Dewayne Russell´s Drive To Having To Always Prove Himself Will Most Likely Never Remove The Chip On His Shoulder

After presenting loses after loses on the Crailsheim Merlins menu in the first few months of the season which would have gave any other restaurant menu in Crailsheim like the one at Acanto an awful taste to their otherwise tasty dish Rib Eye steak, the Crailsheim Merlins rode into Frankfurt in January 2019 and shocked a somewhat helpless Fraport Skyliner club 91-77 and after the big win, the screams and shouts of joy as the players were getting to the locker room felt more like they had just won a title instead of only their second game ending their embarrassing nine winless streak. One player that had helped put his own staple on the huge victory was diminutive combo guard Dewayne Russell who had led all scorers with 22 points in only 14 minutes and was clutch in the third quarter scoring 10 unanswered points helping the team break a 50-50 tie and they led 68-61 after three frames and would never look back. The American gave scoring in bunches a new meaning and might even have had Houston Rocket scoring disease James Harden tug on his beard and wonder who this kid was had he seen the highlights. ““I just took what the defense gave me and took advantage of the mis matches against the bigger guys. Finding my spots and making shots gave me added confidence”, stated Dewayne Russell. He made this statement seem like the most natural thing in the world, but his eye brows rose and he risked a smile as I mentioned “You went to Grand Canyon right”?. Ok so non basketball aficionado´s or even people with basketball knowledge might have wondered why this reporter had asked a professional basketball player if he had gone to one of the seven wonders of the world and said it in not correct English. When looking at NCAA schools, there are a few that have peculiar names like the Campbell Fighting Camels, Presbyterian College Blue Hose, Purdue Boilermakers or the Akron Zips, but an NCAA school called Grand Canyon? It´s no joke. I had honestly never heard of the school and at first asked the player if that was at the picturesque Grand Canyon, but he answered “no, no it´s in Phoenix”. It´s always nice to learn something new. Even if Grand Canyon isn´t a known basketball school, Dewayne Russell for sure made a name for himself. He has experienced a lot in his short basketball life so far. He averaged better than 21,0ppg in the NCAA as a senior, something very many NBA players can´t say they ever did, battled against many future NBA players and not only held his own, but was better than they were and even had a face to face chat with NBA legend Magic Johnson. But he isn´t playing in Madison Square Garden or staying in Four Season hotels around the states on NBA road trips, but instead making a living in Germany and calling a small, but pretty German town called Crailsheim home sweet home this season. The kid definitely has game, but so do 1000´s others in the world especially at the guard position which features so many great players that getting the right exposure and true opportunity is so difficult even if a guy like Russell deserved it. “I have a chip on my shoulder to prove to everyone that I’m a good player and I can help teams win”, warned Dewayne Russell. Dewayne Russell´s drive to having to always Prove himself will most likely never remove the chip on his shoulder.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dewayne Russell after dropping 22 points in the win in Frankfurt

         Dewayne Russell is a 25 year old 180cm guard that was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Peoria, Arizona and attended Peoria High School. After high school he started his NCAA career at N.Arizona (NCAA) playing 32 games averaging 14.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.2apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 42.7%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 73.2%. Sometimes even when the stats look good, not everything is in harmony as the American didn´t gel with head coach Jack Murphy. Despite the early growing pains as a freshman, having the hardships helped him in the long run. “That experience really helped me grow up and help me mentally”, stressed Dewayne Russell. He scored in double figures in 25 of 32 games and scored 20 points or more six times. His best game was a 25 point effort against Sacramento State. After his freshman season he moved to Grand Canyon (NCAA) but sat out the 2013-2014 season due to the NCAA transfer rule and couldn´t officially start his sophomore year until 2014-2015. It is never easy for a player to transfer and have to sit out the first season. But for Russell the one year off was a blessing in disguise as he changed up his shot. He remembers what could have happened if he hadn´t made a change in his shot. “It would have been a lot easier for people to guard me and my game would have never evolved”, stressed Dewayne Russell. That first season he helped the club be a WAC regular season runner up. He needed no real integration period with his new school as he put up consistent stats again playing 23 games averaging 14.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 42.8%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 75.7%. He scored in double figures in 17 games including 24 point games against Utah Valley and CSU Bakersfield. He never did forget the difficult 56-55 loss against Chicago State where he dropped 23 points, grabbed 5 boards and issued 4 dimes. “, It was one of my tougher losses at GCU. We were the better team but we didn’t come out focused that night”, added Dewayne Russell.

