Bryson Johnson hails from Nova Scotia and is a former professional player currently an assistant coach at the University of Vermont. He had a stellar NCAA career at Bucknell where he won 2 Patriot league titles. He had a short professional career playing in Germany for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and also played in Canada for the Brampton A’s. He retired in 2016 and got into coaching. He was an assistant coach at Brown (NCAA) and George Mason (NCAA), graduate manager at Vermont and since 2020 an assistant coach at Vermont under head coach David Paulsen. He worked closely last season with new MHP Riesen guard Ben Shungu (188-G-1997, college: Vermont) and gave the whole truth about new MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg guard Ben Shungu.
Thanks Bryson for talking to germanhoops.com. How are you and how is basketball life treating you?
Life is treating me well. Coaching at the University of Vermont and we just came off a really fun year, winning our league and making the NCAA Tournament. Family and friends are healthy so no complaints on my end!
You had a short professional career playing for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and in Canada. Do you sometimes think what could have been had you played longer overseas?
I had a lot of fun in Germany and back home in Canada playing. I honestly don’t think about my playing career much at all because I really love coaching and doing what I am doing now. Basketball has given me some pretty cool opportunities and continues to so no need to think in the past too much.
Your an assistant coach at Vermont (NCAA). I always find it fascinating that you see 5-7 guys on the bench all belonging to the coaching staff. What exactly are your duties? I am an assistant coach here and specific duties can vary based on where you are. Here at Vermont everyone on staff chips in all facets to make the program successful. Our main focus is providing our players support in the classroom and on the basketball court. We do a lot of skill development, film, scouting things like that. Most importantly though build relationships with the young men in the program so they know we are here for them in all facets of life and not just basketball related.
As a former point guard I’m sure that you spent a lot of time with Ben Shungu. What kind of a coach/player relationship did you have and how intensive did you guys work together? Benny and I grew to be close. He is such a special kid to be around with an infectious attitude that I think everyone who has one conversation with Benny thinks they are best friends hahaha. We worked together this year trying to fine tune his game and just answer any questions he might have. We spent a lot of time in the gym together but so did our whole staff. I don’t know if one coach can be in the gym with Benny as much as he wants to be in the gym. We watched a lot of film and talked a fair bit about the professional process he is going through right now. But, understand this was my first year here and the staff here at Vermont and Benny laid the foundation for his success far before I arrived. Coach Becker, Ryan Schneider, Kyle Cieplicki, Derryck O’Grady, Hamlet Tibbs, all played a far bigger role in his development then I did.
Ben Shungu has signed in German league easyCredit BBL. How happy are you for him and could you give him some advice about Germany?
I could not be more happy for Benny! He has earned everything he has received from the game of basketball. My advice would be to embrace the local culture and try to immerse yourself in it. Germany is such a great country and the people were all great. Benny has an innate ability to do this so I know he will be a fan favourite!
He had a very great career in the NCAA with Vermont (NCAA) helping win the AEC title in 2019 and 2022 and winning the MVP. When you hear the name Ben Shungu what is the first thing that you think about?
Honestly I really just think about Vermont basketball when I hear Benny’s name. He embodies the kind of young men we have had in this program. Work for everything they get, great people, no excuses and about winning. So Benny is kind of the prototype for what our program is about and luckily we have had some others that fit that same mold as well!
Is it fair to say that he took on a steady but not fast development at Vermont? He really broke out as a senior.
Again, my only experience working with Benny was this past year. But I did coach against him when I was at George Mason his sophomore year. We thought he was a good defender, a guy who would come off the bench and provide them with energy and making winning plays. In 3 years, he turned himself into one of the most efficient guards in the country. He had patience and an understanding that his time would come here and worked tirelessly to make sure he was ready for the opportunity and he definitely was!
You don’t see many graduate student athletes. Would you say his character is out of the ordinary? How would you describe his character and approach to basketball?
Benny is definitely abnormal in his approach and work ethic. He has the delicate balance of confidence in himself but extreme humility. He is essentially the mayor of Burlington and is one of the most beloved people in the city. He is just one of those guys who I will never say he can’t do something because if I do, there’s a good chance he will prove me wrong.
He is a guy that fills the stat sheet well. If you had to compare him to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
Oh boy I’m not very good at NBA comparisons -He actually reminds me of Jrue Holiday because he is an efficient offensive player and an elite defender. Most importantly he is a winner as well.
He can score and fill up the stat sheet. What would you say are his biggest strengths on the court?
He can really shoot the ball. He has the ability to be a deadly catch and shoot player but also can create his own shot. His toughness is unmatched. Mental and physical toughness, the guy will play through injuries and is just a gamer in every sense of the word. He is also an elite on ball defender
He shot very well from outside last season. On what kind of a path do you see him going as a shooter? Did you work with him on his shot?
More of the work on his shot was done before I arrived, I really just tried to help him rep it out with the rest of our staff. He is going to be a very good shooter as a professional because if you try to take away his shot or close out to aggressively, he is too good and comfortable putting the ball down on the floor and scoring in the midrange and at the rim. Unlike some shooters, he is an elite shot maker that is not reliant on others creating for him. I think, he will have very efficient numbers from the field because of how diverse his offensive game is.
Stats don’t always tell the story of a player’s defensive qualities. Would you say his defense is still a work in progress?
No I think he is an elite defender. The only thing that hindered his defense was the burden he sometimes had to carry offensively for us this past season. He has tremendous hands, and is physically strong enough to guard bigger players. Defense in a lot of ways is about toughness and he has all that you could want.
How important was reaching the NCAA tournament for him? He recorded 20 points in a tough 75-71 loss against Arkansas?
I think it was important to him because it was important to our program. He is a team first player and I know he wanted to get together but so did everyone in our locker room. It was a great opportunity for people around the country/world to see just how good our players and team was this past season. It provided him more exposure but seeing him everyday I know how good he is.
He had many great games but was the win over UMBC in the 2022 AEC final the sweetest for him and you?
That was a really fun game and one of those moments that is culmination of all the hard work from the season. My guess is that it was the high for the season but those guys won 28 games this past year so they provided me personally with a lot of good memories.
You spent a lot of time with him. What was your fondest moment with him off the court that you will never forget?
It always goes back to the work ethic whenever I think of Benny. So the fondest memories for me are being in the gym early or late in the summer when the gym is 100 degrees. Those times are when we really got to get to know each other and it didn’t take me long to realize how special of a kid he is! Off the court though it is how he always has time for everybody! He is a genuine and sweet person off the court and absolute monster on the court. I’m telling you, Ludwigsburg is going to love this kid!
Gordon Herbert (agency: BeoBasket ) is a Canadian/Finish coach who is currently in his 27th year coaching and is head of the German national team. He has a long coaching resume that includes having coached in Finland Austria, Russia and in Germany he coached Wurzburg, Alba Berlin and was with the Fraport Skyliners for more than a decade. He also coached the Canadian national team and was active with the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the successful double weekend wins over Estonia and Poland.
Congrats on the successful 2-0 extended weekend record over Estonia and Poland. How do you summarize the weekend? How pleased are you with the team’s play?
I was very pleased with the commitment of the players. This was a very difficult windows. You had some guys that had been out for 2 months while a Joe Voigtmann had been out for 3-4 months. It was an honor to coach these guys.
Germany had little problems beating Estonia 88-57. Did you have a feeling going into the game that the team would be very focused after the last days of practice? The guys came in with a very good focus after 3-4 good practices. Having so little practices and then going out to play isn’t easy. I felt like the work ethic was excellent.
What would you say was the team’s biggest strength against Estonia? It seemed like everyone was there to secure the rebound? Their work ethic was outstanding. I also thought they defended very well and got the rebounds. Plus they got a lot of the 50/50 balls.
Dennis Schroeder was 0/8 from outside. Did you have some words for him after the game or do you just leave NBA vet like that to himself? The shots he took were very good. I think that you can still have a good game without shooting the ball well. His defense was good, he made big plays had had 9 assists. I’m more focused on the work ethic and team play. Shooting the ball is like a roller coaster. Sometimes they fall for you and sometimes they don’t. Overall he played very solid considering the few practices he had.
In the second game you beat Poland 93-83. One can truthfully say that the veterans Schroeder and Voigtmann stepped up in the fourth. This game could have gone lost without their leadership and scoring qualities.
Both of their leadership has been outstanding from day 1 in camp. They lead by example and it shows with their work ethic and professionalism in camp. They both made big plays down the stretch. Overal the team played very well. They gave a great effort despite the adversary that they faced. They had a tough flight back from Estonia to Frankfurt that was delayed 3 hours. We then missed our flight to Bremen and didn’t get there until 3am. Then Bonga gets hurt in the first half. The team did a great job staying together against Poland.
The team rebounded the ball again very well. What other aspects of Germany’s game did you like against Poland?
It all started with their work ethic which was very good. Also I liked their will to do the dirty work and once again like you said the rebounding was very good. When you only have a few practices, it is tough to execute the offense. But I felt they all gave a great effort.
Dennis Schroeder had an incredible game with 38 points. How important was AJ Slaughter’s effort. It seemed like Dennis didn’t want to lose that battle? Dennis took on the challenge and wanted to guard Slaughter with 3 fouls. The way he played and took on the challenge says a lot about his competitiveness.
Many continue to question Schroeder’s leadership. But this weekend it was spot on wasn’t it?
His leadership has been good from day 1. We have had good communication all season long and especially the last month. I made him captain because of his leadership. He has led his team 100% on and off the court. He wants to be here 100 % and play for his country.
What steps did team Germany make this week as you continue to move forward to the Eurochampionships?
We showed that we have depth. We have had guys play the first and second windows and then guys like Ogbe and Schilling who didn’t. The many windows have given guys the chance to show their game. I like how so many different guys have shown commitment and sacrifice to their country.
You last coached Isaac Bonga on a daily basis 4 years ago. What steps has he taken as a player and man since then?
I was very impressed by him in camp. He was one of our best players. His defense is outstanding. He is an all around good player. He has made big steps. It will be interesting to see where he will go from here.
How is your relationship to Johannes Voigtmann now. He looked like a boy in 2016 and now has become a man. Do you have like a blind understanding with him?
