Can A New Spanish Presence With Diego Ocampo Help Lead The Fraport Skyliners To Success Despite Nagging Injuries and Unproven New Players?

With two weeks to go before the start of the 2020-2021 easyCredit BBL, I wasn´t necessarily awaiting a 30 point scolding by the Fraport Skyliners over Pro A team PS Karlsruhe in a pre season contest, but at least having Frankfurt control the game. Instead the Fraport Skyliners didn´t get up off the wrong side of the bed, but moreover seemed to be in a nasty sleep walk getting down 11-0. Nothing worked at both ends of the court. On offense they couldn´t execute the easiest passes while on defense gave up easy baskets and had no communication. As usual it was Mr Cinderella Rasheed Moore who came off the bench and gave the 2004 BBL champion the needed energy to get going. The guy who is one of the few players ever in Germany to go from the Regionalliga to the BBL step by step in three years saved the club´s butt numerous times last season with his versatile play. It wasn´t a cake walk, but at the end Frankfurt did win, but it was simply ugly. If this is was a preview of how the 20-21 season could go, well then it will be a very long season. Of course the organization hopes it will reach the playoffs again after not having been there often in the last years, but this season could go either way. There are positives and negatives to the Fraport Skyliners team this season and it will be interesting where exactly the journey will go for them. The question is can the new Spanish presence head coach Diego Ocampo lead the Fraport Skyliners to success despite nagging injuries and unproven players?

The biggest positive and strength has to be the presence of head coach Diego Ocampo. . After Aito brought titles to Alba Berlin and Pedro Calles helped Vechta and Hamburg reach the playoffs, it was obvious that other clubs in the BBL might go this trend of bringing in Spanish blood. Frankfurt and Braunschweig followed. He is a guy who hasn´t had any big success as a head coach in terms of titles, but has two things going for him. He has learned from legends like Aito and Joan Plaza and is known for being able to shape and develop young players. He coached the Spanish U-16 and U-17 teams and won a Bronze medal at the U-16 European championships in Lithuania in 2011.  Everyone knows the reputation that the Fraport Skyliners have had in the last 10 years with their ambitious youth program. They have belonged to the top youth development addresses in Germany and have helped Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel reach the Euroleague and assist Isaac Bonga to making the NBA. Ocampo has worked with players like Leandro Bolmaro, Kristaps Porzingis, Marc Gasol and Tomas Satoransky helping them move ahead. He also coached FC Barcelona 2 for two years enriching their youth program. “Diego is amazing with young players. He has worked with a lot of young players in his career and I think that he is able to teach young players a lot. Teaching individual skills is one of his greatest strengths as a coach”, warned ex Ocampo player Scott Bamforth. Ocampo doesn´t only foster vital player/coach relationships on the court, but off the court is a genuine human being who won´t turn off his phone after practice, but also be there for the player. ““I really liked him as a person. He cares deeply about his players and family. We had some differences on the court. His solutions for every problem was work harder, work harder, work harder. Spend more hours practicing. My mindset is identify the problem and find the smartest solution. So we didn’t see eye to eye. Both of us cared so much about basketball & the team, but with different philosophies it was a conflict”, remembered Ocampo ex player Garrett Stutz. It will be interesting to see what Ocampo can produce out of the roster.

Donovan Donaldson

With a limited budget, it is always like playing the sweepstakes when it comes to reeling in the best possible players with the money you have. Frankfurt haven´t had the most talented import point guards the last two seasons, but this season hope that Donovan Donaldson can make a difference. He played in lower leagues in Europe, but has shown in pre season that he can push the ball and score in bunches, but can he be the reliable playmaker when his shot isn´t falling? The club also got two young bigs with Dutch 221cm giant Matt Haarms and American Brooks DeBisshop. Haarms is a rookie who last season played at Brigham Young. He has shown that he can dunk and make good passes out of the pick and role, but can he become a consistent scorer at the BBL level, while DeBishop has shown that toughness and does a lot of things that you don´t see on the stat sheet. Plus his self-confidence of wanting to be the best rebounder in the BBL is enriching. A steal could have been ex NBA player and G-league legend Reggie Hearn. This guy can really shoot the ball and is a prolific scorer. His character according to ex Skyliner legend Tyrone Ellis is incredible. But he is already departed again as he suffered a long term injury where the club couldn´t wait to heal. Instead they brought in Zaccheus Darko-Kelly who had been with the MHP Riesen in pre season to fill the void. German Lukas Wank was on the German national team 12 man roster at the 2021 Olympics and is a versatile player that can score and will have to play point guard this season. He will give the team another dimension on the defensive end being able to defend many positions with his aggressiveness and length.

The club kept two imports with Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson and Mr Cinderella Rasheed Moore. Robertson is playing his 13th season with the Fraport Skyliners and is with Mr Oldenburg Ricky Paulding the identity figure of the easyCredit BBL. He isn´t as quick as 8 years ago, but still quick enough to belong to the top defenders every year. “I want to be more of an offensive threat this season and shoot better. ‘You will continue to see me attached to guy’s hips and read the offensive guys eyes on the weak side and continue to rack up steals”, warned Quantez Robertson. Last season Rasheed Moore was my unsung hero and belonged to the best players on the team together with Matt Mobley and Quantez Robertson. This season his role will be even more important. Of course his versatility, scoring and rebounding will have to be spot on like last season, but in addition he can be an added mentor type with Quantez Robertson helping the many inexperienced BBL players. With the injuries to Bruno Vrcic and Len Schoorman who were projected with vital roles this season, the team will have to rely on other German players to have to come in. Jordan Samare and Lorenz Brenneke could be these type of players. Both will get extended minutes in the Pro B with the Juniors, but especially Brenneke could emerge as a big winner in the BBL finally getting a real chance breaking into the Frankfurt rotation. He is an allrounder, but his biggest strength is that he is fearless. Samare can give the club stable shooting and rebounding and doesn´t miss much form the free throw line. Also 18 year old German Alexander Richardson who is mainly projected to make the next step in the Pro B could be the big surprise this season with his first BBL minutes. He has a big body that is still very raw, but has an incredible will to learn

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber has been covering Quantez Robertson´s career since his rookie year in 2009 and will do it for a 13th season

            In the seasons where new German national coach Gordon Herbert was behind the bench, the Fraport Skyliners belonged to the best defensive teams in the BBL often allowing in the high 60´s in points per game. Last season the team allowed 82 points per game which was still eighth best in the league. In the pre-season the style of Frankfurt and defensive effort have shown that they want to defend with passion. They have kept the points down and their aggressiveness has led to an abundance of transition buckets. The team wants to play fast and get up a shot as quickly as possible in the first 8 seconds and when they can´t execute then go into the half court offense and work for a good shot. The two biggest questions marks is the walking wounded list which continues to be a massive thorn in the side of this organization. Germans Vrcic and Schoormann will be out for a while and that is just very bitter. The club has a void at the German position. Reggie Hearn was out right away and will need some time to get into rhythm not only with the club, but also with the flow of the BBL. The other void is can the imports Donaldson, Haarms and DeBisshop make a difference in the very strong easyCredit BBL. The club just doesn´t possess much BBL experience on the roster. That could be the difference from scrapping at the playoff places or landing in no man´s land at 13 or 14. Crucial could also be how they begin the season. They have to start well and get some wins off the bat. Getting wins over Braunschweig and Bonn have to be made while stealing a win against Hamburg would be golden while beating Alba Berlin isn´t realistic. After these four opponents come tough teams Munich, Ulm and Bamberg. It looks like this will be another season where the Fraport Skyliners won´t make the playoffs. I see them somewhere between 8-14, but more realistic is 10-17. The problem is that the easyCredit BBL is so extreme competitive anything can happen.  The most exciting thing to observe this season will be what kind of an impact Diego Ocampo will have on the success of the team. A close second will be how many words of Spanish Quantez Robertson can pick up from Diego Ocampo on long road trips?

William Christmas´s Combination of Versatility And Character Will Enrich The Dragons Rhondorf Like Never Before

In the last seasons finding the right nickname for Dragon Rhondorf import players Kameron Taylor and Curtis Hollis wasn´t always easy, but after some hard felt thought, I was able to come up with the appropriate one. For Kameron Taylor saying “It´s Seton Hill and Not Seton Hall was a funny one, because he had often had to tell people his school was Seton Hill and not the more known Seton Hall. For Dallas native Curtis Hollis, I actually didn´t have to do any thinking at all as he came up with the “Easy Work” nickname. I actually never asked him why he picked it, but when looking at his skilled game, often it looked so easy, the way he flew through the air letting his spectacular athleticism go to work. For new Dragons Rhondorf player, William Christmas finding a nickname is a lot easier, because when you have a last name like Christmas, the imagination can really go crazy. What really struck me right away were the phrases William “What do you want for” Christmas or William “What will you get me for” Christmas. Having to hear the non stop phrases about the holiday season referring his last name probably won´t be as much as in the States here in Germany, but overall the constant references to his special last name never bothered the laid back youngster. “I have literally heard every name concerning my last name. It´s a funny thing, but really it´s love that people are showing me. I think it´s cool and it has been something that I have rolled with an owned my whole life. Two things that really stand out are this one person said you should call your daughter Merry, then she would be Merry Christmas. Then there was this kid freshman year in high school who would call me a different holiday each day for a month”, laughed William Christmas. Wiliam Christmas is so much more than just having a famous last name, but a very versatile player that has a unique and special character.

