Jaleen Smith(MHP Riesen) Is So Motivated For Bamberg And Wants To Get The Show On The Road

Jaleen Smith (193-PG-94, college: UNH) is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Freeport, Texas that is playing his fourth professional season and second with the MHP Riesen currently averaging 15,7ppg, 5,2rpg, 5,5apg and 1,8spg. Last season he played 28 games averaging 10.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.4apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 82,8%. In 2018-2019 he played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) averaging 12,7ppg, 3,9rpg and 2,7apg. In his rookie season with Heidelberg he averaged 7,6ppg, 2,8rpg and 2,9apg. He had a stellar four year career with New Hampshire (NCAA) from 2013-2017 where he played a total of 120 NCAA games. He improved his scoring, rebounding and assists average each season and as a senior he played 32 games averaging 15.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 78.1%. He spoke to before the start of the 2021 easyCredit BBL playoffs

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jaleen Smith in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2020

Jalen thanks for talking to eurobasket. Before we talk about the playoffs, I have to ask you about the ending to Munich-Ulm. Do you feel for your neighbors ratiopharm Ulm for being robbed at the end on Wade Baldwin not getting a technical foul?

I was actually talking to someone when that happened at the end of the game That was a big change in the sequence of events in the game.

This does not shine a light on the league. Do you feel like the game or fourth quarter should be replayed?

I feel that the refs and the scorers table have to know when a player has five fouls. There just wasn’t enough time to make up the game.

The 2021 playoffs are here. With what feelings are you going into these playoffs in that there won’t be a bubble?

It will definitely be different. Now we won’t be playing in a neutral site, but the fans still won’t be there. Having two home games first throughout the playoffs is huge for us. We know that we will always have two games first and then we can steal one on the road.

The MHP Riesen finished the season at 30-4. How impressive is this record truly when you think of how screwed the season was with COVID being around?

Having the kind of record that we had was impressive. All 34 games were practice games without fans, but we still had to stay mentally strong and focused. We did a good job always getting the job done no matter what.

One can’t say that you ended the season great after losing two different one point games to Bamberg and Berlin on the road. What kind of an effect did these two loses have on the mentality of the club as they head into the BBL Playoffs?

I don’t think that these two close loses affected us mentally. Our goal after we clinched against Bonn was to stay fresh, but not get anybody hurt. It was a blow to Bamberg that Devon Hall got hurt. We wanted to prevent that and just finish the regular season in rhythm.

You didn’t play in the last loss to Bamberg. How motivated are you personally to battle in this series?

When that game was played, my son was born. I remember watching the second half. I’m so motivated now and just want to get the show on the road.

You split with Bamberg this season. What kind of a series can we await?

It’s a new season. They are a really tough team. They have a lot of guys that can shoot. They have good inside out bigs and we will have to key in on them. We know what their guards do and it will be on us to stop them. If we play the way that we are supposed to then we will get the job done.

What memories do you have of battling diminutive Benet Hundt. A pest like that would fit perfectly into John Patrick’s defensive philosophy.

Yes for sure. He would help especially in the full court press. He gets a lot of calls for his feistiness. You tend to see a lot of guys who could fit Patrick’s system. You have to wonder if JP is ever thinking about that player.

How proud were you of the only 4 team turnovers in the 94-93 loss despite you not even playing in the game?

We pride ourselves on getting on the offensive glass and taking care of the ball. When we do that good things happen. A guy like Jordan Hulls does a great job handling the ball. That speaks volumes for how good we take care of the ball.

Could the two team’s guard play determine this series? What will be key to reaching the semi-finals?

I think that the guard play will determine the series. If we do a good job guarding their guards well then good things will happen. On offense we have the green light. If we can make shots and plays will be the difference in this series.

How proud are you of your ex team MLP Academics wining the Pro A title and reaching the easyCredit BBL?

I told all my teammates how excited I am for them to reach the BBL. This is Frenki’s big chance. He always wanted to coach in the first league. I will continue to root and follow their games. Reaching the BBL is a blessing and experience for them.

Who will advance in the Alba Berlin-Hamburg Towers series? Will this be a Alba Berlin sweep despite Hamburg having swept the season series?

I think that Hamburg could win a game. It all depends if they will have Kam Taylor. If he plays then they will have a good chance, if not then they could get swept.

How do you see the Oldenburg-Ulm series. Could this go 5 games?

I could see this series going 5 games. Oldenburg is experienced and have guys who have been through it all. Ulm is playing hot now. I think that if Troy Caupain had still been in the game against Munich, then they would have won. Ulm didn’t have a guy who could make plays at the end. I think that Ulm will surprise a lot of people.
Are the Crailsheim Merlins pooped? Despite FC Bayern’s slumping in the BBL, could they sweep this series?

I believe Munich will sweep them, but Crailsheim will give them one tough game. It all depends how well Trae Bell-Haynes plays. He was awesome in the first game, but in the second game he had a tougher time. I believe that Crailsheim’s coach will have them ready and give a fight.

Did Russell Westbrook lose some haters since beating Oscar Robertson’s triple double record or will the haters continue to hate until he wins a title?

I think the haters will continue to hate until he wins a title. Most Wizards teammates have said that he was the best. He is always challenging guys. It is crazy how the narrative of the media is always twisting things and making him out to be the bad guy. Guys that barely know him praise him. That speaks volumes for how he stays true to himself and not have outside noise affect him.

Where do you see the journey of the Brooklyn Nets going in the post season? Can they reach the finals?

I don’t watch a lot of NBA, but when you see the roster that they have, then they have to reach the final. It is crazy how deep they are. But in the playoffs, you need to play defense. I’m sure the first round will be easy, but in the second round there is always some team that makes it tough. It will be interesting how well they can deal with adversary.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Cheaper by the dozen.

Thanks Jaleen for the chat.

Florian Hartenstein Is Hungry For A New Coaching Challenge But Has Been Passing The Time Recently In Charge Of Son Isaiah´s Diet In The NBA

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Florian Hartenstein for first time in Giessen in 2005

There aren’t many German players playing in the NBA, but it has grown in the last years. You have Isaac Bonga in Washington, Moritz Wagner in Orlando, Daniel Theis in Chicago, Dennis Schroeder living the glitz world in Los Angeles with the Lakers, Maxi Kleber in Dallas and Isaiah Hartenstein now in Cleveland. But there is a big difference to how these players are living in comparison to how Isaiah Hartenstein was in the Mile High city Denver recently. The young German kids in Washington and Orlando re alone while Theis and Schroeder have their families, but none of them have their father living with them. Isiah’s dad Florian has taken a break from the coaching world while still looking for that new opportunity and has accompanied his son while he continues to make new strides as a NBA player. In the summer of 2020, Florian flew down to Houston to help his son seek a new address in the NBA. Isiah signed with the Denver Nuggets and Florian was by his side in Denver. Even if Florian was a professional player for 13 seasons and has been coaching for 6 seasons, he also can boast about having another massive talent that he gave Isiah during his time in Denver that helps him be the best possible professional player off the court. Eating right is something that very athlete needs to have locked into their brain and dad Florian has aided his son with the right diet. ‘ It started last summer where I cooked on a regular basis for him and he then asked me if I could be in charge of his diet to make sure that he eats enough portions, carbs and vitamins. He really liked it in Houston. Since I did not get a new job he wanted me to come to Denver to be in charge of all of his food. I like to eat good food and so I’m in the process to leaner new and different recipes to make sure that he eats good and healthy food. I watch what and how much he eats and everything is made from scratch to make sure we know what goes into his body. There is no more ordering food for him. If he is lucky he can order once a month, but that would be it. Only home cooked food. That is way cheaper then hiring a full time cook. He really liked Bolognese, which I don’t understand. It is the easiest dish to make. He is not a picky eater. He eats what I give him. He does not have a choice’, laughed Florian Hartenstein (6’9”-C-77, college: Oregon). Florian Hartenstein is hungry for a new Coaching challenge but also content having been in charge of son Isaiah’s diet.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Isaiah Hartenstein at the 2018 NBBL weekend in Quackenbruck

Let’s rewind back to November 2019 where the world in many ways was still all right as COVID-19 wasn’t born yet. However on the basketball front the coaching run for Florian Hartenstein with his club Artland Dragons came to an end. Hartenstein was born in Mainz, Germany in 1977 and began with basketball at age 12 and then made the long trek across the pond in1996 where he played a year of high school ball at Thurston in Springfield Oregon and then played at Oregon State from 1997-2001. He played under head coach Ernie Kent and was teammates with future NBA players Fred Jones and Alex Scales and as a senior saw young freshmen Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson make their first steps in the NCAA. He then returned back to Germany and had a long professional career starting with the Giessen 46ers where he played from 2001-2009 playing a total of 227 BBL games. My fondest memory of him in a Giessen jersey was his amazing game against top Euroleague team FC Barcelona in the summer of 2008. It was an exhibition game where he took control of the game in one half and was the best player on the floor as top players Juan Navarro, Ersan Iiyasova, David Anderson and Fran Vazquez witnessed his game and took a back seat. He then played three more years in the BBL with the Artland Dragons from 2009-2012 playing 42 BBL games and 17 Eurochallenge games. He then wasted no time of making that transition from player to life after beginning his coaching career in 2012 with Artland. He quickly showed his ability to be able to coach young talented German players and help them develop. He helped lead the 2013-2014 JBBL (U-16 team) to the German national title with son Isiah who put up staggering 24/12 season stats and gobbled up the season MVP and Final 4 MVP awards. He then also coached the NBBL (U-19 team and Pro B and Pro A teams.