                In his junior season at Grand Canyon(NCAA) ex Phoenix Suns great Dan Majerle who was Russell´s coach there had other ideas for the youngster making him take a break from being that explosive scorer and making him a point guard. Russell had no problems making this adjustment as it offered him to help develop another aspect of his game. “We had really good players on the team that year. It was best for me to take the backseat and get those guys the ball. It was the right move because we were 27-7 that year”, commented Dewayne Russell. His scoring was down, but his playmaking qualities excelled as he led the WAC in assists playing 33 games averaging 9.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 5.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 40.8%, 3PT: 42.4%, FT: 70.1%. In his junior season he scored in double figures in 17 games. He really broke out in his senior season averaging 21.2ppg, 3.8rpg, 5.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 40.2%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 75.8% as Dan Majerle wanted him to lead a young team and be a scorer. He is confident that having had the chance to really showcase his offensive abilities helped him progress forward. “I’ve always been confident in my game but having the opportunity to be the first offensive option allowed me to showcase what I could do. It definitely helped my professional career”, warned Dewayne Russell. One of his most memorable games in the NCAA if not the most memorable was his unbelievable 43 point explosion against powerhouse Louisville. Russell did lose the game, but witnessed future NBA player Donovan Mitchell put up a measly 9 points and will never forget legendary head coach Rick Pitino´s reaction after his scoring clinic. “The thing I remember most were Rick Pitino’s comments after the game. It meant a lot to me”, smiled Dewayne Russell. That senior year he would prove time in and time out that he was a very good player and held more than his own like against top NCAA basketball school Arizona where he dropped 19 points in a tough 64-54 loss, but competed his heart out against future NBA players Kobi Simmons, Lauri Markkanen, Kadeem Allen and Rawle Atkins. Having played at a school playing in a lower conference has kept his chip on his shoulder alive ever since his NCAA days. But it wasn´t just his hard work and dedication that helped him excel on the court, but also by the guidance of head coach Dan Majerle who helped teach him about loyalty and was brutally honest with him. He will never forget the teaching from him. “The best advice that coach Majerle has ever given me was to never be satisfied with just being good. He never took it easy on me as a player or a man”, warned Dewayne Russell.

                After his stellar NCAA career at Grand Canyon, there were NBA teams that took notice like the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers who invited him to workouts. Just being in a NBA atmosphere and getting some valuable experience would have been more of a treat for most players, but getting called into the office of NBA legend Magic Johnson to talk basketball and get valuable advice is something that very few can achieve. Russell will never forget that encounter and took very vital advice from Magic into his professional basketball career. “ The piece of advice that Magic gave me that I remember most was the responsibility and leadership qualities of a point guard”. Stressed Dewayne Russell. Unfortunately nothing further came from the work outs, so he concentrated on getting overseas and signed with Sluc Nancy Basket Pro (France-ProB). After many seasons in the Pro A, the club finished the 2016-2017 season in 18th place and moved down to the Pro B. As a rookie he led the team to a seventh finish losing to Fos-Provence in the playoffs. The American had a strong rookie season in France playing 34 games averaging 13.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 5.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 46.8%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 81.3%. He was the only American on a team that mainly had French players, but he bonded quickly with Canadian veteran Jevohn Shepherd who played in Germany many years ago in the BBL with Frankfurt and Giessen. “. He has helped me so much with my game and my career. He even helped me pick my agent, he is like a big brother to me”, added Dewayne Russell. He scored in double figures in 27 games including top games against Rouen with 27 points and 25 points against Poiters. This season in Germany, he has little problems with the Americanized culture, but last season had that special wake up call to being a rookie in France. “I knew I was far from home when I went to charge my phone and the outlets are different”, stressed Dewayne Russell.

                Russell who lists Utah Jazz Donovan Mitchell as his toughest foe in the NCAA made the next jump in his professional career signing with German easyCredit BBL team Crailsheim Merlins. He came from a winning program in France and is playing for a losing team in Germany. It wasn´t an easy adjustment, but he has seen positive aspects from his sophomore season. “It’s definitely been tough but it’s making me better mentally and helping me lock in on the little details of the game to help us get better and win some games”, stressed Dewayne Russell. Crailsheim lost 12 of it´s first 13 games and allowed 90 points or more in six of the losses. Despite allowing very many points, it scored 81 points per game. It then finally got a break winning two games in a row against Frankfurt and Braunschweig, but then started a losing skid again showing how up and down the club is. “We just have to do a better job trusting each other defensively and having the same common goal. We just need to come with the same focus every night. Sometimes we have a better focus in the games we play well in than we do in others”, warned Dewayne Russell. The team has six players that are 30 years old or older so experience isn´t a problem, but then why can´t the vast leadership opportunities help translate in wins? The club believes though that they have the means to remain in the league. “We just need to do a better job of following our leaders and everyone buying into the same common goal. We are very confident that we can stay in this league. We picked up some momentum with the two wins and figured our identity on how to win games”, warned Dewayne Russell.

                On a team that has a lot of depth, his minutes have fluctuated this season, but he has held his own currently averaging 9,0ppg, 1,9rpg and 3,8apg while shooting a solid 35% from outside. He has been able to soak up so much from the abundant experience on the club like 36 year old veteran Sherman Gay and 30 year old point guard Frank Turner. “Sherm has been great to me. His knowledge on different aspects of the game have helped me progress. He also has helped me with different reads on pick and roll. I hope his efficiency rubs off on me as much as possible. Frank has been amazing for me this year especially playing against him every day at practice. He is one of the best guards in the BBL and I’m grateful to have him as somebody in my corner”, warned Dewayne Russell. But he hasn´t only learned from many guys on the court, but also seen how a guy like Konrad Wysocki ticks who is also 36 and as a German got an Ivy League education at Princeton something that isn´t to common. “You definitely can see how intelligent he is by the way he carries a conversation. But at the same time he knows how to joke around and make the atmosphere really light”, added Dewayne Russell. His idol as a kid was Allen Iverson and he compares his game to NBA players like Tyler Ulis and Kemba Walker and shines with his quickness getting in the lane and picking his spots, but he is aiming to also being that feared outside shooter the way his mid range game is. “I am very confident that I can be an outside shooter. I work on my jump shot every day and I can feel myself getting better. The biggest challenge for me is making sure I am taking smart shots”, stressed Dewayne Russell.  He is mostly known for his scoring, but proved at Grand Canyon(NCAA) that he can be that feared and controlled playmaker and now wants to continue to remain that ruthless scorer, but also that dangerous playmaker. “I am working on provoking the defense with my scoring so I can get my teammates involved more”, warned Dewayne Russell. Even if it has been a very tough season with Crailsheim, the growing pains have helped once again as it did at N.Arizona (NCAA) six seasons ago as he continues to go his way up the basketball ladder. But no matter how much higher he climbs in the next years, that chip on his shoulder will most likely continue to sit there as that is what positively drives him to continuing to make strides in his game as he continues to make a name for himself.  

