Carlos Medlock Wants Fans To Remember Him Being A Player That Gave 110 Percent and Off The Court Was Just As Cool As His Game

Ok some guys are living and playing in their own galaxy with Lebron, Luka and Ja to just name a few, but the idea that there are many many many guys in Europe that could play in the NBA and never will has been a fact for a while. There are only two little roster spots and way to many talented guys grinding overseas always having that dream of someday making the NBA. I’m not saying that Carlos Medlock (183-PG-1987, college: EMU) could of played in the NBA, but that he is very very talented is something that he proved in his illustrious 11 year career. He is one of those guys that reached the top leagues in Germany, Greece and Poland, but also had to pay his dues always having to prove himself playing in some second divisions as well. In the season when he reached the first division in Germany with Braunschweig, he demonstrated over and over that he couldn’t only stick it to the best teams in Germany, but that he not only held his own against ex NBA players, but belonged to the best on the floor. For example late in the season in 2016-2017 he played FC Bayern Munich and was the game’s top scorer with 17 points and dished out 6 assists as he outbattled guys like future NBA player Maxi Kleber, ex NBA player Nick Johnson and Lebron James friend Dru Joyce. In another game against Brose Bamberg he was the game’s top scorer again with 21 points and dished out 7 assists as he outbattled future NBA players like Darius Miller, Daniel Theis and Nicolo Melli. In another game against top team Alba Berlin he scored 19 points belonging to the best on the court as ex NBA player Peyton Siva, future NBA player Malcolm Miller and two time NCAA champ Niels Giffey were on the court. These games weren’t a rarity that season, but one could of yelled bang, bang, bang, because they happened so often. Saying bang, bang, bang reminded me of Elane on Seinfeld yelling the Fake, Fake, Fake Fake in the famous episode called Mango from 1993. The American proved over and over that season that he belonged to the best in the easyCredit BBL and that the NBA surely has many talented guys, but that there are enough guys overseas who can hold their own against them. Medlock had to prove himself his whole career and showed over and over that he belongs everywhere that he has played. Despite him probably having his best season as a professional in Germany in the easyCredit BBL, he had a logical answer as to why he wasn’t at his total best that season. ‘You can add Ulm to list as well. But no I don’t think that was me at my best. Because it took sometime for me to adjust to the BBL coming from Pro A. But once adjusted my talented started to show a lot more. If I would’ve came back for a second season there you would’ve seen Carlos Medlock at his best’, warned Carlos Medlock. The American announced his retirement in 2022 after 11 professional season.

Carlos Medlock who lists Dionte Christmas as being his toughest foe in the NCAA was a 35 year old 183cm point guard that began his basketball career at Murray-Wright high school in Detroit, Michigan. He then received a scholarship to Eastern Michigan (NCAA )where he played from 2005-2010, but did miss one year because of injury. He played a total of 110 NCAA games and underwent a fine development. In his four year career at Eastern Michigan he averaged 13,0ppg, 2,0rpg and 3,0apg. He had many great games and memories there, but his finest wasn’t on the floor. ‘Being at Eastern Michigan was the best time of my life. I still have close friends with all my teammates from EMU. My son being born and meeting my wife there is my fondest moments’, remembered Carlos Medlock. He still talks to his ex teammates John Bowler and Nick Freer who both played in Germany and in his senior year he averaged 16.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 38.5%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 80.5%. Some of the achievements that he got there were Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team , MAC Freshman of the Year by, All-MAC Honorable Mention , MAC West Division Regular Season Co-Runner-Up , All-MAC 2nd Team , and NABC Division I All-District 14 2nd Team He knows that he couldn’t have had all his success there without the guidance of head coach Charles Ramsey. ‘He taught me how to hold myself accountable for my own actions’, stated Carlos Medlock. One teammate that he will never forget is fellow guard Jarred Axon who he had extra battles against in practice. ‘Me and Jared never played one on one. But I did beat Jarred in a one on one shooting game in practice which he would never admit to’, commented Carlos Medlock.

The Michigan native who lists Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore began his professional career in 2010 with the Utah Flash (D-League) playing 3 games averaging 4.3ppg, 1.3rpg. His stay was very short. He is more than positive that length had nothing to do with him not breaking through in the D-League. ‘ I don’t have no memories there but some cool teammates. No, I never felt I was too small. That just wasn’t a good situation for me’, stressed Carlos Medlock. He was teammates with NBA player Orien Greene who shared one big similarity with him. He knew how to score. ‘Orien Green was a bucket. I haven’t seen or talked to him since I left the Utah Flash hope all is well with him’, said Carlos Medlock. He then finished his rookie season in England and proved right away that his game could adapt right away overseas. He played for the Guildford Heat (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 17 games averaging 14.9ppg, 3.8rpg, Assists-4 (4.6apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 64.1%. He also right away got a taste of what wining is about as he helped the Heat reach the BBL cup final. ‘I got there 3 months left in the season. So for me it was for film and to build my name’, added Carlos Medlock. He scored in double figures in 17 of 20 games including netting 25 points against Worthing T and 22 points against the Mersey Tigers. He played his second professional season with t U.M.F. Skallagrimur Borganes (Iceland-Dominos League) where he was the leagues second top scorer playing 24 games: averaging 27.2ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.8apg, Steals-5 (2.3spg), FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.9%. He was smart enough to know that this would be a make or break season for his career. ‘I remember saying to myself. If you don’t kill this year you will have a bad career’, warned Carlos Medlock. He scored 30 points or more in 9 games including 43 points against Thor Thorl and 40 points against Fjolnir. Iceland is a country Americans love to go to, because they can use it as a flatform to higher leagues and that is exactly what he did moving to Germany where he would play the next four seasons and toping it off in his last finally reaching the easyCredit BBL after paying his dues once again in the German second division called Pro A. It is only logical that Germany will always have a special place in his heart. ‘Germany will always be my second home. What I enjoyed the most about being there was winning lol. My wife and kids had a great time there as well which was key for me’, stressed Carlos Medlock. In 2013-2014 he had his first tour of duty in Germany with the Crailsheim Merlins (Germany-ProA) averaging 17.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 82.2%. Even if he exploded against Science City Jena with 39 points, it was actually his 20 points, 9 assists and 0 turnovers he remembers most fondly, but one can’t discredit his incredible scoring game against Jena. ‘It was just one of those game where I went into that zone. At the time they were the number 1 in league. It was an important game that we needed to win’, warned Carlos Medlock. In Crailsheim he was teammates with Yorman Polas who was still paying his dues. A few years later he reached the BBL and has been there ever since. He is one of those special players that he will never forget. ‘Man I’m very proud of Yorman. He really made a name for himself in the BBL. When his career is over he will be one of the best defensive players ever to play in the BBL’, expressed Carlos Medlock.

The guard who had many big battles in Germany remembers guys like Josh Mayo, Carlton Guyton, Richie Williams, Ahmad Smith, Garrett Sims, Peyton Siva, Shy Ely, and Brandon Hobbs as the toughest next joined s.Oliver Wurzburg (Pro A) in 2014-2015 averaging 13.5ppg, 2.9rpg, 4.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 41.1%, FT: 75.4%. He came to Wurzburg to show that he wasn’t only a scoring point guard but also could run a team. ‘Yes that was my mindset going into that season to show I’m more than just a scorer. Wuerzburg might’ve been my best experience overseas. I loved playing there’, remembered Carlos Medlock. He had some massive games in wins over Baunach with 26 points and 25 points against the Hamburg Towers. He was instrumental in the club beating Gotha and Hamburg in the playoffs, but suffered a bitter 77-76 loss to Giessen in a one game final, but the club was still regulated. It was sad and a bit surprising that Wurzburg didn’t retain his services for the BBL, but in the next season he conducted the same trick with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA) helping the team to the BBL averaging 14.1ppg, 2.2rpg, Assists-3 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 29.9%, FT: 78.5%. This was without a doubt possibly his most enjoyable season in his professional career. ‘ Andreas Wagner did a great job putting that group together. We all had a great time with each other off the court which showed on the court. Plus that year it was just me and my son there together because my wife stayed home to finish school. So just spending that time with him made that season special in itself’, stated Carlos Medlock. He was teammates with two real basketball dinosaurs Derick Allen and Chase Griffin. Allen played until almost 40 and Griffin recently retired also. With them especially with Allen, he saw a totally different dimension with how work ethic really works. ‘Yeah both of them had great work ethic. But Derrick Allen’s work ethic was on a different level. I never met or seen anyone that worked like he did and it was crazy to see’, remembered Carlos Medlock. In his four years in Germany he played a total of 142 games and scored in double figures in 118 games.