In November 2019 he was relived of his duties as head coach with the Artland Dragons. A few months later came the next blow with COVID-19. The last 18 months haven’t been an easy time for him. ‘Being let go was not a good experience for me, especially since it was the first time. But they say you are not a real coach until you get fired at least one time. The season was just followed by a lot of bad luck. The amount of injuries we had was crazy. We had to practice with 4-6 guys, and there were times l had to help out in practice just so we could do a drill. When you lose more games than your supposed to, then the club will look for a change. That was letting me go. At the time of the release I was pretty down. I had worked for the Artland Dragons for 10 years. 3 as a pro Player in the BBL and the rest as coach for every level from U12-U18, Regio league, JBBL,NBBL, Pro B and Pro A. It was hard to let go from something I had built for a long time. Especially the youth part hurt the most. After about a week away from the Dragons I decided to start traveling to meet new coaches and watch their practices to learn and get new Ideas. Luckily a lot of coaches let me sit and ask questions and learn. Some of the teams that I visited were Berlin, Ulm, Crailsheim, Real Madrid and a couple others. I really enjoyed that time and learned a lot in that time. With the new ideas I also wrote my own defense concept that I believe will work best for my style of coaching. So I believe that I used my off time very well to learn and make more connections’, warned Florian Hartenstein. Then COVID-19 exploded on the world while Florian Hartensetin was trying to develop further as a coach while being able to experience different coaching philosophies with different coaches and teams. Even if COVID-19 effected and wrecked havoc on the world, the German was able to take positives from it. ‘Covid -19 gave me the chance to focus on myself for the first time. As a coach my only concern was to make sure the players, teams and the club were doing good. I used a lot of my free time in the gym with players, helping them to get better. With not having a coaching job and Covid, I focused on me and spent a lot of time working out and getting in good shape. I used the time spending quality time with my grandson and the rest of my family. After Isaiah left the Houston Rockets I went to Houston and helped him to get ready for the next opportunity. So I worked out with him and took care of his diet, to make sure that his body was ready for the new Team. ‘, warned Florian Hartenstein.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Florian Hartenstein doing play by play during the NBBL Final 4 in Frankfurt in 2017

It is never easy letting go when you have been with an organization so long like the Artland Dragons and experienced so much at so many different levels and won titles. Sometimes a player and coach will return back as one has seen in Frankfurt with Gordon Herbert, but sometimes simply too much happened and even if both sides left on good terms, sometimes one just has to let the past rest in peace and accept that that chapter is over. ‘I am close to most of the players I developed of the years. I am not that close to the Organization anymore since a lot has changed over the years. We separated peacefully but I am not in close contact with them anymore. With the change from the BBL to the Pro B, the organization also changed management and some sponsors. The Person that I am still real close with is Gerd Meinecke. He had the same future vision when it came to the youth program and development. He was a big part of organization for me in the first couple of years to build a good youth program. When I started with the Pro B and later Pro A I was not allowed to control the youth part and the quality went down. With the cooperation with Vechta JBBL and NBBL it sadly killed the level of talent in Quakenbrueck. With that I see no future when it comes to youth work for the Dragons. With that I see no reason for me to go back. To do good youth work you have to be dedicated to the kids and offer full support in all areas like school, travel support and developing their body. That is not given anymore in Quakenbrueck. My satisfaction comes from the development of youth players no matter girl or boy and see them become pro players at the end. At this moment I see no chance that I would work for the Dragons. The focus for the Artland Dragons is only Pro A, youth has become only a requirement to get the league license. I do not see myself there anymore’, warned Florian Hartenstein. Being able to witness so many different levels with the Artland Dragons as a coach made him better as a coach. ‘I believe that I got better every year. I basically started from scratch almost every other year. Since I never had the chance to watch other coaches or talked to them or work under a coach. I had to learn by doing. At the same time it was a lot of fun. I was lucky that I was free to really express the way I believe a youth program should be run . For the first 4-5 years the program was run the way I wanted to and we went to top 4 every year with at least one team. I am very proud that I was able to change a program that before my time everybody laughed at, to one that was competing with Alba, Bamberg and even beat Bayern for the JBBL championship. That was the best youth game I ever saw and coached! Competition between Isaiah und Richard Freundberg was great. If anybody still has the video of the game. Let me Know ( League video is not available)’, smiled Florian Hartenstein. As he focused on Isaiah in Denver that he has the right diet on a daily basis, he is also dreaming of where that next coaching job will be. ‘As a coach you always wait for the next opportunity. With Covid it is hard to find something. Teams have lower budgets and don’t want to do many changes since they don’t know what the rest of the year will bring. I don’t want to waste my time sitting and waiting, so I focus on Isaiah and try to help him. He really liked me taking care of his diet by making sure he eats all fresh stuff and the right amount to make sure he doesn’t lose muscle during the season and has all the energy his body needs for good performance. That way he can focus 100% on basketball. There are one or two other projects that I am working on that I will explore to see if I want to go those directions. It is basketball, you never know what will happen, you have to be open for new things and be ready at the same time. But I am for sure still looking for head coaching or assistant coaching jobs at a higher level. But I really enjoy the time with Isaiah so that could also be a long term situation’, added Florian Hartenstein.

Isiah Hartenstein came to the United States in 2017 after being with B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania-LKL) and was drafted at #43 by the Houston Rockets. He spent his first season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G-League) playing 40 games averaging 9.4ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 60.7%, 3PT: 32.4%, FT: 69.0%. That rookie season in the United States, he already showed flashes of excellence as he scored in double figures in 18 games and had 7 double doubles. In his second season, he made the jump to the NBA with the Rockets playing 30 games averaging 1.9ppg, 1.6rpg, and also continued playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G League) playing 31 games averaging 20.2ppg, Reb-1 (15.0rpg), 3.5apg, 1.8bpg, FGP: 67.6%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 66.5%. He scored in double figures in 28 of 31 games and had 23 double doubles. He produced 20 or more rebounds 5 times and exploded against Texas for 42 points and 21 rebounds. He also had a triple double against Salt Lake City with 12 points, 16 boards and 11 assists. He got into the NBA door, but didn’t get a real chance to show his skills with decent minutes. In his third NBA season with Houston his minutes increased a bit from 7,6 to 11,6 as he played 23 games averaging 4.7ppg, 3.9rpg. He scored in double figures in three games including 19 points and 9 rebounds against New Orleans, 16 points and 12 boards against Denver and 17 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks against Minnesota. He also continued to get good minutes and playing time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G League) playing 14 games averaging 24.9ppg, Reb-1 (14.8rpg), 4.2apg, 1.4spg, 1.1bpg, FGP: 66.3%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 66.1%. He had an explosive 34 points and 19 boards against the NAZ Suns and 25 points and 21 rebounds against Austin. After three years, it was apparent that he wasn’t going to play a role with the Rockets small ball concept. He played a total of 58 NBA games and papa Hartenstein saw his son develop further in this time despite coming from Europe and having to adapt to a different style of basketball. ‘I believe one of the main things in the beginning was the speed. That is very different in the NBA than from Europa. A lot faster, less offense structure. Finding your role in the system you play for is very important. It doesn’t matter what you can do. It is about how you can fit your skills into the system’, stressed Florian Hartenstein. There is so much stuff happening on a day to day basis in the NBA off the court that one would love to be a fly on a wall. In the last years the rise of German players reaching the NBA has been high. There will always be the utmost respect for the German legend Dirk Nowitzki, but really how well are the current German players really accepted by the other non European NBA players? Guys like Dennis Schroeder, Daniel Theis and Maxi Kleber are established and respected, but what about the few others. In Isaac Bonga’s rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, there was a scene where he slipped a few times on the floor and you could see half the Lakers bench cracking up led by superstar Lebron James. When asking dad Florian if son Isiah could form a good relationship with ex BBL player PJ Tucker who played in Bamberg in the 2011-2012 season when Isiah was 13, and if there were any interesting stories with eccentric James Harden, the elder made a rapid and direct answer. ‘I have no story for that one. You can cut this question’, stressed Florian Hartenstein. There will obviously be only be one Dirk Nowitzki and a be a huge and long gap between him and the rest of the German players.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Florian Hartenstein at the 2018 NBBL Final 4 in Quackenbruck

Even if Isiah Hartenstein paid his dues with the Houston Rockets, coming to the Denver Nuggets was one that was very well thought out. ‘I believe that the move was right for Isaiah. The basketball culture is by far more a family. He is getting regular playing time. Isaiah still has to learn and Jokic is a great player to learn from. He is still in the beginning of his career and his time will come. He is happy in Denver and the goal is long term. We will see what the future will bring. But so far it has been positive’, warned Florian Hartenstein before his son’s move to the Cavs. It wasn’t easy getting good minutes with bigs like Michael and Porter Jr around. ‘As a player you always want more playing time. If you don’t you should not play basketball. He is not competing with Porter so there is no problem. Coach Malone and Isaiah talked before he signed with Denver and he told him what role he sees for him. It is a new team that also means to fight for every minute and wait for your chances to show your talent’, stressed Florian Hartenstein before his son’s move to the Cavs. One of the hardest things to observe in the NBA is how quickly guys can go from being a starter, to playing only 5 minutes to falling out of the rotation. One of these guys that has tasted this is Isaac Bonga who was a starter with the Wizards, but now is only playing very little. ‘It is really hard for a lot of players. The NBA is a league of opportunity, taken chances and being confident. That one chance can come from one game to another. You have to be on every night, no excuses. If you are a role player you have to be ready every second. If you are not, the next one is waiting behind you. It is hard but the reward is high once you make it and that is what I believe everyone wants to the NBA’, warned Florian Hartenstein. When looking at Isaiah’s game he still hasn’t been able to develop a three pointer yet, but that also has to do with the fact that he played in a system in Houston where he didn’t have to. ‘It is not that he can’t shoot the 3 pointer. He is playing the role that the team wants him to be. For now he will play more as a true 5. But he continues to work on his 3 so that he can use it in the future. If you watched the Play-off sand finals from the G league, there he showed that he has range, the time will come again where we will see him shoot more threes again’, said Florian Hartenstein before his son’s move to the Cavs.

Isaiah Hartenstein has many strengths, but one that I think is a bit off the radar is his mental toughness. That helped him survive in Houston and kept him strong with the Nuggets. Not only has dad Florian helped him in this area, but his vast experience also has aided him in having that ability to be very mentally tough when times are difficult. ‘Isaiah grew up in the basketball world. He had seen a lot of different situations in basketball. Not just from me. But he has been close with good pro players that told him them about their experience and what works and what not. He had seen the good and the bad part of basketball at an early age. He has had a clear goal since age of 14. Play in the NBA and do anything to get there and be a bigger part of it. He has the typical situation when the teacher asked him, what you want to be when you grow up. His answer, a NBA player. Teacher responded with think about getting a real job where you can make money. Now he makes more money than most of us. Getting into the NBA is one thing, being part of is what Isaiah wants. That takes time, focus and patience. I believe that the time in Kaunas really made him mentally tough and got him ready for any tough situations. You have to be mentally tough in the NBA, one day your down and the next day could be your best day. You have to be ready every day to make sure you use your chance’, warned Florian Hartenstein. In order to keep improving his game and wanting to be that house hold NBA name, the 22 year old 213 cm German big man grinded at the Nuggets training facility, but also put in extra time with his dad. ‘The last summer I focused mostly on finishing in traffic and finishing with contact. But we pretty much try to cover all areas that he needs to work on. I was not the only person that worked with him. His Agency (Beyond Athlete Managmanet) put people around him that worked him on every situation that could come at him. Big focus was all to put more muscle weight on him’, added Florian Hartenstein. It also helped when you have the best center in the NBA with Nikola Jokic. Not only did he learn about the game, from him but could also soak up some of his good character. Jokic wouldn’t have to spend any time with Hartenstein if he didn’t want to, but as a good guy and role model, he does it anyway. ‘It is still early in their relationship as a teammates. Because of Corona I can only watch the games on TV and there I can see that Jokic talks to him on what he could do better on the court. For a superstar to do that is very nice of him to help. He is the best center in the NBA and Isaiah tries to learn as much and as fast as he can from him’, stated Florian Hartenstein before his son’s move to the Cavs.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Isaiah Hartenstein at teh 2018 NBBL Final 4 in Quackenbruck