Joe is an even better person than he is player. He is an outstanding professional. Back when he played in Frankfurt in 2016, Aaron Doornekamp had a big influence on him. Aaron is the ultimate professional and helped Joe change his eating habits. Both are still close to this day. He didn’t play since February and he continued to work and he came in ready. That says a lot for the work ethic of Joe.
Talk a little about guys like David Kramer and Christian Sengfelder. Any other year where you don’t have 6 NBA players ready, they play.
David is a very interesting player. Back in November he was part of the 24 man roster, but wasn’t part of the 16 man roster. Kenneth Ogbe then got COVID and the rest is history. He played well in Nov and Feb and now is a big part of the team. He has been a nice story. I remember when David was 3 or 4 years old and I was coaching his dad in Austria in 1999. I have good memories of his family. Chris is a warrior and has an outstanding work ethic. Poland’s game plan was to take away Chris’s game, but he found away to play his game with success. He works hard every day and has become a better player. He is big into the mental aspect of the game. Both are main stays and have played great,
Is there any chance a guy like Isaiah Hartenstein will be available? It seems like he isn’t interested in playing for his country? I won’t talk about players who didn’t play in the windows. My focus is towards those players that played in the windows.
What’s the status of guys like Austin Reves and Nick Weiler-Babb? Do they have any chance for suiting up? I have no idea about Reaves. I can’t comment on that.
Hammink has had much success in Holland winning 3 titles in 2 years. Can he bring the Fraport Skyliners back to success?
I like Geert Hammink as a person. I have known him since many years. He was a talented player and is an even better person. He has done very well as a coach. He was a great signing by the Skyliners. I happy for them. He was atop player, top agent and top coach. This is very interesting.
It was near the end of the 2010-2011 season as playoff team Fraport Skyliners were on the road dueling against BBC Bayreuth who were surviving for their lives to stay in the Beko BBL. The guy that stood out most was Skyliner Dashaun Wood who would be MVP that season as he almost single-handedly won the game for Frankfurt. But on this night a team effort by Bayreuth in OT and Danny Gibson’s interesting post game words stayed in my memory most. After the massive 89-76 victory, Danny Gibson was exhausted and relived and saw eye to eye to what Dashaun Wood had told me previously. ”I would have to agree with Dashaun Wood on dressing up as a woman as something I don’t want to do, but would rather do than have to go down to the second league, but we want to stay in the beko BBL and just wanted it more tonight. We came together as a team and just fought it out’, stressed 2010 Dutch league top scorer Danny Gibson. But there was also something else that I remember from that exciting night and that was Marcus Ginyard (195-F/G-1987, college: UNC, agency: Slash Sports). He was a guy that I had been really excited to watch that season because he had come from top NCAA basketball institution North Carolina. Ok so he wasn’t a Wayne Ellington or Danny Green who would go on to play in the NBA, but still he was a NCAA champion that did his part to help the school achieve greatness in his time there. He had scored 17 points in the Bayreuth loss in Frankfurt earlier in the season and got revenge in OT netting 10 points, hauling down 7 rebounds, dishing out 2 dimes and hitting a crucial free throw late in the fourth to force OT. His rookie season in Bayreuth would be one that he and fans would never forget. ‘When it was announced that Marcus would come to Bayreuth there was a lot of hype. I was super excited to see him play. It was rare for a guy to come from NC and play in Germany. It was a rough season for Bayreuth who had come from the second league after not having been in the BBL for many years. He had a rough start, but then had a very good phase in the middle of the season. He was an allrounder, great defender that always fought on the court and wanted to win. He was a friendly down to earth guy and no one had anything bad to say about him. He was also funny not like typical American rookies who come overseas for first time and are shy He was loved and most appreciated by the fans’, remembered long time Bayreuth basketball follower Fabian Beierlein. His time with BBC Bayreuth will always have a very special place in his heart. ‘It was special for a number of reasons. It was my first professional season, so naturally there will be some strong impressions made during a rookie campaign. But it was also special because I was surrounded by great people. My teammates, coaches, management, and the fans were so supportive, focused, and really concerned with doing things the right way. We played together as a team, and we fought hard as a city! I was extremely blessed to play in Bayreuth’, warned Marcus Ginyard. Marcus Ginyard recently announced his retirement after playing 11 seasons and for 12 organizations in 8 countries.
Marcus Ginyard who lists Golden State Warrior Steph Curry as his toughest opponent in the NCAA that went to the NBA was born on May 8th, 1987 in Rochester, New York. He and his family moved to Virginia when he was young. He was introduced to the game by his mother who played in the marine corps basketball league. He played high school ball at Bishop O’Connell High School and then played at one of the countries best basketball schools North Carolina from 2005-2010 where he majored in communication. He had incredible success there and experienced things that most players can only dream about playing in 4 NCAA tournaments, reaching the final 4 twice, winning the ACC title twice, reaching the NIT final and best of the best wining it all in 2009 at March Madness. It is only obvious that he gets fired questions about that 2009 run. ‘Most people ask what it was like to crush everyone the way we did. And honestly, most people don’t ask anything, they just tell me how much fun it was to watch our team’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. He played with 13 future NBA players and could write a fascinating book about his time at Chapel Hill and have non ending stories about his teammates, but there isn’t a teammate where he could spill the beans more about than Danny Green. ‘We were roommates from our very first day on campus together in the summer of 2005. But the beautiful thing about playing at Carolina is that we are all brothers. All the former players create an amazing fraternity that stays very close’, said Marcus Ginyard. He wasn’t that lethal scorer, but the guy that everyone wants on the team and just can’t do without. His big strength was on the defensive end as he showed his versatility being able to play 4 positions and was defensive player of the game 20 times out of the 107 NCAA games he suited up for. Head coach Roy Williams was instrumental in him becoming the player he became overseas and person off the court. ‘He knew that all of his lessons of basketball would translate to our lives after hoops as well. Roy also took a lot of time to talk to us about being respectful young men as well. I’m lucky to have had a coach that was as interested in our development as men just as much as he was in our development as players’, added Marcus Ginyard. Some of his best stats in the NCAA included hitting UC Santa Barabra for 17 points, hauled down 10 boards at Clemson, and dished out 6 assists against Wake Forest and Arkansas.
He began his professional career in Germany with BBC Bayreuth. So often Americans come over and have trouble getting adjusted to the culture shock. But he found out right away that if he could make a living playing the game he loves, he would have to adapt no matter what. ‘I lived on top of a bakery in my first apartment in Germany. I remember walking in there and no one spoke any English, which now seems so silly of me to think that they would, but I just remember how I felt knowing I had a long road ahead of me trying to figure out how to manage life off the court if I couldn’t speak any German! It motivated me to learn German though, which I did really well that first year’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. BBC Bayreuth had very talented guys, but the team just had a lot of misfortune that season. They began the season very slow losing 7 of the first 8 games and never recovered. Despite not having success, he has great memories of his teammates. He still has contact to them today. ‘This reminds me that I need to reach out to Koko Archibong! I was lucky enough to see Phil Heyden back in 2016 when I came to Germany to visit during a break while playing in France. Jared Reiner actually sent me a message a few days ago when he saw the news about my retirement. Another example of why that year in Bayreuth was so special’, stated Marcus Ginyard. In 2015, he told me that he would love to play in Germany again, because his time in Bayreuth felt like home. Unfortunately he would never play in Germany again. Despite losing so many games as a rookie in Germany, the connection he made there with everyone shows just how much his heart was there and will always be there. ‘I’m sad that opportunity never presented itself for me. I would have never played this long if I didn’t have such a wonderful experience in Germany as a rookie. I want to take this chance to say thank you to Bayreuth, the city, the club, the people. They opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. There are some people from Bayreuth I’m still in close contact with to this day and that means the world to me’, warned Marcus Ginyard. It really doesn’t matter who you talk to in German basketball, but all had a positive memory of him. ‘He was a first class defender and always improved his offensive game. He had a top character. Unfortunately I only had him one season’, remembered then Bayreuth head coach Andreas Wagner.
He played his second professional season with Ironi Nahariya (Israel-National League) averaging 21.2ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 85.8%. Most Americans that I have interviewed that had the opportunity to ball in Israel have raved about the culture, food and weather, but the ex North Carolina Tar Heel wasn’t one of those. ‘Actually, I didn’t love this experience by any means. Israel was a beautiful place to live in for sure, but there’s a lot that goes into a season and it’s more than basketball. How professional was your organization? Were you paid on time? Were the terms of the contract upheld? Was all of your visa and administrative paperwork done correctly and on time’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. In terms of scoring, this was his best season as he scored in double figures in 26 of 28 games, scored 20 points or more 13 times and 30 points or more six times including having 37 and 30 points. You would think he would agree with this being his best season. ‘Honestly I don’t think so’, stated Marcus Ginyard. Early in his career he also decided to see what the D-League is like and played with Westchester averaging 7.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 1.9apg, 2FGP: 55.1%, 3FGP: 36.8%, FT: 72.0%. For some contemplating how hard it could be getting to the NBA back in 2014 in comparison to 2022 is a great discussion at the breakfast table, but thinking what could and what could not have been with the NBA was never on his menu. ‘ I hardly even wonder about that. I have no idea how easy it is to get into the NBA’, stressed Marcus Ginyard. He scored 17 points against Canton and 15 points a piece against Iowa and Oklahoma. He also played a season in the Ukraine with Azovmash Mariupol (Ukraine-Superleague) averaging 15.5ppg, 5.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 45.3%, 3FGP: 44.8%, FT: 80.4%; and in the VTB United League averaged 14.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.5apg, 2FGP: 64.1%, 3FGP: 27.8%, FT: 80.8%. The VTB is considered a top league in Europe and he played against top Euroleague team CSKA Moscow losing 75-40 and battled top guys like Sonny Weems, Nenad Krstic, Jeremy Pargo and Sasha Kaun. He played against so many great teams in his career, but talent wise none was like this one. ‘ I just remember feeling severely outmatched. They beat us in every single way. I think it could be the best team I’ve played against in my career’, warned Marcus Ginyard. He had great games in the VTB League netting 24 points against Triumph and 21 points against Krasny Oktyabr.I. In the 2015-2016 season, he had his first tour of duty in France with Hermine Nantes Atlantique (France-ProB) averaging 9.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 1.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 68.4%. Sometimes that first time is so sweet that you just have to come back later in your career. ‘I remember how much I loved playing in France. We had a great group of guys. I also remember wanting to get back to France after that which I was fortunate enough to accomplish. Pro B was a difficult league to play in. Extremely physical, a little crazy, but I have a lot of respect for Pro B players and teams’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. He scored in double figures in 17 games that season including 21 points against St Chamond.