                William Christmas who lists Washington State diminutive and shifty guard Tyrell Roberts and current ratiopharm Ulm guard Justin Simon as his toughest foes in the NCAA was born in Oceanside, California and began his basketball career at Oceanside high school.  In his senior year he was team MVP averaging 23,0ppg. He was a three time first team all leagues election and second team all county as a senior. He also won the Simon Scholar and Silver President award for excellence in English and math. He then attended  California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (NCAA2) from 2016-2020 playing a total of 106 games. One of the best known players to come out of Cal Poly was Larry Gordon who recently retired after a great 10 plus professional career where he spent six seasons in Germany. Everybody knew about Gordon´s legacy there and coach Kamansky didn´t mention his name too much. “Coach motivated us and pushed us to create our own legacy”, remembered William Christmas.  He was able to improve his scoring average each season and in his last three seasons put up 12/6, 15/6 and 16/7 stats. He scored in double figures in 68 games in his four year career. He nailed Chico State for 31 points in a win and 31 points against Cal State Bernadino in a tough 95-94 loss. It is often the bitter loses that players remember most. “I had some great games in big loses. I missed some potential game winning shots. My team relied on me a lot to take those tough shots. Unfortunately it wasn´t always the result we wanted”, remembered Will Christmas. But what was worse then losing those tough games was losing in the CCAA final three times in a row. Only the Buffalo Bills were worse losing in 4 Super Bowl finals. “The loses were heartbreaking. I felt somewhat proud getting to the final. It is tough to get to three finals, but even tougher to lose three in a row. I hope I can somewhat turn the streak around with the Dragons”, warned Will Christmas. The forward who would never have lost a one on one battle against teammate Tavian Henderson had a stellar career at Cal Poly winning CCAA freshman of the year award and was a three time tournament and first teams election. He understands that head coach Greg Kamansky had a lot to do with his development and becoming the player he did in his four years there. “The most important thing that coach helped me was getting me stronger and playing physical. The pro level is more physical and you have to be ready. He also helped me take good shots, take pride on defense and just do the little things”, stressed William Christmas.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Larry Gordon in Frankfurt Germany in 2019

            The California native who last saw the movie Seven was a Kinesiology major at Cal Poly and instead of turning professional in 2020, he opted to remain in school and get his degree. This is an act that one doesn´t see often today as guys are in a hurry to get money and help provide for their family. He took a different route and instead wanted to have that degree in the bag before the contract. Just doing this and declining to be a professional player at first shows just how much of a role model he is for young kids. “I feel very good that I did this. It is important that a player makes right decisions in life and know what happens after basketball. I´m very happy to have a degree. We all love the game, but we also need to have longer term views”, warned William Christmas. Even if physical therapy is his field of knowledge and he will have an advantage knowing how to take care of his body, he isn´t sure what he will do after basketball. “Right now it is still up in the air. Knowing about my body is a plus for sure. It is important to create good habits and use the knowledge that I have attained. I know more about the body then the average person. Maybe I will get into coaching one day”, expressed William Christmas. Having so much success on the floor at Cal Poly and being able to shine in the class room wasn´t hard enough, everything was really put to the test with COVID as it arrived in March 2020. He won´t forget all the challenges that he had to accept and master to achieve his goals in the last year and a half. The guy was so busy that one has to wonder how he found the time to get everything done. “The biggest challenge was taking so many classes online as well as always being ready to play. Plus being in the gym and having a job”, stated William Christmas. During the Pandemic, the ambitious guy didn´t have one job, but actually had three jobs. “I worked for Amazon in a warehouse, also did behavioral therapy and worked in a car park factory on the assembly line”, said William Christmas. People experienced so many new things during COVID that effected their lives, but also helped them get stronger as people and it wasn´t any different for the young man. “I was by myself a lot early during lock down. I had to develop a certain level of focus and make tough decisions. I learned how to work on things in certain situations not having my family around. This really helped me grow as a man”, commented William Christmas.

            Now the ex CCAA 2020 Regular season Co champion who lists Jordan Ogundiran, Jeremy Dennis, PJ Dozier, Phoenix Shackelford and Johnny Dee as his best teammates of all-time is playing his rookie professional season for German Pro B team Dragons Rhondorf. He obviously got some well needed advice from Larry Gordon, but also from ex German teammate at Cal Poly Finn Eckhardt. “I also talked to Jordan Faison who played in the Pro B. They all said good things about the country. They all said that playing in Germany is an easy transition and all know English. They also said the league is a good place to start as a rookie. I thought that playing with the Dragons was the best opportunity to maximize how much I will be able to improve my game my first year”, warned William Christmas. Also going into a new situation, it is always vital overseas that one has a good feeling about management and the coaching staff. He felt something special after having talks with CEO Yassin Idbihi. “He is a genuine good person. He works for all in the organization. I find it important that he has experience and did it all at a high level. He can show the way and it is great to have a guy that you can always call on when you need something”, stressed William Christmas. He will match up against very talented players in the Pro B and even will meet up with a player Vincent Golson who is playing his third professional season with the Rhein Stars Cologne that played in the CCAA conference with California State University Dominguez Hills(NCAA2). “It´s crazy but I actually saw his name on a stat sheet recently here. I remember everyone calling him two two. He was a very good player and shows how strong the conference was. That gives me a sense of pride of where I played”, added William Christmas.

            So what kind of player will German basketball fans see this season with William Christmas who lists his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with legends like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant(his favorite player) and other Laker greats Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar? When asked who he would compare his game best to, there was  a long pause, but after a long thinking moment he came up with Oklahoma Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Christmas is a player that can do it all and guard the positions 1-4. He is crafty, long and like a slithery snake, but his biggest strength is his versatility something that ex Rhondorf guard Kameron Taylor possessed four years ago. “I´m a guy that can put it on the floor and make things happen at both ends of the court. I think having been a player that could always do what is needed kept me on the court”, warned William Christmas. His three pointer is still a work in progress, but nothing that he is worried about. “My mechanics are solid. For me it has been more a matter of getting up reps, being confident and shot selection. You make more shots if you take better shots. I am always ready game time”, stressed Wiliam Christmas. Even if he can fill up the stat sheet with ease and be that impact player on the offensive end, he will also make waves on the defensive end. It is here that he takes very much pride. Obviously his athleticism plays a big part for his success, but there is also something different that helps him excel. “Playing defense is one of the most important aspects for me. I want to shut down guys and make it very tough for them against me. My athleticism is vital, but so is my length and basketball IQ”, warned William Christmas. He is constantly working on his game to be the best player he can be. “Shooting is the number one thing I´m working on. Another thing is working on my decision making. Making smart decisions on the floor keeps you on the court”, stressed William Christmas. Even if the Rhondorf organization stresses youth development, the American will see many minutes this season and should also make the fans happy with his play. He also may here the one or another Christmas joke in English, but that is something that he has been used to his whole life. Basketball and Christmas go hand in hand for the amiable American who will enrich the Dragons organization with his versatility and character.

An Explosive Fourth Quarter Powers The EPG Baskets Koblenz To 98-72 Romp Over The Fraport Skyliners Juniors

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing EPG Baskets Koblenz forward Ben Marello after the 98-72 win

It was a long and extended summer period for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as their 20-21 season ended early in March. As usual they have a very deep roster with many young guys and also kept a number of guys who have been there for years like Konstantin Schubert, Leon Pullen, Alvin Onyia or Jordan Samare, but also added new youngsters like Nils Leonhardt, Lorenz Brenneke and Devin Jacobi, and brought back Felix Hecker and added veteran Marco Voeller who will help out like Marius Nolte did some years ago when he ended his BBL career. The always ambitious club EPG Baskets Koblenz had a disappointing 20-21 season where they wanted to play for the Pro B title. Like last season they built a very potent roster with new players Dominique Johnson, Marvin Heckel (190-PG-97)l, Shembari Phillips and Leo Saffer while also keeping veteran Brian Butler and young gun Lukas Meyer. New head coach Mario Dugandzic hopes to carry the team to the playoffs and make a run in the post season. While Frankfurt’s goal is always to continue to develop it’s young players for higher challenges. On an untypical Tuesday night, both teams opened up their seasons in Frankfurt and the home team stuck with the favorite EPG Baskets Koblenz for a half, but in the second half the guests showed their true colors and set an explosive fourth quarter offense scoring 37 points and getting the easy 98-72 win. After the win a satisfied Ben Marello explained why his team could get the win. ‘We had a few moments where we had a lack of focus. It didn’t have anything to do with Frankfurt, but moreover with us. Once we move the ball well we are as good as anyone in this league. We gave a collective effort and played together’, described forward Ben Marello. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors gave a spirited effort, but when push came to shove, the EPG Baskets Koblenz were simply a few classes above them. ‘You have to give a lot of respect to Koblenz. You could see that they are a top team in the second half. When we helped too much, they hurt us with their three’s. We moved the ball well at times and did a good job getting offensive rebounds’, stressed forward Konstantin Schubert.