He like many people around the globe saw the sequel to the classic Coming To America and is content knowing the original was better took a change in scenery after Germany in 2017-2018 splitting time with Rethymno Cretan Kings (Greece-A1) averaging 8.2ppg, 1.6rpg, 2.4apg, 2FGP: 35.3%, 3FGP: 28.6%, FT: 78.6%, and then moved to King Szczecin (Poland-PLK) playing 24 games averaging 15.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 77.5%. In Greece he was able to duel against one of the top basketball institutions in Europe with Olympiakos where he played against so many ex NBA guys like Hollis Thompson and Brian Roberts. But it wasn’t that big of an eye opener since he had seen so many NBA guys before that experience. ‘ During my career in the summer I played against a lot of NBA talent. So playing against them was like another game. I wasn’t impressed by someone’s name or where the played before. But playing against that team I really got to see a bunch of high level talented guys coming together to sacrifice their individual abilities for the greater of the team to win’, warned Carlos Medlock. In Poland he was consistent as usual scoring in double figures in 21 of 24 games including scoring 28 points against Trefl and 25 points against BM Slam Stal. In 2018-2019 he had his first experience in Turkey with Karesi Spor (Turkey-TBL) averaging 17.4ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-2 (7.3apg), Steals-1 (2.1spg), FGP: 52.5%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 66.5%. This was another great example of how he dominated a European second league. ‘Being that it was my first year playing and that league I wanted to leave a mark. On the court it was a lot of fun playing with those guys. We played at a fast pace which was a strength to my game and it showed within my stats’, stated Carlos Medlock. He scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games including massive games against Yalova Bld with 36 points and recorded 28 points against Ankara DSI. He had another strong season in 2019-2020 heading back to Poland to play with Trefl Sopot (Poland-EBL) averaging 14.3ppg, 2.3rpg, 6.0apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 81.7%. He scored in double figures in 16 of 21 games in the Covid short end season. He registered 24 points against Polpharma and 21 points against Legia. Last season he returned back to Turkey to play in the second division again this time for Bornova Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 30 games averaging 16.6ppg, 2.2rpg, 5.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 78.1%. It was the second time for him in Turkey to play in the second league and not get a chance in the first league. In Germany he had to play in the second league three straight years before getting his opportunity in the BBL. Playing so often in second class instead of first class was very taxing, but one he was able to master. ‘ It was very frustrating at times. Especially in Germany I felt like I was the best player in the second division 3 years in a row. I still wasn’t getting the respect from those BBL teams and when I was in the first division I still displayed the same talent that I was showing when I was playing in the second division. But I had to prove myself my whole life so I was used to it’, stressed Carlos Medlock. Once again he was very consistent scoring in double figures in 29 of 30 games. One could of given him an extra middle name consistent. ‘ Being consistent was something I pride myself on. I just wanted to show that I can play in any system and still be valuable. Learning how to adjust to your teammates was very important. Meaning learning their strength and once I did that it was easy for me to run the show’, remembered Carlos Medlock. He blasted Mamak for 31 points and hit Gemlik for 23 points.

So now let’s fast forward to 2022 as he didn’t have to make life difficult for himself naming only 5 best teammates of all-time, but gave much love to Terrance Watson Antonio Payton, Drell Lewis, Anthony Sparks, Tone Barry, Travis Lewis, Brandon Bowdry, Jesse Bunkley, Zane Gay, Jared Axon, John Bowler, Marvin Skipper, Jay Higgins, JR Sims, Jamil Harris, Antonio Green, Matt Balkema, Overseas teammates Josten Crow, Stevie Johnson, Jonathan Moore, Yorman Polas, Frankie Sullivan, Maine Mallett, Jason Dourisseau, Jeremy Dunbar, Sammy Givens,Carlton Guyton, Dyshawn Pierre, Sid Theis, Tommy Klepeisz, Jamal Boykin, Tim Schwartz, Darius Theus, Derrick Allen, Don Lawson, Devon Gibson, Chase Griffin Josh Young, Travis Warech, Kosta Karamatskos, Phil Frie, Cam Ayers, Nana Foulland, Hugh Robinson, Jeff Roberson, Malcolm Armstead, Stefan Moody, Travis Daniels and there are many more that he forgot. The last 2 years were difficult for everyone living and playing through Covid as he was active in Poland, Turkey and Germany and he will never forget what really stood out during these tough times. ‘The biggest thing on the court was not having fans was an adjustment for me after having that energy for so long. Off the court was not being able to enjoy the city because of all the restrictions’, remembered Carlos Medlock. The last team he played with was Rasta Vechta a team where he had helped move up to the BBL in 2016. His stay was a short one as he played only 1 game. ‘It’s wasn’t tough leaving Vechta at all. 2016 was a great time. I wish I could’ve said the same about a second time there. But the fans there was great. I enjoyed playing in front on them’, stated Carlos Medlock. There were older guys who could have played longer the last few years, but ultimately decided to call it quits because of Covid, but for him it wasn’t that. ‘Covid played no part in my retirement. I had an offer to play somewhere else just didn’t take the deal. Dealing with that last team kind of took the love for the game away. It was a decision I felt was best for me and my family. Also just knowing it was time’, stressed Carlos Medlock. Sometimes retired players need some time off to regroup and think about the future, but he didn’t need much time as he is already active in life after the game as he is training kids in his area. The guard who believes Jordan is the greatest of all-time, but thinks Lebron has more of an effect on the culture now than Jordan did then was a perfect role model for those special guys that are off the radar. He never got gifts as a player but had to work his butt off for every opportunity that he got. He gave fans everywhere he played joyous moments and hopes that he will be remembered in a special way. ‘ I was a player that gave 110% every time he stepped on a court and off the court he was just as cool as his game’, stressed Carlos Medlock. I will also never forget his play and how he never gave up and was able to beat all odds. . I only interviewed him 4 times in his career, but every talk was always very interesting as he gave great insight about his career. It is also always nice to be appreciated in some way by the player as well. ‘I won’t forget that you were patient and you have done some great write ups and interviews on me so I really appreciate the support you have given me so think and I will always remember that’, said Carlos Medlock. He was as classy off the court as on the court. I’m sure he will continue to do great things in the future off the court.

The Incredible Basketball Journey Of Jaleen Smith Continues As In The Last Year He Went From NBA Summer League To Winning 2 Titles With Alba Berlin To Playing For Croatia

4 years ago Jaleen Smith (193-PG-1994, college: UNH) was going into his second professional season in Germany with second division team MLP Academics. He had come off a sub par rookie season and was just another typical American guard and hardly anyone really knew who he was or believed in him except for his ex college coach Josh King who made the next step and will coach in Ludwigsburg this season. ‘I’m excited for him but I’m also excited to play against him. I hope nothing for the best for him coaching this year. This will be a big year for him in his career also’, commented Jaleen Smith. But Smith never had worries or doubts, but just looked straight ahead and believed in his abilities. He had his break out season in his sophomore campaign and then just kept climbing the basketball ladder reaching the easyCredit BBL with the MHP Riesen Ludwigs and being crowned league MVP. He then held his own in the 2021 NBA Summer League with the Phoenix Suns and then made the next step with Alba Berlin last season winning 2 titles and growing into a solid Euroleague player. So the logical next step would be to keep racking up titles with Alba Berlin. He did sign a 3 year deal with Alba Berlin, but there is also a buy out in his contract. There has been interest from other Euroleague teams and what happens if the NBA comes calling? ‘If they do call I’ll be right in Europe waiting if not Euroleague is a great league’, smiled Jaleen Smith. The Texas native saw the last years what kind of an impact a Rickey Paulding had in Oldenburg and the league and it would make sense to continue something fruitful in Berlin and possibly be a lifer? ‘Yeah it’s very rare you have someone like Rickey stay loyal to a club for any player let alone an American guy stay. I’m 90% sure I’ll be with ALBA Berlin for the following season’, warned Jaleen Smith. So many great things have continued to happen in his basketball life and it just keeps going. This summer he got a Croatian passport and his incredible basketball journey continues as in the last year he went from NBA Summer League to winning 2 titles with Alba Berlin to playing for the Croatian national team and will play at the 2022 Euro for them. But before we get to his new challenge, it is only fitting to reminisce about the double that Alba Berlin achieved in 21-22.

