Demetrius Ward(Uni Baskets) During The Coronavirus I Have learned To Live In The Moment And Appreciate Our Family Friends And Health.

Demetrius Ward is a 29 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that played his eighth professional season and second with Pro A team uni Baskets Paderborn and averaged 12,2ppg, 3,8rpg, 3,9apg and 1,0spg. Last season he averaged 9,1ppg, 4,4rpg and 5,6apg. He played his first six professional seasons with MTV Wolfenbuettel Herzoege (Germany-ProB) playing a total of 138 games. He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. Currently he is averaging 17,4ppg, 6,4rpg and 4,7apg. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis

Hi Demetrius, where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the outbreak of the Corona Virus?
Hello Miles, I’m currently in Paderborn. My mood is a bit weird and not being able to do much due to this Corona Virus.

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
No, I did not think the COVID-19 virus would have such a significant effect on the world. It’s shocking to see how the world around us has changed so drastically.

How have you experienced the day to day life in Paderborn during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
When the COVID-19 first began to spread, day to day living was going normally. When the number of cases started to increase drastically, life began to change, and normal routines were disturbed. I think we were one of the last cities to shut down. Now each day we are facing new restrictions and guidelines to keep ourselves and other safe.

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing?
Yes, the COVID-19 virus is very serious. I try to limit myself to going outside unless I absolutely need too. I ensure to wash my hands regularly, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching my face. I keep myself at a distance from other people in order to protect myself and others.

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
I was very disappointed to learn the basketball season was cancelled. However, I understand the reasoning behind such action. We as a society have to remember our health is more important, keeping ourselves safe and healthy is extremely important for the better good of the world.

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
I think it could be interesting. Playing basketball is my passion and I believe it is better to play without an audience rather to not play at all. However, I understand why that’s not a possibility right now.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Demetrius Ward after a Wolfenbeutel playoff win in Rhondorf in 2018

Have returned back to the States or are you going to remain in Germany first for a while?. How have you experienced the coronavirus outbreak at home compared to Germany?
I have not returned to the States, I am still in Germany and will remain here for a while.

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I have learned that we should live in the moment and appreciate our family, friends, and health.

Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
I truly believe it will be an advantage if the gyms are open and we are able to go workout. The disadvantage would be having a lockdown for 3 months.

The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball? The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
Mentally I am staying strong. I can’t control what will happen. All I can do is work hard daily to keep myself in good shape in order to compete in the next season. I can’t predict the future and how it will affect the professional basketball, all I can do is work on myself and continue to improve my strength and skills.

Congrats on a marvelous season with the Uni Baskets Paderborn. The club finished with a record of 14-12 in sixth place. It was the clubs best finish in 6 seasons. What made this years club so special?
Thank you for the recognition of our team’s success. Our team chemistry made it special. We worked as a real team and didn’t rely on 1 or 2 people to carry the team. We all had the same goal, all of us wanted to reach the playoffs. We knew how tough the league was going to be, so we focused on the little things we could control like practicing hard daily, being mentally focused, and playing selflessly.

How tough is it being at home now and not knowing how the season of the Uni Baskets would have ended? Do you sometimes go over certain scenarios of how the season might have gone?
It’s tough, we truly wanted to make the playoffs. We worked extremely hard to reach our goal. There were only 5 games left and we were currently in 6th place. We were in a good situation to make it there. Sometimes I play in my head how our season could’ve played out, if we would’ve made the playoffs, and who we would have played.

The Uni Baskets Paderborn began the season slow losing 4 of 5 games, but then won 6 of 8 games. What were the reasons for the swift turnaround?
The swift turnaround happened because we continued to stay and work together. We continued to believe in what coach Steve was teaching us. We never got discouraged or lost hope, we kept working and it started to click. We lost those games by 1-2 possessions which meant it was only small things we needed to fix. 

How vital was that exciting 77-75 victory over Tuebingen to begin the turnaround?
It was really exciting because we know how hard winning in Tuebingen is. Winning with 2 points ahead made the long ride home a lot better.

The club kept a good core of guys from last season and added 4 new players that made the difference. How confident were you that this team chemistry would continue to grow throughout the playoffs and lead to success?
The team chemistry was great, it was one of our strengths. I had no doubt that we would keep growing. It only took time where we locked in and started to believe.

Head Coach Steven Esterkamp has been undergoing a stellar development as a coach. He got good Pro A experience in Gotha with Chris Ensminger, led Wolfenbuettel into the Pro B playoffs and now did the same thing with Paderborn. What was it with his style and coaching that made the season so successful?
Coach Steve is very intelligent, he pays attention to detail, which helped us succeed as a team. He was always on us to be our best and was open to feedback. He gave us the trust and confidence to play freely within his system. He recruited a good group of guys that fit his system in playing fast and shooting 3’s.

How vital was your experience for Kendale Mccullum did you take him under his wing early on and give him the tips that helped him have a great rookie season?
Kendale and I had a good relationship on and off the court. I helped him out a few times with a few small things. I helped him more off the court with when the stores open where to buy certain things. On the court he didn’t need much help just small adjustments.

The duo of Jackson Trapp and Ryan Logan was a big reason for the success this season. Could you describe a little what you appreciated most about them on and off the court
Jackson and Ryan were a good combo. Ryan a point forward and Jackson a deadly shooter from outside. What I appreciate on the court about Jackson was he made it easy for me, teams didn’t want him to get an open shot, so he let things open up for others. Off the court we use to always go to the second team games together. His music playlist was pretty good. Ryan had eyes in the back of his head. He’s very selfless maybe to selfless at times but he’s a good teammate and he loves to compete, and trash talk which pushes us to play harder. He could post up and also drive from the outside and his play making ability made him a hard matchup. Off the court we would play a lot of Xbox together.

If you had to choose one player who you feel improved the most this season who would you pick?
I would say Henning Ballhausen, he worked his butt off daily in practice and never complained about anything. There were games where he played 10 mins and the next game maybe 0, but he was in practice the next day working without complaining. His jump shot got a lot better also with his decision making.

Let’s talk about your game. You played 26 games averaging 12.2ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.9apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.5%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 82.1%. Was this your best season as a professional considering your stats you gave at the pro A level?
Yes, I would say this was my best season as a pro. Seeing numbers like this and one may ask why? The other years my numbers were all higher, but my efficiency wasn’t as good, and we didn’t finish the league in 6th place. This year I’ve done what I needed to do to help the team in limited minutes. I was very efficient within 23 mins average with an efficiency of 14.5 where other players with 30mins average have the same or less efficiency but you see 18pts 2rebs 2ast and think it was a better season for this guy. Sometimes I think that goes unnoticed, people look at the stats and see high number but don’t pay attention to efficiency or minutes played. So yes, I know this was by far my best season as a pro.

Your turning 30 this summer. Can one say looking back at your season that you have reached your prime now?
I would say yes, my understanding for the game is at an all-time high. Coach Steve helped me realize that you don’t have to average 30 mins to be effective. So, with my age and experience I bring a lot to the team, not only statically but off the court as well.

You made another step as a player as you’re getting older. How confident are you that you can continue this curve up instead of back as often is the case as players reach 30?
I’m confident because I know what I can do, and I trust in myself to keep getting better. I play my game and I don’t force things. So,my goal is to keep growing and continue to prefect my skills.

You shot 39% from outside which was your best three point percentage since your junior season at Western Michigan. What do you attribute to shooting so well and having your best percentage as a professional in your eight seasons?
Taking good shots, being in the right spot to get good shots. This summer I worked a lot on shooting the ball off the dribble, so I was more comfortable taking those shots in the game when I had to. Also watching a lot of film to know where my shots would come from and having good teammates to find me.

Your assists and rebounds were down and your minutes, but you were more efficient than last season considering having the dominate Kendale Mccullum on your side. Did taking less dribbles factor into the success?
No not necessary, my role changed this season. Kendale was our point guard and ran the team, I was the backup. We had a well-balanced team, so my numbers were down, but we were winning so everyone is happy.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine you will want to return back. On what things will you be working on this extended spring/summer to help you make the next step once again?
I will work more on my body and my conditioning. Along with some different types of finishes around the basket. The next step is to stay healthy and wait for this corona virus to be over.