The swingman who lists Quentin Thomas Phil Heyden Ruben Boykin Deividas Dulkys Giordan Watson and Speedy Smith as his best teammates of all-time played for various teams in Poland with Anwil Wloclawek (Poland-PLK) averaging 12.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 34.6%, FT: 78.6%, Stelmet Zielona Gora (Poland-TBL) averaging 6.0ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 57.5%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 65.9%, Energa Czarni Slupsk (Poland-TBL) averaging 11.1ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 31.0%, FT: 86.8% and for Asseco Arka Gdynia (Poland-EBL) averaging 8.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 63.2%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 73.3%. You would think that when you played parts of four seasons in a country and reached two league finals that a player must have enjoyed his time there, but that isn’t always the case. ‘I don’t remember enjoying the majority of my time there. Poland was a place that typically paid very late, and there always seemed to be some organizational issues. I always found myself in Poland though, so for some reason I was also back there. It was a lot of fun playing in Gdynia, though. I enjoyed that much more than the other seasons there for sure. Again, there are so many different factors that play into whether I enjoyed my time somewhere. I did meet a lot of great people in Poland, many whom are still friends of mine to this day’, said Marcus Ginyard. He played a total of 142 league games in Poland and scored in double figures in 70 games including 27 points against Siarka, 25 points against Energa Czarni and 23 points against PGE Turow. He definitely left it all on the court and demonstrated again that he could adapt to any new league with his play. In 2017-2018 he won his only pro title with KK Rabotnicki AD Skopje (FYR Macedonia) averaging 15.9ppg, 5.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 59.8%, 3PT: 36.6%, FT: 78.4%. This was a season where his scoring and offensive capabilities were in the spotlight. He had some monster games against Shkupi with 37 points, 28 points against Pelister Bitola and 27 points against Kozuv. But he saved his best for last for the final series against MZT Skopje where the last two games were combined decided by 4 points. He didn’t explode on the offensive end like in previous games scoring 11 and 12 points, but let his biggest strength do the talking as he was the defensive stopper steering the team to the win with 7 steals in those last two games and 5 in the last game. ‘That was a crazy series! We had to play game 2 over two days because we had to stop the game due to some fan violence. The next day we started the game from the 3rd quarter without any fans! It was an awesome experience to win a professional title, but it was a pain in the butt to take KK Rabotnicki to FIBA BAT for our bonus’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. Success had to do also with having the right mix of teammates like fellow veteran Sean Evans who like Ginyard was a rookie in Germany a year after him. ‘Sean was a great teammate! I’m happy to see he’s been successful since our time together’, expressed Marcus Ginyard.
In 2018-2019 he was able to experience another new country and league with CSU Oradea (Romania-Liga Nationala) averaging 8.1ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.1apg, 2FGP: 55.1%, 3FGP: 23.3%, FT: 75.8%. and in the FIBA Europe Cup averaged 10.5ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 65.2%, 3FGP: 47.1%, FT: 64.3%. He helped the team reach the Super Cup final. He wasn’t one of those typical Americans that hangs out in the apartment all day long playing playstation, but wanted to soak in as much as possible from his new home that season. ‘Soaking up the culture wherever I played was always a very high priority for me, mainly because of my experience in Germany my rookie season. When I decided to dive head first into the people, the culture, and the experience of living in a foreign country, that’s when it felt the most rewarding. Scary, for sure, but really rewarding. I saw some very interesting things in Romania, and everywhere else I played’, added Marcus Ginyard. He scored 17 points against Timisoara and in Fiba Europe Cup had 14 points against Turkish team Sakarya BSB and had German team Wurzburg’s number scoring 12 and 13 points. He then closed out his professional career returning to France and balling with Limoges CSP Elite (France-Jeep ELITE ProA) averaging 9.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.1apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 48.3%, FT: 80.0%; and 6.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 34.4%, FT: 88.2%. He scored 20 points against Bourg, 18 points against Le Mans and 15 points against Monaco. He had fun also off the court having much trash talk with ex NBA player Demarkus Nelson as he was a Duke boy. Talking about the incredible North Carolina-Duke rivalry can help pass the time. He also had good games in the Eurocup scoring 15 points against Partizan NIS and in the Basketball Champions League scoring 12 points against Hapoel Jerusalem.
The Virginia native who didn’t beat Tar Heel teammate Danny Green who isn’t a 3 time NBA champion by accident in one on one’s back in the day had to deal with COVID the last few years just like everyone else on this planet. He had to deal with the new challenges and like most other players overseas got by them. ‘One of the biggest challenges of course with something like that was being so far away from my family and support system. Everyone across the globe was going through a fairly traumatic experience and it was even more difficult being thousands of miles away from my family and friends during that time. However, I was lucky to have some great people in Limoges that helped me tremendously’, remembered Marcus Ginyard. Seeing so much hardship in the world made him see life in a totally new and different perspective that helped him during basketball and will help him as well after. ‘COVID has made me reconsider the importance of certain things in my life and I believe it will make me a better person in the long run. It also provided an intense exercise for dealing with unexpected adversity’, warned Marcus Ginyard. So let’s fast forward to 2022. The time arrived for Marcus Ginyard to retire. Often guys do it because of age and physical fatigue, but he had other reasons. ‘You know, I didn’t look at it from an age standpoint, or physical ability, it really was more about how I felt about professional basketball mentally and emotionally. Spending more than a decade away from your friends and family takes a toll on you. I was very fortunate to have some interesting opportunities present themselves, and I felt that it was time to take on new life challenges’, warned Marcus Ginyard. I personally would have enjoyed seeing him keep playing, because on the floor, he still had the right stuff. ‘I’m glad that you felt like I was still playing at a high level. Physically I absolutely could have played longer. Mentally, I’m not so sure. And I wasn’t prepared to take the risk’, stressed Marcus Ginyard. His decision was definitely one that was well thought out. ‘There were a few factors that over time began to cost more to me than what I was getting out of playing basketball professionally. Before this Christmas I had never been with my niece and nephew during Christmas. I had never been with them on their birthdays. I’ve spent Thanksgiving with my family twice in 15 years. Getting paid late and not in full makes you feel differently at 30 years old than it does at 22 years old. Packing up your life and moving to a new country and a new team every year starts to get old. Missing potential business or job opportunities because I’m not home in the US starts to feel different. Just knowing that basketball isn’t forever, and that there’s a whole next chapter of my career that I would like to get started on made me look at this off season differently that I had looked at a lot of summers previous to now’, said Marcus Ginyard.
The ex North Carolina player who obviously supports Michael Jordan as the greatest of all-time has accepted a job at Medalist Capital in North Carolina as vice president which is a nice new stepping stone right after basketball. ‘My focus was my future, on finding stability in my life to make a big step in my personal growth and development. I felt like I needed to get grounded somewhere, and take on some new challenges that would ultimately lead me closer to my life goals’, stressed Marcus Ginyard. Of course he won’t disappear from basketball. How can anyone do that from the game they love? ‘ I will always be connected to basketball. Basketball will always be in my blood. I’ll start by going to all the UNC games that I can since I’ve missed over a decade of Carolina games’, stressed Marcus Ginyard. He played 379 professional games. I was surprised when I checked that we only did 3 interviews together. Our last was in the summer of 2015. Personally I’m a bit disappointed that we hadn’t done more, because he was always a great read. ‘That’s crazy to think about considering we’ve known each other more than 10 years! I’m glad we managed to connect again for an interview. Thanks for thinking of me. You’ve always been great to work with and I appreciate that a lot’, stressed Marcus Ginyard. It is always sad to see guys retire who you watched a whole career long. For me Marcus Ginyard was a real hard competitor on the court that played until the siren sounded and did all he could to help his team win. Off the court he was a genuine good guy and most important for me never said no to an interview of mine. I wish him continued all the best and who knows maybe he will do more at the Dean Smith center in the future than just watch games.
Anton Ivy (203-F, college: ACU) is a 203cm forward from Peoria, Illinois that played his rookie season in Germany with REWE Aupperle Fellbach (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 14.8ppg, 8.9rpg, 2.5apg, 1.4spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 63.4%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 44.4%. He began his basketball career at Manual Academy. He then played 2 seasons at Rend Lake College averaging 5.6ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.1apg, 2.7bpg, FGP: 52.3%, FT: 62.5% as a freshman and in his second season averaged 9.3ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.6apg, 2.4bpg, FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 26.3%, FT: 67.4%. He then palyed a year at the University of Charleston (NCAA2) averaging 4.6ppg, 3.2rpg and finished at Arizona Christian University (NAIA) averaging 3.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.9bpg. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Anton thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. You finished school in 2019. What did you do professionally the last two seasons and how difficult was it not being able to find a club until 2 years later? Anton: After finishing school I pursued the chance of playing over in Spain but without proper management I decided not to take the offer and see what I can do the following season. Then of course corona hit and changed everything so, I devoted myself to being ready when things finally opened back up.
Fellbach started off 2-2. What is your explanation for this rapid up and down game? Anton: It was a learning curve for mostly everyone on the team all season with a bunch of new pieces coming together as the season progresses.
What kind of an experience was it playing ex NCAA player KJ Sherril? How much do you get up for big time players like him who belongs to the best players in the league Anton: I love playing against great talented players, this is what basketball is about competing at your highest level and trying to get better everyday.
What kind of an experience was it been playing with Fellbach as a rookie? How blessed where you feel being able to call yourself a professional player? Anton: It was an honor playing for Fellbach, everyone was welcoming and that’s the dream many of us desire to be called a professional.
What was the biggest adjustment for you coming over from the States with adapting to European ball?
Anton: Just learning how they play the game here, its reminiscing to basketball back in the 90’s and 00’s. They play inside out and they do a great job at dictating the pace of the game, whereas in the states everything is usually outside and fast paced.
You’re a 203cm forward. To what NBA player would you best describe your game to?