Juwan Parker(Nurnberg Falcons) We All Have To Answer To A Higher Being And It Matters Who You Are When There Aren’t Others Around

Juwan Parker is a 24 year old 193cm guard form Tulsa, Oklahoma playing his rookie season in Germany with Pro A team Nurnberg Falcons. He began his basketball career at Booker T. Washington High School and moved to Georgia (NCAA) in 2013 and played a stellar four year career playing a total of 116 games.In his junior season he played 32 games averaging 9.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 43.4%, 3PT: 15.7%, FT: 85.6% and as a senior at Georgia (NCAA) played 33 games averaging 8.2ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.7%. He spoke to Germanhoops.comabout basketball. 

Juwan thanks for talking to You recently signed with German team Nurnberg Falcons. What have you learned to appreciate the most about the country Germany in the early going?

I’ve learned to appreciate just how nice of a city it is. It’s got a lot of history from the castles to more recently like WWII buildings and artifacts. it’s really beautiful.

What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex teammates balling in Germany over the years besides Nemanja Djurisic?

I’ve known one guy besides Nemi who played here, Josh Young. So I asked him for some advice and he said i’d love it here and I have so far. I also know Kassius Robertson from playing against him in college and at the 3x3U in San Antonio in April. I didn’t really know a lot about the country outside that they have really good food.

You signed late into your rookie season after a solid career at Georgia (NCAA). How did you experience your first season looking for a club? Why do you feel did it take so long for you to get this opportunity?

It was really tough waiting so long, but God doesn’t make any mistakes so I honestly don’t think I could’ve landed anywhere better than Nuernberg, so I thank coach and the organization for bringing me here.

The club is battling for the playoff positions. What is your early impression of the club and what area’s does it still need to improve the most on?

We’re a young team which I enjoy, the guys have an energy about them I love being around. So far, we seem inconsistent and to be a contender we just have to develop into a team that comes and competes game in and game out.

You’re the third American on the squad. How important has American Jackson Kent been for your early integration period? He is the type of guy that could be like an early mentor or could you imagine German veterans Sebastian Schroeder and Robert Ohle take over that role?

All three guys have been great. Obviously, being an American and being young Jackson has given me some help and tips and tricks. So it’s been fun competing with and against him in practice.

You are teammates with two huge German point guard talents Matthew Meredith and Nils Hassfuerter and Hungarian Marcell Pongo. How important will you see their existence being for your game as it continues during your rookie season? Talk a little about these guys?

Each of those guys brings something a little different to the table. They’re all great in their own right and having a good PG is crucial as a team and as a wing. So those guys definitely have been making my integration easier.

You scored 6 points in your first two games. What has been the biggest adjustment for you to the style overseas?

The biggest adjustment has just been catching a rhythm and the speed. I haven’t played since March so to come out and be able to produce a little bit has been good for my confidence coming out and knowing as i get more comfortable it’ll start opening up more.

Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a 193cm guard that can do a bit of everything. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player which player would best fit the description?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I’d say almost like a Brad Beal because we’re similar in size and build and he’s starting to become more known for his defense and intangibles but obviously can still get a bucket

Head coach Ralph Junge stated that you fit perfectly into the team with your character. How important has it been in your life doing the right things not only on the court, but also off the court that has allowed you to be the person you are today?

That’s something that’s been instilled in me since I’m a child. We all have to answer to a higher being at the end of the day and it matters who you are when there aren’t others around or watching you.

You’re a guy that can shoot the ball at a high clip, but what are other strength’s in your game that prove that you aren’t a one-dimensional player?

I think I can do a little bit of everything. I think coming out of college my ability to handle the ball and defend were questioned but I think I can hold my own with anybody.

You played at Georgia (NCAA) from 2013-2018. What was your fondest memory there? Possibly reaching the NIT Sweet 16 as a freshman?

My fondest memory was watching the NCAA selection show my sophomore year. We were in my coaches house and the feeling when the hosts call your name is unbelievable and the electricity that goes through every person in the room is unmatched.

You had many great games at Georgia (NCAA), but if you had to pick your best and most favorite game which would you pick? Possibly your 18 and 11 game in the win against Mississippi or your 15 point game in the win against LSU or 14 point game in the win against St Mary’s?

I think my favorite game was my game against Ole Miss. it was my first collegiate double-double and I was always one rebound or one point shy of getting it. so finally getting one, I was proud.

You didn’t shoot to well in your first three NCAA season’s at Georgia, but made a huge improvement as a senior. What was key for you being able to shoot at a high clip then?

I think the biggest thing was getting out of my own head and getting healthy. I had 2 bad injuries and going into my senior season I finally was close to 100%. so I wasn’t so in my head about my health or my game. So I was just letting it fly.