I reach Jaleen Smith who lists Nick Weiler-Babb and Vasilije Micic as his toughest opponents last season during the dog days of summer. Americans are slowly arriving for their teams in various leagues in Germany while Jaleen Smith is hanging out with his new Croatian teammates and headed to the Czech Republic for some friendlies against them and Bulgaria. After never having won a professional title in his first 3 years, he came to Alba Berlin knowing of their rich history, but if someone had told him before the season started that he would win 2 titles, he probably wouldn’t have believed it. ‘They are winners so with history I had to win at least 1 championship right ? Haha I probably would’ve been just excited to win one championship’, stressed Jaleen Smith. The guy has that million-dollar smile and when he talks about last season that smile is as persistent as Steph Curry is with hitting three’s. It is always sweet to win the title at home, but when you can do it against a FC Bayern Munich on the road, the New York Yankees or Golden State Warriors of the BBL, you are just as happy. It is a double bonus when your loved ones are there. ‘They’ve been here every step of the way and it’s just satisfying to have them here for the championship run during the season. It was truly amazing to experience it together’, said Jalen Smith. Alba Berlin once won 7 BBL titles in a row in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and just know how to party the right way. ‘There was just a lot of drinking and eating of snacks out of the trophy. You just had to be there to experience it all. Just to be a part of it is just great. We got a great reception from the fans, the city, and with ourselves knowing the long season we had was worth holding up the trophy in the end’, remembered Jaleen Smith.

After Spanish legendary head coach Aito left, nobody really knew what kind of Alba Berlin would be on display in 21-22. The coaching reins had been given to Aito assistant coach Israel Gonzales and he stepped in and kept that Aito identity and the team came together in the spring and kept growing all the way to game 4 in Munich. ‘Alba lost a lot of key pieces including the coach so we were all trying to find our identity through the year and we found it within the middle of April to the end of June. During the playoffs, we really looked for one another and we played so great together you couldn’t focus on one guy to take away. It can really be any one’s night’, stressed Jaleen Smith. Anytime you want success, you obviously have to know how to score and get stops, but winning starts with discipline and work ethic. ‘Through everything that happened we still kept working every day for the end goal and that’s to be the best team come playoff time and we did that no question’, warned Jaleen Smith. He played with so many great players including Oscar Da Silva who made the next step to FC Barcelona and his guard teammates Maodo Lo and Tamir Blatt. One can say guard brothers for life. ‘Oscar is definitely is ready for the jump. He made a steep climb going from LUBU to Alba and jumped in right away and made a huge impact for our team. He’s going to do just fine in Barcelona. Maodo and Tamir are my guys man any ideas we have we always share to improve the team and that’s what you need on any team. They helped me just see the game differently and play a different way. Not only playing along side them but just watching them play it was a joy to watch’, added Jaleen Smith. It is no secret that he will always have a lot of love and respect for his 2 guard brothers, but he also can’t forget the versatile glue guy Luke Sikma. ‘I would give MVP to Maodo Lo because he has been killing for us all year. With him being our starting point our team is super dangerous. Most improved would go to Tamir Blatt because toward the end of the season him coming off the bench for us was big not only the way he controlled games but he really led our second unit even if the starters was having a bad night. The unsung Hero is Luke Sikma because without him the team is in pieces but with him on the court he keeps everything together just doing a little bit of everything for us to keep the team together’, warned Jaleen Smith.

The ex UNH guard who thinks the Boston Celtics would be crazy to get rid of Jaylen Brown for Kevin Durant had a very solid first Euroleague season for Alba Berlin averaging and 8.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 41.2%, 3PT: 31.7%, FT-2 (93.3%) and in the BBL averaged 10.9ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.5apg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 38.7%, FT: 90.8%. He knows that at the start of this season, he will need to keep that high that he had at the end of last season. ‘I started off terrible during the year but picked it up towards the end of the season I played my best basketball. I’ll just have to start next season right where I left off on the last’, stressed Jaleen Smith. His minutes were cut down 10 minutes in the BBL from his previous season in Ludwigsburg. ‘This helped me develop being more efficient in the minutes I played in rather than relaxing just to maintain my body for the long game I would play’, said Jaleen Smith. It was only logical that his shooting would really profit in an Alba Berlin system where unselfishness and great ball movement are the norm as well as having more energy. ‘Being more fresh during games helped and not taking as many tough shots helped my percentages be a lot more better. When you play with so many talented players, your game will improve’, expressed Jaleen Smith. His 2 most fondest games was winning the BBL title in Munich in game 4 and playing in a very hostile environment in Belgarde, Serbia. His game will continue to grow the more he practices with top level Croation players as well as competing at the 2022 Euro. It will be interesting if there will be other parts of his game that will grow and improve at the 2022 Euro besides what he achieved doing with Alba Berlin last season. ‘I felt like my shooting ability and to be aggressive the more I had the ball helped me improve and was key for me during the season with ALBA’, stated Jaleen Smith.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jaleen Smith in Frankfurt in 2022

The ex Brzosport High School great who will never forget the BBQ’s he had with family this summer now has a new challenge suiting up with Croatia for the 2022 Euro. ‘I’m just excited to be representing a country and now on the international stage is going to be amazing to experience this’, stressed Jaleen Smith. For him it must feel like being in a candy store with so many incredible guys currently playing in the NBA like Ivica Zubac, and Bojan Bogdanovic and other greats like Mario Hezonja, Dragan Bender or Ante Zizic just to name a few. ‘You can pick your poison with how you want to be beat really. The team is really talented I’m going to do my best to finish as best as we can in the euro basket tournament’, commented Jaleen Smith. Scoring the ball is a big strength of his, but with so many tall towers lurking in the paint he could find himself starting a combination of throwing it up and letting the bigs do the damage as Dennis Schroeder and Daniel Theis like to practice. ‘ Throwing it up or throwing it inside will be key for us to all of our games we have a really good inside and outside presence it’s going to make my job a lot easier’, warned Jaleen Smith. Croatia is in group C and have grabbed a good one in that they are the third best ranked team out of 6. If everything goes as planned then they should advance. ‘As long as we keep getting better as the tournament goes on the sky is the limit for us. We have the pieces it’s just up to us if we can gel together in the short period of time we have together’, warned Jaleen Smith. As a guy that has played his whole career in Germany, he will be watching Germany closely. ‘They have a very tough group and everyone can beat anyone during these group phases. I think they been playing together for a long time so they’ll being playing well because they already have the chemistry with each other’, stated Jaleen Smith. Who knows Croatia might even meet Germany. Then the two teammates/brothers Jaleen Smith and Maodo Lo will battle head to head. ‘Of course we’re probably joke about the game when we see each other back in Berlin but he’s trying to represent his country to the fullest and trying to win just like me’, warned Jaleen Smith. On the court will be like in a Lion pit, but after 40 minutes they will still be brothers.