Anton: I’m not sure who I’d compare myself to but I like to think of myself as a swiss army knife, having a bunch of things that I can do when it’s needed.
You didn’t average more than 4,6ppg in your last two years in school. How cool was it finally playing minutes again? Anton: Felt great, wasn’t sure why things were how they were my last two collegiate seasons but blessed to be on this stage showing my abilities.
You are a very good rebounder and shot blocker. What other strong points does your game have?
Anton: Defense and rebounding were always been in me since picking up the ball in high school, but also, I believe I’m a great passer and have the ability to score at any level along with great IQ for the game.
On what parts of your game are you working on most now that will help you continue to climb the basketball ladder? Anton: I feel like I didn’t have a great showing of my scoring ability in college so I focus on being more aggressive.
What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away? Anton: My IQ, I feel it was slept on mostly in college. The fact that I was able to learn and adapt to how things are played here from the states in a short amount of time should be proven.
You played at 3 schools with Rend Lake College (JUCO), University of Charleston (NCAA2) and Arizona Christian University (NAIA). How do you feel did your game profit most from having played at 3 schools?. What did each school give you that helped you on the court most? Anton: Each school taught me many different things, I got to learn different playing styles going from east coast to west and being from the Midwest.
You began at Rend Lake College. Every guy I talk to who played JUCO all say it was a tough experience, but one that really helped their development. What did you get most out of this experience? Anton: Yes very tough but it’s the grit and grind that builds you as a player, with that being most guys first college experience or coming from high major schools.
You then played a season at University of Charleston (NCAA2) playing 24 games averaging 4.6ppg, 3.2rpg. What kind of an experience was playing in the NCAA2? Do you feel like you got a real chance there to display your talent? Anton: I enjoyed the experience, but I wasn’t able to put my full talents on display.
You then finished at Arizona Christian University (NAIA) playing 34 games averaging 3.6ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.9bpg. How tough was it taking a step back to play in the NAIA? You ha dthat defensive stopper role. Anton: I embraced the role but as the season went changes were made and I fell out of the conversation of been defensive player of the year. We had a great run their wish we could have brought home that title.
You once had 9 blocks in a game. How would you personally compare that to how many points, rebounds or assists that would compare to? Anton: anyway I can effect the game I’m going to try to do that.
In your last college game you lost 80-79 to Georgetown KY. You battled Chris Coffey who had 15/11/5 stats. Curently he is playing in germany’s top league easyCredit BBL. Knowing this does that make you want to grind harder every day to get better? Anton: yes of course
How did head coach Jeff Rutter groom and prepare you best for a professional career? Anton: A lot of off the court preparations I’m thankful to have had him for.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Anton: all of my teammates have been amazing, they all were there for me at pivotal moments in my life, and they will always be family.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?
Anton: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Anton: it’s a tough argument but I think it just comes down to people’s preferences.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming to America? Should they just have left it alone? Anton: yes I did, and yes I think all these remakes of older movies aren’t all that good especially years after.
It was January 2021 and nothing was normal in the world or for me. Covid was all over the place and driving people crazy while I was stuck deep in my Cancer struggle. I will continue to say it to this day. Basketball saved my life. Even with all this pain in the world thank God for basketball. It was January 20th and despite having had chemotherapy only 2 days before and feeling weak, I wasn’t going to miss calling any games. I was calling a routine Pro B game between two of Germany’s best youth programs with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and Orange Academy in Frankfurt. I had already seen Orange Academy once in December 2020 in Koblenz and in that game a fellow by the name of Igor Milicic really stood out for me. A Polish player with real family history with a well known dad who had had a great career and was coaching in Poland and a younger brother Zoran supposedly even more talented than Igor. In the game Igor posted 19 points and showed his vast versatility at both ends of the court while hitting 4 three’s. I went on two write an article about the flashy Polish player 9 days after my I saw him my second time. I’m known for having a liking of interviewing Americans or just really talented guys who have a massive future ahead of them. It’s no secret that I love to say ‘you see that NBA player, I interviewed him when he was unknown or still young’. I had had a 50-50 chance of picking that player that would blast off like only few would have predicted. It was between Igor Milicic and Jeremy Sochan (6’9”-F-2003) of who I would interview after the game. I made the wrong choice as time would tell picking Igor. At the end of the day, I was really happy to have interviewed Igor because he was a real nice guy and I truly loved his game. But basketball is so fascinating how certain guy’s paths move. 16 months after this encounter, Jeremy Sochan the guy I didn’t interview was drafted at #9 by the San Antonio Spurs at the 2022 NBA draft. I’m not totally sure, but I believe I did talk to Jeremy Sochan after the game and got his email address so I could interview him. It never came to an interview mainly because I misplaced the email address and never found it. That really annoyed me that I didn’t. The big fish got away from me. What did Jeremy Sochan do in 16 months to get drafted by the NBA?. Obviously his choice of going to 2021 NCAA champion Baylor was correct. Orange Academy Definitely was a stepping stone for Jeremy Sochan‘s path to the NBA.
The Polish/American forward may only be 19 years old, but has seen a lot in his young life. He was born in Guymon, Oklahoma. His mother Aneta was a Polish basketball player that went to the United States to study. Early in his life he moved to England in 2005 and got his first basketball experience for the Solent Kestrels youth team and also played for Itchen College in Southhampton. His final club in the UK was the MK Trojans in Milton Keynes. He returned back to the United States and played at the Lumiere School in Indiana. When Covid hit in 2020 he declared to play for Baylor (NCAA), but wouldn’t go right away as he would go to Europe and play for Orange Academy the farm team of easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm in the Pro B (3rd division Germany). He came to Germany with his first big success in basketball helping the Polish U-16 team win the European championships. He exploded in the tournament playing 8 games averaging 16.1ppg, 9.6rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-4 (3.1spg), 1.5bpg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 57.1%. He scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games and had 4 double doubles. He had massive games against Bulgaria with 28 points and hit Hungary for 21 points.
I reach ex Jeremy Sochan coach Anton Gavel on an early Friday afternoon less than a day before he would be officially named ratiopharm Ulm head coach. The athletic forward who can finish with the best of them and is a fine passer first had contact to ratiopharm Ulm in 2017 and visited Orange Campus in 2018. ‘Chris Ensminger gets all the credit for finding Jeremy. We had had him on our radar for a while. We felt very lucky being able to get a player like that for our program’, stressed ratiopharm Ulm head coach Anton Gavel. That first impression is so important in all walks of life, but it may not be quite as vital in sports when a player is young simply because he has time to develop. Gavel remembers exactly how it was when he saw Jeremy Sochan step on the court at Orange Academy for that first practice in 2020. ‘I could see right away that he was very athletic. But like with all young players would need time. He would have that time with us. I saw he had a lot of talent and knew that he could be a great player’, remembered Anton Gavel. He showed rapidly in pre season that he could play and had a few games scoring 20 points, but he then suffered an injury that would keep him out until October 30th when he gave his debut in Germany. In his first game he wasted no time showing that versatility could be a new middle name for him as he had a stat filling game in the exciting 72-70 win over FC Bayern Munich 2 recording 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. ‘What many didn’t see then was that he could defend the positions 1-4. Of course we used that advantage. He was very mobile and very quick off the floor going after his own misses. He was a good rebounder and loved to get in the open court. He still had to work on his shot, but there were also games where he showed a stable three pointer. We liked putting him on the other team’s best player’, remembered Anton Gavel. He had very good outside shooting games against FC Munich 2, Frankfurt and Dresden. There were games where he didn’t take control, but on a young team that had so much talent, Gavel did a super job sharing the team roles well and having a team where many could take over on any night. One of those more quiet nights was against Oberaching where he contributed 6 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 19 minutes. Despite not having a big game, Oberaching head coach Mario Matic saw something special in his game. ‘He was a big and athletic wing player with the qualities of an American in the Pro B. He also could shoot the ball well. I was a bit surprised the kind of development he took. He must have been exactly what the NBA was looking for as a potential draft pick. Jeremy was able to develop further under Moris Hadzija and in the States’, stated Mario Matic. ‘Training Jeremy was a true blessing, from day one. We all knew his future will be amazing. We spent a great amount of time together in the gym and I was glad to be able to have met him as a person. Wonderful human being, humble, and very competitive’, remembered Moris Hadzija.
In his season with Orange Academy the Polish national player averaged 9,4ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.0spg, Blocks-4 (1.4bpg), FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 24.2%, FT: 52.5%. He scored in double figures in 12 of 19 games including hitting Dresden for 20 points, had Karlsruhe’s number scoring 16 and 14 points and had 14 points against Giessen. He couldn’t score in double figures against Hanau where he had 9 and 6 points in the two games, but left a lasting impression on American Omari Knox who has been grinding his whole career and has carved out a fine career in Germany in the Pro B and Regionalliga. ‘My impression of Jeremy when I played against him the previous season was that he’s an NBA player. Playing in Europe (Germany), definitely helped him a lot but I see him thriving more in an up and down, fast-paced setting’, stressed Omari Knox. Sochan was able to improve his game with experience in the Pro B, but especially the mental aspect of his game grew simply because he always had the right attitude. ‘I think the most important thing that he gained in Germany was that he always went in with the mentality that he had something to prove. He was never satisfied. He was so competitive and always wanted to defend the best player. He just wanted to beat the best’, remembered Anton Gavel. No player had it easy in the Pro B against him especially when he had his A game on on defense. ‘What really stood out was that he was always able to stand in front of his man. He never became irritated by a cross over. This quality is something I believe NBA teams look for and if he can continue to do that at a high level, then I think he will be a very good defender’, stressed ex Fraport Skyliner Matthew Meredith. ‘I think his biggest defensive asset besides athleticism is definitely his inner motor and drive to win and stop opponents’, warned Moris Hadzija. He also demonstrated with the Polish national team and at the 2020 Addidas Next generation tournament that he is the real deal. He played one national team game against Romania winning scoring 18 points and at ANGT averaged 15.5ppg, Reb-2 (12.8rpg), 2.8apg, 1.5spg, 1.3bpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 24.0%, FT: 55.6%. He scored in double figures in all 4 games and had 3 double doubles. He exploded against top Euroleague team FC Barcelona with 16 points and 16 boards and hit Gran Canaria for 15 points and 17 rebounds. ‘It didn’t matter against who he played, he was always able to meet the challenges’, warned Anton Gavel.