You could see in the first quarter that this was a season opening game as both teams were coughing up balls left and right as there were a total of 16 turnovers. Both teams had serious problems on offense trying to find a rhythm. Frankfurt tried to establish an identity inside getting baskets from ex Trier forward Nils Leonhardt, Alex Richardson and Marco Voeller, while the guests had a second secret weapon behind Brian Butler with Marvin Heckell who showed his aggressiveness early getting to the free throw line. With Frankfurt leading 9-6 half way through the first quarter, Koblenz then suddenly went on a 8-0 run to lead 14-9. In the run the guests got superb support from rookie Shembari Phillips who played at Tennessee (NCAA) making a fade away and trey and Florida native Ben Marello drilled home a trey. Frankfurt just didn’t have much offensive rhythm and couldn’t get the lead back. The EPG Baskets got further support rom Estonian forward Indrek Sunelik who won two titles in his homeland last season and a jumper from Marello. Both teams had low shooting percentages while Frankfurt rebounded the ball better and hadn’t allowed Brian Butler to do any damage, but they still trailed 19-15 after one quarter. ‘That first quarter was brutal. We obviously didn’t want to have so many turnovers. I still felt like we sold ourselves well despite the turnovers’, stated Konstantin Schubert.

The second quarter remained a tight affair with a few lead changes in the first few minutes, but then the EPG Baskets calmed down got the lead and kept it until the end even if Frankfurt was hanging on their door step. There were four lead changes in the first few minutes as Schubert and Leonhardt scored for Frankfurt while Marvin Heckell continued to be that valuable spark plug killing Frankfurt with his drive, but also causing annoyance with his pull up jumper. Heckel was a real menace and whenever Frankfurt was threatening to come back, he had an answer. His whole game reminded one of two years ago where he had led Baunach to a road win in where he steered home 23 points. Ex BBL Player Dominique Johnson who played with Chemnitz last season was also unstoppable pouring home his jumper from all over the floor. Two scores from Johnson gave Koblenz the 32-27 lead. Frankfurt was lax on the 1-1 defense as they had no answer to slow down the penetration. But the EPG Baskets Koblenz couldn’t get away as Nils Leonhardt was aggressive getting to the free throw line and also dropping a two handed dunk in transition. Phillips closed out the second quarter with a lay in as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors trailed 38-34. Frankfurt continued not being able to hit consistently, but continued to have the rebound lead. ‘Slowing down Brian Butler was part of the gameplan. That was why we started with Voeller and Richardson to bring that physically. Hadenfeld did a good job and led us to staying in the game’, stressed Konstantin Schubert.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Fraport Skyliner Junior Konstantin Schubert after the loss

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a very good phase getting vital support from Felix Hecker and Konstantin Schubert, but they couldn’t hold that
momentum as the guests closed out the quarter with a little run leading in double digits after 30 minutes. Koblenz got on the board first with a Johnson trey to extend their lead to 41-34, but Frankfurt retaliated with baskets from Richardson and Hecker to cut the Koblenz lead down to 41-39, but whenever Frankfurt was about to turn the tide, it was Marvin Heckell who found answers. He led Koblenz on a 8-0 run to get their biggest lead of the contest at 49-39. Heckel shone with a basket and beautiful shovel pass to Moses Poelking while Sunelik scored again. Frankfurt had lost that energy that Philipp Hadenfeld had supplied as he had caught his fourth foul and had to sit. Frankfurt got some energy from Konstantin Schubert. He led Frankfurt on a magnificent 11-2 run to trail Koblenz only 51-50. The German who is in his eighth season with Frankfurt hit back to back three’s while Hecker also dropped one. ‘It was a great feeling making those three’s. It was worth doing all that rehab. That is why we play the game’, warned Konstantin Schubert. Schubert had broke his foot last season and played only one game. He was all smiles being able to step back on the court. ‘It was unbelievable being back. I felt normal. I’m top fit. It was a cool atmosphere playing with the guys and seeing fans again. It’s also nice that my brother is on the team. That was a huge reason why I returned’, stressed Konstantin Schubert. But basketball is a game of runs and Koblenz closed out the quarter with a 10-2 run and game then 47-22 displaying a very lethal offense. In the run, the guests let it rain three’s as Johnson connected again as did Sunelik. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had the commanding 61-53 advantage and would never look back. ‘We stuck to what we had to do. We knew that they would try to make a run. We didn’t freak and stayed focused’, stated Ben Marello.

The EPG Baskets Koblenz began with a bang and decided the game in the first four minutes going on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 71-53. They stopped Frankfurt on their first five possessions and punished them on offense getting key production from Phillips on transition, a Poelking lay in and another trey from Sunelik. Hecker finally got Frankfurt on the board with a lay in with 6,40 to play, but trailed 71-55. Frankfurt had their moments on offense getting buckets from Onyia and Hecker, but they got no stops on defense as Koblenz seemed to shift up a few more gears. Sunelik and Johnson three’s gave Koblenz the 83-66 advantage continued to weaken Frankfurt as the more energy they gave the weaker they got. And before Frankfurt even knew what had hit them, ex Schalke Forward Niclas Sperber and Heckel followed with two more three’s and the 89-66 lead. It would have been interesting to have found out what kind of a bus ride home Brian Butler would have had if he would have put up the big goose egg, but lucky for him, he scored his first points with 1,34 to play. He finished with two points, three boards, two assists and two steals in 20 minutes. ‘We like to get all involved. There will be nights where Brian will dominate. We have so many guys that can play. We put the individuality aside and focus as team’, stated Ben Marello. 16 year old Jamaal Phatty got some garbage points at the end showing his great athleticism and Marello closed out the game with a lay in. ‘We relaxed on offense and didn’t let them speed us up. We dictated the game and made them react to us’, said Ben Marello. ‘We try to hold teams to around 70 points a game. We had allowed 73 after three quarters. That makes it hard to win games. I think that we were tired in the fourth, but that isn’t an excuse. We just have to defend better on great shooters like Johnson’, warned Konstantin Schubert. The EPG Baskets Koblenz were led by Marvin Heckell with 25 points. Dominque Johnson added 18 points and Indrek Sunelik produced 15 points while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Felix Hecker with 19 points. Marco Voeller and Konstantin Schubert had 12 points a piece. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 59% from the field and 55% form outside and had 36 rebounds and 16 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 44% form the field and 30% form outside and had 30 rebounds and 19 turnovers.

The Miles Vs Stanley Whittaker(PS Karlsruhe) Weekly Basketball Conversation Volume 1

Stanley Whittaker (183-G-94, college: Keiser) is a 26 year old 183cm point guard from Philadelphia playing his third professional season and first in Germany with PS Karlsruhe. He played his rookie season in Lithuania and last season had his break through with UBSC Raiffeisen Graz (Austria-BSL) playing 24 games: Score-2 (21.5ppg), 6.3rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-1 (2.6spg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 78.4%. He played his college ball at Frank Phillips (JUCO) and Keiser (NAIA). He will team up every week with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber to talk basketball

Stanley thanks for talking to You finally opened up the season and played your first German Pro A game. Despite the blow out loss in Leverkusen how did it feel to play your first game in Germany?

Honestly it wasn’t the best first experience playing and losing that bad. A very tough defeat. But I think we can build from this game for sure and try to only look forward to the next game and prepare accordingly!

PS Karlsruhe had traffic problems getting to Leverkusen. Then you arrived and got spanked 109-71. How tough is it in general to come off the bus after a 3 hour bus drive and preform very well?

Man it’s tough. You can’t really put words for it. We were on the bus for actually 5 hours and had to get off and play. It was whispers that we would have to forfeit the match, however we played, the odds and circumstances was against us and we tried to compete just wasn’t our best game.

PS Karlsruhe was only down 27-20 after one quarter, but still giving up 27 points is way too much. The turning point came in the second quarter as Leverkusen outscored you 34-13 to lead 61-33. Why did PS Karlsruhe have such big problems defending?

Firstly our turnovers led to easy offense for Leverkusen, we can’t turn the ball over against a such high power offenses, because they’ll make us pay every time. We weren’t focused defensively and didn’t really put up a strong enough battle. From my perspective, Leverkusen had easy clean looks the for the majority of the game. So we just have to be better and I’m confident we will.

PS Karlsruhe came out reborn winning the third quarter, but then stunk up the building losing the fourth quarter 31-15. Where do you see the causes of this inconsistency?

Third quarter we wanted to come out and show some pride & grit. I think we did that, cut the lead to 16, 67-51 at one point in the third, then we had some bad turnovers that led to them making a run. We have to be more composed as a group.