Manu Lecomte Wants To Lead Belgium To Success And Raise His Game To The Next Level At The 2022 Euro

Emmanuel Lecomte (180-PG-1995, college: Baylor, agency: Players Group) is a 26 year old 180cm point guard from Grimbergen Belgium that played his fourth professional season with Jonavos CBet (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 15.1ppg, 2.3rpg, Assists-5 (4.5apg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 84.0%. 2020-2021 was a roller coaster as he began with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 2 games averaging 11.0ppg, 2.0apg and then moved to moved to Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France-Jeep ELITE ProA) playing 2 games averaging 11.0ppg, 2.0apg, and then played with tPrienai CBet (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 14.9ppg, 2.1rpg, 5.1apg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 86.8%. In 2019-2020 he split time with Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 18 games averaging 6.1ppg, 1.2rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 38.5%, 3FGP: 30.6%, FT: 79.4%, and then moved to Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 5 games averaging 5.4ppg, 1.0apg, FGP: 33.3%, 3PT: 80.0%, FT: 90.0%. In his rookie season in 2018-2019 he played with Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (NBA G League) playing 48 games averaging 14.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 4.3apg, 2FGP: 50.8%, 3FGP: 40.2%, FT: 86.2%, and then moved to Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (Spain-Liga ACB) playing 9 games averaging 7.1ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 15.8%, FT: 90.5% He started his basketball career in Belgium with BBC Kangoeroes-Boom (D2) and then played with Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Ethias League). In 2013 he moved to the States and played with Miami (NCAA) for two seasons playing 71 games. He then transferred to Baylor and made his break through as a junior leading the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 playing 33 games averaging 12.2ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 45.0%, 3PT: 40.8%, FT: 83.0%. In his senior year he played 32 games averaging 16.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.7apg, FGP: 43.9%, 3PT: 38.5%, FT: 88.5%. He spoke to after a test game against Germany.

Thanks Manu for talking to Belgium suffered a tough 87-83 loss. This game was very difficult to watch. Was this a typical first test in preparation for a big tournament?

Yes it was. There were a lot of mistakes on both sides. We had something like 10 turnovers in the first quarter. It was a great test for us, because we know Germany will be one of the top nations at the Euro. We know that we still have a lot to improve on.

A very weak first half by Germany as Belgium led 50-46. Do you feel Germany had the injury of Moritz Wagner on their minds as the bad news that he would miss the 2022 Euro as announced a few hours before the game

I had no idea of that news. It is always tough when you lose a player like that. Maybe they were thinking a bit about that.

Germany defended better in the second half and Daniel Theis finally woke up from his hibernation and made 3 big baskets down the stretch. Was that all Germany needed for the win?

I thought that Germany did a good job overall. They did a good job on ball screens. They still need to improve some things and were missing guys. But overal they closed out the game well and we made too many mistakes.

What was it like defending Dennis Schroeder? Was he still somewhere around 80% or was he just taking it easy at the start of the preparation?

I thought that he looked pretty aggressive on the court. He was trying to make plays for the team. He is so difficult to stop. He does a great job with his change of speed from slow to fast. He also draws fouls so well. I felt like I should of defended smarter. I had 4 fouls in like 15 minutes. But better now then at the Euro. It was a good test to play against him.

Franz Wagner was also a little rusty. He did make one sweet play driving and whipping a bullet kick out pass for three. What was your impression of him?

You could see that he is a great player. He had 23 points at the end. You could see that he really knows how to score. He also is still finding himself, but to play like that at this stage of the preparation is incredible.

Belgium last placed #19 at the 2017 European championships. How hot is the team to have a good 2022 Euro and how is this team different and better than then?

We have a new generation coming in. We like to play fast and controlled. I feel our biggest strength is our chemistry.

Recently you surprised Serbia 74-73 in a World Cup qualifying game. Do you believe that nations underestimating you could be a big plus for Belgium?

It is always a plus to be underestimated. But I feel like teams won’t do that. We have been showing too much that we are good for surprises. Teams may relax on us but they will see that we are capable of making a difference. We will be very competitive.

How important has head coach Dario Gjergja been for the current rise in the play of Belgium? Is he more a players coach or a guy that really stands for strict structure?

He has been huge. This will be his first Euro. We have a shot to qualify for the World Cup. He has had big wins with us. He is a player’s coach and believes in structure. I really like this balance. Every player knows their role.

Team Belgium in 2022 seems to have a lot of experience but few young players that are role players. Talk a little about some guys to watch for?

Two guys to watch for are Harris Bratanovic and Vrenz Bleijenbergh. Harris has done a great job coming in at the 5 position. He contributes well and also is still looking to blend in. Vrenz plays the 3 and also has been playing really well. He had a good game against Germany and is a very interesting player.

With yourself, Retin Obasohan, and Maxime De Zeeuw you have 3 top players. Do you guys feel pressure that you will have to score and perform at a top level each game to win?

We like the pressure and the challenge, but at the same time we have other guys that can also score. I’m not worried if I will be able to score or not, but moreover like the challenge.

Two guys that will also have to step up will be Quentin Serron and Alexandre Libert. How valuable are these players and what do you appreciate the most about their play?

They bring a lot of energy at both ends. Alex is a great shooter and brings those sniper qualities from the bench. Q is a great driver that always brings energy and can score.

I liked the play of Loic Schwartz. Could he be a key figure for the success of Belgium at the 2022 Euro?

Yes for sure. He had a great game against Germany. He can play the positions 1-3. He is a really good shooter, can create and play defense.

Group A is a very interesting one. One can’t say that Spain is a favorite to win it all. Then you have Turkey who are always dangerous and then other smaller basketball nations with Georgia, Montenegro and Bulgaria. Will it be beating Georgia and Montenegro be the key to advancing?

Yes for sure. We want to win the games we can. We have a tough group but love the challenge. We will be ready.

You had a very good season with Jonavos CBet (Lithuania-LKL): averaging 15.1ppg, 2.3rpg, Assists-5 (4.5apg), FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 34.8%, FT: 84.0%. How vital was this season for your mental health after your tough start to 20-21?

It was great. I needed the stability. It was great to have a good individual performance but also as a team. We moved up from second division and all thought we would go back, We finished fourth and qualified for Fiba Europe Cup. The fun part was that we did it together. It was great for my self-confidence.

Lithuania seems to be a league that suits you. You already finished strong in 20-21 there. How do you feel did your game grow in Lithuania?

My leadership improved. I was a go to guy that played against a lot of pressure. That really helped me prepare for the Euro. I think that I improved in many parts of my game.

It seems like your playmaking took real strides. You didn’t have those kind of assist rates since the G-League. Was your role more of being a facilitator?

Yes I was. I feel like my natural position is the point guard. I like to create for my team and play with speed and IQ. This was the first time I could show it. This was a great beginning for my career.

How much fun was it playing against Zalgiris 3 times. You lost the first 2 games easily but had good games, but saved your best for last scoring 33 points in an exciting 100-97 win. Was that one of your biggest wins as a pro?

Yes I think so. This win was huge. This was the first time we had ever beaten Zalgiris. It was a big achievement. In Lithuania everyone roots for Zalgiris.

What is your goal with your game with team Belgium at the Euro 2022? Do you feel like you can raise your game a bit more on this massive stage?

Yes I think I can. That is the goal. My first role is to be a service for the team. But at the same time I’m also very competitive. I want to match up against the best point guards and outplay them. I want to take my game to the next level.

How proud are you of your Baylor (NCAA) brother for reaching the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. Do you feel like he can raise his game to a new level in his second season?

I love Ish. He is a great teammate and player. It is crazy to see where he started and see that he is at the highest level now. I’m so happy for him. He really deserves it. I still see him improving in next years. He has always improved the last years. Sky is the limit for him.

Where do you rank Steph Curry currently in the talk of the best point guards of all-time?

He is top 5 all-time. I love his game. He is different than what the definition of a point guard is. He completely changed the game.

Thanks Manu for the chat.