The last movie that Florian Hartenstein watched was the Little Ones with Denzel Washington. Isaiah is now in his fourth year in the United States after growing up in Germany, but he didn’t need any time to get americanized simply because he grew up in an American type household in Germany. Father and son have a lot of time to spend together not only in the gym, but also off the court. In Denever they lived in one of the more beautiful areas in the United States, but weren’t been able to explore the way that they would have liked. Because of Corona and the NBA rules, it didn’t allow them to go in public. ‘We have not done anything in Denver other than relax at home. I love the amount of sun in Denver. I was told it has the highest amount of sun of all States That is great for me since I have dogs. So I am outside a lot with my dogs’, smiled Florian Hartenstein. With so much time at home, because of COVID-19 restrictions, you would think Isaiah could have enough time to groom relationships with the other German NBA players, but that isn’t the case as he doesn’t have a special bond to anyone. ‘Not really, they all know each other. They don’t really have much time during the season. With 4 games a week your happy when you get home or to the hotel’, expressed Florian Hartenstein. So when Isaiah is in his apartment kitchen enjoying a home cooked meal, he can rib his dad about the last one on one duel they had in gym. ‘His skill level is for sure better than my skills ever were. Plus I am 43. I can keep up with is physicality. Since I was let go by the Dragons I got myself back in shape and I would say that I am in better shape now than when I was a pro player. In the post it is not fun to play against me. I might foul out but I make sure that I will leave marks. So nothing has changed from my pro time’, laughed Florian Hartenstein. Isaiah was traded To Cleveland and now will hope that three is a charm after he was unable to make the grade in Houston or Denver. In his first game, he got the starting nod logging 26 minutes and scoring 5 points, hauling down 14 rebounds and dishing out 7 dimes. Currently he is averaging 8,0ppg, 5,9rpg, 2,3apg and 1,0bpg. He scored in double figures in 6 games including 16 points and 12 boards against the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately a concussion has ended his season. Since Isaiah’s arrival in Cleveland, Florian has remained in Denver waiting out the expiration of the apartment contract. So father and son are separated now from the daily meals which leaves the son with more discipline of having to cook healthy meals for himself. But one thing is for sure, Isaiah won’t make fun of his dad too much about his wins in one on one, because he will always remember where that next yummy homemade meal is coming from once they are reunited again in the NBA or at home in Germany.

Having Been Overlooked His Whole Life Mark Gordon(BG Dorsten) Won´t Give UP And Keep The Killer Mentally Until He Retires

Mark Gordon (196-F, college: Keiser)n is a 196cm forward from Mount Dora, Florida played his rookie season for BG Dorsten (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging an incredible 31,7ppg, 9,0rpg, 3,7apg, 2,4spg and shot 45% from outside. He scored 41 points against Herten and 40 points against the Lowen. He began his basketball career with Mount Dora Christian Academy and then played 2 seasons with Daytona State College (JUCO) averaging 11.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 66.4% as a freshman and as a sophomore averaged 15.9ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 72.6%. In his junior year he got added experience at Bethune-Cookman University (NCAA) playing 27 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 62.2%. He made one more change moving to Keiser University (NAIA) as a senior playing 27 games averaging 27.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 78.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball during the 20-21 season.

Thanks Mark for talking to germanhoops.com. After coming from Florida, and playing there for many schools, has basketball continued to be your best outlet the last days as gloom and a lack of sun has covered your new German home Dorsten?

Basketball will always be my best outlet no matter what

You played your last NAIA game on March 11, 2020 scoring 24 points and getting 13 rebounds in a loss to San Marian, Id. How tough was it for you personally being away from competitive basketball for 6 months. How challenging was this and what did you miss most from basketball?

Well I think the most challenging part is not playing I miss not playing it’s the biggest challenge for me

How much of a challenge was keeping in shape and working on your basketball skills during COVID-19 in 2020? Did you have an easy time with this or like other players have to find ways to do it that you normally wouldn’t have had to?

Well the coronavirus did not stop me since high school I never needed a gym to get better or to stay in shape outside courts was a big jump start to my career

How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?

How do I feel yes If did make me stronger realizing that it can take the game that you love away yes

What were the main reasons to begin your professional basketball career in the German Regionalliga? I am sure this is just a station before heading up the basketball ladder?

The reasoning I came conversations me and coach had were awesome he was straight up about the things he wanted me to do I have family in Germany so that would be a great start of my career and most definitely looking forward to go up that ladder

How tough is it scoring a lot and losing? In your first professional game you scored 40 points and added 10 rebounds and lost. Was it so easy or was it one of those games where your teammates did a great job finding you?

Scoring is something that I always could do I could say easy but I rather say that’s a natural thing for me and it was more of me taking over the game when we were in trouble I wouldn’t be surprised if I go for more of those kind of games that’s the type of player I am and we won that game

Usually in the Regionalliga there is one import an American and the rest Germans. Have you felt that special respect from the younger Germans? What have you learned to appreciate most form your teammates so far?

Yes the younger Germans have lots of respect for me and what I respect the good shooting my teammates have to keep all the attention off me

Let’s talk a bout your game. You’re a 196cm forward. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would bets fit the bill?

I compare my game to Lebron James with scoring passing and rebounding but most people when they see me play say Kevin Durant I also have a 7 foot 1 wingspan

You are a very good scorer, rebounder and three point shooter. What do you feel is your absolute biggest asset on the court?

Well for me the biggest I would say scoring passing rebounding like lebron James I watch him and only him for years before I watched anyone else

You have always been a consistent three point shooter. You have found that way not to overshoot but pick your spots well. How do you feel will you be able to make the next step as a shooter at the pro ranks?

I feel I can shoot the way I do on any level there is I will always take the best shot for me if I shoot it it will always be the best shot for me don’t matter if it’s a step back fade away or however I release it still will be the best shot for me I could also create my own shot as well

Obviously your offense is a big strength, but how much pride do you take on the defensive end? Is defense something that can at times propel your game when your offense isn’t on?

I take pride and defense as well I like to block shots. I rather check the best player on the opponents team I have great help defense and will stunt and get back also love turning defense to offense

On what things did you work on most this summer that will help you most in your rookie season in Germany?

One thing that I worked on the most this summer was my pull up from mid range I will be looking forward to continue to knock that down

Before turning professional, you played at 3 schools in JUCO, NCAA and NAIA. How big is the chip on your shoulder after paying your dues in JUCO, then playing a solid NCAA season and then playing NAIA? Now your in the German 4th division.

I have a huge chip on my shoulder I feel I have been overlooked and overlooked. I’m here to take on any challenge and to prove that I can play on any level there is

How big is your hunger of continuing to move up the basketball ladder? Is your feeling of never being fully appreciated on the court something you will take with you until you retire?

I have always been preparing myself for the big moment never giving up but it is hard to know your talents and being over looked. It’s either give up or keep that killer mentality that’s something a lot of players go through I’m just not the one to give up I will take that killer mentality with me until I retire never a time to relax

In the NCAA you beat Boston University and saw Max Mahoney put up 17/13 stats. He signed in the German Pro A. Does seeing this up your motivation to grind harder each day to fullfill your goals as a player?

Yes it does. It tells me to work harder.

You played 2 seasons with Daytona State College (JUCO). I often hear from JUCO players that the league was real tough, but one of the best times of their lives. How did you experience 2 years of JUCO and how do you feel did your game mature as a young player?

Those two years there were good seasons I feel I could of did much better and still believe I could of did it at any level at that time I feel I was held back and didn’t get to show much of my talents there

You then made your break through to the NCAA playing with Bethune-Cookman University (NCAA) playing 27 games averaging 9.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 62.2%. Do you feel like your game was finally respected in the NCAA?

Well I got some type of respect but at the school I was used as a catch and shoot type of player

You proved in the NCAA that you could play with anyone. What did you enjoy most about being able to play at the NCAA level?

What I enjoyed the most was the traveling

You finished your school career at Keiser University (NAIA) playing 27 games averaging 27.4ppg, 6.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 78.2%. How did you experience coming from the NCAA to the NAIA? How do you feel did your game grow in the NCAA?

My three point shoot grew more I. The NCAA my role was to catch a shoot

You had many incredible games, but where do the 2 exciting wins over Florida National and Warner stack up? Which one is more memorable?

Definitely Florida National

How did head coach Tae Norwood give you that last little push and help to groom and prepare you for a professional career?

Coach Tae Norwood helped me improve the mid range shoot He repeatedly told me to use the pull up jumper before practice games bus rides not only that he believed in me and let me play and use all my strengths plus he didn’t limit my options

Who won a one on one in practice you or Malcolm Mabry?

I most definitely won lol

Who was the best player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

Not sure if he went to the NBA but I would say Markus Howard from Marquette university.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Dondre Duffus Isaiah Bailey Leon Redd Cletrell Pope Jeff COULANGES

Please construct your personal own NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?

Lebron James Kevin Durant Giannas James Harden. Lebron has the biggest impact and is the greatest player of all times Kd is a unstoppable 7 foot guard and is one of the best shooters and has the best mid range of all time. Giannas is another unstoppable player that will dunk almost anything in the paint. James Harden is the one of the most hardest players to guard 3 level scoring only player that can have a bad game and still have 30

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

Most definitely Lebron greatest

What was the last movie that you saw?

Waist Deep

Thanks Mark for the chat.


Lamonte Bearden(wiha Panthers) Loves That Alen Velcic Cares About Nothing But Winning And Reaching The BBL

Lamonte Bearden (191-G-95, college: WKU) is a 25 year old 191cm point guard from Germantown, Wisconsin that will be playing his third professional season and first in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen. Last season he split time with Ramat Gan City Center (Israel-National League) playing 6 games averaging 13.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.2apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 54.8%, 3FGP: 36.4%, FT: 75.8%, in Dec.’20 moved to Maccabi Kiryat Motzkin (Israel-National League) 17,8ppg, 5,4rpg, 7,0apg, 1,3spg and shot 43% from outside. In his rookie season he played with Duzce Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 6 games averaging 19.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.5apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 59.3%. He began his basketball career at Germantown High School. He then played 63 NCAA games at the The University of Buffalo (NCAA) averaging: 8.3ppg, 2.8rpg, 4.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 74.0% as a freshman and in his second year averaged 13.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.2apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 76.7%. He then played 59 NCAA games at Western Kentucky University (NCAA) averaging 11.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.5apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 82.1% and as a senior averaged 9.2ppg, 2.4rpg, 4.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 69.4%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball.