Could the club take any positives from the game? You did secure 12 offensive rebounds as a team?

I think we can take some positives from the game, which were how we started the game as well as the third quarter. We give ourselves a fair chance when we are focused and not beating ourselves, especially with turnovers and not getting any 50/50 balls.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Stanley Whittaker in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2021

It seems like PS Karlsruhe will have to get another import player. You have many young talented Germans, but in the competitive Pro A league not having depth is going to hurt you.

I’m not sure what’s the process with that, however all we can do is focus on what we have in our locker room right now. And with that, we have to focus at a higher level, stay together and produce.

You had a solid game with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. How much blame do you personally take after a blow out loss like that?

I take a lot of responsibility for this loss, I wasn’t anywhere close to actually being myself tonight. Way too many turnovers and bad decisions. I didn’t lead well tonight at all but I’ll be better for sure!

How much film do you watch after a loss like that? What did you analyze most about your play via video?

I usually watch film as soon as I can from the game, I’ll watch it 2-3 times to see all things. Our defense, our offensive execution, different reads and looks we may or may not had. So things of that nature, I surely do my studying!

What was it like battling Quenton Goodin? How enriching is it being able to present your game to these talented American point guards?

Man it’s always good going up against another American guard, and Americans in general. Although I’m a relentless competitor, it’s great to see other American guys playing the game abroad and being able to further their playing careers after college. Everyone isn’t blessed with that opportunity, so it’s a great thing in my opinion!

The NFL has started again. Do you follow the league and possibly the Philadelphia Eagles on Sundays in Germany?

Yes, I follow the Eagles, I also keep up with the other teams as well. Football was my first sport, so I still love to watch it!

Thanks Stanley for the chat.

Rookie TJ Lang´s Professional 45 Point Debut Powers The Sunkings Saarlouis To Wild 122-120 Shoot Out OT Win Over The Bona Baskets Limburg

With the exception of a few games in June in a special tournament to crown a new Pro B team, there hadn’t been a lot of basketball in Limburg in the last 19 months due to the pandemic. The Regionalliga season was cancelled last season which left a very sour taste in the mouths of the hardcore basketball fans in the Limburg region. But the long wait finally ended as the 2021-2022 season finally commenced against the Saarlouis Sun Kings. Some things never change with Limburg basketball as the famous Stahlbohm family just don’t go away and continue to support basketball like crazy with the father son duo of coach Danny and son player Justin continue to be the heart and soul of the organization. But one thing was different as the club changed their name and now are called Bona Baskets Limburg. Right on the first game day, they welcomed a legend into their living room with Ricky Easterling who is in his 14th season with the Sunkings at age 37 and without a doubt belongs to the greatest Regionalliga players ever to play in Germany. Just being able to see a player like that still do his thing at that age is an enrichment. The Bona Baskets Limburg wanted to begin the season out with a bang and did scoring 120 points, but couldn’t find that defensive intensity and consistency from the past summer and pre season battle against Pro A team Kirchheim Knights losing a wild shoot out 122-120 OT win. It was one of those special games that had an extra lot of scoring, a weird time out of 15 minutes as the gym lost power and a lot of heart and passion from the players. After the big season opening win Mr Regionalliga Ricky Easterling who had another normal day at the office with 27 points reflected on the crazy victory. ‘I remember a game like that a few years ago here. This game is on the top of my list of crazy games I have played. This was a collective win and we fought hard on offense and defense. We stepped together in tough times all through out the game’, stressed ex BG Karlsruhe guard Ricky Easterling. For the Bona Baskets Limburg, it was a very bitter shocking loss. ‘This was one of the more crazy games that I have ever played in. Both teams were hitting a lot in the second half. This game was good promotion for the sport. They took advantage of the mis matches and we couldn’t stop Lang. Also our zone wasn’t that good either’, stressed Bona Baskets Limburg captain Justin Stahllbohm.

KJ Sherril at the free throw line

Both teams were feeling each other out in the first few minutes before the Bona Baskets Limburg began to take control of the game. Ricky Easterling had a slow start missing too many shots, but teammate ex Auburn (NCAA) guard TJ Lang (201-G-95, college: S.Florida) who was playing his first professional game began to hit from everywhere and it wouldn’t stop until the buzzer sounded. Limburg got good production from ex EPG Baskets Koblenz forward Noah Westerhaus and ex Cuxhaven (PRO A) forward KJ Sherril, but it was point guard Croatian Matej Kljaic that took total control and scored 14 points in the first quarter. His tenacious drive to the hoop was unstoppable, but he also demonstrated that he can drop the long distance jumper. Westerhaus was very instrumental in the 20-7 run in the latter part of the first quarter as he got more aggressive on offense as he dangerous drive with his left hand always kept the guests off guard on defense. Limburg also did a good job on Easterling who scored only one bucket, but to give him an off day and cold for 40 minutes is about as difficult as forever taking away his ruthless mid distance weapon. ‘I know that when I start slow, that it will start to click sooner or later. I never hang my head and just stay true to the game. Good things will happen’, warned Ricky Easterling. After 10 minutes the Bona Baskets Limburg had the commanding 29-17 advantage. ‘We didn’t play good defense. We figured it out later and found ways to slow down their offense’, stressed Ricky Easterling.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Mr Regionalliga Ricky Paulding

In the second quarter the Sunkings Saarlouis began to execute better on offense and cut into the big Limburg lead. On defense they also made adjustments and didn’t allow Limburg into their sets as well and caused hurried shots. The Sunkings Saarlouis got massive support from German guard Edgar Schwarz who has 17 Pro B games on his resume as he hit two three’s. Lang also continued to hit three’s. Limburg kept the lead because KJ Sherril had two baskets. Easterling began to find a groove, but also lent his hand to the playmaking duties finding young German Leon Knop with an easy basket via the no look pass as Limburg led 39-35. Limburg then had a good offensive stretch going on a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 47-37. In the run they got good playmaking and offense from ex Idstein player Kljaic who brings over so much calmness finding the open guy and finishing himself. Limburg also did a good job securing extra chances as they retrieved the offensive rebounds. But basketball wouldn’t be basketball if runs didn’t occur in games and the Sunkings Saarlouis rode into the break with a commanding 12-2 run to dead lock the contest at 49-49. In the run the guests got added help from Lang and Ani who supplied all the scoring power. ‘We made adjustments on defense. We did a better job on their post players and paid attention better to their offside shooter’, stated Ricky Easterling.

TJ Lang at the free throw line

In the third quarter the game remained tight despite the Bona Baskets Limburg trying to get away. Both teams also got some added rest as there was a 15 minute break because the gym lost power and the scoreboard was out of commission. Saarlouis halted Limburg’s first three possessions while taking the 53-49 lead thanks to baskets from Lang and Easterling. But then came the awakening period as the heart and soul of the Limburg squad Justin Stahllbohm went to work. He has been with the club since 2011 and is known as a sniper. He didn’t hit anything in the first half, but came to life in the third quarter. He led his team on an inspiring 16-5 run for the 65-58 lead as he nailed three three’s including two from the same spot. His line drive shot reminded one a bit of ex Florida (NCAA) sniper Lee Humprey. He would finish with 18 points on six trey’s. ‘I have experience and don’t get down if I don’t hit shots. I’m lucky that I have great teammates who told me to keep shooting. My dad has always told me to shoot higher, but I have stuck with my line drive shot. It works for me’, smiled Justin Stahllbohm. Saarlouis fought back playing more aggressive defense and forcing Limburg to crucial turnovers. 19 year old Young German Jesse Ani hit a big three and showed that he can take important responsibility in a team with so many veterans. Then with three minutes to play the mini power outage arrived as Limburg led 67-66. That didn’t faze TJ Lang who is the son of ex Duke (NCAA) and NBA player Antonio Lang as he scored 9 points giving Saarlouis the slim 75-73 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘The break due to the power benefited Limburg. We were pushing the ball at that time and they could rest and refuel during the break’, added Ricky Easterling.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and tJ Lang who dropped a pro debut 45 points

In the fourth quarter the Sunkings Saarlouis had the lead, but could never really get away as they continued to allow the Bona Baskets Limburg to hang around. The Sunkings Saarlouis broke out on a 11-4 run to extend their lead to 86-79. It was evident that the two best players Lang and Easterling were taking matters into their own hands as they combined for 9 points. Limburg played a lot of zone, but that couldn’t stop Lang as he continued to set up and score from downtown netting three after three as he finished the long night with 11. But Limburg continued to fight and Justin Stahllbohm still had a lot in his gas tank as he riffled home back to back three’s to cut the Sunkings lead down to 98-96. Limburg took that momentum and retook the lead getting a transition basket from Norman Klima who has been with the club since 2013 and a steal and coast to coast bucket from Kljaic for the 100-98 lead. The last minutes were really exciting as there were four lead changes. Lang dropped a trey for the 101-100 Sunkings lead, but a beautiful floater from the baseline from Kljaic gave Limburg the 102-101 advantage. Then Easterling connected on a rare trey as his bread and butter is his mid distance shot for the 104-102 lead. Then with 22 seconds to got Stahllbohm hit another clutch three for the 105-104 lead. The Sunkings Saarlouis had one more opportunity as it seemed like Jesse Ani was blocked, but there was contact. He only hit one of two free thows forcing the game into overtime. ‘We took advantage of the mismatches against the bench players’, said Ricky Easterling.