Deanthony McCallum´s Juco Experience Has Helped Him Tune Everything Out And Focus On Basketball As He Chases The Pro Dream

Deanthony McCallum (193-G, college: Jacksonville) is a 193cm guard from Cincinnati Ohio chasing the professional basketball dream. He has had little pro exposure except for playing at the Eurobasket Summer League for Team London in 2020 and 2021 averaging 6.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.0spg, 2PT: 50.0%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 66.7% and 8.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.7apg, Steals-2 (2.0spg), FGP: 42.9%, FT: 50.0%. he began his basketball career at Anderson high school and then played 2 years at Independence Community College (JUCO) averaging 11.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 45.8%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 81.1% and 18.5ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 44.3%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 83.7%. he then played at Jacksonville University (NCAA) from 2017-2019 playing a total of 64 games averaging 7.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 55.1%, 3PT: 33.7%, FT: 74.6% and as a senior averaged 8.1ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 42.6%, 3PT: 43.3%, FT: 83.5%. He spoke to germanhoops about his basketball journey.

Thanks Deanthony for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

Thank you for having me to talk. I am currently in Raeford North Carolina and my basketball life is treating me pretty well. I am enjoying the grind and focusing on my craft.

You finished at Jacksonville (NCAA) more than 2 years ago and still are looking for a professional team. You had a solid 2 years and a career that would warrant job offers. How frustrating have the last 2 years been?

The last two years. While they could have been frustrating, I have used my time to not only improve my personal game, but I have also been working with and impacting the lives of the youth in my community.

How big of a role has Covid played in you not finding a team? There were many guys even those that have had good careers having problems finding clubs?

Covid has played a big role in me not finding a team. According to my agent at the time they had high hopes for me for a team in Ireland, but the league had shut down due to covid.

I read somewhere you had an agent and he didn’t call you in 2 years. You must have really suffered failed representation. Talk a little about what kind of experience the whole job market has been for you?

I don’t really have an opinion on an experience with the job market. From what I was understanding, the market was being catered to veterans due to the effects of covid.

Do you lose faith in the basketball process with what you have gone through? How have you been able to remain positive?

I have stayed confident throughout this whole process. While it has been frustrating, I have had the support of my family and close friends. I have made connections with people who have granted me gym access and I have been coaching, mentoring, and teaching middle school basketball.

Some guys who don’t get a shot right away overseas play semi pro in the States. Wasn’t that an option for you?

Yes, that was an option. Due to unfortunate circumstances with my travel plans and weather, I was unable to attend some showcases that teams were interested in seeing me play at. I was told that I would hopefully get to workout for these teams at a later date, but I was not given the opportunity to do so.

It is summer time and there are basketball pro am’s all over the place. Have you taken part in some so scouts, agents and coaches can get a better look at you?

I have not taken part in any.

You played at the Eurobasket summer league in 2020 and 2021. You showed with your defense that you could play with anyone. Didn’t any interest come from teams there?

I did not receive anything from those two events.

Have you gotten the feeling that it is more difficult for guards in general to find jobs simply because they are like everywhere on earth which gives you less of a chance to find a roster spot world wide?

I am unaware of the difficulties connected to being a certain position. I know a lot of guards with jobs and I know of bigs with jobs as well.

I can imagine the chip on your shoulder just continues to grow with each day. Does your experience in the NCAA push you each day to keep believing you can make it as a pro?

I wouldn’t say I have a chip on my shoulder. I do not have any negative emotions towards my situation. I am hungry and ready to show everyone why I deserve to have a job as a pro basketball player. With every day, I become more eager and hungry to keep grinding to succeed.

I can imagine you’re a real dog in the gym. How much has the daily grind been a part of your life since school?

The daily grind has been the greatest part of my life. I work out three times a day six days a week. I lift and condition and I get in the gym twice a day. I worked at a middle school for four months and during those months I would lift before work and get my basketball.

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 193cm shooting guard. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?

You didn’t have explosive NCAA stats but showed in JUCO that you can be an impact player. What other strengths do you have besides shooting?

Outside of shooting, I have a strong ability to get to and finish at the basket. Being able to get to the paint also opens up my playmaking. Nothing flashy, but I am able to set up my post players in the dunk spot as well as guards spotting up on the wings off of penetration. I watch a lot of film so I understand a lot of reads.

How much of a role does defense play in your mind set? Especially overseas being a two way player gives you an even better chance of getting jobs? What kind of a defender are you?

I have grown into a great defender over my collegiate career. I believe that if I want to win, I need to be able to impact the game on both sides of the floor. My senior year at Jacksonville, I was guarding the best player on the other team every game.

You shot an impressive 43% in your senior year. How has your shot continued to develop the last 2 years in the gym despite not playing against competition?

I have been staying in the gym making no less than 500 shots each session. Focusing on different situations for shooting the three. Whether it be off of the dribble, after a bad closeout, or after a pump fake.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to make strides in your game?

I have been focusing on improving my ball handling skills. This will improve my ability to create for myself and my teammates off the dribble. Increasing my ability to push the ball and play in transition when needed.

You played 2 years at Independence (JUCO). Every guy I have interviewed that played JUCO have said it was an experience that was tough but one they are thankful they did. How was it for you?

It was an amazing experience. Not for the weak though. It was very competitive because everybody is trying to get recruited out of there. So you have to figure out how to make yourself stand out while doing what you have to do to keep your spot. Making it out of JUCO basketball and getting to that next level means you were able to avoid the distractions, stay in the gym, and maintain that dedication and focus that got you there in the first place. JUCO players will thrive in any environment because they can tune everything out and focus on basketball.

You then played 2 seasons at Jacksonville (NCAA) playing a total of 64 NCAA games. How do you feel did your game grow the last 2 years?

My ability to play off the ball effectively and efficiently greatly improved while I was at Jacksonville. I grew into being able to impact the game on the defensive end at a high level as well. Not only with my defense on the ball, but off the ball as well.

How did head coach Tony Jasick groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Tony Jassick would always push me mentally in practice. He always knew what to say to keep our practices competitive and to keep us on our toes. He also kept on me about conducting myself as a professional. Staying in the gym. Coming in before practice and getting shots up. Staying after practice and getting shots up. Coming up in the evening and getting shots up. Getting extra workouts in on off days. Taking care of my body and coming into treatment. ‘Your body is your money-maker’ he would always say.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Aamahne Santos?

Aamahne Santos, one of my favorite point guards I have played with, can get everybody on the floor involved. Me though I’m winning. I was the winningest player in practice if you were on my team in a drill we were going to win. That was just the competitor in me.

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

The toughest player I faced against in the NCAA was Romeo Langford. He was the most athletic. The best shooter was Garrison Mathews. The best all around player was Caleb Homesley.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

JD Notae Jace Hogan Dave Bell Jalyn Hinton Amahne Santos

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Michael Jordan Steph Curry Dirk Nowitzki Allen Iverson Lebron James

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

I believe that they have shown two different approaches to dominating the game of basketball. While Jordan has been able to dominate the game in a more singular way, Lebron has taken a different approach while being more of using his teammates. Being able to make your teammates better while not necessarily having to is greater in my opinion so I chose Lebron. I also think the eras are so different in play styles and the skill of whole teams across the board, that it is more difficult to thrive like Jordan did in his era with the era we are in today.

Where do you place Steph curry now in the best point guards of all-time?

I would place him 2nd behind Magic.

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

I personally do not support sequels to movies when they come so far apart. Only because of how the dynamic of movies change over decades. The change makes it hard to make successful sequels because the content implemented in humor in 2020 is not the same as what was used in the 1990s.

Thanks Deanthony for the chat

Jeremy Ingram Who´s Middle Name Is Buckets Is Ready For The Next Step After Dominating In The German Regionalliga

Jeremy Ingram (183-G-1991, college: AAMU) is a 191 cm guard that was born in Alabama and has played his entire professional career in Germany for teams like Speyer, Idstein, Bensheim and recently SG Mannheim. Last season he picked up South West Regionalliga player of the year while averaging (32.1ppg), 5.7rpg, 4.2apg, Steals-4 (2.6spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 35.4%, 9%. He began his career with Enterprise State Community College (JUCO) and then finished with Alabama A&M University (NCAA). He spoke to about basketball.