Thanks Lamonte for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is your off season life going?

Thank you I appreciate you for doing this interview with me. I am currently in Milwaukee working out with a great group of guys at athlete performance. This off season life hasn’t been that bad considering I played in Israel this season and got to get better and experience more

You played this past season in Israel. How did you experience the whole COVID drama in Israel? What were the biggest challenges that you occurred on and off the court?

I played in Israel this past season and it had its ups and downs. There wasn’t really any big challenges besides gyms closing down and not being able to leave your home

With everything that you experienced off the court with COVID, how do you feel did COVID make you stronger as a man?

I feel COVID put me and a lot of other guys in tough positions but made me not take anything for granted. COVID made me realize that one minute basketball could be here the next minute it’s not. It gives you a chance to learn and find other things besides basketball. It also gives you new ways and ideas to workout with the limited access

Aber playing your first two seasons in Turkey and Israel, you now will play your third professional season in Germany with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen. What do you know in general about the country Germany? And it’s basketball?

I have heard nothing but good things about the country Germany. Since I was a kid if anyone said anything about professional basketball besides the NBA it was Germany or France. So I know this will be great basketball for me to get better and further my career.

Have you had any ex teammates or opponents that have played in Germany?

I know a couple of guys that have played in Germany before. Luke Fischer who I went to high school with and won a state championship together. Diante Garrett, Dwight Buycks who are also from my home town. There have been a few other guys that I know and have played with

You signed very early with the wiha Panthers. What was so appealing to join this club?

They seem like a good fit for me. They explained to me that they were trying to become a BBL team and that was a challenge that I wanted. Also the Panthers had a good point guard Nate Britt this past season. Also coach seems like he doesn’t care about anything but winning and I loved that

What kind of talks did you have with head coach Alen Velcic? What did he tell you about his basketball philosophy?

I had a good talk with coach. He talked about how he wanted me to play hard and most importantly be a leader. He told me as long as I came in and did my job we would have a good season

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 191cm guard. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?

I’m not sure if I play like anyone in the NBA but if I had to throw some guys at you it would be Jrue Holiday, Dennis Schroder, Lou Williams. I like Kyrie Irving’s game.

You’re a player that fills the stat sheet with ease. What would you say is your biggest strength on the court?

My biggest strength is getting to the basket. If that’s scoring it when I get to the basket or passing it. I can shoot the jump shot but nobody can stay in front of me.

You have improved as a professional in terms of overall stats. Your rebounding and assists are up. Is it fair to say that you are a better rebounder and facilitator then when you were a senior in school?

I am working on my vision and my strength to get in there and grab rebounds every day. I think I have grown a lot since high school going through college and now my third year in Germany.

You are a pesky defender. How much pride do you take on the defensive end and can you be that impact player?

I think that I am a good defender and can be great at some times. I think my defense will always turn into my offense so I take pride on defense. Also defense wins games

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer so you come best prepared for the German Pro A?

I will be working on my jump shot and strength. Knowing when the right time to shoot and certain spots to shoot at. My strength will help with everything like finishing and improving my range

Last season you: split time with roni Ramat Gan City Center (Israel-National League) and Maccabi Kiryat Motzkin (Israel-National League).This is a league where players have a lot of freedom. How do you feel did your game grow in this league?

I feel like it was good for me. Me having this freedom I feel like it let me control the game how I wanted to control it. Also having a good relationship with the coach helps those kinds of situations out when we talk about freedom.

As a rookie you played with Duzce Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 6 games averaging 19.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.5apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 59.3%. What was your wake up call to being overseas for the first time where you knew that you were very far away from home?
I think my first game I played is when I realized how far away I was from home. It is a different kind of feeling when you can get a victory with a great group of guys after a long day

You began your NCAA career at Buffalo and won the MAC tournament twice. Which title was sweeter?

I think the first one. The first one is always the best one. We had everyone there from my first year I won the championship. We had Bobby Hurley, Nate Oats, Justin Moss, Jarryn Skeete, Shannon Evans, just a great group

You played for Bobby Hurley. What kind of an experience was it learning from him and how did he help your game most?

It was great playing for Bobby Hurley. He is a player’s coach. He believes in letting his point guard run the team while he guides you. He taught me a lot in the one year that I played for him

As a freshman you played powerhouse Kentucky losing 71-52. You played against 9 future NBA players including Devin Booker who came from the bench, the Harrison twins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyler Ullis just to name a few. You held your own with 8 points. What do you remember from this game and really how much difference in skill level was there really?

This was a good game with a lot of good players on the court. I can remember us winning at halftime and after that they turned into a different team. This was an exciting game. There wasn’t much difference in the skill level that night besides they made more shots than we did and were a little bit taller than we were.

You then finished at Kentucky University (NCAA). What kind of a experience was it playing at this school and how did your game grow in your last two years?

It was a good experience playing at Western because it was a bit different coaching style.

How did head coach Rick Stansbury groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach taught me to slow down and run my team for my last two years. I grew on and off the court learning a lot from guys like Martin Cross and Talvis Franklin on hard work on and off the court. Coach taught me how to always work hard. Everything in life I will have to work for. Everything he taught me helped me deal with other coaches or people I may not agree with in life.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Desaun Murray?

That’s funny. I’m not sure I’ll let him have it but I’m not sure if I played him in practice before

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

Brandon Ingram

Please name your five best teammates of all-time?

Brian Bearden, Jarryn Skeete, Xavier Ford, Tyler Miller, Taveion Hollingsworth

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I think that they are two different players. Lebron James could easily score sixty points every other night he’s just a team player. Michael Jordan is doing whatever it takes to win. He does care if the team is happy or not as long as they win. In my opinion that should be the only thing that matters so everyone should be happy

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

No I haven’t seen it but I would like to see it. I think it’s always good to do something twice and if your blessed to do it again after that it’s a success.

Thanks Lamonte for the chat.

The MIles Basketball Minute: The Fraport Skyliners End The Crazy Covid Season In 11th Place With Their Heads Held High

When you have been in the easyCredit BBL for the length of time that Quantez Robertson (188-G-84, college: Auburn, agency: Interperformances) has, then every now and then you meet up with guys from the past. It isn’t every weekend, but every so often as the Fraport Skyliner legend almost witnessed on the last weekend of the regular season. In a span of 48 hours, he almost played against an ex NCAA foe Murphy Holloway and two days later did battle against ex teammate Johannes Richter. In the 2008-2009 season, Quantez Robertson was a senior at Auburn while Holloway was a freshman at Mississippi. The schools split with Mississippi wining the first game 78-59 at home as Holloway added 8 points and 4 boards while Robertson had 7 points and 4 rebounds while in the return game, Auburn won at home 77-64 as Robertson supplied 7 points and Holloway mustered only 2 points. Holloway had no problems remembering Robertson noting that he remembered his braids and him being a lefty while Tez chuckled when he was confronted with the distant NCAA memory. ‘He was also left handed, but he didn’t go against me. I went against Chris Warren. I remember him being a pretty strong guy. It’s a small world and it’s great when you have the opportunity to play against guys you played against in high school or college’, stressed Quantez Robertson. Then on the last game day he dueled ex big man teammate Johannes Richter who played in Frankfurt form 2013-2016 and since has been able to call many arena’s home in Germany as he bounced from club to club with the Telekom baskets Bonn, Gotha, Wurzburg, Giessen and Hamburg. The American remembered Richter’s break out game in the Eurochallenge where he supplied 15 points and 6 rebounds off the bench and not allowing any honey for the Baaken Bears. After the victory Tez was able to catch up with the ex Bamberg player. ‘I asked him about his wife and baby, but most importantly told him to stay healthy’, said Quantez Robertson. He and the German big man shared the court for many games and also remembers how vital he was during the successful Fiba Europe Cup run in 16-17. ‘He has always been an aggressive player. It doesn’t matter if he is in practice or in a game, he always gives 110%. He was really important in our Fiba Cup run. I remember him always being aggressive in practice and helping the other big men. He pushed the big men and made sure that they played hard in practice’, stated Quantez Robertson.

It was a crazy and special 20-21 season for every team in the easyCredit BBL as each club could write a book about their experiences this season. It wasn’t any different for the Fraport Skyliners who went through seemingly unending quarantines and up and downs, but at the end of the season finished in 11th place and held their heads high. They finished the season with a two game winning streak despite having four players out. ‘I was pleased how we played the last games. We fought, played hard and never gave up no matter what the outcome was’, stressed Quantez Robertson. Despite all the drama with COVID on and off the court, winning games wasn’t easy for Frankfurt this season. They only had a three game winning streak against Vechta, Goettingen and Giessen. All in all it was a very up and down season and it is difficult to seriously rate the season with all the COVID distractions, but there were positive moments especially with a lack of a walking wounded list. ‘I thought the season was a success in that we didn’t have too many major injuries. We were able to have the whole team for the majority of the season. I also think that we would of played even better in the games before the last two game wining streak had we not had the guys in quarantine. I think we still would have been in rhythm after the Crailsheim win. We would have had the momentum from that win and carried into the next games’, expressed Quantez Robertson. Impressive was also that despite COVID, guys never hung their heads. ‘I thought it was great how we played in phases when things weren’t going well. Even when we lost games, we always played tough and stuck together no matter what’, warned Quantez Robertson. The American also had to say farewell to head coach Sebastian Gleim who is headed to Crailsheim as he made the next step. ‘Gleim was a different person than Gordie and also had a different style. It took some time getting used to, but after a while I feel like we executed what he wanted us to do. Even if he didn’t have much success with us, I still think that he had two great years. I believe that he will have success in Crailsheim. He is a great coach’, warned Quantez Robertson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Quantez Robertson in the Fraport arena in 2021

Every season Quantez Robertson who most likely will visit Chic-Fill-A when he touches down at home plays with new teammates and sees how they develop further and it wasn’t any different this season. One player that had a very solid rookie season was ex Davidson (NCAA) guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson from Iceland. He averaged 12,2ppg, 3,1rpg and 3,5apg and shot 35% from outside. He scored in double figures in 22 games including 25 points against medi Bayreuth and 24 points against the Hamburg Towers. Of course he had his ups and downs, but overall was an important scoring option. Even if top team scorer Matt Mobley took the most shots, at times it felt like the Icelandic player was taking too many shots, but he had had total freedom from head coach Sebastian Gleim. ‘For him scoring was what coach expected from him. He was our spark plug from the bench and when he started. He did over dribble at times, but he also made plays. Coach had no problems with that’, stressed Quantez Robertson. It will be interesting to see what his next step will be. Recently after a game he was seen smiling during a conversation with EWE Baskets Oldenburg head coach Mladen Drijencic. ‘I think like Jon could fit into the Oldenburg system. They like guards who can shoot and attack the rim’, added Quantez Robertson. Another player who made a massive jump in his career was Rasheed Moore. Three years ago the Philadelphia native was balling in the Regionalliga and was as far away from the easyCredit BBL as the JobStairs Giessen 46ers are from wining a BBL title in the near future. He has been one of very few that have made the slow jump from the Regionalliga to the easyCredit BBL via the Pro B and Pro A. In his first season in the BBL, he averaged 11,2ppg, 4,0rpg and 1,3apg and shot 37% from outside. He scored in double figures in 20 games and had 23 points against Wurzburg twice and 22 points against Brose Bamberg. He also had his ups and downs, but finished the season strong scoring in double figures in his last four games. ‘Rasheed is a tough guy. He always plays with balls to the wall. He always gives his all whether if it’s in practice or in games. But we expected that from him. He was one of our leading scorers on the team. He had a very good first season in the BBL. It would be great to have him back’, stated Quantez Robertson.