How did head coach Mark Fox groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

Coach Fox taught me about waking up every day ready to take on any adversity I might face, whether in the game of basketball or life. Just knowing if I kept making progress I’d eventually get to where I wanted to be.

Who won a one on one in practice you or William Jackson the 2nd?

Turtle knows I be busting his tail. I don’t think he ever won.

What did it mean for you playing at the well known Tulsa high school Booker T Washington High school that has won state titles in 10 different sports boys and girls and has won 15 boys titles? Do you feel like that winning school gene is in you?

I have so much pride to be from Tulsa and to have attended BTW. To be a part of that history and add 2 state championships to it are amazing feelings no one can ever take away. I definitely feel that winning became infused in my bloodline there and i’ve won at every level since.

Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?

I think the toughest player would have to be Malik Monk. He gave us 30 points in a half to win the game

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

That’s tough. JJ Frazier. Nemi Djurisic. Yante Maten. Kenny Gaines. Marcus Thornton. I’d go to war with those boys any day of the week.

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?

Michael Jordan. Lebron. Shaq. Steph.

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

I think MJ is the GOAT. He was cold blooded but Lebron is the GOAT of my generation for sure.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The last movie I saw was Creed 2.

Thanks Juwan for the chat.

Elston Turner Jr (Eisbaeren Bremerhaven) My Dad Taught Me To Play The Game The Right Way

Elston Turner Jr is a 28 year old 195cm guard from Roseville, California playing his sixth professional season and first with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL). Last season he played with Soundreef Mens Sana 1871 Siena (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 47.4%, 3FGP: 28.2%, FT: 73.9%, in Jan.’18 moved to Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games: Score-1 (21.9ppg), 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 93.0%. He also gained experience playing two seasons with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A), with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A), ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA) and Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Italy-SerieA). He began his basketball career at Roseville High School and also played at Fort Bend Elkins High School. He played 66 NCAA games with Washington (NCAA) from 2008-2010 reaching a NCAA Sweet 16 and winning the Pac 10 tournament. He finished his NCAA career with Texas A&M (NCAA) playing 63 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to about his basketball career.

Elston thanks for talking to Your in your sixth professional season and played most of it in Italy. How did you experience the holiday season in Germany? Was it a lot different than in Italy?

Yes it was a lot different than Italy. I have played Italy for so long it kind of feels like home. So when the holidays came it felt normal. This is my first year in Germany so it felt a little different but I still enjoyed it.

Your playing your first season in Germany in the easyCredit BBL. Many say Germany is one of the top leagues in Europe. Ten years ago, Italy was surely above the BBL, but the German league has made strides. After playing the last years in Italy how would you compare the skill and overall level between both leagues?

Both leagues are very competitive. I would say Italy has more skill and talent. But Germany has more size and is a lot more physical.

It has been a tough season for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. Despite the results now, I had this team as a possible playoff team just on the talent on paper. Why hasn’t the season gone how many thought it would?

We are a very talented team on paper. But basketball is more than that, we have to play smart and be as aggressive as teams are with us.

Despite the current standings position the positions 13-17 are very tight. You have the season in your own hands. The club lost many tight games and played top teams Bamberg and Alba Berlin very tough. How strong is the teams mentality and confidence level at the moment?

We know we are a good team when we want to be. We feel like we can beat anyone on any night. But it takes hard work and discipline for 40 minutes.

How confident are you that you will get out of the bottom and start winning games? Can these team be a consistent defensive team?

I’m very confident in this team. I feel like we can turn it around very quickly. We have shown that we can defend at times, we just need to defend for 40 minutes.

Let’s talk about your teammates. There is a lot of NBA flair with ex NBA players Jackson and Benson and your dad played in the NBA. What has been like playing with these two players and what have you appreciated the most about their existence?

They both are good players and help us in their own way. Keith is really good at finishing around the basket. Darnell brings the toughness that we need. Both are very important to us.

Chris Warren has done all he can putting up stats and leading the team as well as he can. How important has he been for the team despite the losing woes?

Chris has been very important for us. He makes a lot of great plays on offense and defense as well as hitting big shots when we need them.

It seems like rookie Jordan Brangers was labelled as the scape goat and was released on account of not defending the way the club wanted to. Was a guy like that capable to work on his defense and get better? It seemed like the club gave up on him?

Jordan is a good player and a even better person. Basketball is a tough business and teams try to do what’s best for them to succeed.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 195cm guard that can do a little bit of everything. For those that haven’t seen you play to what NBA player would you describe your game best to?

Growing up I tried to model my game after Paul Pierce. He was very good at scoring the ball with mid range jumpers and creating space using his body. 

You have been a scorer his whole life since Texas A&M. How do you feel has your scoring and leadership skills grown as a professional?

Yes I feel that its helped me a lot in terms of being a smarter basketball player.

Your turning 29 years old in a few months. Do you feel like you are in your prime? On what things do continue to work on most on your game? Possibly creating for others to be that extra type of playmaker when a team needs that?

Yes this is the best I have ever felt in my career so far. I still work on a lot of things in my game as well as work on things I feel I am really good at.

You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet with ease. What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?

I feel like I am a underrated playmaker. I am a good passer and love making plays for my teammates.

You played the last five years mostly in Italy. Was it tough leaving the good food and culture for the rainy days in Bremerhaven? What did you appreciate most about the country and it’s basketball?