Thanks Jeremy for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you at the moment?

Well right now I am actually all over the place. I have been traveling for vacations and Ive also recently started playing with the Summer Travel team ‘Der Stamm’ , so I’ve literally been everywhere lately.

Your last professional game was April 23rd where you scored 33 points in a win over Fellbach. When did you pick up a ball again? Is the basketball vibe always inside you or are you able to stay away from a ball for some days weeks?

After my last game , I literally flew to Spain the next day for vacation and then to the states 2 weeks later. I did a lot for my team this year so after the season my body needed the rest. I didn’t touch a ball for a month after the season. Would have been longer but I had a few workouts and tryouts for different teams. But the skill never leaves no matter how long I don’t touch the ball, but it’s the conditioning that affects me. I’m in great shape now though. I’ve been playing pretty much every other day now.

You just completed your sixth professional season and second with SG Mannheim. You won the scoring crown but the team lost a lot. How did you deal with the losing mentally?

Well mentally I knew what I was up against. I was really the only professional on the team so I was prepared for the challenge to be honest. I focused on getting better as a player and as a teammate while still trying to lead us to important wins, Which I did. So I’m satisfied with the results. Definitely the most losses I have ever had to deal with in 1 season though.

How difficult is it to defend at the Regionalliga level? You see so many high scoring games. Do you feel like coaches might focus more on scoring than defense?

I don’t think it’s very difficult to defend in this league. There are a couple players that are harder to guard of course but I led the league in steals also so I think I did a pretty good job defending also.

SG Mannheim had 5 guys 30 or older. The team had a lot of experience. Should a team that has more experience be able to defend better or is it more difficult to defend as your older?

With us having a older team, I think we definitely struggled with the younger energetic teams who likes to run and shoot 3s. Ultimately our goal was to slow the younger teams down and don’t let them run against us because then we would have a problem.

The team was 10-16 at the end of the season, but could have been way higher up on the standings as it lost 6 games by 4 or less points. How much of the blame do you give yourself for not being able to let your exquisite 1-1 abilities win games?

I blame myself for maybe 1 or 2 late game shots I should have made to win these games but at the end of the day if I didn’t score 30..40 points , we don’t even have a chance to win at all. So its no way I can blame myself too much but as a competitor and leader of the team instead of scoring 40, maybe I should have scored 42 then we would have won some of those games.

Two seasons ago with Idstein you began off very well averaging 26,0ppg after two games but then the season was cancelled. Did you ever wonder how that season would have gone for you had you been able to play it?

I honestly felt like we would won the league that year. I was told Giessen was supposed to be the best team that year but we beat them by 20 points. I was very ready to win it with that team. Very disappointing that we didn’t even compete to move up.

You had an incredible season averaging 32,1ppg, 5,7rpg, 4,2apg and 2,6spg. How would you rate your own season in terms of a school grade? I mean could of you scored even more if you wanted to?

I had an American coach this year and he really let me showcase ALL of my skills that some coaches wouldn’t really let me show because of the culture of European basketball. He put a lot of faith and trust in me to go out every night and do my thing and most importantly try to get the win so I credit all my success to him. But I think this was definitely my best individual season ever. Not just points , I led in steals also , 2 pointers , 3 pointers , efficiency, free throws, minutes and games played and still ended up top 5 in assists. I had a great year.

You picked up Eurobasket awards. How blessed are you to have played such a good season. What do you believe was the biggest attribute that allowed you to have this type of year?

My coach and my teammates believing I could go out and make plays all game was the biggest attribute to my success this year. I have played with players who didn’t want me to outshine them so they made it difficult for me to play. So without my team accepting me for me I couldn’t have had a season like this.

You averaged a crazy 38 minutes per game. You played 14 games straight out without a break and two games 45 minutes. What was key during the season to be able to keep this up? Did you have a special conditioning plan that you did on your own during the season?

I actually had no special conditioning plan actually, I just made sure to get massages regularly , a lot of ice, and physical thereapy, and a lot of ice baths and epsom salt baths. Took great care of my body. I had a lot of tough little injuries but I played through every one of them because that’s what Kobe would do! If I can breathe, I can play.

Did you feel some fatigue at the end of the season?

I felt fatigue since before Christmas break but I was going to finish the season no matter what.

You scored 40 points or more 5 times including 48, 47 and 46 points. Did it bother your competitive nature a bit that you didn’t reach 50 points?

Yes it still eats me up! I had 48 one game and I got fouled at the end to go shoot 2 free throws to make 50. I caught a cramp and couldn’t walk so they didn’t let me shoot the free throws and made me go off the court. That was my chance to score 50 and I caught a cramp!

You have always been a scorer in Germany. What steps do you feel did you make as a scorer this season?

My scoring this season was because of the freedom I had and the fact if I didn’t score these points we didn’t have a chance to win games. My other teams I could also be mainly a playmaker and score 20 points and still win. Situation was a little different for this team.

What other strides did you make in the other parts of your game like rebounding, assists, TO’s and defense?

I wanted everyone to know just because I average over 30 points I do pass also and I play defense. So I made sure to get my assists up and I made sure to keep leading the league in steals. So everyone always focused on my scoring this season but I did so much other things.

On what area’s of your game will you be working on most this summer so you can continue to make strides in your game?

I have been working on getting even faster. I always want to get stronger. But I want my handles to be even quicker, my 1st step to be even quicker, and more explosiveness

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Jeremy Ingram in Limburg, Germany in 2022

What is the next step for you? I’m sure you will have Pro B offers and maybe even a Pro A offer. Or might you take a new challenge in another country?

To be honest I want to play in other countries other than Germany but still play in Europe. Right now I have no idea where I would play. I want to play in the highest league possible no matter what country. Whoever wants me to play for them I’m appreciative.

You recently received a once in a lifetime opportunity to show your skills at the Hennessey NBA Court Beyond Limits showcase. How does a guy get a chance like that? Please talk about how you got this cool opportunity?

I have noticed in this basketball world is not about how good you are or how talented , even though that matters a lot. It’s about Who you know. It’s all about networking and my Mannheim coach knows and is connected with a lot of people so that’s how I got that connection to the der stamm team. But a lot of people saw me play this season so finally my ability to play basketball is being seen by more and more people.

Talk a little about the Hennessey NBA Court Beyond Limits showcase. What experiences did you make? How happy were you with your performance?

The NBA Hennessy game was exciting and I was glad to be a part of it. Unlimited Hennessy for 8 hours and people coming to watch us put on a show. It was so dope. And I was The MVP of the Game (so everyone says). But I played great and had a lot of fun and Berlin was dope too.

Talk a little about the other players who participated. Were there some really high level guys there?

Most of the guys all played in higher leagues than me . A couple Pro B and Pro A players . I enjoyed playing basketball with them and hanging out with them after the event.

I can imagine being able to network is huge at a place like this. Did you meet some important people?

I met a few important people and this showcase also gave a lot of people chances to actually see how nice I really am. So I definitely used this platform to show people I can really play.

Where does the legacy of Steph Curry stand right now after 4 NBA rings?

Other than Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry is my 2nd favorite NBA player all time . I can’t say he is Top 3 just yet .. but he is definitely top 10 . Who knows, maybe when he retired he will have worked his way into the Top 3 all time because he is amazing.

What is something that you want to do this summer that you haven’t done in a while?

I love thrills! Jet skis is my favorite thing to do in this world but now I am ready to go Skydiving. I feel like there’s no bigger thrill than that so I am ready to go skydiving, but all of my friends are too afraid to go with me.

Thanks Jeremy for the chat.