After two years as head coach of the Fraport Skyliners, Sebastian Gleim will now coach the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim

The young Fraport Skyliners players profited the last weeks as Michael Kessens, Len Schoorman and Bruno Vrcic were in quarantine and Matt Mobley and Konstantin Konga were out, head coach Sebastian Gleim had to juggle the roster bringing guys like Leon Pullen and Philipp Hadenfeldt from their Pro B farm team. Other guys like Alvin Onyia and Maxi Begue had been with the BBL team all season long. In Begue’s first three games, he averaged only 3 minutes per game, but in his last 6 games in the last three weeks, he averaged 16 minutes per game. Quantez Robertson had commented recently that Begue still has to balance when to play fast and when to slow down, but overall was impressed of how he played the last weeks. ‘He did a great job with the time that he was given. He played in games just like he did in practice always played hard. He made mistakes, but we all do. He felt more and more comfortable with the more time he got’, commented Quantez Robertson. Another young German who made huge strides was ex FC Bayern Munich guard Bruno Vrcic who only two years ago was the NBBL finals MVP and now has become a solid BBL role player. He averaged 6,1ppg and 1,4rpg and was easily the team most improved player. ‘I would agree that he was the most improved player. Last season he was barely on the floor and this season he was a key guy off the bench that could score. He is a big spark when he is making shots. He makes our jobs easier when he is standing in the corner and we want to attack the rim. He already got minutes in the bubble last season and he always got more and more comfortable with us’, stressed Quantez Robertson. He scored in double figures in three games including 18 points against Hamburg and 16 points against Crailsheim.

Quantez Robertson and Miles Schmidt-Scheuber in the Fraport arena in 2021

For Quantez Robertson who sees NBA Mr triple double Russell Westbrook as a top 10 player has witnessed another season is in the books as he completed his 12th professional season with the Fraport Skyliners. He averaged 10,1ppg, 4,4rpg, 3,1apg and 1,7spg. On paper, he had another solid Tez season, but the Skyliner legend is his own hardest critic. ‘My game could have been better. I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I should of. Sometimes things don’t go as planned’, warned Quantez Robertson. But the Cincinnati native who now resides in Alabama didn’t check his stats well enough as it was his best outside shooting year since 2015-2016. ‘I was locked in this year and just tried to stay as aggressive as possible. I took open shots and tried to pass up as few as possible’, said Quantez Robertson. His bread and butter has been his defense since his standout days at Auburn (NCAA) and for many could have been an NBA player just with his defensive qualities and he continues to defend with a passion. ‘It’s still fun to play defense. I love having guys pass up a ball or take a tough shot. I love making guys make mistakes’, expressed Quantez Robertson. This summer he will continue to grind in the lab as he wants to continue to age well on the court. ‘I will work on all parts of my game and continue to try to get better. I also will run and stay in shape so when I come back to Frankfurt, my condition is good’, said Quantez Robertson. His two year contract extension was announced yesterday as he will remain with the Fraport Skyliners until 2023 when he will be 38 years old. He has two wishes when he comes back to Frankfurt. ‘I want to stay healthy and win another title in Frankfurt’, warned Quantez Robertson. These could be the last two years and then possibly come retirement. But then again as long as Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding keeps playing then there is a good chance that Robertson will also. That won’t bother anyone in Oldenburg or Frankfurt.

The Fraport Skyliners Let It Rain Three´s Disposing Of The Hamburg Towers 96-89

COVID-19 has been a massive problem in the German basketball world as it has sent clubs into quarantine, cancelled teams season abruptly after they were trying to make a run in the playoffs and in general just made the season and unpredictable and not enjoyable time.  It wasn´t any different for the Fraport Skyliners who had began a new winning streak in early April after a convincing win against playoff team Hakro Merlins only to see some players test positive soon after which led to a two week quarantine. Lucky for the Fraport Skyliners that they had secured themselves a spot out of the danger places at the end. The two week break didn´t help their fitness or game as they came back to play and were rusty suffering a five game losing streak where they were playing with four farm team players plus their top scorer Matt Mobley was also out. The club finally exited their losing streak and woes and struck s.Oliver Wurzburg hard on the road whipping them badly 95-66  48 hours ago as they got super performances from Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson and ex wiha Panther forward Rasheed Moore who combined for 45 points. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner wanted to end the season on a positive note as they welcomed playoff team Hamburg Towers for a last regular season game clash. Many may have thought that the Frankfurt crushing defeat over s.Oliver Wurzburg may have taken all of their energy, but they arrived back into their living room wanting to close out the season on a high note and did letting it rain three´s as they nailed 15 shots from the parking lot disposing of the Hamburg Towers 96-89 giving head coach Sebastian Gleim his last win as he will coach the Hakro Merlins next season. Even if Hamburg lost the last regular season game head coach Pedro Calles was rather calm as he knew that the club still had 11 days to get ready for their showdown with Alba Berlin in the playoffs. “Congrats to Frankfurt for the win. We didn´t do a good job on pick and roll defense letting them get the shots that they wanted. We also didn´t do a good job defending in the low post giving up too many points. We will recover in time for the playoffs”. After the win Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson reflected on the huge win. “We have played well the last two games and moved the ball well. Even if we were tired a lot, we always fought no matter what. The last seven games felt like the last seven days. I felt that we rebounded the ball well and even if not everything was going right for us in the first half, we stuck together and fought to the end”. The Hamburg Towers didn´t have it easy being without their two best players Maik Kalev- Kotsar and Kameron Taylor and the organization and overall play was missing a bit from their offense. “We didn´t have the necessary energy today. Frankfurt had a very good rhythm from the start. They played with a lot of self-confidence. We made a push near the end, but it just wasn´t enough”, stressed Hamburg Towers guard Bryce Taylor.

               The Fraport Skyliners continued to have a walking wounded list as Matt Mobley and Konstantin Konga were out while Len Schoormann and Michael Kessens also were out because of COVID. Both teams didn’t have their normal starting lineups. Frankfurt got the early advantage with a bucket form ex Miami (NCAA) center Kamari Murphy, but Hamburg rapidly got the lead from ex Lacrosse player Patrick Spencer who was aggressive in the open floor and scored twice on transition giving the guests the 4-3 lead. The Fraport Skyliners then got the energy spark they needed from the bench as ex Davidison (NCAA) standout Jon Axel Gudmundsson scored five quick points for the 8-4 lead. You always have to guard him closely, because he will beat you on the drive and from outside as he demonstrated with a lay in and three pointer. His energy sparked his teammates as ex FC Bayern Munich guard Bruno Vrcic who came into the game shooting 31% from outside nailed two trey’s for the 16-7 lead. Hamburg couldn’t hit the side of a barn door as they were 0/6 and could only get baskets inside. Ex University of California – Davis (NCAA) guard TJ Shorts who may be only 175cm tall, but he can get to the hoop quicker than most in the easyCredit BBL scored two baskets and ex Richmond (NCAA) forward Terry Allen made a lay in on transition as Hamburg found a little fire at the end going on a 8-4 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead to 20-15 after 10 minutes. ‘Gudmundsson got us going making tough shots. He lit that fire that helped us get going’, said Quantez Robertson.

TJ Shorts of the Hamburg Towers hitting his bread and butter the mid range shot

The Fraport Skyliners led by as much as 14 points in the second quarter, but allowed the Hamburg Towers on a run in the second half of the quarter allowing them to creep back into the game and trail only by seven points at the break. Both teams found their scoring touch early as Hamburg got key help from German 22 year old Osario Rich with a lay in on transition that Frankfurt didn´t combat well at all and got further baskets inside as their three´s didn´t fall from Allen and ex Coastal Carolina College (NCAA) forward Zac Cuthbertson. Frankfurt received a three pointer from ex wiha Panthers forward Rasheed Moore who was all alone in the corner and Murphy took advantage of a mismatch netting a hook shot as Frankfurt had the slim 25-21 lead. The Fraport Skyliners then took control of the game again cruising out on a 18-7 run to extend their lead to 43-28. In the run Frankfurt continued to get impressive support from Bruno Vrcic who contributed 8 points with a three and five free throws. Gudmundsson also remained very aggressive hitting a trey and a lay in. He never hesitates when he is outside. If he sees he has room, he fires away right away  something the world has seen with ex Davidson(NCAA) legend Steph Curry for more than 10 years. Robertson also got a bucket making a great play on a Vrcic airball and reading exactly where it would land and making the easy basket. “I didn´t know that would be an airball when he released it. I just played the shot and was at the right place at the right time. After the play, I told him great pass”, smiled Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt was moving the ball well and not allowing Hamburg to get into their plays as they continued to be cold from outside. Ex Northwestern(NCAA) player Pat Spencer had made the team´s first three at the 5,55 mark. But basketball wouldn´t be basketball without it being a game of runs as the Hamburg Towers didn´t allow the game to slip away going into half-time with a 11-3 run to trail only 46-39. In the run, it was ex Fraport Skyliner center Johannes Richter who made his break through in 2015 in an international game against Danish team Baaken Bears scored six points inside giving Hamburg some more confidence and momentum going into the third quarter. “We weren´t aggressive in their run and didn´t execute. They put more defensive pressure on us and couldn´t get open shots”, stated Quantez Robertson.


