a whole year. Who cares how many people show up, because a title is a title and for both clubs to come together one season and win a title together is dream material. When you have a club like FC Bayern Munich dominating football, then dreaming is always the norm for any other club. It might not have occurred to each Fraport Skyliner fan on the day of the do or die game against the big mighty FC Bayern Munich that there could have been the possibility that within 48 hours the cosmopolitan city Frankfurt could have two historic wins against Germany´s most famous sports team from Bavaria in basketball and football as on Saturday was the German cup final where Eintracht Frankfurt had surprisingly reached the final for the second consecutive year. But dreaming in this sense is a better choice than actual reality occurring because the odds of something like that happening was more likely than pigs flying over the Fraport arena and Lebron James joining them. Ok Lebron is the best player on the planet and can do the most amazing things, but in all respect to the king, let´s keep Michael Jordan doing the flying to the rim, because he was the first one to really make flying basketball acceptable. Granted it would not have been a title for the Fraport Skyliners had they been victorious in Munich in game five and been only the ticket to the BBL semi-final and a clash with the next annoying opponent Brose Bamberg, but anytime you beat FC Bayern Munich, it has to always feel like something extremely special almost like celebrating a holiday. All the Fraport Skyliners had to have done was win game five, because Eintracht Frankfurt did the seemingly impossible in Berlin beating FC Bayern Munich 3-1, so at least Frankfurt will be celebrating for weeks after that. The Fraport Skyliners came a lot farther than most expected forcing FC Bayern Munich to five games and pulling off two wins in a row something they had never done before against them. It was another interesting season for the Fraport Skyliners with many highs and lows, but in the end their instant high against FC Bayern Munich was brutally brushed off by the Bavarian squad as they ended Frankfurt´s season with two swift blows in game four and game five. The fantastic and magical Fraport Skyliners fairytale playoff run was fun, but unrewarded.


Elijah Allen (Walter Tigers Tuebingen) When Tough Times Came I Handled It Better Than I Would In The Past

AllenElijah Allen is a 28 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his sixth professional season and first season with Kirchheim in the Pro A averaging 9,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,6apg. He will be suiting up next season with Pro A team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. In the 2016-2017 season he helped Gotha move up to the easyCredit BBL averaging  5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played two seasons for Lich and in his last season there played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.2% He spoke to German Hopps after his season with Kirchheim.

Elijah, thanks for talking to German Hoops. After remembering how long your season went last season with Gotha how strange was it for you this year to have summer break on March 31st?

It hurt not making the playoffs. That was a big goal for me this season.

Last season you played in the playoffs and had 11 more games. I remember you saying you had something like 5 heart attacks in the Chemnitz series. The playoffs is what every professional player plays for. How disappointing is it that Kirchheim didn´t make it to the promised land this season?lokal

It’s was a bit disappointing. We had a talented group of guys. Good enough to have made a good run in the playoffs against the better teams. We lost a few games to the lower ranked teams and that ended up hurting us in the end.

You split the season series against Phoenix Hagen, but the 96-71 loss in Hagen cost you the playoffs, because they had a better point difference that gave them the eighth spot. This obviously hurt, but how disappointing is it remembering that the loss to last placed team Orange Academy a week earlier cost you the playoffs?

Losing to Orange Academy two times really hurt us in the end. We then were not able to execute our game plan in Hagen. We had a lot of open looks on offense but unfortunately we didn’t make them. A tough way to miss the playoffs.


EasyCredit BBL Playoff Preview 2018: FC Bayern Munich-Brose Bamberg 3-2

A week ago the Fc Bayern Munich basketball club had woken up not in high spirits, but unnerved and distraught most likely totally ruining for some players their traditional Bavarian Sunday breakfast of Weiss Wurst and soft scrumptious pretzels as they weren´t staring at a commanding 2-1 series lead against the ambitious and annoying Fraport Skyliners, but instead were reeling on the tight rope down two games to one with their season on the line. One of the biggest easyCRedit BBL playoff upsets was possible as the #8 seed Fraport Skyliners were close and on the verge of sending the #1 seed big mighty FC Bayern Munich packing and on their way into summer vacation. The 72 hours until game four must have been extremely brutal for everyone in the FC Bayern Munich organization as no one there had expected anything but an easy series win, but not having to experience such a pest like the Fraport Skyliners making their basketball lives very excruciating. The thoughts of the players for those 72 hours must have been wandering like crazy day and night. A Danilo Barthel might have thought was I not aggressive enough or was my beard not scary enough, A Jared Cunningham might have looked back to his NBA days and wondered what tips a Lebron James had given him when he experienced tough times that he could use now in this time of need in Germany or big tough German national player Maik Zirbes remembered what it took to win 5 titles in two seasons with Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd as everyone knew now there was no time for screwing around any longer on the court, but it was time for big business and bring some pride and clutch wins back to Germany´s most famous sports brand. A week later FC Bayern Munich is back in the Audi Dome not with disappointed and embarrassed faces saying farewell to their faithful fans and coming up with excuses why they stunk up the house against the Fraport Skyliners, but instead are the big mighty FC Bayern Munich again and on top of the world as they are in the easyCredit BBL semi-finals having to now battle reigning champion Brose Bamberg. The question now is can FC Bayern Munich use this high and momentum and play a better and less nerve wracking series against Brose Bamberg or will they panic and let the leagues big surprise team the last two months march into the BBL final? They have pure motivation to get Munich a title even more after the football department couldn´t overcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the cup final losing 3-1.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex NBA player Jared Cunningham after the 87-83 FC Bayern Munich win in Frankfurt