The Sunkings Saarlouis had a great start in the overtime period stopping Limburg’s first four possessions and going on a 5-0 run to lead 110-105. Ricky Easterling came up big at both ends as he made a block and on offense broke the Limburg zone with a beautiful assist to Lang where he broke free from a defender with a behind the back dribble feeding Lang for a trey. He then dropped free throws for the 110-105 lead. It seemed like the guests would seal the win as further baskets from Easterling and Lang gave the Sunkings the 115-109 advantage. But the Bona Baskets Limburg never gave up getting a gigantic basket from the Lithuanian giant Mantas Bernatavicius to trail Saarlouis only 115-114 with 46 seconds to play. Then came a vital playfor Saarlouis from little used German Paul Fuchs who secured an offensive rebound and then connected on a three with the 118-114 lead with 18 seconds to go. Limburg just continued to chip away having no fear as little used guard Kan Kus hit a big trey with 10 seconds remaining trailing only 118-117. After a Lang free throw, it was again a little used young German Mickael Johhannes who hit the three to give Limburg the 120-119 lead, but with 3,5 seconds left the Sunkings Saarlouis had one more trick left up their sleeve as Jesse Ani let it rip at the buzzer for the amazing 122-120 win. ‘The horn sounded after the shot. A clutch shot from Jesse. We did get pretty lucky though. We had to push the ball quickly and just found Jesse who knocked down the shot’, added Ricky Easterling. ‘That was a long 3,5 seconds. We made a mistake at the end. We can’t leave a shooter like that open’, stressed Justin Stahllbohm. The Sunkings Saarlouis were led by TJ Lang with 45 points while Ricky Easterling added 27 points and 7 dimes and Jesse Ano contributed 26 points while the Bona Baskets Limburg were led by Matej kljaic with 33 points and Noah Westerhaus added 20 points. Justin Stahllbohm and KJ Sherrill added 18 points a piece. The Sunkings Saarlouis shot 55% from the field and 58% from outside and had 26 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Bona Baskets Limburg shot 55% from the field and 41% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 8 turnovers.

Evan Mcgaughey Accepted That The Guards Carried The Load But He was Willing To Buy In And Be A Positive Leader In Every Situation

Evan McGaughey (203-PF-94, college: Quincy, agency: Slash Sports) is a 27 year old 203cm forward from Carthage, Illinois that completed his fourth professional season and second in Germany with the MLP Academics Heidelberg averaging 9.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 52.3%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 73.8%. Last season he played with Benacquista Assicurazioni Latina Basket (Italy-Serie A2) playing 12 games averaging 9.9ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 44.1%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 59.3%. The year before he played with BK JIP Pardubice (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 38 games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 66.7%; and played 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 10.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 60.0% . He completed his rookie season in Germany with the MLP Academics Heielberg averaging 11.8ppg, 6,4rpg and 2,1apg while shooting 41% from outside. The American played an illustrious career at Quincy (NCAA’) where he averaged double figures in scoring average each season. As a senior he played 25 games averaging 16.6ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, 1.4bpg, FGP: 58.2%, 3PT: 50.6%, FT: 77.8%. He spoke to following the 20-21 season.

Congrats Evan on the 2021 Pro A title. As a guy from Illinois, did you learn something new about celebrating Heidelberg style after a title win?

Celebrating the title this year was definitely a lot different than any other. With Covid rules still in affect we couldn’t really do anything special after we won.

It was an interesting final series. You won game one by 30 points and the second game was 93-93. Will you remember that game two was a tie in 30 years?
I’m not sure which game I will remember more from the championship series. We played very well the first game and took care of business. When you have a 30 point lead it’s easy to go through the motions the second game and I think that might have come into play.

How did it feel ending a game in a tie and have you ever had that before in your career?

I’ve never had a game end in a tie before. It was weird to be honest. You always picture yourself running out on the court and celebrating with your teammates but it wasn’t all of that this year.

The second quarter of game one decided the title as you won it 24-9. Was that the perfect quarter of balanced offense and defense?

That’s second quarter of the first game was just what we needed. We knew we were a great team and we played like it. Then we took that momentum into the second half and never looked back.

The MLP Academics shot better, rebounded better and took care of the ball better in game one. Did the MLP Academics want it more than the Bayer Giants Leverkusen?

I think to an extent we did want it more than they did. We were playing for the championship to cap off the season while I had the feeling they were happy to make it to the finals and didn’t worry about the result.

The team had six guys in double figures. How much fun did this season have taking care of the ball?

Scoring usually came pretty easy to us this year. There were always 3-4 guys on the floor who could score whenever we needed to, and that makes a team dangerous.

It was a crazy and unpredictable PRO A season with COVID. How highly can one rate this title win with all the drama happening around COVID?

Some may say that we should have an asterisk next to our name this year. I would argue that this year was harder than ever. The league was super competitive and you were never really sure if the next game was going to happen. It was mentally demanding all year.

The MLP Academics obviously had a great bunch of guys, but if you look back on the season what was the secret to the success?

I think you nailed it. Our team chemistry this year was the best I’ve ever seen on a team before. We all got together very well and we all knew our role and accepted it.

How much credit do you have to give coach Frenki and manager Matthias Lautenschlager? How strong was their vision and what was key for them be able to transport this belief of moving up to the team?

Of course you have to give them some credit. They put this team together and did a very good job of doing so. We knew from our first team meeting of the year that it was going to be something special for us.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How much of a pleasure was it to be reunited with Shy Ely who is a Heidelberg lifer. How did his game keep progressing since your rookie season?

Shy is definitely one of the best players, and all around guys, that I have ever played with. His determination and will to win is unmatched, and that’s why he was the best player in the league this year.

How key was scorer Jordan Geist this season? What did you appreciate most about his game?

Jordan was also big for us. He gave us that sharpshooting element from the outside and was good at creating his own shot. As he keeps maturing he will just continue to grow and have a great career.

Saaed Nelson played a very good rookie season. How did you see him develop in the season and is he a guy that you see making the jump to internal ball competition in the future?

Sa’eed has a huge future ahead of him. Another guy that was always putting in extra work and focus on what needed to be done. If he continues to work on his jumper and once that comes then he has no ceiling.

The team ahs so many scorers, but how important was the consistency inside form the two German big men Armin Trtovac and Philipp Heyden? How much did they give support to the success?

Just to have players of that size on your team is very helpful. They were always grinding down low every game with the bigs and helping us out even if their stats didn’t show it sometimes.

With all the players you witnessed this season with the MLP Academics, who do you feel was the most improved?

I would say that Sa’eed Nelson gets the most improved award for the season. Which is wild to say because he was already super talented when he came to the team.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 10/4/1 stats and shot 37% form outside. How content were you with your play this season?

It was an up and down year for sure. You always want to be the best on your team, but with our talented guards this year they carried most of the load.

You stated in our last interview ‘Teams are certainly looking for talent and athleticism first, but they also want to know what type of person you are. If you have all three then they really have no reason to turn you down’. How key was your leadership and positive attitude in this title winning season?

I think it always helps. You have to be willing to buy in and be a positive leader throughout every situation. Lead by example and it makes it easier to be followed.

Your outside shot continues to be a work in progress. Was your 37% a percentage that is a positive motivation for next season in terms of continuing to improve it?

That’s something I’ll be working on. I always have a goal to be over 40% every year and I came up just short. A lot of different elements came into play this year that contributed to that.

You stated in our last interview that timing is everything when blocking shots. How do you feel did you make further steps as a defender in a winning culture this season?

Timing is still everything. You need to know when is the right time to take the chance on when to go for the block or stay down, and I’m working on that still as I continue to play.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer? You have stated that your always working on all area’s, but there must be one or two area’s where you will focus more on?

I’ll be focusing on my body a lot more this summer. Getting my legs stronger to be able to move quicker and play pain free.

What is the next step for you? Remaining in Heidelberg must be a no brainer so you can play easyCredit BBL.

I wish that was the case.

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

There were a few that come to mind from this year. Mahoney from Kirchheim and Ugrai from Bremerhaven to name a couple.

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?

I would say he’s a top 5 pg of all time. Winning a ring isn’t everything, but it certainly helps. He still has time left to chase that though.

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?

He’s definitely top 10 now. I’ve grown to like him more and more over the last few years. He will continue to be something special for the league.

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

I’m not sure his style would work. Although I’m sure he would still do fine and could lead a team. The play style would be a big adjustment for him though

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

Draymond is definitely not the best 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?

I haven’t seen that movie yet, although it’s still on the list.