Italy is my second home, I have a lot of friends there so yes it was tough but I was excited for the opportunity to come to Bremerhaven.

Last season you split time with Soundreef Mens Sana 1871 Siena (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 47.4%, 3FGP: 28.2%, FT: 73.9%, in Jan.’18 moved to Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games: Score-1 (21.9ppg), 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 93.0%. With Naples you led the league in scoring and shot the best % from the free throw line. Was the last 4 months with Naples your best season in terms of individual play?

I don’t feel like that was the best I played. I think I played better a couple of years before that. But I still had a great last 4 months of last year.

You played two seasons with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) putting up solid stats and averaging in double figures in scoring. You played with really good guards there like Tu Holloway and Gabe York as well as Markell Starks and Tyrus Mcghee. How important were these two years there for your development as a player?

It always helps when you have other good guards along your side. It makes the game easier. 

In your second professional season you played with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A). Here you probably had the most experience along your side with guys like Cedric Simmons, Delroy James, Demonte Harper and James Mays. Was there a guy here that had a real big effect on you that helped make your stay easier?

In Brindisi we were all like family. We were always hanging out 24/7. Which you could see when we played in games. We were the true definition of a team.

As a rookie you played with Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Italy-SerieA) playing 30 games averaging 16.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 68.4%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?

I knew that I was far away from home as soon as I landed because the time difference killed me.

In the summer of 2013 you played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas with the New Orleans Pelicans playing 3 games averaging 2.0pp. How was that experience for you? What will you never forget from breathing NBA air for a few weeks.

The summer league was a great experience coming out of college. The transition was easier for me because I ‘ve been around NBA basketball my whole life.

Was pursuing the NBA for you never more of an option? Your dad played in the NBA for 9 years. Did connections or possibly the right opportunity not surface in the last years?

Growing up the NBA was always an option. That’s all basketball players dream of as kids. The NBA is very tough to get in, especially trying to go undrafted.

How important has your dad been for your basketball development since a little kid. What do you believe is the most important thing that he has given you that has helped you become the player you are today?

I think the best thing my dad taught me is how to play the game the right way. I have a high basketball IQ and see the game differently than others which gives me an advantage a lot of the times

You began your NCAA career at Washington (NCAA) playing 66 games over a two year span. How was that experience for you? You played with many great future NBA players like Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Justin Holiday and CJ Wilcox. Was it tough finding a role with so much talent?

At Washington we had a lot of great players on our team. It was tough to find a role because every game we did not know if we would play or not. 

How much of an effect did a guy like Quincy Pondexter have on you on a daily basis? Did the daily battles prepare you better for Texas A&M?

Quincy is a great player. I remember losing games and immediately after the game he would go get shots up. Watching him get better helped me understand a little more on how to be a great player

You finished at Texas A&M (NCAA) and had a very solid junior year and excellent senior year averaging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 84.8%. Do you ever wonder how your career may have gone had you stayed at Washington?

Sure I wonder all of the time how my career would have been if I had stayed at Washington. But me going to Texas A&M was the best thing I did. It changed my life.

What were your fondest memories at Texas A& M. Was there a game that will always stand out in your mind?

I have a lot of memories at A&M. Of course 40 points against Kentucky. Also 37 against Ole Miss and 38 against Tennessee.

When you were a senior Alex Caruso was a freshman. How have you followed his basketball path. Would have ever thought then that he could become basketball material?

I watched Alex from when he was in high school so I knew that he could play. A lot of people do not realize how athletic he is until you see him jump. One of the smartest players I have ever played with.

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

Coach Kennedy gave me the keys to the team which taught me how to lead.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Alex Caruso?

Me of course haha

Who is the toughest guy that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?

James Harden

If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?

Jacob Pullen, Marcus Denmon, Deron Washington, Delroy James, Tashawn Thomas

If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?

MJ, Bron, Shaq, Magic

What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?

I do not think you can go wrong with either decision. Both are very different. 

What was the last movie that you saw?


Thanks Elston for the chat.

David Taylor Takes Charge Late Lifting The Baketball Lowen over The Fraport Skyliners Juniors 69-59

With the latter end of the Pro B regular season slowly winding down, some teams are battling for good playoff spots while other teams are fighting for good starting spots in the playdowns hoping for some late season wins. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors who have had a solid Pro B season came into the home game duel against the Basketball Lowen having lost three of their last four games as the continuing fluctuating line ups took a toll on the club performance. The Basketball Lowen have had an up and down season starting with a five game losing streak, but then found fire winning eight of nine games, but in 2019 have gotten off the wrong side of the bed having lost four of five games. Frankfurt was on a good way down the playoff road while the guests were in a massive fight with three other teams with identical 9-10 records for the last playoff spots. In the first encounter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors surprised the Basketball Lowen in their living room with a 71-61 victory shooting 50% from down town nailing 11 trey´s and winning the rebounding battle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors with the second best defense in the Pro B allowing 72 points per game welcomed the third best rebounding team Basketball Lowen who haul down on average 35 per game and kept their opponent to under their season average, but had difficulty mustering up consistent offense and suffered a disappointing 69-59 loss. The Fraport Skyliners had a lot of difficulty with free throws and turnovers in the second half which disallowed them to get over the hump. After the loss a disappointed Tobias Jahn reflected about another loss which was their third in the last four games. “We didn´t play as a team tonight. We had difficulty stopping their three star players and they infected the rest. We had a bad start. We were missing that one moment where you got that important 50/50 ball which led to consistent stops. It has been like that for weeks”, added ex Cal Poly(NCAA2) center Tobias Jahn. Even if the Basketball Lowen did lose the first meeting, they didn´t go to Frankfurt with revenge on their minds. “It wasn´t too much for revenge, but moreover trying to get another win that would help us for the playoffs. Key to the win today was trying to contain Clarance and Mavin. We wanted to make it hard for them. We wanted them to take contested shots and not get in the lane”, stressed Basketball Lowen 38 year old forward Robert Franklin. Frankfurt shot 10/21 from the free throw line which was a factor even if not the total reason for the loss. “When two teams are close, then it is always the little things that decide games. Missed free throws, charges, or lay ups can decide the outcome”, added Robert Franklin.