A sweep is a sweep, but for anyone who didn´t see a second of the series and only read the scores and neglected to gaze at the box scores might have thought that Brose Bamberg experienced a tasty cake walk with little interference against the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but that notion is deceiving because the series was a real battle and a lot closer than what the scores indicate. The Telekom Baskets Bonn can go into summer vacation with their heads held high because they have nothing to hide. The Telekom Baskets Bonn played well, had a little misfortune here and there and gave Brose Bamberg a real run for the money. In game one, Brose Bamberg won in Freak City 87-74. The Telekom Baskets Bonn did a great job securing the rebound duel for themselves and coughing up the ball only 7 times, but their three extra possessions didn´t help them further.


EasyCredit BBL Playoff Preview 2018: Alba Berlin-MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 3-2

Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are. The American experienced coach who has no difficulty having a sound conversation in German at anytime has shown it over and over in his career no matter where he has coached that he is capable of not only building a talented team, but also be able to mesh each player´s qualities together so they function properly on the court at a consistent rate. Not too mention not always having a sufficient budget to operate from, he consistently gets the most out of what he has to work with. The ex Stanford(NCAA) player displayed his coaching expertise bringing BG Goettingen to the BBL and reaching the playoffs at a consistent rate while topping his run off with the Eurochallnege title in 2010 and also discovering guys like John Little, Chris Oliver, Kyle Bailey and Taylor Rochestie and putting them on the basketball map. With s.Oliver Wurzburg he led the team into the playoffs and upset Alba Berlin in the 2012 playoffs. He came and saved the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in 2013 being a fireman and since then has led the organization into the playoffs five consecutive times. So when the 2018 Basketball Champions League Final 4 were completed and nobody witnessed the big smile of Thomas Walkup on the winner´s podium, but instead a dejected team escaping Athens with a disappointing fourth place finish, many might of thought that the club would return home and have difficulty erasing the weekend blues from Greece. Ok so my 3-0 FC Bayern Munich prediction over the Fraport Skyliners made me eat my words and now I´m officially going to eat my words again after my medi Bayreuth-MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg prediction of 3-2. I have to be honest, I always believed that John Patrick and co would beat the Bavarian squad 3-0, because I have always believed and respected Patrick´s work  but wanted to be right had a medi Bayreuth upset occurred. Shame on me! How could that ever have happened. John Patrick is a coaching master and once again showed how quickly he could transform a dejected squad to a focused team. With the amazing 3-0 sweep of medi Bayreuth, Patrick was able to reach the semi-finals for only the second time in his career. The question now is can he keep the team momentum going and upset the mighty Alba Berlin that has a core of snipers that could possibly outgun the Golden State Warriors with them having a semi cold night. Never count out a John Patrick no matter what the circumstances are, because if you do then you will get bit in the butt quicker than a David Mccray  reflex can lead to a steal and transition bucket.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and John Patrick in the Fraport arena in 2018

The road to the easyCredit BBL semi-finals wasn´t as easy for Alba Berlin and in no means a cake walk as they had to tough out an exciting 5 game series against the Ewe Baskets Oldenburg where each team won their home games. Alba Berlin went into the series with the EWE Baskets as the heavy favorite not only with their incredible regular season, but also because how the underdog had presented itself in the last weeks. But as one had seen last season, when you have a Rickey Paulding you always have a chance a she showed last season against Bayreuth and Ulm. The 2009 BBL champion didn´t hide their faces in the sand, but really came to play. In the first two games, Alba Berlin were far away from being a fourth best defensive team in the league as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg averaged 96 points per game 20 more than what Alba Berlin allowed all season. It was no secret that both teams can put up points quickly and both did. However Alba Berlin was able to make good adjustments after every loss and let up less points each home game while never really losing consistency on offense as they averaged 92 points in the high scoring series.