Steven Esterkamp has been your coach for three seasons. Has your relationship grown over the years and how has he helped you become a better player in the last three years?
Yes, over the years my relationship with coach Steve has grown. He continues to push me to better and guides me to be successful on and off the court. I have a lot of respect for his role, he has many hard decisions to make and he helps each player to become better and better each season. 

I don’t have to guess what your best game was. Your amazing 14 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal and ,3 blocks in the thrilling 92-91 win over top team Chemnitz was an achievement. What memories do you have of this game and where does it rank in your best games as a professional?
The memory that stands out to me the most is how loud the gym got when we took the first lead in the game in the 3rd quarter. It was an overall amazing game with a lot of great memories. Chemnitz was a good team and had won the last 22 games before coming into Paderborn and we ended that which was a good overall feeling.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
I would say the players I had to guard daily in practice.

You have probably seen many beautiful places in your basketball career, but how did the city of Paderborn grow on you?
Paderborn has grown on me because it’s not so big and everything I need is in walking or biking distance. Paderborn is pretty nice and quiet with a lot of historical things. 

Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?
Luka is no doubt an amazing player but in my opinion in this moment, his is not a top 3 player in the NBA just yet.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence?
I was at home when I got the news. He had an incredible influence on my life growing up. His love for the game, how hard he worked, and the respect he demanded from others. He was the reason I started playing basketball and the reason I fell in love with the sport.

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?
It’s very unfortunate for those players that missed the opportunity to participate in the tournament experience. It is not easy getting to the tournament, if you’re not at a big school. So, to be picked for the tournament and then it gets cancelled is very bitter and sad for those players. I would tell them to keep their head up focus on life and move forward.

What was the last movie that you s

Bad Boys For Life

Thanks Demetrius for the chat

Devon Moore(Langenhagen) The Mental Aspect Of Kobe Bryant Is Something You Can´t Teach

Devon Moore is a 30 year old 193cm guard from Columbus, Ohio that is playing his sixth professional season and first with Langenhagen (Regionalliga). He played in countries like Hungry and the Ukraine, but played most of his career in Germany. He played with Ehingen from 2014-2018 playing a total of 80 games. He helped Ehingen move up to the Pro A in 2016. He played three seasons in the Pro A with Ehingen and showed that in two of the three seasons belonged to the top point guards leading the league in assists in 2015 with 6,6apg an din 2017 was third in the league with 5,7apg. The American who played at JMU (NCAA) from 2008-2013. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his memories of Kobe Bryant.

Where were you and how did you find about the death of Kobe Bryant?


I was on my way back from a road game. One of my teammates shows us on the bus. I didn’t believe it until I got the ESPN alert, which was a shocker. 

When I heard about it, I thought it was a hoax. What were your first thoughts when you heard about it?


I couldn’t believe it, We just lost a game then you get this news. I just sat in silence on the bus. 

How much of your day the day after did you take informing yourself about his death and watching videos?


For the next 48 hours, I looked up everything I ever logged back into Facebook and Instagram.just to stay connected and see if it was a Dream or not. 

Can you remember about when you first knew about Kobe Bryant and what was your first impression of him as a kid?


I had the pleasure of watching him in high school and you knew he would be special. His talent level was out of this world and the way he played the game was amazing. 

How did your love for Kobe Bryant develop over time? How do you remember following his career 


My love for Kobe has always been there. My Father is a die heart Laker fan. I mean Magic and James Worthy type Lakers fan. So growing up we only watched the Lakers or the Bulls Of course to see how hard he worked not only on the court but off the courts as a Man is what I will always Respect. I try every day to be like him. 

Kobe Bryant was for so many the greatest ever. What did you appreciate most about his game? Was he a guy that you pretended to be on the playgrounds? 


His mental aspect was something you can’t teach. He worked his tail off so I took little things from him to put into my game. 

Kobe Bryant had so many amazing games like his 81 points and countless other games where it was lights out as well as winning 5 titles. What is your fondest memory of him of what he did on the court? 


Of course the 81 point game also I think the first title where so many people said he wasn’t ready, he was too young and he went out and proved them wrong. 

The outpouring of sadness was incredible in the lastweeks. Guys were crying and leaving heartfelt messages on Social Media. How long do you think it will take until the basketball world comes to terms with this tragedy? 


I honestly don’t think it never will. He meant some much to basketball and everything he was doing off the court for women’s sports you can’t get over that. I’m still in disbelief, couple days before I watched a workout of him and Sabrina Ionescu from Oregon and he looked really happy and at peace. 

When you look back in 20 years on the career of Kobe Bryant how will you remember his legacy best? 


One of the greatest of all time hands down.

One of my last questions in my standard interviews is what is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Often players remind me that I left out Kobe Bryant. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last months. How worthy is a Kobe Bryant to be seen as the greatest of all-time? 


I never understood why his name wasn’t in the conversation because it deserves to be. In my opinion, it’s MJ, KB, LBJ I always thought this was the order. Kobe was the closest thing we have seen to Jordan. I love Lebron but it’s just a different level and they two are on their own. Thank you for letting me be a part of this interview it’s always a pleasure God bless. 

My last question isn’t what is the last movie you saw, but what video of Kobe Bryant will you take a look again when you have some time to look back at his great career?


I watch a lot of film on Kobe so probably him working out with Hakeem Olajuwon.

Thanks Devon for the chat.

The Miles Where Are They Now Player Feature With Omari Westley Who Had The Skill Level Of A NBA Player But Took A Different Path

 

 

                When Omari Westley was literally doing serious basketball work at Cleveland State (NCAA) from 2003-2005 he was most likely dreaming more of an NBA career and playing mind games with himself what he can continue to do with his game in the lab to even be a spec of a player like Lebron who had just come out of high school to do his magic with the Cavs, than of a career in Europe. Besides Westley only had a 10 minute walk from the Wolsten center to the Quicken Loan arena and he wasn´t far away from where the real action of the NBA was happening. So why even waste any time of making any thoughts of what it could be like playing professional basketball anywhere else except in the NBA. It is only typical that American basketball players are cocky and have a very healthy self confidence when it comes to their abilities, but sooner than later the real reality sets in and guys after a while are more than thankful of balling somewhere on the planet. I don´t know if Westley had those thoughts of the NBA coming out of Cleveland State (NCAA), because he did have a great senior year, but eight months after he played his last game there, he was playing in Iceland, where he had a better chance of seeing a polar bear than Lebron James working on his game in a gym. Every player has some idea just how difficult and rare it is too make the NBA, but it´s every player´s dream. The American also would never have thought back in 2005 when his career was coming to a close at Cleveland State (NCAA) just how enriching a career overseas can be. He definitely would see many different cultures and even lived in a small city in Germany for two seasons called Nordlingen that had a city wall. This is something that isn´t as common anymore in Germany as in quite a few cities you can see some remains of the city wall, but in Nordlingen the whole wall is still there and a real tourist attraction. Back in ancient times, the city wall was there to protect the people from intruders and a place where you could feel safe. It isn´t like in the former east Berlin where being behind the wall was like being in jail, because in Nordlingen you could leave anytime. But just being behind a wall can give on that feeling of being captured. Having lived behind the wall and still having the freedom to do what he could was something he most likely never cherished, because in 2014 his life has totally changed. He would probably have loved to have behind the wall in Nordlingen again, because he would still have been free, but the guy that had that amazing basketball talent wasn´t free, but was incarcerated between 2014-2019. Nordlingen was the rise and fall of Omari Westley. It is the story of a tragic tale of a young man that could have been a top player in Europe, but fell and was out of basketball in 2011. Omari Westley had the skill level of an NBA player but he took a different path.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Omari Westley after a Frankfurt 79-55 win in Nordlingen where the American scored 4 points and had 5 rebounds.