                The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got off to a horrible start allowing the Basketball Lowen to grab a 9-0 lead. The Basketball Lowen played a stifling zone which Frankfurt didn´t come to terms with getting shut down on their first seven possessions. The Basketball Lowen did a good job spreading around their offense as 25 year old center Tobias Bode got inside and hit a runner while German Maxi Kuhle who has 107 pro A games on his basketball resume and the workhorse Robert Franklin drained trey´s. Frankfurt finally got on the board at the 5,29 minute mark when BBL license player Armin Trtovac nailed a 20 footer. Trtovac wasn´t present for then 15 year old Len Schoorman´s amazing garbage time 10 consecutive points against NBBL power house Alba Berlin last year, but he didn´t need any pointers as he would continue to be aggressive and be a one man offensive wrecking machine scoring the next 10 points in a row leading the Frankfurt comeback to trailing only 14-12. The German big man did a marvelous job getting offensive rebounds and twice using the mismatch against 196cm forward Robert Franklin and scoring easily. Frankfurt defended with more passion as the Basketball Lowen lost their rhythm and made more hasty decisions which led to bricks. Frankfurt couldn´t get over the hump allowing a 5-2 run at the end to trail 19-14 Ex Kronberg guard Felix Hecker made a jumper, but Kuhle answered again with a trey and David Taylor hit free throws. Fraport Skyliner center Leon Kratzer who grew up in Bayreuth and knew Derrick Taylor when he was a kid was watching the game with him the father of David and reflected on the first quarter. “The zone was a problem for Frankfurt as they missed open shots and they had problems moving the ball. The defense wasn´t awake and they couldn´t bring intensity. Armin Trtovac did a good job getting Frankfurt back into the game using the mis matches”, said ex Bamberg center Leon Kratzer.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Basketball Lowen guard David Taylor after he shut the door on the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in Frankfurt with big crunch-time buckets

                The second quarter remained a game of runs as each time that the Basketball Lowen broke away, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would find an answer back. Just like in the first quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors  got up off the wrong side of the bed and had another awful start to a quarter as they allowed a 7-1 run to trail 26-15. Once again the Basketball Lowen did a fine job spreading around the offense as 20 year old German Oliver Pahnke scored with a floater, Bode scored inside and Kuhle launched another trey that saw nothing but net. But this sudden burst of energy and scoring power by the Basketball Lowen didn´t alarm Frankfurt as they responded with a 8-2 run to cut the lead of the guests down to 28-23. 16 year Len Schoorman who describes his game to a Deaaron Fox rattled off two trey´s and the Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance got on transition and slammed down a massive left handed dunk. In the run Frankfurt defended better and did a good job on help side closing down the paint and getting some stops. The game of runs was rampant and kept going as now the sides changed and it was the Basketball Lowen that went on a quick 8-1 run to regain a comfortable lead again at 36-24. In the run it was their amazing 38 year old work horse Robert Franklin who hit a step back jumper with Cosmo Gruehn in his face and grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put back. David Taylor added a three pointer. Frankflin isn´t slowing down as he ended the game with 16 points, hauled down 16 rebounds, had 7 assists, 3 steals and two blocks. The guy just keeps chugging away as even at 38 he was flirting with a triple double something he has done in the past against Zwickau and Rosenheim. “For me the most important thing is taking care of my body and being awake for every game. The secret to my rebounding is having body position, energy and being active. When I´m jumping around and moving good things happen”, smiled Robert Franklin. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors rode into the break in high fashion going on a lightening 6-0 run to trail only 36-30. In the run, got another bucket form Armin Trtovac and got consecutive baskets from ex ScanPlus Baskets guard Dennis Mavin who connected on a runner and a pull up jumper. “The game was up and down with good and bad decisions happening. We fought better at the end and played with more intensity and hit a few open shots”, stressed Leon Kratzer.