Thanks Evan for the chat.

Ricky Easterling(Sunkings Saarlouis) Continues To get Older But Is Always A Scoring And Playmaking Threat

Ricky Easterling (189-G-83, college: Bridgewater) is a 37 year 189cm guard form Baltimore, Maryland playing his 16th professional season and 14th season with the Sunkings Saarlouis (Germany-Regionalliga). He has made a name for himself in the Regionalliga over the years as he averaged over 30,0ppg twice and led the Pro B in scoring from 2014-2016. Last season he averaged 24.9ppg), 6.3rpg, 5.0apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 83.2%. He began his basketball career with Bridgewater College (NCAA3) and as a professional also has had experience with the the Baltimore Pearls (ABA), TSG Reutlingen (Germany-Oberliga) and the Bergheim Bandits (Germany-Regionalliga). He spoke to before the 2021-2022 season opener in Limburg.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky Easterling in 2015

Ricky thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment? *

It’s always a pleasure chopping it up with you my friend! Thanks for contacting me for another interview. I’m in Saarlouis at my second home preparing for the new season as a player and a coach.

Basketball is finally back. How excited are to finally be competing again. What did you miss doing most on the court? Possibly unleashing your lethal mid distance jumper? *

To be honest I miss just being out on the court playing real games. Rather than just training, playing pick up, or meaningless games.

It was a real shame that the Regionalliga was cancelled last season. You never take a day off. You were in involved with F& R Basketball workouts. Despite not playing games how do you feel did your game profit from grinding in the lab without playing games? Did you train differently or do different things working on your game that you might not have done had you had the weekly games? *

Even though the season was cancelled I stayed true to my routine. I stayed in the Lab and tried to stay sharp. I also worked on aspects of the game that I needed to improve. For example my 3pt shot. To make up for not having games I added more cardio to my workouts and played a lot of 1v1, 3v3, and 5v5 once the covid rules started to lighten up a little bit. I also look at the lockdown as an advantage because at my age a break like this is good for my body.

Your turning 38 in less than two months. How do you feel physically and in what kind of shape is your game currently?

I feel pretty good for my age. I got a couple aches and pains but nothing I can’t handle. As far as the shape of my game I guess we will find out on Saturday! Haha!

What are your personal goals? The last three seasons after the Pro B, you continued to put up very strong consistent stats. Will the Saarlouis offense continue to go through you?

My goals for this season is to have a winning season with my team and try to end up somewhere in the top of the league standings. Not really concerned about individual accomplishments. I’m still a key player in our offense attack so you will see me continue to be a scoring/ playmaking threat for my team.

In 2019-2020 you had one of your best assist seasons. Can you see yourself becoming more of a playmaker and be able to trim down your scoring if you had to? * I can see me continuing to make plays for me and my teammates.

If it is better for me to be a dominate scorer I can still do that, and if I’m needed to be more of a playmaker I can handle that too. Just want to have a successful season. So whatever needs to be done is what I will do.

What kind of defender are you now at age 37? What do you continue to try to do most on the defensive end despite not being 27 anymore?

I can lock up and I will take more pride on that side of the floor this season. In the summer I worked out with some up and coming talent and they are quick, strong, and very hard to stay in front of. Guarding them keeps my Defense on point. Even though I’m there to help them get better, whether they know it or not they are also helping me to continue to compete at a high level. Even with my older age. Shot-out to my young guys Nick Parish and Dion Brown for helping me just as much as I try to help them when we are working out in the off season at Kutshers Sports Academy.

What can we expect from the Sunkings roster this season? The team continues to have continuity. The chemistry has to be amazing. *

We continue to be family here in Saarlouis. The main core of guys are still around, plus we have a couple new faces. Thankfully we added some good guys. They are good players on the court and they have great character. They fit in with us perfectly on and off the court. I’m looking forward to playing with this group this season.

When you read the number 43 what could you imagine it meaning? *

Only thing I think of when I see that number is how old I will be in the near future! Haha!

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Ricky Easterling in Frankfurt in 2017

Well it is 43 seasons combined that you, Mukarem Mujkanovic and Jimmy Lauter have played in Saarlouis including this season. Do you guys have a special bond that not many have on teams? *

That’s crazy we have that type of longevity together as teammates! I’m very thankful to have these guy on my team and in my life as lifelong friends! Our bond is amazing and I am very thankful for that! We are brothers and we will always be. Even after our basketball days are over they will remain my guys 4 ever!

Saarlouis opens the season in Limburg. You have had some real battles against them. Do you have a particular game that you remember? *

I have a couple memories playing them. Some good and some bad but it’s all apart of the game. Looking forward to see what happens this time around.

The heart and soul of Limburg is shooting guard and captain Justin Stahlbohm. How much of a challenge is it having to deal with him on the court? *

He definitely is a key member to his team. He plays hard and leaves everything he has on the court. So playing against him is always a challenge. But I’m about that life! So I’m looking forward to the game this weekend.

When you enter the court in Limburg, what will you be most thankful about finally be able to play the game again that you love? *

Just being out there is a blessing. I will embrace it because we never know what will happen. Every time we step out there it could be the last time. So that’s how I’m going approach it this weekend. Especially after dealing with Covid.

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone? *

I haven’t seen the sequel yet unfortunately. To be honest I totally forgot about the movie. Thanks for reminding me about it. I will check it out in the near future for sure!

Thanks Ricky For the chat.

Despite Question Marks There Is Also Hope And Excitement For The 21-22 Dragons Rhondorf Season

If one has some extra time and is a bit bored, one can reminisce about so many things in life. Nothing is the same in the world anymore. It isn’t any different in the basketball world in September 2021. Of course one can think about how nice it was watching Dirk Nowitzi perform his legendary step back jumper over the whole NBA, or remembering all the great feats of a Kobe Bryant or just looking back to the 80’s when hard nosed defense and physicality was rampant in the NBA. Or one can look back only a few years ago in Dragons Rhondorf basketball history. Who could forget the two game playoff series against Wolfenbuetel in 2018 where hardcore fans would be able to seriously savior the beautiful play of the one and only Kameron Taylor or only two years ago or recollect the coast to coast drives of a Curtis Hollis. Seeing those guys do their stuff in the Dragon Dome in Bad Honnef seems really like ages ago. Everything changed radically in March 2020 and it hasn’t been the same since. Nobody will forget what they have experienced themselves in the last year and a half or forget what they have seen on the news because of COVID, but one can’t hide their heads in the sand and pout like a spoiled dog that hasn’t got their dinner. Life goes on and so does basketball. After having to halt the 2019-2020 season and not play playoffs and then sitting out most of the 2020-2021 season, the Dragons Rhondorf are famished to finally lace up their sneakers again and are finally back. It has been a long wait and fans will be able to experience basketball again Live and not on their lab tops. Despite question marks with the Dragons Rhondorf roster, there is also hope and excitement. Basketball is finally back again.

Mark Mboya Kotieno

It has been no secret that since Yassin Idbihi came on board in 2019-2020 to take over the club, there has been an increased interest to develop the youth sector and that would have continued last season had the season been played. The club went into last season without an import in the Regionalliga and had a decent roster for the Regionalliga. It would have been interesting to see what young head coach Julian Thomas would have been able to do with that team. Well he gets another chance this season and focus on the youth continues. The 13 man roster is very young. It has 8 players 19 or younger. In the Regionalliga, having success wouldn’t have bene easy, because that is a league with very much older players, but it could have occured. The Pro B is a step up and has less older players, but the overall quality and talent level is higher. There are organizations in the Pro B that need to win and wouldn’t take risks. That is different with the Dragons Rhondorf. They care about the youth and want to make a difference. ‘The whole idea of our program is to have young talents in positions where they have to produce. We really feel like making a big contribution to not only local, but also German basketball by taking talents out of their comfort zones and kind of force them into bigger roles and team-leaders. Is this a risk? Definitely. But from our point of you this is what ProB-Basketball should be all about. Helping young players reach the next level through playing in big roles’, warned head coach Julius Thomas. It also didn’t help the cause of the young players development that the whole U-19 and U-16 season was cancelled in 2020-2021. This put a massive dagger in the players development. So obviously the young guys have to work extremely hard this season and hopefully find a way to make some kind of ground in their development. ‘They all found ways to have individual workouts and worked hard on their skills. However, playing 5on5 and playing games is the thing that helps those guys the most. The lack of those games will take some time to make up for’, stressed Julius Thomas.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Paul Albrecht in Koblenz in 2020

The Club has two veterans with Paul Albrecht who is 28 years old and Pal Ghotra who is 22 years old. These are two guys that will have to give consistent offensive production as well as be top role models. Albrecht is one of those guys that can be the best role model for the kids. He was already comfortable with that role last season. ‘For me it’s not about being the top scorer. I’m more like a playing coach. I’m trying to help everybody on the team. I’m like the point guard even though I’m not. I’m always telling players where to go. I’m responsible for everyone having a great focus before the game. All that matters for me is that we win and everyone else has a good game. This is all I really care about. I don’t care about the stats. Important is also that the guys get better. All the guys respect me which is great. If it would have been about me I wouldn’t have come here. I just want to develop further with them’, warned Paul Albrecht. The club also decided to reel in an import player with rookie William Christmas (196-G-93, college: CPP) who played at Cal Poly (NCAA2). He is a player that might not score the ball as consistently and as much as former players Kam Taylor or Curtis Hollis, but he can be an impact player at both ends of the court and fill the stat sheet with ease. Plus he is a guy with a high character that will fit in perfectly with all.