                Westley was born on February third, 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio and already made big waves at the high school level at East Cleveland Shaw High. There he averaged 20.4 points, 14.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game; and ended his high school career with over 1,800 points and 1,100 rebounds. He was striving for a scholarship to the University of Arkansas, but his grades simply weren´t good enough. Before reaching the NCAA in 2003, he had to pay his dues and played at Wabash Valley Community College in Illinois helping them win a title and then played a season with Barton County CC averaging 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds a game as a sophomore, shooting .59% from the field and .72% from the line. However after getting into an altercation with an opponent, the school suspended him. He then moved to Cleveland State(NCAA),  but had to sit out the 2002-2003 season failing to meet NCAA initial eligibility standards following his transfer from Barton County Community College. He had a lot of time to reflect that year, but at the same time got integrated to the team and then really took off in his junior season at Cleveland State (NCAA) playing 28 games averaging 14.8ppg, 8.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 21.4%, FT: 70.9%. His second season was even better there as he played 23 games averaging 17.1ppg, 8.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 18.8%, FT: 66.1%. However he never finished the season as on February 25 before the last regular season game head coach Mike Garland dropped him from the team after he missed two practices and a game for no reason. He had success as a player with his stats and was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team in 2004, the All-Horizon League 2nd Team in 2005 and played at the Black College All-Star Game in 2005 (Ohio All-Stars team). The team had no success in the two seasons and the Westley trend of having disciplinary problems continued to plague him and it wouldn´t end there, but continue throughout his basketball life. In his first two professional seasons he landed with four teams. In his rookie season he played with KR Reykjavik tearing up the Iceland-Iceland Express League in the 8 games he played averaging 23.1ppg, 11.3rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, 1.5bpg, 2FGP: 56,8%, 3PT: 44,4%, FT: 72,1%, but left in January 2006 after having been an allstar and finished the season with Racing Luxembourg (Luxembourg-DBBL). In his second professional season he made the jump to the Eiffel Towers Den Bosch (Holland-Eredivisie) suffering a tough car accident and was released in November 2006, but wasn´t out of a job long joining ToPo Helsinki (Finland-Korisliiga) playing 13 Finnish League games averaging 14.8ppg, 7.2rpg, FGP: 68.2%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 76.9%. After two professional seasons one could say that he rebounded twice from negative experiences and finished strong and he went into his third professional season with added self confidence and this was when his career would reach it´s peak.

The 2008-2009 Nordlingen season program

            The American came to Germany in his third professional season to a very ambitious second division team with the VPV Giants Noerdlingen (Germany-ProA), but again didn´t get  a job right away and started in December, but came to a winning team. Right away his game meshed perfectly with the club and he won Pro A player of the month in March 2008 and finished the season helping the team move up to the BBL(ist division) playing 17 games averaging 15.4ppg, 7.5rpg, FGP: 54.7%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 72.2%. He remained for a second season and the club which had four real strong players with him and Americans Monta Mcghee and Danny Gibson and Canadian Osvaldo Jeanty pretty much carried the team as their bench was almost nonexistent. “I will miss most knowing these guys went to war with me on the court”, expressed Omari Westley to me in June 2009 in an interview. Despite getting most of their points from these four players, the club was able to stay in the BBL with a good enough record of 11-23, but then declined to remain on account of financial reasons. Westley was a 201cm forward that had always been an accomplished scorer and could best be described as a playmaker who scores. He scored both inside and out, rebounded, defended and blocked shots giving you the five-tool player needed to build the team around. Westley was the team leader in his second season there and led the league in scoring playing 33 games averaging 15.9ppg, was fifth in rebounding at 7.4rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 63.3%. He may have had disciplinary problems all through his life and knew how good he was, but one thing was for sure, he did show a lot of respect for his peers. In an interview I did with him after his season in June 2009, he knew that defeating EWE Baskets legend Rickey Paulding in the scoring race was no easy task. “You know I always watched Rickey in college so its great company, but there was a difference he didn´t have to score much for his team to have success but me on the other hand I needed to score for us to be in the game so, I might respect his scoring a little more”, added Omari Westley. Even if the team didn´t win much, their big season highlight was sweeping Bamberg something that was unheard of only a season later as the Chris Fleming era commenced in Bamberg. “When we went in Bamberg and beat them it was to amazing for words to describe. Now on the other hand I made some individual achievements that surprised myself and others, but winning games is what matters and the win Bamberg was too sweet”, stressed Omari Westley.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Westley teammate Osvaldo Jeanty after the 89-85 Frankfurt in in Frankfurt. Jeanty contributed 17 points in the loss while Omari Westley had one of his best games in the BBL with 26 points and 10 boards

The American was a beast scoring in double figures in 26 of 33 games. had 7 double doubles and scored 20 points or more 11 times. His personal scoring highlights that season included a game winning step back trey winning shot over Braunschweig, 26 point games against Trier, Frankfurt, Bamberg and Oldenburg,  25 points against Artland, and 24 points against Tuebingen and Ulm. His ex teammate Canadian Osvaldo Jeanty who is a banker today in Ottawa had a solid 6 year professional career that had him wear the Nordlingen, Giessen and Bayreuth jersey´s remembers some of these games very fondly. “I remember that Braunschweig buzzer beater and his game in Bamberg. He didn´t miss and was in the zone. He stepped up to the challenge that game as Bamberg was one of the best teams then in the BBL. Nobody could stop him”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty.  Even as he was on the rise and seemingly ready to make the next step to a top BBL team or to another country where there was more money, he wasn´t satisfied, but knew exactly where his weaknesses were and knew his dream of being able to help out at the point like his idol Magic Johnson was nothing more than a dream and far away from reality. “I learned patience from being over in Nordlingen that´s one thing for sure, but the things I still need to work on is ball handling and defense. I would need to become a better ball handler and cut down on turnovers would only be a start. I would also need prayers from every one around the world for that to happen at the point guard position”, added Omari Westley. “Many don´t know but we played together already the year before in the second Bundesliga and then moved up. He could do it all. He could shoot, defend the positions 1-4, catch the alley-op using his athleticism and had a fast cross over. It never surprised me how well he did in the BBL. Teams had to double team him, because nobody could cover him one on one.  He took all the attention away with his game which made it easier for me to play my game. His career really should of blossomed after the BBL. Chris Copeland who later would play in the NBA was the same size as Westley, but Omari was better. He had more tools than Copeland”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty.

Nordlingen winning the 2008 Pro A title. Westley at bottom center

                However there was also a dark side to Omari Westley that did come to play during the season. The American might have been an incredible player, but his decision making and making the wrong choices off the court most likely was his downfall for the rest of his career. It was no secret that the club was having financial difficulties, but stealing money from the club office surely wasn´t the right route to go. According to sources the American just did that and after that when he was searching for a new team, he didn´t necessarily get the best recommendation from the club which made his BBL career pretty much end before it could possibly have reached the ultimate high. An ex teammate of Westley who wanted to stay off the record remembered Westley this way. “ He was a monster player, really athletic and had a great shot. He had NBA potential, but in his head he was a kid. He was totally crazy and never listened to the coach. The rumor that he stole money from the team is 99% true. They found traces of his foot print. It could be that the organization spoke bad of him but he also didn´t conduct himself well. When coach said time for sprints he jogged and said screw you. He had no respect for coach Wagner. The club let a lot go with his attitude because they knew they couldn’t stay in the league without him. He was a nice guy but just had a terrible attitude”.  After Nordlingen, the American played in countries where there is a lot of money, but the level of play suspect and way lower than where he should have been. He played with Kazma (Kuwait-D1), Al Arabi Club Doha (Qatar-D1) and Al Gharafa (Qatar-D1) and then his basketball career abruptly ended

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Westley teammate Monta Mcghee in Nordlingen in 2009