After his fine year with Orange Academy he chose to go to the States and test the waters in the NCAA. He had already committed to Baylor (NCAA) in the summer of 2020 and now was ready for the next step. ‘I think that going to Baylor was absolutely the right step for him. He always liked the big stage and knew that the scouts would be watching. He did all the right things’, expressed Anton Gavel. It surely didn’t hurt his mindset or development going to Baylor that had won the 2021 NCAA tournament. Sochan and co who had another incredible team with guys like Adam Flagler, James Akinjo, and Kendall Brown, but were unable to repeat losing a tough battle against top team North Carolina 93-86 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Sochan had a fine freshman season playing 30 games averaging 9.2ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 58.9%. He was able to booster his game as he could defend 1-5 and even played point guard against Kansas. He helped Baylor win the Big 12 title and achieved Big 12 best sixth man of the year and was named to Big 12 All-freshman team. He scored in double figures in 14 games and had 2 double doubles. He also had 17 games with at least 1 block and 26 games with at least 1 steal or more. His best scoring games were against Alabama, TCU and Kansas with 17 points apiece. He also finished the season strong scoring in double figures in the Big 12 title run and in the NCAA tournament. Despite popping up on various 2022 NBA Mock Drafts, he was able to continue to play his game and develop without letting the hype distract him during the long NCAA season. He and everybody else connected to him knew he would get drafted. ‘The NCAA can either help or hurt you depending on the player, and their goals. For an NBA prospect like Jeremy it definitely helped to raise his stock by playing and performing on the National stage for a year’, commented Omari Knox. The big night for Jeremy Sochan arrived on June 24th and he was drafted at #9 by the San Antonio Spurs. He didn’t go alone from Baylor as teammate Kendall Brown was also drafted at #48 by the Timberwolves and traded to the Indiana Pacers. ‘I’m so happy for Jeremy. He did all the work and deserved it. I really didn’t do anything. I tried to do as much as I could. He did all the work and made it. I hope that he has a great NBA career’, stressed Anton Gavel.
Now he joins a system with Gregg Popovich that likes to feature players that have the sound fundamentals which is exactly what the ex Orange Academy player has. Also if he wants to have a quick coffee with ex Baylor coach Scott Drew who achieved his 5th first round NBA pick with Sochan will only have to drive 2 hours and 45 minutes for a reunion. In a way all basketball players are a big family and genuinely have respect and love for each other. ‘I’m happy for Jeremy. I think the year at Baylor was pretty much just for him to showcase that he could still play with the best of the guys in his class. I saw that he was already a top talent coming out of prep school so I’m not really surprised that he was drafted’, said Omari Knox. He now will have a very exciting and interesting summer as he prepares for his first NBA training camp with the Spurs. He knows that he still has a long way and will have to grind, grind and grind. ‘I think he will be in good hands and his ceiling is huge but if I could choose the elements I would say besides shooting he needs to keep on working on his solution and expanding that part of his game, for example keeping the dribble alive when going downhill or when creating for himself or for teammates’, warned Moris Hadzija. It is no secret that Jeremy Sochan touched so many hearts in his one season in Ulm as everyone will be watching from a far as he continues his rise up the basketball ladder. ‘I will never forget his hunger to get better and enormous will. For example he was waking up almost every day together with Igor Milicic at 5 in the morning so he can attend morning workouts with me before school. I think that says enough about the person he is’, said Moris Hadzija. Even if he coached Jeremy Sochan only for a season, Anton Gavel will always remember the youthfulness that the kid had in Germany which was very refreshing. Now he will be competing with the real men. ‘I remember in pre season seeing how he saw the game as a youth. He walked through the streets like a kid. He played like a kid with us that made mistakes’, remembered Anton Gavel. At the end of my discussion with Anton Gavel, I couldn’t help myself to ask him if he would become the new Ulm head coach. He politely laughed and said that that was for others to decide. He probably knew the decision, but couldn’t say yet. If I were to ask him if he knows if Jeremy Sochan will make the 2022-2023 San Antonio Spurs roster, he won’t know the answer and won’t be able to comment. After a summer of hard work in the lab, time will only tell if Jeremy Sochan will make his NBA dream a reality in October.
Devaughn Mallory (201-F-1997, college: Jefferson) is a 24 year old 201cm forward from Charleston, South Carolina that completed his rookie season with the BBC Twisters Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 19.4ppg, 10.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 64.1%. He began his basketball career with Polytech High School. He played at Delaware State (NCAA) from 2015-2017 playing 53 NCAA games. In his second season he averaged 10.3ppg, 6.3rpg, FGP: 55.4%, FT: 65.6%. he then finished at Jefferson University (NCAA2) playing 59 games and averaging 16.9ppg, 9.9rpg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 84.1% as a junior and as a senior averaged 18.2ppg, 9.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 53.2%, FT: 84.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Thanks Devaughn for talking to germanhoops.com. You were in the States during the Pandemic. How did you experience COVID and what were the most challenging things you had to cope with?
I’ve experienced Covid as a very serious thing specially since I’ve had a couple friends and family members that ended up catching it last. Also the most challenging things to cope with was always wearing a mask and being very distant from family and friends.
With everything that you witnessed during COVID off the court how do you feel did you get stronger as a man?
I felt like me being off the court due to Covid made me become a stronger man by having a stronger and better mentality of being more patient and always looking at every situation more positive since we already have to fight against Covid for over a year now.
After finishing school, you sat out last season. The BBC Twisters Rendsburg already wanted you last season. How tough was not playing last season? What positives could you still get out of it?
Sitting out last season was definitely tough but again I just looked at the positive side of things meaning I was given more time to work on my game. And time to get stronger physically before actually joining the Twisters team.
Were you able to use more time in the lab to better your game? How do you feel did you make steps in your game during the long break from competitive basketball?
I definitely was able to use more time in the lab to better my game by becoming stronger and faster on the court. Along with working on my IQ, stability, ball handling, and jump shot since thankfully layer through Covid my trainer was able to get permission to reserve a gym for basketball gym. Along with him having his own weight lifting gym too.
Your played your first professional season in Germany with Rendsburg in the Regionalliga. What did you enjoy most about being a professional player?
What I’ve enjoyed most is simply getting paid and being able to continuously play the sport that I love most. Along with building up a fan support system for the games in Germany and becoming a role model for these young kids who dream to follow a similar path as me in their future’s.
You needed no adjustment time to the Regionalliga posting double double stats. What was your secret to being a dominant player?
I don’t want to say too much on my secrets for how I play on the court lol but let’s just say whenever I’m on the court I give 110% and whatever coach says we’re lacking with offensive or defensive wise I accept the challenge to fix it before the end of the game.
What was it like playing with Swedish point guard Andree Michelsson? Did he make your life a lot easier on the offensive end?
It has been a lot of fun playing with Andree Michelsson he’s a great point guard, who creates opportunities for everyone on the court to score, he also talks on the court. And is always can give us a bucket when we need it. Also he definitely makes it easier for my life on the offensive end.
Head coach Bjarne Homfeldt was a big supporter of your game. What did you appreciate most about his teachings to you about the game you love?
For coach I appreciated his support a lot and for his teachings I appreciate him working his system around my game a little, and just allowing me to play the way I want too. Also whenever there’s anything he feels I should work on he lets me know for sure.
Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 201cm undersized big man. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
For an NBA player I would say Paul Millsap or Rui Hachimura.
You can score, rebound and have incorporated a outside shot into your game. What other strengths does your game have?
Other strengths I would say I have is that I’m always talking to my teammates on the court to work hard, and stay positive. Also I’m in very good shape and always out running other bigs up and down the court. Plus I have a quick first step against most bigs that guard me.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so that you can continue to improve your game? Areas that I’m working on most to elevate my game is my shooting range behind the 3pt line and ball handling.
What do you believe is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away? A hidden strength that I have is just being a great rebounder and always out working/ hustling players that are assigned to guard me in the game.
You played two seasons at Delaware State from 2015-2017. You had a very solid second season averaging 10/6 stats. How important was head coach Keith Walker in your early basketball development?
Keith Walker was very important because he had the most faith in me and was the only division 1 coach to offer me a full scholarship. So that I could have the opportunity to play at the high NCAA stage. He also helped me develop on becoming a better rebounder and to always working hard and stay in shape before and after the season.
In your freshman year you played against powerhouse Michigan. What memories do you have playing against some of the countries best players?
Michigan was a crazy/ exciting game and the environment of the fans made the game very fun. But overall it was just crazy seeing the skill set and chemistry that their team had putting overseas players and players in the states together in such short time.
You had many great games in the NCAA. Was your 16 points and the win over St Johns one of the more memorable? St. John’s game was definitely the most memorable moment that season because it was one of the biggest wins in Delaware States university history. And people had very small confidence of us walking out that night with the win, so we definitely shocked a lot of people around the world that watched that game.
You then transferred to Jefferson University (NCAA2) averaging 16.9ppg, 9.9rpg, FGP: 53.2%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 84.1% and as a senior averaged 18.2ppg, 9.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 53.2%, FT: 84.6%. Why did you take a step back after proving you could play in the NCAA?
I decided to step down because me along with 7 other of my teammates that year chose to enter the transfer portal. So if I stayed I would have to play with a whole new team and rebuild chemistry at the division 1 level. Also education is a big thing in my family and Del State didn’t have my college degree there either. Also there was rumors that coach Walker would probably be fired after this season. So I just figured that playing somewhere new that still had a great basketball system along with my major degree was best whether it was D1 or D2.
You were a top player in the NCAA 2. How do you feel did your game grow in your last 2 years? Yes, I feel my game has grown a lot more along with my atheism and mentality while playing on the court.
You had Wilmington’s number as a senior scoring 31 and 30 points and beating them to reach the CACC final. Were they your favorite opponent?
Wilmington university was definitely my favorite opponent since they were always under sized big man wise against me. So it was easier for me to score on the court along with getting rebounds.
How did head coach Herb Magee groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career? Coach Magee just told me that with my skill set and knowledge for the game that once the season ended my senior year a lot of agents would reach out. So choose wisely with who you want to represent you and once I get overseas and have my opportunity for me to go make a name for myself starting the first game.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Prince Hickson?