With Time Julian Scott Has Learned That You Should Live The Moment And Enjoy Your Teammates Because You Will Enjoy It So Much More

Julian Scott (203-F/C-1990, college: ASU) is a 31 year old 203cm forward from Sacramento that recently finished his 7th professional season with his 10th team called AS Loon Plage Basket (France-NM2). He began his basketball career with Yuba College (NJCAA), and then also gained experience with Southern Utah University (NCAA) and Adams State University (NCAA2, starting five): 27 games: 10.8ppg, 4.0rpg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 70.2%. He began his career with TSV Quakenbrueck (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and also played for teams like Uni Riesen Leipzig (Germany-ProB), Team Ehingen Urspring (Germany-ProA), Gries/Oberhoffen BC (France-NM1), Residence Walferdange (Luxembourg-Total League), Iserlohn Kangaroos (Germany-ProB), BC Prievidza (Slovakia-SBL), Dresden Titans (Germany-ProB) and Pays de Fougeres Basket (France-NM2). He spoke to about his basketball career.

Thanks Julian for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

Hey miles! Man it has been awhile! I’m doing well thanks for reaching out. I’m currently back in the U.S off a long season with my team in Loon Plage.

It’s been a little more than 3 years since we last had a basketball chat. Basketball moves on and your still playing. How blessed are you to say that there aren’t so many guys around that can say that they have so long.

I can honestly say it’s been a blessing. Especially for me because I wasn’t always looked at as somebody who had any chance. But my work ethic starting out was all that I really had to separate myself from others. So now I can enjoy experiences with my family and travel to see places I would have probably never thought of doing if I didn’t get to play this game.

You had to experience Covid just like everyone else playing and living in France. What were the biggest challenges for you on and off the court during this time?

This was a tough time but also something good came out of it. Challenges was just not playing I knew I was going back to Loon Plage but it wouldn’t be for a whole year. So I had to keep busy find work and I was able to continue training the youth. But the best thing was I got to take a break spend time with my family which you don’t get a lot of playing overseas. On the court was fine I stayed working out while I back home.

Was there ever a point in the last two years where you thought that Covid could possibly halt your professional career? Did it take a toll on you mentally at times?

No not at all. I knew where I was going so mentally I was okay. The hard part was just making sure I stayed pushing my body to stay in shape. Which is all part of the journey!

After finding a home in Germany in the first years, you seemed to have found a home in France playing there the last three years. What have you learned to appreciate most in France off the court?

The Culture is so diverse similar to the U.S in a lot of ways. You see all kinds of different people. The architecture, the Citadels the food it’s definitely a place I like to be.

In Germany it seems like everyone knows English, but in France there is always the notion that the French don’t really appreciate the English language. How have you been able to cope with their culture? Have you learned the language which isn’t necessarily the easiest?

That’s true but you find people who can speak some English. Well it’s simple I just have to learn it. I’m not great but I’m taking it more serious to learn French so I can try to relate to everyone better. I also see they appreciate the effort so I’m going to take this summer as well to put more time into it.

You have played the last three years in the fourth league in France called NM2. How would you compare that league to the German Pro B where you were a top player?

I would say the Pro B is a bit better but not by a lot that was when you had 3 import players on one team so it was more competitive. NM2 guys are definitely skilled most of them all played higher levels in their career so they have that experience. Only difference is for imports it’s harder to get a job in a higher division because there’s only one spot available per the rules. But either way it’s fine you have millions of players trying to get a job for one spot. I’m just lucky to be able to have one!

You played your first season in France with Pays de Fougeres Basket (France-NM2). You won a title. What memories do you remember of the run?

We didn’t get the chance to win the title because of the Covid we were positioned to make the playoffs and nobody expected it to happen. But Covid cut us off just one month short of our goal. Still haunts me today not getting the job done.

You played the last 2 seasons with AS Loon Plage Basket (France-NM2). You seem to have found a new home there. What have you enjoyed most about this organization? It seems to be like a real family there?

I would say the culture there is that of a family. You have your ups and downs but what family doesn’t. Everyone on that team had something to give to that team and it was special to be a part of it. We won the most important matches to move the club up to the higher Division of NM1 that’s all I wanted in my career was to be able to prove to myself and others I’m a winner and play winning basketball.

You were always a go to guy whereever you played especially in Germany. It hasn’t been any different in France. How is Julian Scott a different player today than 3 years ago?

I would say he is smarter and wiser. I see the game differently. Before I was a guy who just wanted to have statistics because that’s what would get you paid the big contracts. That’s partially true but what I didn’t realize how much winning mattered. You obviously want to win but you learn more and more people don’t care about personal accolades it’s the success
have with your team. As far as being wiser I stopped just making my life about basketball and started to enjoy my teammates off the court. Because in the end we are all people and memories we share and have is more important than any big money contract you can get and I encourage all they guys who read this. There’s more to it than just basketball don’t just think about your future. Live in the moment where you are now. You will enjoy it so much more if you do.

Your turning 32 this summer. Are you in your prime now or do you feel like you have passed it? What do you still want to accomplish with your game besides winning titles?

I still feel I’m in my prime my body feels good still finding ways to make it better. My goals are to be able to still win titles. You get a taste of it and you want it again. You want people to celebrate together and enjoy those moments. I want to be remembered in the club’s history books helping them accomplish their goals. On top of that live life to the fullest and continue to bring my family out to explore new places in Europe.

What is the next step for you? Will you be returning to France or possibly try a new challenge?

I plan to stay in France I love it there. It’s very professional no drama with not being paid your salary. Your treated like a person not just an object to do a job. So France is where I like to be.

On what areas of your game will you be focused on most this summer to keep improving your game?

My shooting will always be a number 1 thing. I would say this season was my best 3pt shooting in my career. But I want to be better to continue to stretch the floor. But also still do what I do best under the basket.

How proud are you of your ex team Dresden Titans and ex teammate Daniel Kirchner for moving up to the Pro A? Do you still follow your ex team?

Of course I do I’m so proud of them! When I went there more than halfway through their season they were on the verge of moving down to Regionalliga. Not any position you want to be in but we didn’t let that happen. Now they are doing great things so happy for that organization.

In your rookie season you played with TSV Quackenbruck and observed the young development of current NBA player Isaiah Hartenstein who was 16. Did you see that NBA potential in 2014?

Holy shit yes. Watching how he moved at his size how athletic he was as at just 16. I was 23 at that time and I remember him blocking my shot multiple times I was like OMG lol yes definitely he is doing very well. His family is a basketball family so I can appreciate his success thus far.

Have you kept tabs on his NBA career? He seems to have a slow development in terms of how teams use him. It got better with the Clippers. Shouldn’t this guy be a starter somewhere?

The fact he is still playing in the NBA is a win. He will get his opportunity I’m sure of it. Keep his ego in check and keep doing what he is doing that time will come.

How important was then vet and coach Florian Hartenstein for you? Was he like a mentor for you?

He was. He gave me my first opportunity when times were extremely doubtful I would have a career. I have to thank him for that.

Do you remember playing 1-1 back in the day? I can imagine that you won some of those battles?

Yes we did and I beat him. I’ll never forget he said if I ever beat you then your fired! I was like mannnnnnn you can still dunk come on. Lol we actually played some games together to which isn’t normal for a coach but we did.

Where will the legacy of Steph Curry be if he wins another NBA title? Is he a top 3 point guard all-time?

He already is no question!

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

I haven’t seen it but I will now that you asked.

Thanks Julian for the chat.