                I saw Omari Westley play three times Live and watched the Fraport Skyliners sweep the regular season in 2008-2009 and also win a cup game in Frankfurt. Even though I was extensively covering the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in the 2008-2009 season, I had just got on board writing for eurobasket.com and was really getting even more involved with not only various German leagues, but starting to interview more and more guys including Omari Westley on a regular basis. I remember calling him in Nordlingen that season and having him as a guest on my weekly radio show. I remember a guy that was very confident in his abilities, but also a guy that had a great passion for the game. Our relationship would grow in that season and we would keep that contact until 2012 when was the last time I spoke to him. I remember fondly tracking the Nordlingen Giants season that year, because it was fascinating to see what that team could do with really only four players carrying the team. I remember him being an extremely versatile player that could take over a game and really drive opponent´s defense nuts with his ability to score in many ways. He had an NBA body and his athleticism was amazing. I remember doing an in depth interview with him a few days after Christmas in 2008 which I unfortunately don´t have anymore, but I really appreciated his willingness to be ready to talk basketball even during the holiday season when the BBL was in a hectic phase as the games never stopped, but kept going. When the season ended, I was looking forward to the summer and following his summer transfer period, but as the summer went on and on, I kept waiting for a top BBL team to announce his arrival. But it never happened and I was rather perplexed. I had been in contact with him the whole season, but when the season ended, our contact got a bit better as we would talk online and he told me of his basketball woes. It didn´t take long for him to tell me the fiasco with the alleged stolen money from the Nordlingen Giants organization. I had a welcoming ear and tried to find the best soothing words whenever we talked. He also didn´t waste much time  describing the tough feeling that he had still sitting by the phone waiting for a team to call while many of his ex teammates were already signed and back in Europe getting ready for the new season. I remember trying to give advice about possible good fits and telling him for his agent to contact these teams. When I asked if anybody had tried to contact him, the answer was always no.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Osvaldo Jeanty in Nordlingen in 2009

                Even if the thought of not playing at a very high level in the future was very difficult for the Ohio native, not only did basketball life go on, but so did real life and the reality of it was that he had a family that he needed to feed. He was unable to find any employment in Germany so he went to the middle east, a place that is enticing because the money is good, but then again one has to ask one´s self if these places really were the best fits for the American who was entering his prime and still had many good years left. He was out of basketball in 2011 after having played in Kuwait and Qatar. For any one that knew the talent that the kid had, it is mindboggling how a guy of his talent literally was out of basketball before the age of 30. Not long ago, I searched You Tube for any kind of videos on Omari Westley and there was a total amount of two. In the one video, he was somewhere in Dubai on top of a building by a nice pool. One could have believed that he was living life to the fullest, but then again anyone who probably was would have posted totally different kind of videos with the money, cars and babes. In the short video, he is talking a lot of slang and really presenting himself like a kid who was able to live the dream of being a professional basketball player in Europe for a little while, but unfortunately despite living in some very nice cultures never grew up. I spoke the last time to him on June 12th 2012 and just out of curiosity probably hit him up wanting to know how he was doing. Often I love checking up on players who I might have lost a little contact to for 1-2 years and check their eurobasket.com profile. It was summer 2012 and he hadn´t played the last season. I remember that he was really upbeat talking how he was in the gym all the time and how confident he was about continuing his basketball career. But then came the bomb from him. “I´m heading out to Afghanastan to play basketball. My eyes got bigger and my mouth almost fell to the ground in disbelief. Ok there are quite many places on earth where a professional player shouldn´t play like in a place where a war is going on or in a country where teams have a reputation of not paying you your money. I responded with. “Why would you want to play in Afghanastan? I would be afraid to go there” Then it dawned on me that he was totally desperate. I never heard from him again.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Omari Westley after a Nordlingen cup loss in Frankfurt in Feb 2009

                Sometime in early 2014 I was again in the mood of checking on a player and how he was doing and the name Omari Westley popped up. I tried to contact him on social media and then noticed that he hadn´t been active for many months. At that point, I didn´t figure anything bad had happened. Often a person will get away from social media and return to reality and real life for a bit before returning back. But I was a bit miffed why his activeness suddenly stopped . So I googled him and quickly I found a big mug shot of him and was shocked. But then again it didn´t shock me too much considering his past. He and two other guys attacked a restaurant owner where they believed had had money on him. Three guns were found at the home believing to have belonged to them. All three were hit with first-degree felony charges of aggravated robbery at their initial appearance. It may not seem like much, but crime never pays in the states and jail time can become very extensive as he found out. He started his sentence on July 2, 2014 and would have been out on January 16th, 2020, but came free in autumn 2019. His ex teammate Osvaldo Jeanty has fond memories of his ex teammate, but cites his youthfulness as something that hindered his path to stardom. “Omari was dealt a bad hand. He was a great player, but a lack of maturity off the court took him to where he is today. He was a great guy and teammate. He always had my back and I always had his back. He made some bad decisions and people never forgot and he never recovered. For me it was just tough seeing first hand of how he probably would have gone to Spain and dominated, played Euroleague and NBA, but all of a sudden he never made it. He was the best player that I ever saw that didn´t make it”, warned Osvaldo Jeanty. Exactly if his Afghanastan gig ever panned out, I don’t know, but some time soon after he must of given up on basketball and tried to start a new life at home in Ohio. He obviously hung out with the wrong crowd and with bad decision making landed in jail. Omari Westley is a tragic case, but not uncommon in the world of basketball. One can only hope that he will come out of jail a changed man and get back on track right way and stay away from the wrong crowd. He really was a good guy, but a kid that probably wanted to become a man, but just couldn´t. I can remember his last words to me concerning Afghanistan. His response to me saying “Why would you want to play in Afghanistan? “I would be afraid to go there “ was simple and direct. “Me scared”? I´m Omari Westley nothing scares me”. One can only hope that after spending more than 5 years in jail that he isn´t scared from starting over and being a good person in society something I know that he can be. I´m sure that he will do good now. Perhaps getting into some kind of capacity with basketball the game he loves will help him get back into society and help him do good things and give back to the community. At the moment he is working, but obviously would love to get back to playing professional basketball, but after being away from the game for almost 10 years, who would give him a realistic chance? I would love to see Omari ball again at any level. The guy definitely deserves another chance in the real world. He made some wrong decisions in his life, but deep down he is a good guy. I wrote him after he got out of jail asking how he was and that I missed him. “He wrote back I´m ok and same here”. It was a long time without you. Good to have you back Omari.

Davonte Lacy(MLP Academics) Was Looking To Make A Statement in The Playoffs But Then The Season Was Shut Down

Davonte Lacy is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Tacoma, Washington that finished his fourth professional season and first with German Pro A team MLP Academics Heidelberg averaging 18,7ppg, 3,8rpg, 2,9apg and 1,1spg. Last season he played with PS Karlsruhe averaging 16,8ppg, 3,4rpg and 4,1apg. Two seasons ago he played with Ehingen averaging 18,5ppg, 2,8rpg,5,2apg and 1,5spg. In his a rookie he played with UBC Magnofit Gussing Knights (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing 11 FIBA Europe Cupgames averaging 7.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.1apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 37.8%, 3FGP: 20.0%, FT: 80.6%; and 21 Austrian A Bundesliga games averaging 10.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 49.4%, 3FGP: 32.9%, FT: 80.2%, left in Feb.’16, later that month moved to BC Hallmann Davonte Vienna (Austria-A Bundesliga) playing 15 games averaging 5.9ppg, 1.0rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 66.7%. He started his basketball career with Washington St. (NCAA) in 2011 playing a total of 110 NCAA games.tis best season was his junior season where he played 23 games: averaging 19.4ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 39%, FT: 83.5%. In his senior year he played 31 games averaging 16.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 77.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Hi Davonte Where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus? 

I’m doing rather well despite the pandemic around the world. Me and my fiance been in self quarantine Currently back home in the states 

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world? 

Of course not I’m usually really cautious when it comes to illness so I noticed it was cold and flu season but never thought it would evolve to self quarantine and government mandated shutdowns. 