Crazy thing is that me and Prince never actually played one on one before. But I will say he was our best defender and best defender I ever played with on the court, and I’m just grateful that he was on my team.
Who was the toughest player that you encountered in the NCAA that would reach the NBA?
Toughest player I encountered before that made it to the NBA was either Kyle Kuzma, Derrick Jones jr or Duncan Robinson.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
My five best teammates are Ricky Hicks, Juwan Gray, John Pierce, Donte DiVincenzo, and Eric Laster.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads. My list is Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Stephen Curry.
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Micheal Jordan is the greatest of all time to my opinion and that has never changed for me.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone? Yes, I have seen the sequel and I agree that they should have just left the classic along honestly.
Joseph Feraci (180-PG, college: LSUA) is a 180cm guard from Slidell, Louisiana that is finished his rookie season for 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga) in Germany playing 23 games avergaing 14.6ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 81.8%. He began his basketball career at Pope John Paul II High School and then played at Louisiana State University at Alexandria (NAIA) from 2014-2018. He won 3 RRAC titles. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his interesting life
Thanks Joe for talking to germanhoops.com. You were in the States and Germany during the Pandemic. How have you experienced COVID and what were the most challenging things you had to cope with?
Luckily and fortunately, covid has not been nearly as hard or challenging on me as it has for many others. I’d say the biggest challenge I faced at the height of the pandemic was lack of everyday interaction with people that I was so used to having, gyms being closed, and not being able to freely travel outside of the country.
With everything that you witnessed during COVID off the court how do you feel did you get stronger as a man?
I think it mostly made me realize how much I may have taken simple things for granted. It sort of gave me a new found motivation to take advantage of every opportunity at hand because you truly never know when you may lose certain things or opportunities.
You finished at Louisiana State University at Alexandria (NAIA) in 2018. Was there ever any thought that you could live the dream of being a professional player overseas despite never averaging more than 4,8ppg in the NAIA.
When I played my last collegiate game I never thought I’d have the opportunity to play professionally overseas. I thought that I could and believed I was good enough but the reality of it all was that I was hurt a lot in college and when I was healthy I didn’t really stand out very often on a team loaded with so much talent and other deserving guys.
You came to Germany in November 2020. Were you already in the army before you came to Germany? Talk a little about what you did after you finished at school?
I graduated in May of 2018 and got married about a year later to my college girlfriend, Katie Lemieux who played on the women’s basketball team at LSUA. Katie decided she wanted to join the Air Force and she had my full support. A few months after she joined we found out that we would be moving to Germany in November 2019.
How did the job opportunity with 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga) come about? Who was your first basketball contact in Germany?
I arrived here in Germany in November 2019 and through playing pick-up at local gyms I was able to get in contact with Coach Mario Coursey and get a tryout with the team for the 2020 season. Things went well but the 2020 season ended up getting cancelled. Fortunately, Coach Mario reached back out to me for the 2021 season and thankfully had a spot for me on the team.
How cool is it living the dream of being a professional player with 1. FC Kaiserslautern (Germany-Regionalliga). You are putting up solid stats. What has been your secret to being able to adapt so quickly?
It has been nothing short of a great time. I couldn’t be more thankful to have the opportunity to play for FCK. The game is a lot different than what I am used to in the States. Players move and play differently and referees even call games differently. I’ve had a smooth time adapting simply through being more confident in myself than I have ever been before. My teammates and Coach Mario have especially made the transition easy on me as well.
How important was veteran Aaron Ellis for you? Was he like a mentor for you since you have been with the team?
Man, having Aaron on the team has been great. He’s a natural leader and with him having played at Wichita State back in the US I feel like we see the game similarly and we have good chemistry together on the floor. He keeps the team and I grounded when things get tough. Couldn’t be happier to have an experienced guy like that on the team helping me through my first year.
Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 180cm point guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I don’t know if I would necessarily compare myself to this guy because he’s one of the greatest point guards to ever live but someone I watch a lot and try to emulate is Chris Paul.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet with ease. What do you feel is your biggest strength on the court?
I think my biggest strength on the court would be my shooting and ball handling.
How good does it feel having a central scoring role now something you didn’t have in school?
It feels great. It’s feels like a comfortable role for me.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can keep improving your game?
I am mostly working on my in-between or mid range game and being able to finish in the paint.
With your good play on the court, how big are your aspirations to keep having a professional career after this season? How much of an inspiration is ex teammate Jordin Williams who is a rare NAIA player that has reached top leagues in Europe?
I have big aspirations and would love an opportunity beyond this year. I am confident that I can play with the best and will look to prove that as this season goes on. Jordin was my roommate in college and we put in a lot of work together. Seeing his dreams come true and the opportunities he made for himself was like a dream come true for me too because I knew the work he put in behind closed doors. So yes his story is very inspiring to me and others.
You won the RRAC tournament 3 times. Which one was the sweetest?
The sweetest RRAC that we won in my opinion was the 1st one we won my freshman year. We were down 20 at one point and came back and won in OT.
How did head coach Larry Cordaro groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Cordaro has a work ethic that not many other people have and he taught me about what having a work ethic truly means. My dad Joseph Feraci Jr., my high school coach Krisner Green, my college assistant coaches Jay Smith, Casey Apetrei and Daniel Roy, and my good friend and trainer Matt Binder all played central parts in preparing me for this moment.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jordin Williams?
Jordin has never beat me one on one. I’ve actually taught him every move he knows!
Who was the toughest player that you encountered in the NAIA or anywhere in your life in the gym that would reach the NBA?
I would have to say Stevie Clark was the toughest player I ever guarded in the NAIA.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
In no order I’d say Deangelo Coleman, Jordin Williams, Gilbert Talbot, Codey Davie, and Colby Harrison.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads.
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
I grew up watching Lebron and I’d have to go with him. The physical attributes, longevity, and the peak of his prime are all 2nd to none in my opinion.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I did not see the sequel but I couldn’t imagine it being any where near as good as the original. My blind opinion would be that they probably should’ve left it alone.
December 26th, 2020 is a date that will forever be remembered in Austrian basketball and also in the basketball life of American Richaud Pack (192-G-1992, college: Maryland). In the NBA Laker fans will always remember where they were when Kobe Bryant scored 81 points, Boston Celtics fans will always remember the day in 1987 when Larry Bird made the steal and fed the ball to Dennis Johnon for the lay in and win over Detroit in the playoffs and fans in Philadelphia will always remember where they were when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points as a Warrior. December 26th, 2020 was the day where Pack who played 82 NCAA games for 3 schools scored a mind boggling 55 points for BC GGMT Vienna in a thrilling 104-101 victory over Arcadia. He filled up the stat sheet recording 5 rebounds and 7 dimes and showed that despite putting up 32 shots he can also be unselfish. ”I remember a play where I was at 25 points in the first half and I was playing 1-on-1. Most coaches will let you shoot any shot at that point. No one will say anything. However, when a player helped on me, I passed to our captain Paul and he made a 3. I was always trying to make the right play’, stressed Richaud Pack. His basketball journey has been a slow one, but he has continued to be consistent where ever he has played and keeps steadily moving up the basketball ladder. After his massive season in Austria, he followed up that with another spectacular season in Israel in the second league called National league. He has always been a good scorer, but especially in the last two season he has cranked up his explosiveness to another level. Even if scoring 55 points is something that will be very difficult to repeat, he has that special mentality that will always help him be focused to be that consistent prolific scorer. ‘It’s an honor to have scored the 55 points in a game which is the all-time record for a single game there. Scoring 55 point in a game has only helped me. When I train, when I play in each game, I always remember that’s the type of player I’m capable of being. When I’m training and I get tired, I think to myself I have to train like a guy who is trying to score 50 again. So I’ll go the extra mile or two, literally. If I miss a few shots in a row, my confidence doesn’t shake because I’m a guy who can score 50. It’s helped me elevate my work ethic and build up my confidence. I can do it again’, warned Richaud Pack. The American who played at the University of Maryland has become an elite scorer and wants to continue with having the correct mindset and going the extra mile.
It is early summer 2022 and the ex Florida International university guard who currently sees sniper Steph Curry among the elite guards of all-time with Magic and Isaiah is kicking it back home with family in Houston, Texas after having completed his seventh professional season. He has already started training for the new season and like his family is in good health despite Covid still being a worldwide issue. Despite already being in the lab and grinding to get better, there was some time to reflect and look back at his last season in Israel. This past season he played with two clubs in Israel. The first was Hapoel Afula (Israel-National League) which was only a short stay where he played 3 games, but quickly showed that he needed no adjustment time averaging 22.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.3spg. ‘I enjoyed my stay with Afula. The management and coach there really seemed to love my game and respected me as a person. I had a minor hand injury I had to tend to which required me to rehab and take time off. Once I was back healthy, I returned to the league. I was able to help my team and win the scoring title. (It was actually 5 or 6 games I believe because of the Cup games. The team won the Cup championship. I am proud of being a part of that’, stated Richaud Pack. The American who played a season at North Carolina A&T State University (NCAA) got going right away Hapoel Afula displaying his great scoring and playmaking and was fortunate to have a multi talented big like Michael Holyfield in the paint. ‘It was a really good experience playing with Big Mike! We connected on and off the court. I think he’s a guy I’ll call a friend for life. On the court it was great to have a big guy back there who had your back on defense. He directs traffic and protects the rim at an elite level’, stressed Richaud Pack.
The basketball globetrotter who thinks that there are very few people on earth better than Luka Doncic at basketball then made the jump to H.Izrael where he did all he could on the scoring end, but couldn’t get his team above 500 as it went 6-8 in his time there. Of course after wining the scoring title in Austria and being a walking bucket, he was on everyone’s scouting report and feared. It was only obvious that he would have extreme difficulty having to be consistent against opponents defenses, but he always held his own. ‘It was a challenge but I looked at the positives. The team’s record with me was much much better than without me. So even though we didn’t win as much as I would’ve liked, I looked at the games we did win as an accomplishment. I faced challenges scoring like double teams on a lot of pick and rolls, double teams whenever I tried to play one on one, ‘Jordan rules’ some games but real scorers always find a way’, warned Richaud Pack. One can always laud guys that show consistency in one country, but what about a guy like Pack who has exhibited his game in countries like Finland, Spain, Cyprus and Austria. In Israel he did it again playing against top import talent. ‘ I think the level of imports in the National League is very high. When you look at the guys in the league this year, you see legitimate NBA experience and top level Europe experience France Pro A, BBL Germany, Winners League Israel, etc). Not just played but produced. Guys who have averaged 20 points in Winners League Israel (Mark Lyons) led Winners league in rebounding (Demetrius Treadwell) and more. The talent level of the imports is the highest I’ve played with’, expressed Richaud Pack.