Will Christmas at Cal Poly(NCAA2)

The team also has many young players that are seeking to continue to develop further. Guys like Bruno Albrecht, Oshane Drews, Nikola Petojevic, Ousmane Ndiaye, and Clint Schonheiter got experience last season with the club. Especially players Albrecht and Drews already showed early signs that they could perform at the Regionalliga level. Albrecht showed he can be an explosive scorer while Drews is considered one of the big talents in German basketball that is being groomed as a point guard. The question will be can they do it at the Pro B level? A big project is Ndiaje where supposedly NBA teams already have him on the radar. He continues to get stronger and the team hopes he can make an impact. It will be very interesting to see where his journey will go this season? One player they could really use at times is 206cm big man Marek Mboya Kotieno. He already played with the club in 2019-2020 and last season was with the Telekom Baskets Bonn and Erfurt getting playing time. This season the club won’t be so big inside and will need him, but the question will be how often he will be available, because he has a double license. Two young guys that the team picked up were high scorer Nicolas Buchholz and talented guard Ralph Honnou from Ludwigsburg. Unfortuntately the latter got injured and will be out for a while. Buchholz was one of the top NBBL (U-19) players in Germany from 2018-2020 averaging 23 and 18 points per game and last season played with Rostock with their second team in the second Regionalliga and even played 4 Pro A games. He has shown in pre season that he can be that reliable scoring option at the Pro B level. There are also three other young youth players that will be looking to get a chance like Robin Straub, Michael Ejumeta and Esli Edigin. Especially many eyes will be on Edigin who Yassin Idbihi is very high on his abilities.

Nicholas Buchholz

So where will the journey of the Dragons Rhondorf lead to this season? They are definitely one of the youngest teams in the Pro B, but have a lot of talent as well. Something new this season is that the Dragons will be playing in the Pro B north. So instead of playing against Frankfurt, Koblenz or Munich, they will battle against teams like Munster, Hamburg or Bernau. Realistically one can’t await a miracle and a 6 game winning streak to begin the season, but one will definitely see a very focused group of guys that will be motivated to win and to get better. It is really difficult to make a prediction for this club. One thing the players and fans will definitely get is a very driven head coach Julius Thomas. He is a guy that has a smile that can light up the room, but don’t let that fool you. He is a coach that knows his X& O’s and has a big heart that wants his players to do well and develop. He is a coach that is just at the beginning of his career, but already has a lot of respect from his peers. ‘Coach Julius is doing a great job. He is only 23 years old. I can hardly believe it. He is at least 35 the way he knows basketball. He knows exactly how to talk to players and the players all have huge respect for him. Even though he is so young he has a crazy work ethic. He is a basketball junkie working everyday trying to make us better. He has made us better. He is just a good coach. For me he is one of the best young coaching talents in Germany’, warned Paul Albrecht. It will be very compelling to see what kind of season the Dragons Rhondorf will have. One thing is for sure win or lose, everybody is just extremely happy that basketball is back in Bad Honnef.

Elijah Allen´s Consistent Hard Work And Studying Of The Game Has Continued To Allow Him To Be Successful Where Ever he Has Played

Elijah Allen (194-PF-89, college: NW Missouri St.) is a 31 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his ninth professional season and first season with the VfL SparkassenStars Bochum (Germany-ProB): playing 14 games averaging 9.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 76.0%. In 2019-2020 he played with the Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB) playing 22 games averaging 16.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 2.7apg, FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 37.6%, FT: 80.2% In 2018-2019 he played with the Tigers Tuebingen averaging 8.8ppg, 3,5rpg and 1,2apg. In 2017-2018 he played with the Kirchheim Knights in the Pro A averaging 9,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,6apg. In the 2016-2017 season he helped Gotha move up to the easyCredit BBL averaging 5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played two seasons for Lich and in his last season there played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. In the 2014-2015 season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg. He spoke to following the 20-21 season.

Elijah thanks for talking to Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?

Hey Miles, I’m doing good thank you! I am enjoying the summer break and I am in the process of moving from Bochum and preparing for vacation next week.

What would have been the first eatery that you visited had you gone to the States right away back home to Ohio?

Chipotle (Mexican Resturant)

Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?

The social aspect was missing a bit.

How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID? Every team had their problems.

Successful. The team had a goal and found a way to achieve it. It wasn’t easy by any means.

Congrats on an amazing season and reaching the Pro B final and reaching the Pro A. Where does this rank with all your basketball achievements?

Personally it’s great for the club but it doesn’t rank to high for me. I got hurt and missed a bit and with Covid it made everything about this season a bit strange.

How much credit does one have to give head coach Felix Banobre? Is Spain the new sexy in terms of coaching in Germany?

The style of play is different for sure but this team also had a good roster which helped the coach not have to focus on details as much. I think at the next level things will have to be changed a bit depending on the roster.

A big strength of the team was their consistency. Whenever you lost a game you struck back and began another winning streak. Was this team like a family?

Yes, I think the team chemistry has a lot to do with why we won games. Everyone liked each other and there was much respect.

How key was bringing that 8 game winning streak into the playoffs? The team must of felt invincible?

I think it was important. With the roster we had we felt no one in the league could compete with us.

The Muenster series was exciting which Bochum won in three games. What do you feel was the difference in the series?

Mainly I think keeping our composure to win the games. They had a gameplan of playing a bit dirty and we kept focused to achieve our goal.

Let’s talk about your teammates. Seldom do you see two such dominant Germans like Niklas Geske and Johannes Joos. Would the team have won a title without them?

Yes. They are very good players. As Germans the top in pro A and B. I think with this roster we could have also had a good chance without them. It was really a talented team.

Lars Kamp seemed to be in the shadow of Geske and Joos. What did you appreciate most about his game?

Lars is a good player on both ends of the court and works really hard to improve. I appreciate that he never gives up when he makes mistakes and stays humble through it all.

Although he played only 11 games, Marco Buljevic’s leadership is so valuable. Is he still a player that can beat you from downtown at any time of a game?

Marco can really shoot the ball. He is still a threat. He was very busy with work and taking care of his family which is very respectable. Best wishes to him going forward.

There were many young Germans on the team. Which young German do you feel improved the most over the season?

I think Bilski improved the most this season. He could probably have went to another team and had a much better role to show that he can play. I think next season he will put it all together and have a strong year

. Let’s talk about your game. You played only 14 games averaging 9.1ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 76.0%. How would you rate your own game this season despite playing less games?

Unfortanetly I got hurt in the preseason. I did my best and I am satisfyed with my play this year. I did what I had to do to help the team win and stayed positive through it all.

In Iserlohn you had a different role than with Bochum. What kind of player did you become in this big winning culture in Bochum?

In Iserlohn we were not as talented so I had to do much more. In Bochum we had a talented team and found ways to win together.

You shot 45% from outside which was your best percentage as a professional in 9 years. How proud are you that you shot an overwhelming 15/25 from downtown in your return after missing four months?

I’m not surprised at all. I work hard and study the game and get better each year.

Your turning 32 in September. I’m sure you will add a historic 10th season. Not many can say they have played a decade. Is the Pro A the route?

I’m not sure what’s next. My main focus is to get my knee healthy then see what’s next.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on this summer to continue to improve your game?

I won’t workout much this summer. I will use the time to recover and watch film.

Was your 18 point effort in game one against Muenster your favorite personal game of the season?

I would say so. The game winner is probably the biggest shot hit in the history of Bochum. I’m just glad I had a chance to play.

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

Chris Hooper. He goes left every time and its pretty difficult to slow him down without playing very physical.

How powerful was that comment Kwame Brown recently let go about his career and Michael Jordan?

I liked his comments. I don’t get why his name is always spoke about in a negative sense. If you look at his background and where he came from then you would understand his story.

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?

He is definetly up there. Always liked his game

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?

I think right now its tough to say he is top 10. He is very good but he doesn’t make it on my list

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

I disagree. He is a smart and a wild player and would always find a way to be productive.

Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?

He is supposed to say that. You got to believe in yourself. He is up there for sure.

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

I haven’t seen the movie yet.

Thanks Elijah for the chat.