Quantez   Robertson from down town       

  Both clubs went on runs, but at the end of the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners still had a double digit lead. The Hamburg Towers took that momentum from their second quarter ending run and went on a commanding 12-6 run to cut Frankfurt´s advantage down to 54-51. In the run the Hamburg Towers were led by TJ Shorts who last season as a rookie played with BK Ventspils scored 8 points. Shorts game lives with the drive and mid range as he is shooting only 26% from outside as he excelled from those areas. “Shorts is really quick in the open court. He is quick on the pick and roll and can get to the rim well.  His teammates fed off his energy”, added Quantez Robertson.  Rich also scored as did ex Alba Berlin guard Bryce Taylor. Frankfurt had no remedy how to stop Shorts and got a bit sloppy on offense coughing up the ball and taking hurried shots. After a Frankfurt time out, the players came out inspired and shot back with a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 66-53. In the run Frankfurt connected very well from outside as Quantez Robertson hit back to back three´s. He has shot the ball really well in three of the last five games against Ludwigsburg, Bonn and Wurzburg and it wasn´t any different against Hamburg as he finished shooting 60% from the parking lot. Gudmundsson also continued his hot outside shooting with a trey and shot 57% from outside. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter strong getting five more points from Gudmundsson and a jumper from Rasheed Moore while Hamburg got consistent production from Terry Allen who had five points including a tip in dunk, but Frankfurt led 73-62 after three quarters. “We remained aggressive and attacked the rim well. We made the easy plays and hit three´s. Moore, Vrcic and Gudmundsson all hit big shots”, said Quantez Robertson. “Shorts is a guy that can create for himself and others. He is at his best when he can play his style”, stressed Bryce Taylor.            

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and TJ Shorts

The Fraport Skyliners continued to have control of the game in the fourth quarter leading by as much as 15 points, but a late surge by the Hamburg Towers where they cut Frankfurt´s lead down to four points wasn´t enough as Frankfurt could close out the game with supreme shooting. Hamburg found some instant energy off the bat getting a Rich lay in and trey from Allen to cut Frankfurt´s advantage down to 73-67, but Frankfurt then erupted out on a 12-3 run to take the 85-70 lead as their hot shooting was too much for Hamburg. In the run they got clutch three´s from Vrcic and Moore and free throws from Robertson and Murphy. Hamburg also had extreme difficulty stopping the Frankfurt drive as their one on one defense was nonexistent. Hamburg wasn´t able to find an offensive rhythm as they had two turnovers during the run. The Hamburg made one late run going on a 14-3 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead down to 88-84. In the run, Hamburg did everything inside as it seemed like they were too shy or afraid to attempt any more three´s. Shorts and Rich scored on lay ins while Cuthbertson lifted Hamburg with 7 points including a three pointer. Young 20 year old German Justus Hollatz also made a massive two handed dunk with Quantez Robertson on his back door. “I saw a couple highlight videos of Hollatz. He is a young athletic player thar attacks the rim well. If he keeps it up, he will be going places”, warned Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt didn´t allow Hamburg to do anymore damage closing on the game strong with hot shooting getting three´s from Moore and Robertson and a jumper from Gudmundsson. “We weren´t comfortable with our lead. We stayed aggressive and made sure that we took open shots and didn´t overpass”, stressed Quantez Robertson. “Frankfurt is a solid defensive team and did a good job running guys off the three point line. We have to do a better job creating better shots for our shooters”, warned Bryce Taylor. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jon Axel Gudmundsson with 24 points. Rasheed Moore produced 19 points and Bruno Vrcic and Quantez Robertson added 18 points a piece while the Hamburg Towers were led by TJ Shorts and Tery Allen with 17 points a piece while Zac Cuthbertson had 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 54% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Hamburg Towers shot 51% from the field and 26% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 6 turnovers

Moving Forward To The Next Level Frank Bartley(medi Bayreuth) Knows That Shot Selection And Shooting At A Higher Clip Will Be Essential

Frank Bartley IV (190-G-94, college: La-Lafayette, agency: BeoBasket) is a 27 year old 190cm guard from Baton Rouge that completed his third professional season and first with medi Bayreuth averaging 14,3ppg, 2,7rpg, 2,4apg and shot 32% from outside. He played his first two professional season in Canada with the Saint John Riptide (Canada-NBL Canada) averaging 19.6ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.2apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 34.3%, FT: 82.0% and last season played with Carramimbre CBC Valladolid (Spain-LEB Gold) averaging 16.3ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.1apg, Steals-5 (1.5spg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 31.8%, FT: 67.5%. He began his basketball career at Brigham Young University (NCAA) in 2013 and played 64 NCAA games and then finished at the University Louisiana at Lafayette (NCAA) playing 64 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 18.0ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 86.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 99-95 win in Goettingen.

Frank thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the big 99-95 win on the road against BG Goettingen. How proud are of the guys for finishing the season with a 4 game winning streak?

I’m so proud of how the guys won in Goettingen and how they finished the season. This was a very crazy season. We were so up and down. To be able to finish the season on the road on a good note speaks for the resilience of the team.

How tough was it watching that 41 point first quarter explosion from BG Goettingen? Did you ever see a display of offense in your career like that against a team you played?

Yeh I did see this actually this season as teams made shots against us. They made a lot of three’s. Dawkins lit up the first half. They played very good team ball and made open shots.

What adjustments did medi Bayreuth make in the next two quarter allowing only 31 points?

We just found a way to get the job done. We switched things up on defense with full court press and zone and took them out of their rhythm. We were more aggressive on defense and rebounded the ball very well. It also helped that we made shots.
BG Goettingen fought all game, but would you agree that the medi Bayreuth consistent offense for 40 minutes got you the win?

Yes I think so. Minus the first quarter, I think that we stuck to our offense and made many shots. Important was also that every one pitched in and stepped up. Tiby, Doreth and Olisevicius made big shots that helped us secure the win.

Matt Tiby said that David Walker is the team’s hidden gem. He only scored 5 points, but his three at the end of the game was the biggest shot of the game.

David is a baller. I have to agree with Matt that he is our hidden gem. He is our most athletic player and one of our best defenders. He does so much that isn’t seen on the stat sheet. He has been shooting the ball with a lot of confidence. He didn’t shoot so much tonight, but he made the shots when we needed them.

The club was strong on the offensive glass and took care of the ball well. What strength do you feel was a bit off the radar?

We always have known what were capable of as a team. We just sometimes weren’t able to show it this season. Our chemistry has been pretty good this season. When we play hard for long periods of time, then we are hard to beat. I thought we played hard for three quarters tonight.

Medi Bayreuth found it’s groove at the end. This team was a lot better than it’s record. How would you summarize the team’s season best?

It was definitely a special season. It was a type of season that we had never seen before. We can be very grateful for having a group of guys that really went through so much like being quarantined, then coming out and finding a rhythm. That’s shows the resilience of the team. We lost some games and had downs and we could of quit, but came back and were in the playoff picture. We fought hard all season long and wanted to end the season strong for our fans and ourselves. We didn’t leave anything on the table.

Which player do you feel was the most improved player on the team?

I felt that our most improved player was Kay Bruhnke. He battled injuries early and had school and didn’t play much. He never quit, but stayed with it. Some young players who don’t play get frustrated which messes with their attitude and work ethic, but he never showed that. He came to work each day and we saw the results in his growth in games. He got better with time and has a crazy future ahead of him.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 14,3ppg, 2,7rpg, 2,4apg and shot 32% from outside. How content were you with your game?

This was probably the hardest season for me. This was my first time in the BBL and I had personal goals for myself. I wanted to accomplish things, but couldn’t. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed every moment. My season was Ok, but not great. I know what I have to work on this summer. I need to work on my three pointer and being more consistent and efficient.

After leading the Spanish Leb Gold, you made a new step in a higher league. How do you feel did your game grow this season?

I think key this season was learning how to play with better players. I learned to find my spots well and take good shots and improved on reads.

You have put up very consistent stats in Canada, Spain and Germany. What is your secret to being so consistent?

I was proud how I played this season, but I hold myself to very high standards. I know that I can score with the best at any level. I’m just a very confident player. Moving forward I need to improve my shot selection and shooting at a higher clip.

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

The best player that I played against was Wade Baldwin. He is one of the best on ball defenders in the BBL. He really made me work.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

CP is top 5.

Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?

Tatum and Doncic will be the top players in the future. They aren’t even close at their peak. They are still getting better. Both are top 10 and have bright futures.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

No not at all. That’s crazy. He took the Wizards to a ninth place. People think that it’s normal for him to get triple doubles, but it’s really hard to do that. I believe that he can go anywhere and win. He has the drive to win.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

No I don’t agree. He is top five though.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I think so. There are some classics that aren’t to be messed with. I guess that they needed to make one for the modern day.

Thanks Frank for the chat.

Murphy Holloway(s.Oliver Wurzburg) Credits His Overwelming Career Consistency To Being An Everyday Person

Murphy Holloway (201-F-90, college: Ole Miss) is a 31 year old 201cm forward from South Carolina playing his eight professional season and first in Germany with s.Oliver Wurzburg averaging 11,1ppg, 4,9rpg, 1,5apg and 1,4spg after having started the season with Al-Muharraq (Bahrain-Premier League). He has a lot of experience having played in countries like Turkey, Israel, Italy, France, Philippines and South Korea. He played 129 NCAA games with The University of Mississippi (NCAA) averaging double figures in scoring in three of his four seasons there. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the tough 95-66 loss to the Fraport Skyliners.

Murphy thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. s.Oliver Wurzburg lost a tough 95-66 game to the Fraport Skyliners. The club has lost 10 of it’s last 11 games. Have you ever been involved in a losing streak like this?

I don’t think so. If I did have a longer losing streak then it happened in France with Cholet. That was a tough season. But we did beat Asvel twice who went on to win the title that season.

How tough is it for you in general not being able to help your team when your out?

It’s tough when you can’t help your team. I’m like a leader on the team and the anchor on defense. I’m like a big brother for the younger guys.

You have played in many leagues in the world. Where would you rank the easyCredit BBL in competition, style and players in comparison to other leagues you have played in?

To be honest it’s a toss up between Germany and France.

You had a lot of success in Israel. Isn’t that league up with France and Germany?

No it isn’t. The style in Israel is free and loose. In Germany they play real Euro basketball. But the Winner league is still a great league. Israel was the best country I played in.

You have played with ex NBA players over the years, but what has it been like sharing the court with Perry Jones? What have you learned to appreciate most from his game?

Perry is an NBA Player, an elite player. I mean some of the schemes that we run here aren’t designed for NBA players. He has struggled in some games. It is difficult for NBA guys coming overseas, because they don’t get the freedom that their used to. But when he gets going, he is unreal. In practice he is the real deal. Then you see that he is an NBA player. You definitely see the difference.

There are many very talented German players old and young on the team like Florian Koch, Felix Hoffmann or Joshua Obiesie or Nils Hassfuerter. Which player ahs impressed you the most?

A guy that I really like is Joshua Obiesie. I like his game and think that he is an NBA talent. He still needs to pay his dues here. All my teammates are great. I also like this other kid Julius Boehmer. He has the potential to play at the next level. I have seen the kind of work that he puts in with trainer Rico. He is definitely going in the right direction.

Your like a young buck compared to Alex King. What has impressed you most about his character?

It is a lot of fun to be around Alex. He is a great guy. I have asked him many things about the Euroleague. He is a guy that will always keep it real with you. He is a great teammate.