How did you experience the day to day life in Heidelberg during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?
Day to day life didn’t change people were still out and about. But the day I left is when I heard gyms etc were being shut down. So life could have changed since I left 

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing 

Yes I’m always very cautious in public about germs and even on game day never try to touch hands because I have became very ill a couple years ago so I try to avoid it as much as possible. 

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?

It was very disappointing especially because we seemed to hit a great stride in February and felt good going intothe playoffs and we felt we were as good as any team during this stretch. 

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans? 

When I saw this game I knew the season was in jeopardy. It had the feel of a Preseason game in September. 

You returned back to the States with some of your Heidelberg teammates. How have you experienced the coronavirus outbreak at home compared to Germany? 

Home is much more in a state of panic. The streets are rather bare and slit of businesses have shut down due to the state shutdown it just has a different feel. 

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person? 

Uh though it’s been crazy on the outside me and my finance just been enjoying time together and watching basketball (NBA league pass us free). I just check in my family and loved ones and make sure they are safe. 

Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this? 

No it won’t be as much of adjustment just have to balance recovery and pushing yourself. Just probably need to play a little more to get live action reps but still maintaining body health and recovery. 

Congrats on a very good team season with the MLP Academics Heidelberg. Was it tough coming home and having to contemplate where the journey of the team would have ended. How much potential did this team have to challenge for the title? 

Thank you! Yea it was tough but at least we knew the potential we were playing as good as anyone in the league. We were just getting ready to ride the wave into the playoffs then anything could have happened and we were as dangerous as anyone. 

You came for the stretch run and helped keep the team a playoff team. How would summarize the team season in the time where you were there? 

It was a great season we let a couple games go early when I came that were some tough losses. But once we started getting comfortable playing with each other more and trusting our roles we started playing really well and it’s unfortunate we can’t see how it was going to end. 

How key was the team unselfishness? The club had 8 guys that averaged 8 points or more per game. How refreshing was it having so much scoring versatility something you didn’t see in Ehingen or Karlsruhe. 

It was great we had guys that were ready to step up anytime. Everyone was capable of making a play for the team at any given moment. Being one of the main scoring options it always nice when I can trust others to make plays. 

Let’s talk about your teammates. What was your impression of German big man Armin Trtovac? What strides did you see him make and can he make another step into a top Pro A center? 

Armin was very skilled for his size. Has the athleticism and touch to play at a very high level. He showed up early and took his body health really serious and I think he has a great foundation to build a great career 

You have played with quite a number of strong point guards, but what did you enjoy most about Zamal Nixon. How vital was his experience even for a guy like you? 

Zamal was a great teammate to play with especially when we moved him to more PG, because he make the correct passes and chose the right times to be aggressive. He played on high levels before and still is a high level player. 

German Niklas Wuerzner has been the Heidelberg identity figure for years. Everybody is waiting for him to break out. He seems to have the full package. Could his break out come next season? 

Yea Niki has the body and ability to be better than he already is. He can defend multiple positions and he’s a 6’7′ ball handling guard he will show his full potential soon. 

If you had to choose one player that improved the most in your time there who would it be? 

I wouldn’t say improved most I would say that I was most impressed would be our rookie Grant. He had a tough role not getting the minutes he thought he should but that didn’t stop him from playing his role and being ready every game. That’s hard to not only do but to know how he helps a team as a whole is impressive for a rookie. 

Let’s talk about your season. You began the season with Merkezefendi Belediyesi Denizli Basket (Turkey-TBL) playing 4 games averaging 10.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 4.0apg, 1.3spg. After playing the last two seasons with one club, you played with two this season. What kind of experience was Turkey and why didn’t it work out? 

I had a great time in Turkey everything was professional and they treated me great. I just wasn’t a good fit in the system and wasn’t what the team needed at that moment. 

You returned back to Germany to Heidelberg and averaged 18,7ppg, 3,8rpg and 2,9apg while shooting a potent 39% from outside. You were on your way to possibly having your best season in Germany. How content were you with your game with the MLP Academics? 

My time with MLP was ok like I said I think we were just finding our groove and was playing really well. I think with two high level guards like myself and Zamal Nixon I think we had a chance against anyone when the playoffs came. 

How tough is not knowing if you would have stepped it up in the playoffs? 

Very tough. I was really looking forward towards making a statement with my play in the playoffs 

You stated in our last interview that being efficient is an important part of your game. You weren’t quite as efficient as with Ehingen or PS Karlsruhe, but do you feel like you were on your way had you been able to play a whole season with Heidelberg? 

Yea I think I was trending towards more efficient numbers and I think they would have evened out towards the end of the season. 

You shot 41% from outside with PS Karlsruhe changing up some mechanics and were a bit under that this year. Do you feel despite the coronavirus being a thorn for all that the extra time will benefit you to tweak things with your shot and just have so much repetition that you could be a totally new kind and dominant shooter when that next opportunity presents it’s self? 

Of course the key now is just to be more consistent and repetitions brings consistency. I will work more on my shot like always but just have a little more time this off season for adjustments.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 

It was right after the Chemnitz game and before I could get home I heard about it. His influence was on many generations and can’t really be put into words how he affected me thorough my playing years. 

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now? 

Honestly I know it sucks but life happens and it’s not always fair. You have to understand what happened and move forward. 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

I think one of the Rush Hour Movies.

Thanks Davonte for the chat.

Chris Hooper(Itzehoe Eagles) Kobe Bryant Never Let You Slack Off And Was Always On You Getting The Best Of You

Chris Hooper is a 28 year old 198cm forward from the Bronx, New York who completed his fourth professional season and first in Germany with the Itzehoe Eagles (Germany-ProB). He tore up the German Pro B being being fifth in scoring, third in rebounds and seventh in blocks and plastered the stat sheet like no other averaging 19,5ppg, 10,0rpg, 3,7apg, 1,3spg and 1,0bpg. He scored in double figures in 21 of 22 games and has scored 20 points or more 7 times. His best scoring games included a 33 point explosion against Rist Wedel, 30 points against TKS 49ers and 29 points against Bernau. He racked in Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Forward of the Year -20, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B Import Player of the Year -20, Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -20, and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -20. He played the last two seasons with Obera Tennis Club (Argentina-La Liga Argentina) and last season played 49 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.1rpg, 1.8apg, Blocks-4 (1.5bpg), FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 70.5%. Two seasons ago with Obera Tennis Club (Argentina-TNA) he played 28 games averaging 16.2ppg, 8.5rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-3 (1.4bpg), FGP: 60.1%, FT: 58.9%. He played his rookie season with the Reading Rockets (United Kingdom-NBL D1) playing 21 games: Score-5 (22.4ppg), Reb-1 (12.3rpg), 2.3apg, 1.4spg, Blocks-4 (1.3bpg), FGP-1 (68.1%), FT: 63.9%. He began his basketball career at Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy and then played at St. Francis College (NY) (NCAA) and in his last year played 32 games averaging 11.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 58.3%, FT: 57.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his memories of Kobe Bryant.

Where were you and how did you find about the death of Kobe Bryant?


I was in my home when I found out about Kobe death, I found out on the internet that he was in a plane accident. 

When I heard about it, I thought it was a hoax. What were your first thoughts when you heard about it? 

When I heard about the death my first thoughts was with his family and how much they are going through and how it will affect the basketball world.

How much of your day the day after did you take informing yourself about his death and watching videos?


I didn’t watch a lot of videos and I pretty much watched all his videos even when he was alive he was the Jordan of my era so I knew pretty much everything about and Lakers as they are my all time favorite team, I just watched all the memories videos that were put together by fans and others. 

Can you remember about when you first knew about Kobe Bryant and what was your first impression of him as a kid? 


When I first found out about Kobe Bryant I knew he was going to be good coming out of high school back then was a big deal, I’m late to the basketball world but I always knew who Kobe Bryant was as well as Allen Iverson. Didn’t really have an impression of him just wanted to see him play 

How did your love for Kobe Bryant develop over time as you were growing up. How do you remember following his career?


The way he loved the game has always been the same , that’s what I admire about him. I just remember all his moments good and bad and it was great to watch.