In Israel he had to match up against top quality guards each night and some of the toughest he faced had some great resumes like Vander Blue and Glen Rice Jr with NBA experience or guys like Mark Lyons, Jason Siggers, Kwame Vaughn. ‘I think each guy had a bag of tricks that I respected. Different guys could dominate in different ways’, said Richaud Pack. His stats with H.Izrael were remarkable as he averaged 24.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.5apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 80.8%. Obviously grinding like a manic in the off season while other guys put it off one week longer is vital for success, but for him, it is a combination of that and other things. ‘A lot of it is preparation and mentality. I study other teams, watch games, see where I can make plays and improve. It was an honor to win the scoring title amongst guys with so much talent’, commented Richaud Pack. He scored in double figures in every game and had more than 20 points in 12 games. His best scoring games were against E Netanya and M Maale Adum that he hit with 34 points apiece and scored 32 points against R Hamat Gan. He always has been a scorer, but he became n explosive scorer at the pro level the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see if he can take another step as his confidence level continues to rise. ‘Back to back scoring titles in two different leagues. I think it shows my game translates to different styles and different levels. I’m more dedicated and focused than I’ve ever been. My confidence is high because I know I’ve put the work in and I’m capable. I was a top 10 scorer in Finland at nearly 20ppg. I think if the season finished I would’ve finished at the top (covid year). I was averaging 24ppg the last 10 games there. In Cyprus, I was also top 3 in scoring. Trae Golden, my teammate, and Thad McFadden are the two who outscored me that year. Not bad company ‘, stated Richaud Pack.
But for the ex Maryland (NCAA) guard it isn’t just his incredible scoring that opponents have to be geared up to, but also his playmaking that has vastly improved. Three seasons ago he scored less than the last two seasons and also averaged only 1,7apg, while in the last two seasons he really upped his scoring and also averaged almost 5 assists per game. His balancing of scoring and playmaking has worked very well the last two seasons. ‘That’s where I feel I’ve improved the most. I can get my guy’s shots when they need them and where they need them. I can read where the advantage is going to be for other people and run a play based off that. To get to the next level I just have to expand the types of passes and reads I can make. It’s actually what I’m focusing on this entire summer. Being a better playmaker’, warned Richaud Pack. Obviously if your playing for losing teams, a player of Pack’s offensive talent can get a reputation for not bringing it at both ends, but team defense brings championships. If not everyone is on the same page, it will be difficult to win. ‘We had a short roster and a young team. This is the reality. Individually, I defend at an elite level. My coach and my teammates, or anyone I have guarded will tell you this. However, defense takes all 5 guys to be in sync. If there is one weakness, the offense will exploit it even if there is 4 really good defenders on the floor’, stressed Richaud Pack. This summer will be very important in how he goes about continuing to improve as a player. He will most likely play at an even higher level so he will have to be prepared. Play making ability, being more of a verbal leader and being in the best shape of his life will be vital, but also taking care of the ball. In the last two seasons he always had the ball in his hands while averaging 34 minutes per game. He only coughed up the ball 2,8 times per game which is pretty solid, but he is extremely focused to trim that down more this upcoming season. ‘It goes into making better reads. This year I was our only playmaker so a lot of the responsibility fell on me. Some turnovers come with having to be aggressive every play. Most were either off of passing or offensive fouls so the improvement will be more with making the correct reads and making them confidently more with my ball handling’, warned Richaud Pack.
So what is the next step for him who didn’t see the sequel to the classic Coming To America and didn’t think it needed one? Every American I have interviewed and that played in Israel have raved about the life style and it wasn’t any different for him. ‘I really enjoyed living in Israel. The people are full of life. There’s so much to see from the Dead Sea to other historical landmarks. The food is amazing! The weather is good yearround relative to other places in Europe. Covid presented some challenges throughout the season but all in all it was still good’, said Richaud Pack. Often when Americans dominate in the Israeli National League, they often get rewarded and move to the Winner League. Could he stay in Israel? ‘It’s a possibility. I’m not sure what the next step is. A lot of teams have called me and my agent. My agent is Israeli and so I think it might give me an edge. We’ve heard from teams already in France, Germany, Israel, and Champions League. That’s really encouraging’, stressed Richaud Pack. I personally would love to see him come to Germany and show once again he has the game to perform at another level and different style. ‘ It could become a reality. I have always wanted to play in Germany. I have friends and family there. 2 teams have already been in contact with my agent Eyal Grossbard. I don’t want to jinx it but one team is very interested. I try to never speak about these things in detail until a deal is done’, warned Richaud Pack. The basketball junkie who follows fellow players checking rosters, box scores and researches guys he has never met and believes he is a serial researcher by nature has especially kept tabs on Stanley Whittaker a guy like him who has had a chip on his shoulder his whole life and continues to move up the basketball ladder recently signed in Wurzburg in Germany in the easyCredit BBL. ‘Congrats to Stanley on signing in the BBL That’s a great step. I always look forward to meeting guys again at a higher level. On or off the court. From the guys I played against to the guys I played with. I just had dinner last week with a guy I played against 4 years ago, Jaylen Riley. We met during that game against each other and have been cool since. It’s cool to be in the same leagues and cities as familiar faces. Life goes full circle’, warned Richaud Pack. It was by chance 19 months ago where I came across Stanley Whittaker in my darkest times in my life where I was diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital for 10 days after an operation and discovered Stanley Whittaker and Richaud Pack dominating in Austria. Wouldn’t it be cool to see both of them going head to head in Germany this season in the easyCredit BBL? I would love to see it. Life really goes full circle.
Eddie Hunt (201-F-1996, college: Limestone, agency: Wasserman) is a 26 year old 201cm forward that was born in Topeka, Kansas. He began his basketball career at Highland Park High School. He then played two seasons at Barton County Community College (JUCO) playing a total of 57 games. He then finished at Limestone College (NCAA2). He has gained professional experience in Mexico, Argentina, Italy and Estonia. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.
Eddie thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
The pleasure is all mine. I am living in Miami during the offseason period where I am preparing myself for my 4th season. And recently wrapped up my 3rd season in Estonia (Europe) where I would say I finished the season strong.
Just looking at your bio, you have two things that not every player has. You have heart and that never give up attitude. Would you agree with me?
I would definitely agree with that statement. I’m sure everyone else have faced a lot of adversity in life and also in my career. As a professional I have been taught to never get to high or to low stay balanced and trust myself and the journey I am on. With this mindset I have been able to continue my playing career, and more importantly building my character.
Even if it isn’t fair, teams do look at stats. You didn’t have good stats in Juco or the NCAA 2, but that still got you jobs in Mexico, Argentina, Italy and Estonia. You also must have a big self-confidence level inside you. Do you feel like you were unjustly doubted with your game especially in school?
During my collegiate career as you mention my stats weren’t good for whatever reason may be at the time, I used it as motivation to work hard and continue to believe in my skill and my development. Watching former teammates achieve great things on the court pushed me to sleep in the gym and work on my game, numerous of times I was literally sleeping in my locker room just to be able to perfect my craft and make sure no one is out working me. Since a little boy I’ve wanted to become a professional athlete. And watching my mother raise 8 kids on her own gave me my strength to never give up and I am not only playing for myself but my family, friends and those who have followed my career so far. My self-confidence is high and it is because on the court I know that I am a good player defensively and offensively, being 6’7 mobile with 7’0 wingspan gives me the opportunity to be able to guard all positions, and also I have worked to become a 3 level scorer playing against NBA guys and euro league guys and being able to defend and score at will definitely helps my self-confidence and brings me motivation of how far I’ve come and how far I can go. Well my first two years of JUCO I would say I had some really skilled high level teammates at my D1 JUCO, we had few D1 transfers and also the player of the year in the most difficult JUCO conference ( Jayhawk conference) so my first two years I had to get better but accept my role as a player and what I offered the team at the time. Unfortunately once I transferred to my university I would say yes I was unjustly doubted, myself and teammates also assistant coaches loved me and loved how hard I worked and most importantly what I brought to the court as a player and a teammate everyday in practice and games, but I had to embrace certain things that were out of my control and allow my faith to guide my through the rough patch of my collegiate career. Ultimately it led me to leave college early my Junior year and pursue my professional career.
How much of a factor did COVID play in getting jobs? You sat out the 20-21 season.
Covid-19 played a huge huge factor in my career during the 20-21 season, most of the world was shut down or maybe had a small bubble season or wasn’t bringing Americans in from across country due to the virus. So that forced me to lock into my craft once again and pushed me to have my breakout season later on. I trained 3 times a day for the entire year with NBA trainer Taylor Wayer in Indianapolis where he helped elevate my shooting and skills and also gave me the opportunity to compete with future NBA stars and current NBA vets on a daily basis. So I would say that Covid was a blessing in disguise for me personally.
This season you played with Pompea Atri (Italy-Serie D and Reinar Halliku Korvpallikool/Iisaku gumn (Estonia-1.Liiga). Things are looking up for you now. How did these seasons go for you?
Yes this season I started off in Italy, where unfortunately due to visa reasons I had a short stay, but was a great experience and performed in my short time there. When that door closed another opportunity opened for me and I signed with Reinar Halliku in Estonia where I avg 13ppg 10rpg & 2apg in 26mins played. The last 6 games I played my best on both ends averaging 16ppg 11rpg. Huge thanks to my coach and owner who gave me the opportunity and helped me and pushed me everyday to be my best and be a great person.
In Estonia you were teammates with American Treven Jones. He played at Virginia (NCAA) 10 years ago and has been grinding like you his whole career trying to find opportunities. I’m sure you guys bonded well?
Recently jones actually left once I got there I think he might of had an injury or something but I heard nothing but great things about him and sure we would have been great teammates, and who knows what the future holds.
Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 201cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description? Great question, honestly might sound off the wall to a lot of readers who haven’t had the opportunity to watch me outside of YouTube film but I’d compare myself to Paul Milsap and Carmelo Anthony. I say that because I am more skilled player with the ball and at the midrange game and also being able to score inside and out, also create for myself and teammates, the last couple of games I was bringing the ball up and playing the on ball and off the ball. A lot of people don’t know that I actually had to play PG my rookie year in Mexico in a great league. So the ability to be 201cm but able to play back to the basket and post up and make plays from the block and defend the bigs but also be able to comfortably play in the P&R as ball handler/or screener and knock down open 3ps and or roll to the block and score, and make the right play gives me the advantage of being diverse and a unique style of player.
Are you a classic big man? Talk a little about your strengths?
I wouldn’t say I am a classic big man no but I would agree that I am a good fit to play big. Some of my strengths are having high basketball IQ, having a strong body that give me the advantage to post up guys that are smaller and also bigger guys can space the floor and attack slower bigs. Also being able to knock down open 3ps, and the high level midrange. Defensively having a stronger body and 7’0 wingspan allows me to defend bigger traditional bigs, being mobile on the defensive end gives me the ability to switch screens and guard 1-5 comfortably.
On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?
Last season I showed where I can be number wise but this offseason I am working hard on my body and being more explosive and agile. The best defenders and better yet athletes in general take care of their body at a high level so I’m focusing a lot on my body and taking care of it and getting stronger faster and explosive, and on the court working on being more consistent behind the 3pt and finishing above the rim.
In 2019-2020 you played with Progreso de General Roca (Argentina-La Liga Argentina). What kind of an experience was it playing in Argentina? I can imagine it was an ordeal just reaching Roca by means of transportation. Argentina was nothing but an amazing experience on and off the court, was honestly felt like an NBA season traveling for weeks on end having back to back away games through the week and being away from home for long periods of times. Gave me the true professional experience and the league is a very good certified league. I had the opportunity to play against great talent in the LNB ex NBA guys. The travel from America to Argentina took 3 days it was horrible but great at the same time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hopefully later in my career I can return to Argentina.
You were teammates with Kevin Hayes who put up real good stats in the NCAA 2. He is out of basketball. I guess not many guys have the determination or will like you to keep grinding which you continue to do. Kevin is a great guy actually our birthdays are a day apart so we had the opportunity to bond on and off the court. Talent wise speaks for itself he is definitely a bucket. And I’ve continued striving for a long time now and experience so many former teammates pursue different life careers. For myself my determination and perseverance for this game is unmatched I love basketball eat, sleep, dream about this game.
You got your first pro experience in Mexico. What do you remember being your wake up call where you knew that you were a pro player?
My first experience was in Mexico yes, and it was one heck of an experience I’d say that. Great culture and fans. A lot of players would say their wake up call of being a pro would be an on the court experience but for me my wake up call of being a professional basketball player was on my birthday January 12th at the time I was staying at a hotel because I just arrived maybe a week or two, but I woke up and I got a call from the front desk with an regent call to come to the lobby. I came down and there’s a group of fans with a birthday cake and a poster of me in the lobby with some fans wearing a team jersey. In the moment I just embraced it and said to myself ‘I am a pro now’ may not be a cool story but very special moment in my professional career.
You played two years at Barton County (JUCO). Every guy I have interviewed JUCO have said that it was hard but an experience that they would always have done. How was it for you?
Yes I played JUCO and I will tell you that there is nothing like JUCO, you meet the friends you’ll remember and stay in touch with forever. JUCO is a nonstop grind, dog eat dog works at that level everyone is wanting ‘theirs’ hungry to shine. As young adults were on our own with not much guidance not many people care about Juco Athletes but one thing about Juco you have to be a dog and you have to love the game and when and if you can make it out of JUCO you can handle whatever the game of basketball brings you. I loved my time playing JUCO but I would of loved to start my career at NCAA1 ( also went prep school in Lee Maine where I got the opportunity to get the overseas pro feel, having all foreign teammates and living in a home with just basketball players and having that experience definitely helped me down the road) I held 15+d1 offers coming out of high school unfortunately I only took the act 1 time and decided to enroll into prep school that later pushed me to the JUCO route.
You never averaged more than 4,7ppg. Talk a little about how you was used. Were you a special role player?
I just wanted to win and make the right play and being reliable in my role was my only focusI never payed attention to how much I scored or any of that I had so many guys better than me at scoring so I found a way that kept me on the court at least and that gave me the opportunity to be all around player. I knew in due time I’ll have the chance to be a star player or be able to bring the scoring. I would say being a role player has helped me to become the player I am becoming.
You then played at Limestone College (NCAA2).You averaged 3.8ppg, 2.6rpg. This seemed to be difficult situation. What positives could you take?
Limestone was a very difficult situation for me on the court. Being a transfer didn’t really help the coach trust me I would say no matter how much I showed in games and in practice that I should have more opportunities, at the time it was frustrating knowing that all the coaches except the head coaches believed in me and all the players believed in me. I was just not a part of the plan that the head coach at the time had. He ended up leaving the program at the end of the year and I pursued my professional career and was able to make a step so I guess it was just another test in my journey thus far. With low numbers and not much opportunity I made sure I stayed ready I made sure I had the right mindset when and if the time came. And when it came I had a breakout game 12pts in 13 mins and a win. And after that game the coach decided to go another route and benched me. I kept a positive mindset and finished the school year out and became a pro. I would say some positives I took was stay ready, and things want always go in my favor but the things I can control and that’s where my staying in the locker room and dedicating myself to my dream kicked in. Positive is that I never gave up or I didn’t let a bad situation destroy my dreams.
You showed that you could playing scoring 12 points in 13 minutes against S.Wesleyan. Was this your fondest game in the NCAA2?
Yes I would say number wise it was my fondest moment, but honestly my first game against Anderson was my personally fondest moment because we were down with few minutes left and I came into the game scored 3 back to back buckets and then made a clutch game winning rebound then assist to win the game. Having the stay ready mindset and closing out for my team and getting the win was huge for me. And it said a lot about me as a player.
How did head coach Brandon Scott groom and prepare you best for a professional career? I would love to mention Marquintous Jones, and assistant coach Joshua Davis who are both with different programs now. They both groomed me as a person and pushed me as a player and made me believe in myself and never gave up on me as a player or a person. And for coach Scott I appreciate the opportunity he gave me and allowing me around his family and home and made me feel at home in South Carolina away from home.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Donovan Harris?
Don that’s my guy but Don know he taking that L in the 1 on 1 hahaha
Who was the toughest player you ever battled that reached the NBA? The toughest player I have faced that has reached the NBA is Donovan Mitchell, he was a man amongst boys at the time of 2015 where I played in Massachusetts.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time? 5 best teammates of all time 5. Tyrone acuff out of Detroit 4.Siler Schnieder -Kansas (pro) 3. Ahmad walker- New York 2. Shaq dance -NC. (Pro) 1. Jahmal McMurray-Kansas (pro)
Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
My Mount Rushmore Lebron James, Allen Iverson, Shaq, Michael Jordan.
What is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron? My opinion about MJ and Bron, is that appreciate greatness while we can. Haha I think with time all things get better and with that being said the Jordan time came and went and we’ll be remembered but LeBron’s time is now and the world has never seen anything like Bron in any era.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone? Haven’t seen it but I’ve heard about all the bad reviews so I’m going to stay away from that movie and hope I never run by it haha.
Ex Penn (NCAA) player Adam Chubb (208-C/F-1981, college: Pennsylvania) is a 208cm center that had an illustrious 12 year professional career. He played in countries like Korea and Spain (ACB) but spent most of his time in Germany playing 10 seasons for teams like Giessen, Bremerhaven, Alba Berlin, Artland Dragons, EWE Baskets and Crailsheim amassing 329 BBL games. He won 3 BBL cups with 3 different teams. He played 4 seasons with the EWE Baskets and Rickey Paulding and shared his memores of that time.
Thanks Adam for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is life treating you?
Hi Miles, I am currently living in Charleston, South Carolina. We moved here after retiring from playing, and life is good.
You retired from the game in 2016. That seems like ages ago. How are you keeping busy in 2022 and do you still have a connection to basketball?
I have two girls, almost 9 and 7 years old. So we are running around to different activities and sports keeps me pretty busy. I also have an insurance practice that is based in Charleston and I am active in investment real estate as well. As for the connection to basketball, I run a couple of camps and will help some of the local teams from time to time.
You played most of your career in Germany and had a connection to many teams. What do you miss from being on the court and what do you miss the most from off the court?
I miss the team atmosphere, the camaraderie of being on a team and playing in front of the passionate German and European fans. Off the court, I miss the friends we made, the food, and the ability to travel and be so close to many interesting places.
Rickey Paulding played his farewell game on June 4. What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the name, Rickey Paulding?
First off, I think of a genuine, trustworthy, family-first guy! On the court, a legend!!
Have you ever seen a player who has been able to play so well at a high level at his age?
Not really. The only other person I would think would come close to would be Lebron James, which is some pretty good company.
What about his game will always stay in your mind when you hear the name, Rickey Paulding?
Awesome teammate, clutch, always ready when you need him.
You were opponents for 3 seasons before you joined Rickey in Oldenburg. What do you remember from your battles against Rickey with Alba Berlin?
Ricky was always a player you worried about when you played him. You know he could get hot, and you never wanted that to happen. But sometimes, there was nothing you could do about it.
You were teammates with Rickey for 4 years and topped it off winning the cup. What memories do you have of that weekend? You had a very bad cold.
Yeah I had come down with something that weekend and tried to play the best I could but it only helped so much. It was a fantastic weekend, and the fact that we could do it in front of our home fans was even better.
No matter whom you talk to, everyone only has good things to say about him. Do you have a special story where you saw exactly what kind of person he is off the court?
Nothing specific, just an overall great person and incredible family man.
What kind of legacy do you believe will he leave in the EasyCredit BBL? Do feel that there will ever be another American that will be able to reach his longevity in that league?
I believe he will leave a legacy of integrity, longevity, and success. I also do not think there will ever be another American that will be able to reach the level of success and longevity that Ricky has achieved.
Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding.
Ricky, congrats on a remarkable run and much success going forward. Best, Adam