                In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to fight and crawl back, but couldn´t get in real striking distance of the Basketball Lowen who continued to keep the lead. Bode and Cosmo Gruehn traded buckets to start the third quarter and then it was Franklin again who used all his extensive experience and passion for the game to hit another trey in Gruehn´s face to give guests the 41-33 lead. “Robert motivates me. He continues to show that despite his age is able to play at a high level. I don´t know if I will still be playing at his age, but if the situation is there, why not”, smiled ex Pacific(NCAA) guard David Taylor. After Trtovac nailed a jumper at the shot clock buzzer, it was Taylor who executed on a pretty floater as Frankfurt trailed 43-35. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were doing a good job on the offensive boards getting rebounds and getting extra possessions, but not executing to dig into the guests lead. Both teams continued to go back and forth on offense, but Frankfurt was unable to really carve into the guests lead. Mavin and Kuhle exchanged trey´s but the Basketball Lowen still led 49-38. Franklin continued to be a pest on the offensive boards and getting an offensive rebound and put back as Frankfurt trailed 51-38. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t start the quarters well in this game, but finished them well. They closed out the third quarter with a 8-3 run to trail only 54-46. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were fortified by the three ball as Gruehn and Mavin connected. Mavin also scored on a beautiful reverse lay up as he was fed perfectly by a bounce pass from Felix Hecker. Frankfurt could have been even closer had German Aaron Kayser and Dennis Mavin not missed both free throws. “Our energy and defense held the lead for us. Maxi Kuhle hit some big three´s. He really stretches the floor well”, added Robert Franklin. “They hustled more and we were missing that one situation that would get us over the top. Tip outs and loose balls hurt us”, stressed Tobias Jahn.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing 38 year old Robert Franklin after displaying a monster game of 16 points, 16 boards, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in win in Frankfurt

                In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors never gave up and even cut the lead down to seven points, but in crunch-time it was David Taylor who took charge and slammed the door on Frankfurt. Young German Lorenz Schiller got the guests on the board first with a jumper as Frankfurt trailed 56-46. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors just couldn´t get anything going in this game at the beginning of quarters as they coughed up the ball on their first three possessions which resulted in two steals by Tobias Bode and one by Franklin. Frankfurt finally got their first field goal on their fourth possession as Dennis Mavin made a steal at center court and scored. Despite a 20 footer from Trtovac, the Basketball Lowen kept up the offensive pressure and executed calmly as Kuhle nailed another trey and Bode made a lay in and free throw for the 62-50 advantage. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors saved up their last bit of energy now shortly before crunch-time breaking out on a 5-0 run to cut the guests lead to 62-55. In the run, they got production from Mavin and Trtovac in form of buckets. It looked like possibly the momentum was changing, but it was German David Taylor that stepped up and took charge. He began with a trey which was quickly matched by a Clarance trey as Frankfurt trailed 65-58. Taylor added on another nifty floater and a Mavin turnover led to further Taylor points in form of free throws as Frankfurt was staring at a 69-59 game with a minute to go. There would be no more points scored as David Taylor came up big at the end. “Dave stayed confident and aggressive at the end. Important was also that we stayed together for 40 minutes and brought the energy”, stated Robert Franklin. “It´s my duty to lead the team. We were struggling as a team at the end and I took responsibility. Franklin played a great game, but I think he was a bit tired at the end, so I took over”, smiled David Taylor. “He has found his poise. He has played well the last games and is leading the team into the playoffs. He did a good job controlling the tempo and Clarance”, stated Derrick Taylor. The basketball Lowen were led by Maxi Kuhle with 19 points. Robert Frankflin added 16 points and David Taylor had 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Armin Trtovac with 23 points and 12 boards and Dennis Mavin added 16 points. The Basketball Lowen shot 34% from the field and 35% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 15 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 35% form the field and 28% from outside and had 45 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

Lamont Jones Takes Over For Knight Sparking The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg Past The Fraport Skyliners 96-94

In the last years a meeting between Frankfurt and Ludwigsburg in the latter half of the regular season could have had top game billing in the easyCredit BBL, but now nearing mid February the two teams came together for a showdown and when looking at all the games this weekend, this particular battle was just be a normal game. There is always great interest in the two men in black coaches Gordon Herbert and John Patrick who like to done black suits. So much can happen in a season when two teams personal changes and suddenly the usual wins that both clubs have been used to suddenly change as loses rain down like afternoon showers in the dog days of summer in Waco, Texas. Both clubs have been playing under expectations as the Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert didn´t have his magic wan like in recent seasons as new players didn´t mesh while with the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, John Patrick once again produced a very deep roster, but the club hasn´t been consistent and was still looking for a very sound team chemistry. That led to a nine and six game losing streaks and an early departure form the Basketball Champions League where they reached the playoffs the last two seasons and even got to the Final 4 last year. The Fraport Skyliners haven´t meshed together either, but the massive injury bug has plagued them as they still haven´t found that team chemistry that can lead a team to success. They did play well in the Eurocup reaching the next round, but then bowed out in ugly fashion with a 0-6 record. The duel on Sunday in Frankfurt was a season changer for both teams as a victory could be that needed push to get both teams going again. Both teams gave a fierce battle as runs were on the menu all day long and at the end it came down to one last possession that the guests made winning 96-94. After the big win, game top scorer Marcos Knight was calm and not overly excited, but when your coming off a big losing streak, one has to take everything slowly including taming one´s own emotions. “We played as a team and fought hard for 40 minutes. We managed to play good defense when times got tough. We did a good job exploiting the mis matches. We have to build off this win as we go into the next games”, stressed forward Marcos Knight. For the Fraport Skyliners it was another game of many this season that they could have won, but in the end just couldn´t make that one vital stop to get into good position to win the game. “We fought hard and matched their intensity in the first quarter. It worked well until the second quarter where it got to us. They took us out of our offense and forced us to take tough shots. I felt we were able to handle their intensity and pressure well as we had many guys taking the ball up. Coach Herbert told us before the game that this game wouldn´t be about x´s and o´s, but more about playing against their 1-1 play. They really got to us when we switched and they were able to attack our big guys. We didn´t do a good job helping each other”, warned ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. Not to forget the combined 51 points of Crawford and Knight earning them their own show name was key for the win as well as their individual abilities of scoring the ball one on one is something seldom seen as dominantly in the BBL as they displayed yesterday.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Marcos Knight after setting his personal BBL high of 32 points