Kobe Bryant was for so many the greatest ever. What did you appreciate most about his game? Was he a guy that you pretended to be on the playgrounds? 

What I appreciated the most about Kobe is that he didn’t let nobody slack off and he was always on you trying to get the best out of you when he stepped on the lines he left it all out there . And no I never looked at him as a playground guy.

Kobe Bryant had so many amazing games like his 81 points and countless other games where it was lights out as well as winning 5 titles. What is your fondest memory of him of what he did on the court? 

My favorite moment of Kobe would definitely have to be his last two NBA championships as well as that 81 point game.

The outpouring of sadness was incredible in the last 24 hours. Guys were crying and leaving heart felt messages on Social Media. How long do you think it will take until the basketball world comes to terms with this tragedy? 


I mean I think people already are accepting it that’s not the issue the issue is having to accept it nobody wants to, like its Kobe Bryant he’s well known all over the world people look up to him he was a friend , father , teammate ,mentor etc it’s just hard to accept .

When you look back in 20 years on the career of Kobe Bryant how will you remember his legacy best? 


I’ll remember him by being a gym rat which is why who he is today . 

One of my last questions in my standard interviews is what is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Often players remind me that I left out Kobe Bryant. I have been thinking about this a lot in the last weeks. How worthy is a Kobe Bryant to be seen as the greatest of all-time?


I don’t really have an opinion on that I like all of them 3 different eras three different players who all respect each other. All three guys have something to show for their greatness and that’s what it’s about inspiring and leaving your mark and if neither 3 of them did that then this wouldn’t even be a question 

My last question isn’t what is the last movie you saw, but what video of Kobe Bryant will you take a look again when you have some time to look back at his great career? 


Maybe for sure his 60 point last game when he retired that was definitely a special moment For the world I think

Thanks Chris for your memories of Kobe Bryant

Adam Waleskowski(BG Goettingen) When Life Gets Back To Normal I Will Treat People With Respect And Be A Good Person When They Are Having A Bad Day

Adam Waleskowskiis a 37 year old 203m forward from Ohio that is in his 15th season and has the German Citizenship and is playing with BG Goettingen after starting the season with the Fraport Skyliners. He has played most of his career in Germany having played parts of 11 seasons there including 8 seasons in the easyCredit BBL where he has played a total of 241 games and also has experience playing 24 Eurocup games and 38 Basketball Champions League games. He played in Ehingen and Duesseldorf and 5 seasons in Ludwigsburg. He also played in countries like France, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The ex Florida State (NCAA) player spoke to germanhoops.com during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Post game interview with Adam Waleskowski in the Fraport arena in 2019

Hi Adam where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?


I’m in Goettingen at the moment. At the beginning, I wasn’t following the whole Coronavirus so much because I had teammates like Alex Ruoff who kept me informed, but naturally after the BBL stopped the league, I started to follow it more. I became more precautious and followed the safety guidelines and began to avoid contact to people more

Your enjoy walking your dog Barry. How important are these walks for your mental health? What things are foremost on your mind?

Yes it is very beneficial for my mental health having this time with my dog. I like to get into the open and get fresh air and soak up sunlight and get vitamin D. There is this creek that runs behind my apartment that flows into a pond about a kilometer away. I like walking with Barry there and see the ducks. It takes my mind off the global panic and try to process all the information. It is nice to get away.

When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?


No I didn’t. At first I didn’t think that there would be such serious consequences. But now I have really started to worry about the older people. I have to realize that my parents belong to that risk category. I hope that there will be enough infrastructure for all in the hospitals. 

How have you experienced the day to day life in Goettingen during the Corona Virus outbreak? Did you see that corona effect on the culture there or was it not so much different happening in your day to day dealings?


At first there was a lot of talk about the Coronavirus and nothing to crazy going on, but since the BBL stopped play about 10 days ago, I started to feel it. Now real measures have taken place with restaurants and schools having closed down. You also started seeing less people on the streets.

Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing


Yes I began to get the need to become more aware of just how close I could get to other people. I began avoiding people more and started to wash my hands a lot more. A big adjustment for me has been not touching my face. I like touching my nose and hair.

Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the BBL. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?


From a BG Goettingen team perspective this league stoppage couldn’t have come at a worse time. We were on a steak having won something like 8 of our last 10 games. We had a very good streak going and then suddenly everything stopped. On a personal level, this season has been a struggle. Since coming back to Goettingen all was finally good and I had played the last two games well. I stepped in for the Alex who was injured and for Dylan who missed a game. This could possibly be my last season and I didn’t want it to end my career this way. I will just have to see and wait what happens in the next months.

Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?


Not having fans in the arena to cheer totally defeats the purpose. I think if it was like the NBA broadcasts then we could play without the fans and let them watch from home, but there are many guys also not comfortable playing without fans as well as playing against other guys where they don’t know if they have been in contact with people who might have the virus. I also think that a game without fans has that practice like vibe and just isn’t as competitive. For fans it’s a good thing to get some entertainment and get their mind off the BS that they have had during the day. 

What are your expectations when you get back to the States? Apparently the USA knew of the dangers of Corona in January/February, but President Trump didn’t do much


I think that the whole process of getting home will be difficult. It will be a pain in the butt to get back home. Once I get there I will have to keep to myself and be isolated. I don’t think that they will be able to close the whole country because of it’s size. 

What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?

I have realized in this time that there are a lot of people struggling worldwide with having to be away from other people on a daily basis. I think that when everything gets back to normal, I will know how to deal with people better who are having a bad day. I will treat them with respect and be a good person

Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?


Yes it will. I will continue to observe how the world safety is progressing in the next months. There are other priorities now for clubs like trying to deal with how to survive. As a player you have to stay focused and be ready for the next season. If it were to start earlier then you have to make the adjustment. It may also mean making adjustments on the fly.

The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?


To be honest I haven’t thought too much about it yet since the BBL stopped play only 10 days ago. I’m 37 years old and near the end of my career, but it would still suck to end my career like this. I have a different kind of mindset then a 24 or 25 year old who still have their careers ahead of them who now don’t know if the league will play next season. I know that there are many guys who wouldn’t want to have a normal job now. This will be a real strain for guys to get through this. We need to have compassion for those that are going through this.

With the Coronavirus effecting the world nobody knows what will be next. Who knows how many basketball teams will fold. It could become a much more difficult time finding a job. Have you contemplated retirement?


Yes it is something that I have thought of. Even before the Coronavirus broke, I had begun to think about the process and transition after basketball. I have been thinking about what I would do next. I have been thinking of getting into coaching. My thought process now has been altered not knowing if there will be a next season for me. It is a concern for me now, but then again something that isn’t dominating my thought process. I haven’t come to a decision if coaching will be next.

You spent this season with the Fraport Skyliners and BG Goettingen. Would I be close in saying your two biggest season highlights was your great game in the win over Crailsheim where you scored 12 points in 10 minutes and finishing the season with BG Goettingen with two wins.


Yes for sure. I played the last two games with BG Goettingen well. I played different positions in both games with the 4 and 5. They were the high points of the season. If my career were to end now, I could always say I ended my career on a high note.

Frankfurt had talent but couldn’t find consistency. What was the biggest problem the chemistry or the team not having been put together the right way?


There were a bunch of things that effected their season. It wasn’t easy for Sebastian as a first time BBL coach and then the injury plague was tough for the team. It began with Anthony Hickey getting injured right when the season started. It seemed like everyone was out at some point. Shaq was out, Mo was out as was Richie and Akeem as well. That effected the team chemistry a lot. Another problem was losing so many close games. I think one more run or basket in many games could of given the Frankfurt season a different story.

How happy were you to finally call Quantez Robertson a teammate? Can you a recall a game in your career where the guy was just a real pain in the neck?


I always hated playing against Tez. He always played like a bull dog. I remember there being multiple times during the Ludwigsburg-Frankfurt games where I really hated having to play him, but then being teammates I saw that he was a great dude and family guy. We always went to the gym together. In the past I also hated playing against Dennis Kramer and now we are teammates. He was a frustrating guy to go against because of his jamming in the paint. Now he has become a good friend. Now I enjoy watching him jam other guys.