You have had a solid season in the easyCredit BBL needing no adjustment period. What have you enjoyed most about the league?

They call a lot of fouls in the BBL. I’m a physical guy so I like it. I was in Asia the last two years and am very happy to be back in Europe. I just love watching the skill set of the players here. The league and players are so competitive. I had to get in better shape and rebound better here. You have to get used to not playing as much here.

You have an unending motor and energy. Did you always have this or was it something that gradually developed over the years?

I always had a motor. If you ask my mom she will tell you that I was very hyper as a kid. I have to be in great shape to play the way I do. Only that way can I be effective. The physicality kills you more than the running. I remember when we played Munich, I was battling Jalen Reynolds the whole game in the paint. He told me man your really strong and your left hand is really tricky. There hasn’t been one guy that has talked trash to me. It’s been all love.

You have put up great and consistent stats where ever you have played. What is your secret for your overwhelming consistency?

I’m an everyday person on and off the court. I try to be the same Murph every day. If you can be consistent in everything you do, it really makes life easier for you.

You averaged double double in stats in The Winner League in Israel and the second league in Italy. Is it as much a riddle for you as it is me why you haven’t gotten at least a Eurocup opportunity yet?

Believe me I have had my chances. When I was playing in the Philippines. I had the chance to sign with two Russian Eurocup teams, but I remained in the Philippines because I was making 40,000 grand a month. But now I’m at a point where I want to play at higher levels.

The last two years you stayed away from Europe and played in Asia. Was money a factor in turning your back on Europe?

Yes money was definitely a factor. When you do something like that you do lose respect in Europe. But it gets hard to turn down so much money when you have a family. The pay is a big difference as is the lifestyle. I’m really happy to be back in Europe. I hope that I can stick here

What kind of an experience was it playing in Korea? Last season you were the only lone American on the team. Any kind of experience there off the court that you wont forget?

I had Shannon Shorter on the team, but only one American at a time on the court. It was a culture shock. Nobody speaks English and I had an interpreter. I was lucky that I was in Seoul that had army bases. I remember playing with a rookie. He wouldn’t go out at all. All he did was play video games.

What I always wanted to know about guys playing in Asia especially Korea is how do you remember teammates names? Do you make special nicknames for them?

Yes I had Nicknames like BB or snake. The players usually tell you what their name means in English. I just rolled with that.

You always had very solid games against Macabbi Tel Aviv. What do you believe is missing from your game to land on a team like that?

Not too much was missing. I think a reason why may have been is that I’m undersized. I don’t shoot jump shots, but am more a back to the basket kind of guy, take the mid range and shots off the bounce. I play more like a Draymond Green or Julius Randle. I don’t put up many shots, but when I do I take good shots and play great defense. I don’t like to get scored on. Today if a Macabbi Tel Aviv called, I would go there and not to Korea. I believe I still have a chance to make the next step. Look at James Gist. He is older than me and playing Euroleague

When you played with Macabbi Rishon you were teammates with Mr Euroleague Keith Langford. What will you never forget about him as the player and person?

The great thing about Keith is that he doesn’t think that he is better than anyone else. You would think that a guy of his talent would put himself above the rest, but he doesn’t. I saw Jeff Adrien block his shot twice. He was so fired up and motivated and just wanted to keep going at Adrien and eventually scored. He is an everyday guy like me and wants it everyday. I was in awe of him. He would never think that you would be in awe with him. He was a good teammate and friend of mine.

When you played with Galil Gilboa you beat Macabbi Tel Aviv twice. Was your 26 point game in the 92-91 win one of your top three pro games?

I missed so many free throws in that game. They gave me MVP, but I didn’t think that I deserved it. I told them not to give it to me. I had many good games. I can’t say that one was better than the other.

When you played with Cholet, you played with one of my top 3 guys that I ever covered in my 18 year career Dashaun Wood. Did you ever witness a quicker guy than him?

Dashaun was the first guy that talked to me about Germany. He enjoyed talking about his time in Berlin.

He didn’t talk about the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt?

No he didn’t. I didn’t know that he had even played there until coach Wucherer told me. I saw a picture of him in the Wurzburg arena. He had that quick twitch and good hesitation. He slowed down a bit when we were teammates, but I would say he is probably one of the quickest guys that I played with.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing 2011 BBL MVP Dashaun Wood in Berlin in 2012

In 2014-2015 you played with Pallacanestro Trieste 2004 (Italy-A2 Gold). What memories do you have of balling in the second Italian league. I always felt that was a very underappreciated league.

I loved the Italian A-2 league. That league made me and defined my game. That season gave me a chance to be seen by all of Europe. I thought Italy was a great experience. I learned that you have to zip up your pockets. I was pick pocketed in Milan. I learned the hard way.

In your rookie season you played in Turkey and Israel. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were very far away from home?

People not paying on time. They really thought that we worked for free. But all in all it was all good.

You played four years at the The University of Mississippi (NCAA). What were your fondest memories there?

Having Marshall Henderson as a teammate was great. He was one of the greatest players that we had. He didn’t have that typical overseas career. Winning the SEC tournament as also memorable. We beat Florida that had players like Erik Murphy and Patrick Young.

In your freshman year you must of played senior Quantez Robertson of Auburn who has been playing with the Fraport Skyliners since 2009 and played in Wurzburg tonight. Do you remember him being a defensive pest?

The basketball world is very small. I did play against him and remember him being left handed and having braids. He probably went against Chris Warren.

How did head coach Andy Kennedy groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He taught us that no one gives you anything and no one pays you for average. He was and is still my guy. He told me that if I ever need a coaching job to call him.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Reginald Bucknor?

Reggie was a bit too big for me. We never really played. He would win in the post and I would win from outside.

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that went to the NBA?

Guys from Kentucky like Demarcus Cousins and John Wall.

Please name your five best teammates of all-time?

Reginald Bucknor, Shannon Shorter, Rob Lowery, Eric Griffin, Isaiah Grayson

Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Shaq

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I think it’s Lebron because of the way he plays. He makes his teammates better and has that killer mentality. But then again you can’t teach what Jordan did. I will always be a neverending debate because you will never get people to say 100% that it’s Jordan or Lebron.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

I think that they should of left it alone.

Thanks Murphy for the chat.

Despite COVID Ending Rostock´s Season Abruptly It Could Still Be A Happy Ending For Chris Carter

When you hear the name Chris Carter in German basketball, the first thing that comes to mind is winner. The guy has proved that he can play at the easyCredit BBL level even if he didn´t get the minutes that he may have wanted in Vechta, he still shined there with his unending work ethic and leadership qualities despite having to accept not having the type of role he had had in the Pro A. He took it like a true competitor and still was the teams biggest towel waver the way Boston Celtics fans witnessed in the 80´s with ML Carr. But where Chris Carter has really made a name for himself has been in the Pro A. He helped Rasta Vechta reach the easyCredit BBL in 2018 and did again last season with the Niners Chemnitz. Instead of remaining in Chemnitz, he took on the next challenge with the very ambitious Rostock Seawolves to try to help his third Pro A team reach the first division in Germany. The Rostock SeaWolves have been one of those very very serious teams that would do all it could to move up which showed when they hauled in legendary coach Dirk Bauermann. The club had a very potent season belonging to the top 4 teams in the regular season and made the playoffs. They had a tough playoffs where they had a 2-4 record and were in danger of not making their BBL goal. But then the Pro A season abruptly ended because COVID had to rear it´s ugly head into the affairs of the Pro A. But all isn´t lost yet. The 20-21 season could still have a happy end for the Rostock SeaWolves and Chris Carter, but the way COVID has played with the feelings, hearts and patience of everyone, the American who believes when all is said and done that Chris Paul will be an all-time top 3 point guard in the NBA may not be able to enjoy it as one would think. The Pro A final is between Heidelberg and Leverkusen, but since Leverkusen will remain in the Pro A, there will be one spot left. That will be determined with a wild card auction between Rostock, Vechta and BBL team Giessen. “At this point I don’t care if they do or they don’t. If they do move up great, if not that is okay too. I know the wildcard is not easy to get and will be expensive. We will see”, stressed Chris Carter. 

                Carter who played at Florida Institute of Technology (NCAA2) before turning professional had a tough season with COVID, but so did thousands of other players all around the globe like a Eric Kibi who balled in Germany years ago in Herten and Rendsburg lived a few days at the Buenos Aires airport and got to know what it felt like for the Tom Hanks character in “The Terminal”. It wasn´t quite that drastic for Chris Carter, but still it was a lifestyle that wasn´t normal. If you were to take 10 random players in Germany, you could bet that 8 out of 10 players would have the same two answers that Carter had concerning what the toughest adjustments were during the brutal COVID season. “Playing an entire season with no fans, and not being able to really do anything outside of being home was the most frustrating due to the fact that we were on a hard lockdown for most of the time”, explained Chris Carter. The American who believes the sky is the limit for NBA super star in the making Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points remembers one prime example just how crazy this season was. “The fact that Jena was pretty much in first, second place the entire season and then they get covid the week before the playoffs and had to forfeit the game with a 20 point deficit put them in 4th place was crazy”, stated Chris Carter. The club was battling in the playoffs and played their hearts out leaving everything on the floor and returning to the locker room drenched in sweat, with heavy emotions and had that special adrenaline rush that you don´t get on a daily basis. Soon after you learn the season is over. All the hard work didn´t pay off. “Ending the season like that was very disappointing. We had the team and the means to but just did not get it done. We can make lots of reasons why but at the end of the day we did not get it done. That is life”, stressed Chris Carter.