Dennis Mavin´s Overall Ability Outweighs His Current Status On The Basketball Ladder

In a span of a little more than eight and a half months, I came upon Dennis Mavin three times in three separate cities from Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt and after a little bit of concentrated pondering, I was reminded of the annoying, but famous and classic song Rio from German pop group Trio that has the catchy line New York-Rio-Tokyo that was a late summer hit in Germany in 1986 reaching #3 in the charts leaving them as a one hit wonder. But the Giessen-Rhondorf-Frankfurt when hummed like the classic Rio song just didn´t fit the melody. Some people even mistook the German lead singer Peter Fessler as being the well known American singer Al Jarreau, because the song is in English and his voice sounds like the American. Of course the three German cities could never compete in name recognition as the world class cities in this song even if Frankfurt is a world class city, but not as big as those three, but for Dennis Mavin being mentioned with these lesser known German cities is sort of similar to how his basketball career has gone since he began at Florida Atlantic (NCAA) in 2011. He is one of hundreds, no probably thousands on earth who is playing professionally and where his overall ability outweighs his current status on the basketball ladder. I remember seeing Mavin for the first time a day before Easter on April 8, 2018 in Giessen when he played his last game for Pro B team Giessen Rackelos witnessing a heartbreaking 93-89 game three loss to Rostock propelling them into the semi-finals as his 19 points couldn´t withstand the combined 66 points of the lethal trio of Jordan Talbert, Bill Borekambi and Brandon Lockhart. In Giessen I remember seeing a lightening quick guard who was a lot better than the talent on the court. I saw the Florida native a little more than 6 months later in Rhondorf conducting a post game interview with him after he helped lead his new team ScanPlus Baskets to a 95-74 win over the Dragons Rhondorf where he produced a solid 11 points, five boards and seven dimes. Then a little more than a month later our paths crossed again in Frankfurt. After a convincing 77-55 victory by the farm team of easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners Fraport Skyliners Juniors  over the RheinStars Cologne, a young man was standing in front of me wearing Skyliners apparel. He gave me one of those confident looks that someone gives one when one knows each other. The only problem was, I had one of those embarrassing moments again that I get from time to time. I had no idea who he was even though I had interviewed him face to face a little more than a month ago. When you interview players almost daily, you at times loose track of who your dealing with. After a few seconds, I had to tell him “sorry Man I have no idea at the moment who you are, could you give me a little help”. Inside I felt as embarrassed as a Steve Harvey must of felt when he announced the wrong winner at a beauty pagent. After I quickly got over my very embarrassing moment, all was cool with Mavin and me and he told me he was going to be playing for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The city hopping between Mavin and I coupled with not having him on my radar is nothing new for the American. He has been overlooked his whole basketball career despite having very good basketball abilities that could have him in a higher league than where he currently is now in the German third league Pro B. It is no secret that his overall abilities outweigh where he currently is on the basketball ladder, but he isn´t going crazy about his current basketball status, because he knows it is part of the basketball process no matter how ugly or unfair it can be for certain players. “I love basketball and I have 100 percent faith and what I can do. For me is just staying patient waiting on my opportunity! Yeah it gets tough but I think I’m tougher”, warned Dennis Mavin.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber´s first encounter with Dennis Mavin in March 2018 in Giessen


Chris Carter (Rasta Vechta) My First BBL Season Has Been A Marathon And Not A Sprint

Chris Carter is a 26 year old 195cm guard that was born in Brooklyn, New York and is from Port St. Lucie, Florida that is playing his second season with Rasta Vechta averaging 4,1ppg, 1,2rpg and 1,6apg while shooting 40% from outside. Last season he helped the club move from the Pro A to the easyCredit BBLwinning the Pro A title averaging 11,0ppg,3,4rpg and 5,3apg and shot 40% from outside. In 2016-2017 he played for BV Chemnitz 99 (Germany-ProA) playing 40 games averaging 12.4ppg, 4.2rpg, Assists-4 (5.7apg), Steals-4 (2.1spg), FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 34.5%, FT: 73.4%. As a rookie he played for Bipa Basket Odessa (Ukraine-SL Favorit Sport) playing 32 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 5.0apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 27.4%, FT: 77.3%. He started his basketball career at Air Force (NCAA) and then played the last three years of school at Florida Tech (NCAA2) and as a senior played 21 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.9rpg, 3.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 75.8%. He spoke to during the current season

Chris thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how good is basketball life for you at the moment? 

Hello Miles, thanks for having me. Basketball life is a grind every day but the results are good so I can’t really complain too much.

If someone had told you in September of 2018 that Vechta would be in third place at the end of January 2019 what would you have thought?

I don’t know if I would believe that because there are some really good clubs in this league and the level of competition is so high.

Congrats on the great season your having. Does it feel like a real Cinderella story or do you feel like as competitors you would be selling yourself short knowing the potential the team had. 

Thank you Miles. I guess to the spectators that only see our games and box scores on the weekend it can seem like a Cinderella story because nobody had high expectations for us. However, the players and coaching staff in the locker room work hard all through the week so it is not really a surprise when we beat some of the good teams because we put in the work to do it