Nine Months Ago I Hoped Stanley Whittaker(PS Karlsruhe) Might Play In Germany One Day And My Wish Came True

I have always been a basketball workaholic when it comes to interviewing professional players and writing articles, but when I suddenly learned that I had been struck with Cancer in November 2020, I needed basketball even more to help let me escape my dreaded worries and just keep me busy in the hospital after my first surgery all the way through two more surgeries, 6 Chemotherapies and seven months of hell. I worked harder during Cancer then I had before it and it started as I cranked out articles in November 2020 on ex German Pro A player Orlando Parker, ex Hakro Merlins players Haywood Highsmith and Trae Bell-Haynes and Stanley Whittaker (183-G-94, college: Keiser) who was playing in Austria at the time and tearing up the Austrian league together with another American guard named Richaud Pack. Whittaker was a guy like so many overseas that had to pay his dues for years and was a guy with a huge chip on his shoulder. He never played NCAA ball, but instead had to play in the always brutal JUCO league where absolutely every player has something to prove and then moved up one division to the fourth called NAIA. At Keiser he was very fortunate to play for the legendary coach Rollie Massimino. After a non spectacular rookie season in Lithuania where he only averaged 9.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.7spg, 2FGP: 36.4%, 3FGP: 22.2%, FT: 66.7%, he took on a new challenge in Austria playing for UBSC Raiffeisen Graz. Every so often I check other leagues in Europe and was impressed right away with his amazing rise in his game. He finished his second professional season putting up Russell Westbrook stats averaging (21.5ppg), 6.3rpg, Assists-2 (8.0apg), Steals-1 (2.6spg), FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 40.5%, FT: 78.4%. I remember reaching out to him and writing an article called ‘Keeping A Promise For Rollie Massimino Delayed Stanley Whittaker‘s Professional Career But It Was All Worth It’. I remember hoping that his stellar play in Austria would help give him new opportunities and I always believed his game would be suited perfectly for the German Pro A. 9 months later he is playing his third professional season in Germany with Pro A club PS Karlsruhe. Obviously his incredible season in Austria helped him get the contract in Germany, but I would also hope that my article in November 2020 about his dominance in Austria raised some eyebrows of teams in Germany. ‘Yes I believe the article you did on me helped open some eyes of the teams here in Germany. I’m very appreciative for that as well’, stressed Stanley Whittaker. His outstanding season in Austria definitely changed his basketball life. ‘The season I had last season in Austria, playing for UBSC Graz helped open doors and opportunities for me this season currently. So from a opportunity perspective, it helped me continue to my professional basketball career, which I’m grateful for. And pray I can continue to further my career as a professional’, stated Stanley Whittaker.

Before being able to make a new step in Germany with PS Karlsruhe, the American who currently lists 2021 NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist Jrue Holiday where he is seen as underrated by fans, but is the real deal among hoopsters and a top 8 best point guard in the NBA had to make history and beautiful memories in Austria with UBSC Raiffeisen Graz. He was unable to bring a title home to Graz as they lost a tough four game series to Gmunden where he believed could have had better chances of pulling it out. ‘That series was tough, I missed the last 4 games prior to the playoff series against Gmunden. First 2 games of the series were really close, I felt we let those two get away. But credit to Gmunden, they were well coached and very experienced as well’, remembered Stanley Whittaker. Not every player had so much luck during COVID the way the ex Keiser University (NAIA) guard had. There were many players that sat out the season, othrsr got sick, while others had poor seasons. He was blessed in that his team made the playoffs and he belonged to the top 2 players in the league. A secret to his success was simply that he had nothing else to do but concentrate on basketball even if having COVID around didn’t make anything easier. ‘The most challenging thing for me was just Covid itself honestly, really to having little to no social life because I didn’t want to contract the virus or put myself at risk. So that was the most challenging thing for me, just very strict and routine days. But in ways it helped as well, because I was just able to stay inside, study film which plays a big part in my preparation’, said Stanley Whittaker.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Stanley Whittaker in Frankfurt in September 2021

The Philadelphia native who remembers rival Richaud Pack, Qunicy Diggs and Austrian Enis Murati as being his toughest players to battle not to mention teammate Jacob Ledoux every day played 24 games and never took a night off scoring in double figures in every game. He scored 20 points or more in 14 games and was just absolutely overpowering and dominated the league together with Richaud Pack. His professional break out year just showed that he has the ability to explode at anytime, and not only in one game, but over the course of a season having brutal consistency. He didn’t get an opportunity to show in Lithuania what he can do, but proved in Austria that he is the real deal. ‘I think it was just solely opportunity based. My opportunity in Lithuania was minimal. I came to the team pretty late into the season which probably had something to do with limited opportunity as well. In Austria, with UBSC Graz, coach Ervin Dragsic believed in me, extended the opportunity and allowed me to be myself so that helped a lot with my increase in numbers’, explained Stanley Whittaker. He not only improved his scoring as a player immensely, but all of a sudden had Chris Paul like assist stats averaging 8,0 as his highest before that was 6,0 in his last two years of NAIA ball. ‘The game slowed down for me tremendously. From studying film, having a very good understanding of how defenses schemed against our team helped the way I prepared for each game. So being aware attacking points on the floor and putting my teammates in spots where they can excel assisted to my playmaking ability’, said Stanley Whittaker. His best game was a 38 point explosion against Gmunden in a brutal playoff loss, but also hit Vienna for 31 points where he got the best of Richaud Pack in a thrilling 110-109 victory. ‘Richaud is a very good player, I have a lot of respect for his game. I enjoyed the battles with him and Bcgmt Vienna. I remember that overtime battle at our home, we got off to a big lead, Richaud and his team came marching back in the second half taking the lead, then we made our run late in the 4th quarter to take it to overtime. We ended up winning the game in overtime, that game was a classic, very high scoring as well’, remembered Stanley Whittaker.

The big Chris Paul fan who believes it will only get harder and harder for the future Hall Of Famer to win his first NBA crown now starts a new chapter in his basketball life with PS Karlsruhe. Like most players, he has had friends and former teammates and opponents having earned a living balling in Germany so it was only obvious that he got sound advice from them. He received other offers from German teams, but mainly chose to play his first season in Karlsruhe because he had heard good things about the city and about a very ambitious club who wants to go places. The biggest reason though was that the organization believed in him. One could compare the Austrian first league to the Pro A in Germany pretty similar in skill, but the Pro A is still a little step above the competition that he saw last season. The competitive American feels no pressure at all to leave his mark in Germany. ‘I would I like to mimic the season I had in Austria or surpass it? Yes of course, but there’s no pressure. I have a lot of trust in my preparation, my skill set and work ethic’, warned Stanley Whittaker. He is very optimistic about the team this season and knows exactly what he needs to do most with his game on the court. ‘I think we’re pretty solid, people can expect for us to play hard every game, play together, and hope we can win some ball games. The biggest goal with my game that I have is to be a better leader, so I can find ways where I can lead better. I have a continuous craving for just improving and getting better at all aspects of my craft as well’, stressed Stanley Whittaker.

Stanley Whittaker and legend Rollie Massimino at Keiser(NAIA)

The ex Frank Phillips College (JUCO) player who thought the Sequel to Coming To America was ok and thought the story line was ok and laughed throughout the movie will obviously be the main offensive weapon that will have to take responsibility often and score, but at the same time will be in charge of making his teammates look good. One player who he has been raving about and also will have to be a big support block in scoring and rebounding is ex BBL player Maurice Pluskota who played 71 easyCredit BBL games for Bremerhaven, Braunschweig and Giessen and will play his 100th Pro A game with PS Karlsruhe on opening day against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. ‘Mo that’s my guy. He’s extremely talented, has a very high basketball IQ and he’s a true leader. Playing with him has been great, he helps on and off the court. He is a high character guy man’, warned Stanley Whittaker. Another player where the club is hoping for instant production will be Lee Behrend who will be starting his professional career in Germany. Whittaker has a very special place in his heart for him. It’s not everyday that fellow NAIA players can be teammates as professionals. ‘It’s definitely a good feeling to see another NAIA guy playing at a high level here in Germany. Leo is a great guy and great player as well, he gets after it on both sides of the ball. I think he’ll open up some eyes this season as well’, stated Stanley Whittaker. The club also hopes that German second year man Nils Schmitz who played for the FC Bayern Munich U-19 team will be able to make the next step in the Pro A. He has a lot of confidence in the young German. ‘I think Nils has great upside, he’s been getting better every day. He is just a natural who has a great feel for the game in my opinion. He wants to learn and get better, on top of that he works extremely hard. I like his game a lot’, commented Stanley Whitaker. It will definitely be interesting to see how well PS Karlsruhe does this season and how much of a role Stanley Whittaker can play in the success. I remember following Kendale Mccullum’s career in Paderborn two years ago. I remember hoping that he would play in the EasyCredit BBL last season. Instead he went to Finland and continued to mature as a player He helped the Helsinki Seagulls win a cup and had impressive stats. New easyCredit BBL Jobstairs Giessen head coach Pete Strobl liked what he saw and rewarded him with the easyCredit BBL ticket. First let me see how Whittaker kicks into the Pro A and then I will let my wishing take command. Stanley Whittaker has the talent and skill level to be a top Pro A player this season. Maybe my wish will come true again?