                The Rostock SeaWolves had a very strong roster and the season had three faces. The club started off very positively finding that groove early winning 10 of 12 games, but then suffered a lull having an unsatisfactory 5-5 record, but then busted open again finishing the season strong having a 11 game winning streak and taking momentum into the playoffs. Carter who doesn´t believe that Golden State Warrior versatile forward Draymond Green is the best defender of all-time, but gives him credit for his confidence had a simple explanation for the mid season blues on the team. “We had a really good team this year. Great guys and it was fun to be a part of. The only reason we went 5-5 was because we had 6 different injuries that we had to deal with.”, remembered Chris Carter. Rostock understood how to put up a heavy dose of points averaging 87 per game and even if they couldn´t get that consistent Bauerman imprint on the defensive end allowing 81 points per game, they did have their moments during the season. They did master some defensive gems keeping teams to under 70 points four times. He definitely witnessed two very very explosive offenses in Chemnitz and Rostock where he was an instrumental part of. “One type of offense was more up tempo and the other was a bit slower and strategic”, said Chris Carter. The club then strolled into the playoffs with their heads riding high and sprouting with a confidence level as high as what a Russell Westbrook has each game when he is staring into the eyes of his opponent. But anything can happen in the game of basketball. Sometimes one result can impact the way a club plays there after and can also have a mental effect when you lose an annoying nail bitter the way they did 85-81 in the first game of the playoffs against Science City Jena. . “It would have been nice to win the Jena game away and I´m sure that would have changed the course of the playoffs but you can’t cry over spilled milk”, commented Chris Carter. After that they lost the second game to the Artland Dragons which hurt. A win there could of stabilized them going into back to back games against the rising Bayer Giants Leverkusen which they both lost. Then the nail was put on the coffin with a brutal and antagonizing 80-79 loss to Artland. Carter is 100% certain that fatigue didn´t get into the way of the team searching for success in the post season. I don´t want to know how Dirk Bauermann was coping the days after the season ended, because a guy like that is used to winning. “He is a fierce competitor and always wanted to win”, remembered Chris Carter.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing legendary head coach Dirk Bauermann at the 2007 German BBL allstar game in Cologne, Germany

                The American who doesn´t agree with Croatian legend Dino Radja and his bold statement that Russell Westbrook wouldn´t have success in Europe leading a team to success if given the chance had a group of teammates that he enjoyed leading to success. One of those was Trevor Lacey  who had a phenominal senior season at North Carolina State and as a professional played in Italy and Russia and brought a great resume to Rostock with 38 Eurocup games under his belt. You seldom see a player of his caliber in the Pro A. “Trevor is a great player and great guy off the court too. I learned a lot from him for sure and I am sure he will be playing at a very high level next season”, warned Chris Carter. The vast experience didn´t end there as the club also was able to haul in a player like Brad Loesing who had played five seasons in the easyCredit BBL with teams like Ludwigsburg, Oldenburg and Wurzburg amassing a total of 136 games. “Brad is a great leader who really sets the tone on the defensive end picking up the other teams ball handler. He also can get buckets on offense too. I had a great time playing with Brad this season and he would be a vital part for anybody’s team”, stressed Chris Carter. One has to also give some credit to head coach Dirk Bauermann for not only doing the routine thing of bringing in five or six Americans, but mixing it up a bit and bringing in some different nationalities to spice up the basketball culture which he did with Latvian big man Ronalds Zakis and Behnam Yakhchali from Iran who had played for his country at the 2019 World Cup in China averaging 12,0pp. He was another player where Carter could profit from on the floor as playing with so much talent can only help one´s game further. “Behnam is a silent killer. Very skilled player offensively with great size and can pretty much do everything. I think he was a great team player who played with a lot of confidence and he is paving the way for Iranian basketball coming over to the European market. He has a bright future”, warned Chris Carter.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Chris Carter for years in Germany. This was in Frankfurt in 2019 when he was with Rasta Vechta

                The American who saw the Coming to America sequela and like others believe that they shouldn´t have touched the classic movie had another very solid Pro A season averaging 9,7ppg, 3,2rpg, 5,6apg and 1,3spg while shooting 38% from outside. The guy has put up consistent stats in the Pro A for years and at this point of his career knows what to expect and has that certain confidence level that will help him be successful and consistent. “I thought this was a decent season for me. I think there is always room for improvement. But I think when I was at the point this season the ball moved well and we got some really good looks”, stressed Chris Carter. He scored in double figures in 15 games and had 10 assists in three games and had 7 assists or more in 10 games. He had a span in February and March where he scored in double figures in nine of ten games. Overall he did a fine job of having that stellar balance as a point guard between scoring and setting up his teammates. “It’s always tricky when you have a lot of good players keeping everyone happy but that is my job as a point guard while staying aggressive”, said Chris Carter.  His favorite game and most memorable was his 29 point explosion in the heartbreaking loss to Jena and improved on one vital stat this season. “I think everyone knows what kind of player they are getting when they sign me. I am a hard worker and always try to make my teammates better. The only difference I can say is that I had even fewer turnovers this year”, stressed Chris Carter. Of course he is known as being a versatile offensive player, but especially under the defensive Guru Bauermann, he was able to take new steps as a defender. “I thought my defense did get better this year. I was usually given the other team´s best player on a nightly basis. I think coach Bauermann had a lot to do with that”, expressed Chris Carter. This summer he will be focusing most on shooting, 1 on 1 moves, and speed/agility in the lab as he continues to seek new strides as a player. He turned 29 today and still has massive goals as a player as his basketball journey is no more than over yet. “The next step for me is playing at the highest level as I can and having a long career and having fun. Of course the BBL is my goal for sure and I will do my best to get another shot at it. I just want the best situation for me and my family”, warned Chris Carter. It will be interesting to observe where his basketball journey goes next. Sometimes the basketball world can be so cruel as Carter´s opponent Chase Adams saw in Trier. Carter and Adams battled for two years in the Pro A and know each other´s games well. Adams was let go as his leadership qualities were questioned. Leadership is something that Carter knows very much about and isn´t in any way concerned that Adams will have problems finding a new basketball home. “He is a great player but he should not worry because he will get another job for sure. He can play”, warned Chris Carter. The basketball community is small in Germany and not only in these hard pandemic times and even when the world was still hunky dory, American players stick up for each other. It isn´t any different with Carter as his stellar play and special character has always helped him find a new job. It won´t be any different this summer for him. Who knows we might even see Chris Carter back in the easyCredit BBL with the Rostock SeaWolves. In these so crazy times, anything is possible.  

ShaMarkus Kennedy(Rasta Vechta) Has Gained The Confidence To Take Jump Shots Instead of only Jump Hook Shots

Sha’Markus Kennedy (203-F-98, college: McNeese St.) is a 22 year old 203cm forward from Tuscaloosa, Alabama playing his rookie season in Germany with Rasta Vechta. He began the season with Acqua S.Bernardo Cantu (Italy-Serie A) playing 21 games averaging 9.3ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.8bpg, 2FGP: 54.8%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 75.0%. he began his basketball career at Northridge High School where he also participated in track and field. He then played at Chipola College (JUCO) from 2016-2018 playing 59 games and then finished at McNeese State University (NCAA) where he played 68 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 18.6ppg, 10.9rpg, 1.5apg, 2.6bpg, FGP: 68.4%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 84-80 win over the Syntanics MBC

ShaMarkus thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Congrats on the 84-80 victory. How good did it feel to break the four game losing streak?

It felt good winning again. Everything was clicking for us on offense. A big goal for us is too always keep the opponent at 80 points and we did that tonight.

Do you feel like the tough 82-81 loss to Alba Berlin recently was stuck in your heads for longer than you may have liked?

Yes out of all the games we have had since I have been here that was the toughest to digest. That stuck with me for a long time. We wanted to prove the doubters wrong, because most had us losing by 20 points.

Rasta Vechta led 17-5 in the first quarter thanks too good work in the paint, but then allowed a 14-2 run to allow the guests back into the game. What did the defense get away from in the latter part of the first quarter?

They went to a 2-3 zone which stopped our confidence and slowed us down. When we weren’t scoring it also took a toll on our defense.

In the second quarter both teams began to hit more three’s. Josh Young began the game well and ended the second quarter the way a leader should. What have you been able to pick up from his leadership shills as a rookie?

I like Josh as a mentor and leader. I like how he isn’t afraid to talk. I respect that about him a lot. I remember not knowing who he was when I arrived, but he let it be known from that first day that he was the captain. He really has embraced the leader role. I have never seen that ever before from a player.

What did head coach Derrick Allen tell the guys to do better in the second half?

He just told us to continue to play hard on defense. He told us that as long as we play defense and get out on transition, we will be ok.

In the third quarter MBC got a lead at the start with the help of Michal Michalak What made it so difficult to contain the BBL top scorer Michal Michalak who dropped 23 points?

He is a player that plays at his own pace. We had to live with him making tough shots.

The fourth quarter was really tight and exciting, but at the end Rasta Vechta was able to pull out the win. How huge was the play from Edgar Sosa?

Edgar was huge. In the first quarter he had something like 6 points and I told him that he would get something like 18 points by the end. I knew that he would make big shots in crunch-time. I knew that he would make that shot from the corner. He is so poised and confident with his game.

what has it been battling young German Philipp Herkenhof in practice? Has he given you some useful tips about European basketball?

It hasn’t been Phil as much, but more the older guys like Josh Young, Robin Christen and Dennis Clifford. The biggest form of advice is knowing the different reads on defense.

Let’s talk about your game. How tough has your rookie season been playing in Italy and Germany after having averaged 31 minutes as a senior at Mcneese State? Your only averaging 14 minutes with Rasta Vechta.

It hasn’t been tough. I just came in and tried to embrace my role as best as possible. I played 20 plus minutes at Cantu. I told coach D.A that I didn’t care how many minutes I would play, but I was just happy that I could play and give me an opportunity.

Your were a double double monster at Mcneese State. Despite not putting up those states overseas how do you feel has your game progressed overseas?

I think that I came overseas with confidence. D.A gave me confidence as well as my teammates. Whenever I have been down, my teammates have always been there to pick me up. I didn’t shoot much in college, but shot more jump hooks. I would take normal jump shots in practice, but never in games. I have the confidence now with Vechta to take jump shots in games.

You had many massive rebound games in the NCAA like 21 rebounds against Central Arkansas or 20 rebounds against Nicholls State. How much of a challenge has it been making your mark on the boards overseas?

Rebounding was tough at first, but I had no problems scoring. It took me around a month to assert myself on the glass. I had difficulty with the physicality, but once I found my groove it has gone well.

You began the season in Italy. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Italy where you knew that you were very far away from home?

My wake up call was only hearing English at practice. Every where else if it was in the store or in a restaurant, I wouldn’t hear English. It took me time to get used to that. It has been great in Germany. Everybody knows English here. I really like to talk to people and to get to know them.

Joe Dumars the legendary Detroit Piston is probably the most well known player that had played at Mcneese State, but do you remember ever hearing stories about point guard Demond Mallet who played at your school?

I heard the name Demond from my coach.

Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?

That’s tough. Him not having a ring plays a big role in his stance. I think he is at least top 7. I like Chris Paul. He has been affecting teams his whole career. It doesn’t matter if the team is good or bad, he is always able to make the team better. He has had a big effect on the Suns this year.

How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum? He has scored 50 plus points this season and recently 60. Where will his journey go as a player in the next years?

Yes for sure. After the Lebron and Durant era, he will be battling Luka Doncic as best player in the league. He is already leaving a big mark. It is crazy as he hasn’t been in the league that long.

Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?

No I disagree. Westbrook makes everyone around him better. He has a game that nobody has ever seen before. He can shoot, but if he was able to shoot even better, he would have the most complete game ever.

Draymond Green recently said he is the best defender of all-time. Do you agree?

No I disagree. He is top 10 though. For me Dennis Rodman is the greatest defender of all-time.

Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?

No I haven’t seen it yet. I don’t understand why they made a sequel. It has been so long since the original.

Thanks Shamarkus for the chat.