Your turning 38 in November. How much gas do you still have in your tank and what do you believe is your biggest strength at age 37?

I feel that the willingness and motivation is still there. The thing that is frustrating now at my age are the numerous small injuries, bumps and bruises. It is an everyday thing that I’m confronted with. It was a struggle this season coping with it. I proved in the last games that I can still help a team. My biggest strength now at my age is being a vocal leader and my experience. I know my role and don’t take other guys roles. I can always help out and If I need to play more or less or not at all, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

How special of a player are you when you have been able to play for two demanding coaches like John Patrick and Johan Roijakkers?

I think that being able to play for any kind of coach comes along with being in the business for 15 years. I have the experience to be able to deal with different coaches who have different styles and learn to adapt to them. A part of the mental battle is learning how to take criticism from different coaches in different ways. I always try to learn from all my experiences.

In January you returned back to BG Goettingen for your third tour of duty. Would be fair to say that is your second home in Germany after Ludwigsburg?

Yes it felt that way. I know the surrounding area well as well as the organization and fans. I have a sense that I belong here.

You were on of the veterans with Alex Ruoff who like you has had a long and fruitful career. How special a player is he and what have you been able to appreciate you the most about his game?


Alex brings such versatility and handles the ball so well. He is a great player with a great IQ. He is able to help other players around him because he sees the game so well. When he came the team won 6 of 8 games. That shows that he had a huge impact for how the team ended. 

One player I really l really like is Bennet Hundt. He doesn’t have it always easy with his height. How much potential does he have and can he help give the little man’s player some confidence?


He showed from the start that he can lead a team. All have recognized just how much potential he has. His play makes the little guy player more aware. He is very tough on the mismatch and loves to play cat and mouse. He has a good sense of the game and sees the floor well. In the last game against Hamburg he had nice drives and finishes in crunch-time. He has shown that he has the potential of becoming a top German player. 

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the BBL this season?


I would say Greg Monroe. He is big and long and such a skilled big man. He has such great hands and finishes well around the rim.

You have probably seen many beautiful places in your basketball career, but how did the city of Frankfurt grow on you?

Living and being in Frankfurt was nice. There were some great places around the river. I enjoyed the multi-culture feeling and the Christmas Market.

If you were to spend a day in quarantine with Quantez Robertson who would get sick of whom first?


I think Tez would get sick of me first. He wouldn’t like my music. No I’m kidding. We had a little special bond. We would travel around together a lot. But I still think that he would get sick of me first. He has no patience

Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?

Yes. If you take the current superstars in the league I would say yes. I mean there are a lot of great players like Lebron, Westbrook, Harden and Durant. I don’t follow the NBA enough so it’s hard to chose.

Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 14 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence? 


I was at home when I heard that he had passed away. It was one of those ‘Oh crap’ moments. It was such a tragedy. He was such a hard worker and great athlete. To be honest I didn’t like him growing up. He didn’t have a huge impact on me. I was more into Dirk and Steve Nash. Later it was Lebron and the Cavs. I don’t watch the NBA so much. It has changed so much. I rather watch Euroleague.

How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?


It is terrible that the Coronavirus has had an effect on the tournament. It is best for the safety that it was cancelled, but from a player and fan standpoint, this is one of the big times of the year. You look forward to it and the main goal in the season is to get there and then near the end it is taken away. My heart goes out to them. My advice to those kids would be to keep their heads up and look ahead and keep working hard.

What was the last movie that you saw?

I, Tonya

Thanks Adam for the chat.

The Coronavirus Disallowed The Dragons Rhondorf To Know Their Fate In 2020

In January 2020, I remember interviewing Dallas native Curtis Hollis after a massive 102-84 Dragons Rhondorf win over Ibbenburen and him having another normal day at the office in the Regionalliga dropping 29 points. After an away game in Herford the week after, Hollis and the Dragons would return home for a contest against Hagen-Haspe, but Hollis wouldn´t return ashe had returned back to Texas on account of personal reasons. I would never see Hollis again. During the season I had practiced the Miles Basketball Minute with him where we sat down each week and discussed basketball which had 16 epsiodes. His game and character had really grown on me and now all of a sudden he was gone. Then on February 29 the Dragons Rhondorf would play their last regular season home game against the ETB Wohnbau Miners and cream them 102-63 and then end the regular season on the road in Cologne and Dorsten. The club had played a solid regular season and I was looking forward to the Regionalliga west playoffs. Instead I´m experiencing my second non basketball weekend in a row all because of the Coronavirus that has put a lot of the world in lockdown and distress. You should always enjoy what you like to the fullest, because the world is full of surprises and you will never know when something will end. In terms of Curtis Hollis and the Dragons Rhondorf season, I was rudely surprised twice in a matter of 6 weeks. It was a roller coaster season for the Dragons Rhondorf which ended in the ex Pro A club not being allowed to ever find out what their fate would be in 2020 because the nasty Coronavirus rudely entered everyone´s lives. What would have been the fate of the 2019-2020 Dragond Rhondorf?

Curtis Hollis was a regular interview partner for Miles Schmidt-Scheuber during the2019-2020 season

                The Dragons Rhondorf came into the2019-2020 with huge expectations and returning right away back to the Pro B was their main goal. The club had replaced head coach Thomas Adelt with experienced coach Markus Rowenstrunk be he couldn´t fulfill the early expectations leading the team to a 3-3 record and being dismissed. The club demonstrated right from the get go that they could score an abundance of points as they scored at least 85 points or more in 5 of their first 6 games, but also showed that they couldn´t defend on a consistent basis allowing 85 points or more 4 times. After the dismissal of Rowenstrunk, Yassin Idbihi took command at the helm and prompt led them on a huge 8 game winning streak and suddenly the atmosphere and mood in the Dragon Dome was good again. They played their best offense of the season scoring more than 100 points 6 times and showing this special knack of overpowering teams. Even when injuries were prevalent, their deep roster and versatility helped power them to wins. Their biggest strength on the offense end was their sharing the ball and unselfish play. Even if Curtis Hollis was the star, the team played for each other and it didn´t seem like he was the star. Hollis had strong teammates like Killian Binapfl, Gabriel de Olveira, Jure Besedic and Anish Sharda who scored in double figures often, but also guys like Jefferey Martin Mark Kotieno and Simonas Lukusius had huge games on the offensive end. After the big 8 game winning streak, came another drought period,where they lost 3 of 4 games and allowed 97 points in the 3 losses. Scoring 85-88 points is a huge accomplishment for many teams, but when you score 95 points on average and allow 86 points, you can easily lose games even when you have had an average scoring game. The club finished the season well with a 4-2 record and surprisingly won their first 3 games in a row after the departure of Curtis Hollis and made a statement showing they could be successful without their star. They lost their last game of the season in Cologne 102-82 as their defense was their achilles heel all season long. Would they have been able to improve their defense in the post season and get by the RheinStars? Most likely not.

                The Dragons Rhondorf had the best offense in the Regionalliga averaging 95 points per game and were only 50th best on defense allowing 86 points per game. When Idbihi came on board, they switched up a few things, but overall couldn´t find that defensive identity for 40 minutes that would lead to consistency.A bit more pressure and gambling was a new way to defend, but it didn´t pan out and trim down their points allowed statistic.  Not having that consistency affected their self confidence all season. Maybe they wanted to have enough energy for 40 minutes on offense to be able to score the way they did, and shift a few gears back on defense to conserve energy. Team have showed in the past in Germany that you can win games when you only play offense and forget defense. Head coach Ingo Freyer of the Giessen 46ers was the master of the high scoring shoot outs with Phoenix Hagen and according to numerous ex Hagen players then never practiced defense. That is how the season often felt with the Dragons Rhondorf firing from all over the court, dominating in the paint and getting easy transition baskets, but that passion and effort to defend well was missing all season long. What brought down the Dragons Rhondorf on many occasions were three components. The club had problems communicating properly still had difficulty with rotations near the end of the regular season and had an inability to stop their man on 1-1 play. They had some good defensive efforts allowing 63 points against Essen and 65 points against Leverkusen 2, but consistently allowed too many points to be able to be in better position to win more games.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Killian Binapfl during the 2019-2020 season

                In the last few years Alexander Dohms had had a good touch of bringing in guys like Kameron Taylor and Zygimantas Riauka and it wasn´t any different this season with Curtis Hollis even if Yassin Idbihi had seen him in Baunach in 2018 and deserves the credit for the discovery. Hollis had had no real professional experience after playing a season at Hutchinson Community College (JUCO) averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3% where he had to take a seat and pay his dues, but then exploded with the Houston Ballers (JBL) in 2018 averaging 29.3ppg, 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He needed no adjustment period in Germany and left off of what he had done in the JBL and averaged 22,7ppg, 8,2rpg, 3,6apg and 3,0spg. He scored in double figures in all 18 games and scored 20 points or more in 13 games. His best games included a triple double against Leverkusen 2 scoring 26 points hauling down 11 rebounds and getting 10 steals. He also erupted for 38 points against Deutzer and had 29 points against Ibbenburen. He was without a doubt one of the top players in the German Regionalliga that was a massive force on offense never forgetting his teammates during his scoring attacks and had that knack for the extra pass. He was the teams best defender and created a lot of turmoil for other teams that led to easy baskets as his gambling and getting in passing games was a danger sign for every opponent. It was a shame that he had to leave the team as it was always a pleasure to watch him play, but the Dragons also showed that they could get on without him. In a way leaving the team a bit early was a benefit for him, because he didn´t have to put up with the whole Coronavirus mess in Germany. If Hollis doesn´t make the NBA, then we will see him back in Europe soon and observe how he continues to climb up the basketball ladder.

                There were some other big winners on the team like ex FC Bayern Munich forward Killian Binapfl and Gabriel De Olveira. Binapfel averaged 15,7ppg, 5,9rpg and 2,9apg and 1,7spg. He was the energizer for the Dragons Rhondorf and a sort of glue guy. He scored in double figures in 16 games and exploded for 31 points against Wulfen and had 29 points against Hagen Haspe. His overwhelming play in the Regionalliga allowed him to play 10 Basketball Champions League games and 5 easyCredit BBL games for the Telekom Baskets Bonn. De Olveira averaged 17,7ppg, 6,1rpg, 1,6apg and 1,3bpg. He scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games in the Regionalliga and had 3 double doubles. His best games occurred against Herten with 28 points and 12 boards and he exploded against BG Hagen with 31 points. He made another jump from his last season in Iserlohn and was rewarded with 5 BBL games and 6 BCL games with Bonn. Both guys got their first experience in the BBL and BCL and have the needed confidence to make the next step. Another big winner was German 17 year old Simonas Lukosius who averaged 8,6ppg, 2,5rpg, 2,8apg and 1,1spg. The shooting guard scored in double figures 6 times and shot an astronomical 48% from outside. His shooting and high basketball IQ as well as his non stop energy defined his refreshing game. He has a bright future ahead of him. German 19 year old 206cm center Mark Kotieno upped his minutes from 10 minutes and 2/2 in the Pro B to 20 minutes in the Regionalliga averaging 8,3ppg, 4,2rpg and 1,0apg in the Regionalliga. He scored in double figures in 6 games including a 25 point game against BG Hagen and 22 points against Essen. The rise in minutes was good for his game and development and has potential to continue to make the next step as his inside game and mid distance game was on. 27 year old 207cm forward/center from Slovenia Jure Besedic was a key role player for Yassin Idbihi. He averaged 10,4ppg, 4,6rpg and 1,8apg and shot 40 % from outside and scored in double figures in 13 games including 22 points against Dorsten and 19 points against Hagen-Haspe. He preferred the outside game, but here and there gave the team vital impulses in the paint.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Diijon Allen-Jordan during the 2019-2020 season

The point guard duo of German Anish Sharda and Spaniard Enric Garrido-Foz who combine for 55 years of age had the most experience in the league at their position. Sharda who is like the fountain of youth averaged 9,5ppg, 3,1rpg, 4,1apg and 1,1spg had a solid season and hurt teams time in and time out again with his hot outside shooting while Foz averaged 7,5ppg, 1,6rpg and 4,8 was most effective with his non stop energy and ability to push the ball forward and be the playmaker that kept the offense honest. The Falkenstein brothers were able to help as the younger Jonas averaged 3,4ppg and shot a strong 45% from outside while David averaged 2,2ppg, 1,0rpg and 1,3apg, but unfortunately got a bit lost in the deep guard rotation. Jeffery Martin came to Rhondorf joining his 11th team in his professional career and averaged 5,7ppg, 1,2rpg and 1,2apg. If Rhondorf would have had half of the talent that they had, then the German would have been a star, but he also got lost a big in the deep rotation. He scored in double figures in 5 games and had his moments against Hagen-Haspe and Recklinghausen scoring 13 points a piece. American Diijon Allen-Jordan

came for the short stretch run, but the Coronavirus limited him to only 5 games where he averaged 20,4ppg, 5,6rpg, 3,2apg and 1,4spg. He had a very nice inside out game and showed promise from outside shooting 36%. He scored in double figures in every game including 22 points against Recklinghausen and finished the season with 22 points and 10 boards in a loss against the RheinStars. After having good seasons in England, he was able to make an impact in the Regionalliga and it would have been interesting how potent he would have been in the playoffs. The heart and soul of the team 35 year old Lotola Otshumbe got into 19 games averaging 1,6ppg and 1,3rpg. His best game was scoring 9 points, getting 4 rebounds and dishing out 1 assist in 15 minutes in a win against Deutzer. His effort and heart was left on the floor after each game. Fans also were able to see 15 year old Ousmane Ndiaye in the last few weeks as he played 4 games averaging 1,8ppg and 3,3rpg. He had 5 points and 5 rebounds in 13 minutes in a win over Hagen Haspe and had 2 points and 8 rebounds in 12 minutes in a win over Essen. He is definitely a player to watch and could be the biggest talent in the Telekom Baskets Bonn organization that they have ever had. Well known ESPN writer Mike Schmitz lauded Ndiaye recently and teammate Anish Sharda who played against ex Fraport Skyliner and current Washinton Wizard Isaac Bonga when he was with Koblenz as a 15 year old stated that he was better than Bonga was at that age. It will be interesting to continue to watch his development.

                The season was a solid season for the Dragons Rhondorf, but to be honest most people were expecting more. Just to make the playoffs wasn´t enough. Many wanted to see more fire come from the club and see them challenge the RheinStars for the #1 position in the Regionalliga West. Had they been able to do that from the start and been able to defend better they might have been able to do that. I felt that the Dragons Rhondorf were a more talented team than the RheinStars on paper, but all that counts are the results on the court. Now with the season over and no playoffs, there is no other winner than the RheinStars who played a super season. They were deservedly the best team in the Regionalliga West and deserve to get back to the Pro B. The Dragons Rhondorf had a solid season with many nice moments, but somehow the season doesn´t feel over and we will never really know what could have happened had the season continued with the playoffs. Some teams come to real life in the playoffs and that may have been the case for the Dragons Rhondorf, but it also might not have happened. With an inconsistent defense, they would have had to have been at the top of their game already in the first two rounds and then in the final?to beat the RheinStars in a three game series. The famous saying is that defense wins championships and it would have been very hard to do it without finally bringing some steam and aggressiveness on defense that would produce stops. There are just to many open questions and we will never know. What would have happened had the season gone on and Curtis Hollis had remained. It will be a long summer with that lingering question always popping up  What would have been the Dragons Rhondorf fate in 2020”?. What would have happened had the Regionalliga west playoffs been played? We just don´t know where the Dragons Rhondorf journey would have ended and we will never ever find out