Even If Martin Hermannsson Has Reached The Euroleague There Is Nothing But Love And Respect From Best Friend Elvar Fridriksson

Having that special friendship among certain NBA players is something that is seen every now and then over the years. For example the Bromance between Golden State Warriors Steph Curry and Klay Thompson also known as the splash brothers for their sniper like shooting tendencies has been strong leading them to multiple titles even if Curry has stolen the spotlight from him. Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony have had a unique bond since both came into the league in 2003 or Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant who lteams to come together in Brooklyn and proclaim wanting to win a title together. Sometimes even the competitive nature of two guys battling at the same position and minutes won’t interfere as fans witnessed in Oklahoma City with Enes Kanter of Turkey and Steven Admas of New Zealand some years ago. Both got along so well that they grew mustaches and were named the Stash brothers. These very remarkable bonds don’t only happen in the NBA, but even overseas. One very exceptional friendship is between Icelandic players Elvar Fridriksson (182-PG-1994, college: Barry) and Martin Hermannsson. But the difference between their comradeship and others is that there’s began during childhood and is still strong in 2022. However their basketball journeys have been quite different. Whereas both have played at a high level, it was Martin Hermannsson that actually made it to the absoluteghest Euroleague. ‘Me and Martin have been best friends our whole lives. Our parents are very good friends so we grew up together. Spent a lot of time together and started our college journey together. I decided to go my own path and finish my degree but Martin went pro after 2 years of college basketball. It has been amazing to see what he has achieved and how well his process has been. That makes me very happy to see how successful he has been in Europe. He has shown that it is possible to make it to the highest level even though we are from a small country. It has definitely not been difficult to see him being successful because of course I want my best friend to be successful, it has made me very happy to see how well he has done. I have always had my goals and I am just working towards them without trying to follow someone’s path’, stressed Elvar Fridriksson. The memories that Fridriksson has of his best friend are unending. ‘Off the court we have spent so much time together, the vacation trips to Orlando we went on together with our families when we were kids and most recently spending New Years together in Valencia was also a great time so nowadays when we spend time together is always a great time. On the court was probably when we were starting our college journey together, playing in Madison Square Garden and a film crew from Iceland made a documentary about that game, that was pretty cool. Our youth National team games and being called up to the Senior National team together at the same time was all a great experience’, remembered Elvar Fridriksson. There is absolutely no animosity from Fridriksson, but total love and respect, but how could it be any different among guys like these who have each other’s back through thick and thin. ‘Our friendship is very close and has always been. We have gone a very similar path in life, with starting in Iceland, going to college together and then become professional basketball players in Europe so we share very similar lifestyles therefore we have a lot of things in common. But Martin is a great person, down to earth and always a joy to be around. He is a confident person and is a social chameleon, it is easy for him to connect with anyone’, warned Elvar Fridriksson.

Elvar Fridriksson who lists Martin Hermannsson, Sunday Dech, Marcus Tyus, Andy Van Vliet, and Kristofer Acox as his five best teammates of all-time was born on November 11, 1994 in Njardvik, Iceland. He began his basketball career with the UMFN Njardvik junior team and showed his talent early on being selected to the countries youth national teams where he balled with the U-16 and U-18 teams. He took part at the European Championship U18 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 2012 playing 9 games averaging 10.3ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.4apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 34.9%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 78.3%. At the same time, he gained valuable experience playing pro ball with UMFN Njardvik (Iceland-Express League) from 2011-2014 playing a total of 79 games and really improving his game each season. In his last two seasons he averaged 19.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 79.3%, and 20.8ppg, 4.3rpg, Assists-2 (7.3apg), Steals-2 (2.5spg), FGP: 48.0%, 3PT: 41.6%, FT: 75.7%. Thinking what could have been hadn’t he made the step to the States in 2014 never crossed his mind. ‘It was very important to get a few years in the top division in Iceland, I was allowed to grow as a player and play through my mistakes on the court which gave me the opportunity to go play college basketball. It is not easy to go from Iceland to NCAA division 1 because the exposure is not big so I was lucky to get to that point. I don’t think about “what if ” I would have gone pro earlier because it was always a dream to go to America to play college and I do not regret that decision because I created great memories, made a lot of friends and gained experience that I would not want to miss out on. I also got a college degree which is important so the path I took I believe was meant for me’, remembered Elvar Fridriksson. He had some massive games in his second to last season scoring 36 points against Stjarnan and 35 points against Snaefell. In his last season he hit Thor Thorl for 37 points.

After getting good experience in his homeland, the guard who has had his share of competitive duels against friend Martin Hermannsson wining some and losing some decided to take on a new challenge and go to the States and play NCAA ball with LIU Brooklyn (NCAA) in the 2014-2015 season. He had a very solid freshman campaign playing 30 games averaging 8.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 40.8%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 71.1%. Despite having a convincing first season in the NCAA, he took a step back the next season to play NCAA 2 ball. But for him, it was a step he had to take. Staying in Brooklyn just wouldn’t have felt right. ‘It is rare to see a freshman who starts every game in division 1 and had a solid season transfer to division 2 school but I felt the situation was not right for me. I didn’t see myself finish all 4 years in Brooklyn so I decided to go to a school that would fit me better. I transferred to a school in Miami that had 8 European d1 transfers on the team so the level was very competitive. I don’t think I took a step down basketball wise because in my opinion the team I was on was better than I was on at LIU. A lot of top division 2 schools are better than some of the lower division 1 schools I believe. I enjoyed it very much to play basketball at Barry University so I do not regret the decision of transferring’, stated Elvar Fridriksson. He scored in double figures in 13 games including hitting Maine and New Hampshire for 19 points apiece. No great personal experience there could have been better than playing together with Martin Hermannsson. ‘My favorite moments in Brooklyn was to share the court with Martin and play with him for a season. That is an opportunity that doesn’t come often’, said Elvar Fridriksson. He then played three years at Barry (NCAA2) being able to improve his season average of scoring and rebounds each season and averaged 7,0apg in his last two seasons. He averaged 18.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 7.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.8%, 3PT: 38.2%, FT: 87.0% as a junior and 19.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 7.1apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 41.8%, FT: 82.8% as a senior. He helped his school reach two NCAA 2 Elite 8’s. ‘Both runs were really sweet but losing a very tied game my senior year hurt more because I knew my college career was over and I wouldn’t get another chance’, commented Elvar Fridriksson. He played a total of 88 NCAA 2 games and scored in double figures in 23 of 25 games his senior year and scored 37 points against Embry Riddle, but topped that earlier in his career with 43 points against Tampa. But that wasn’t his most memorable game at Barry. ‘That game was for sure special and my best game scoring wise but both final games in regional championships probably stand out to me as my favorite games’, added Elvar Fridriksson. Being able to leave Barry and be ready to continue his professional career wouldn’t have been as easy hadn’t head coach Butch Estes been able to groom and prepare him the way he did. ‘Coach Estes gave me a lot of freedom on the court to develop as a player, I improved in the open court and to play 1 on 1 against taller and more athletic players’, remembered Elvar Fridriksson.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Martin Hermannsson in Frankfurt in 2019

The Icelandic national player who rates current Dallas Maverick Luka Doncic as the toughest player he has ever faced on the court went back to Europe in 2018 to continue his professional career after 4 years in the States. He had never played professional outside of his homeland and now took on the challenge in France with Denain ASC Voltaire (France-ProB) averaging 4.8ppg, 1.4rpg, 3.2apg. It was a short stay, but the early growing pains were definitely a worthwhile experience in his continued basketball path for his development. ‘I was in France for 3 months, being a rookie in Europe is very challenging because the playing style is different. It takes time to adjust to the game but I only got two games in the regular season before they decided to get a more experienced point guard. It was a tough start to my career but the team needed a different type of player so I got to respect their decision and work even harder to be able to play on that level, so I had to go back to square one and go back to Iceland. Since then I have been in good situations to take steps in the right direction’, stressed Elvar Fridriksson. Even if his time in France was a learning experience and one where he had to pay his dues, being able to watch other talented guys like ex Missouri Southern State (NCAA2) great Marquis Addisson and learn was beneficial. ‘Of course I have followed his career, Marquis is a great guy and has worked really hard to get to the point where he is now. He has followed my path ever since Denain and he reaches out to me every season so we have followed each other. In France Marquis was one of the leaders of the team. He is a person that everyone wants to have on their team. He is a very competitive guy and a great shooter’, warned Elvar Fridriksson. He then returned home and finished the season in Iceland in a comfortable situation with to UMFN Njardvik (Dominos League) averaging 21.2ppg, 6.0rpg, 5.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 43.2%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 84.8%. He was very fortunate to have been able to experience Jeb Ivey’s last season before retiring. Ivey was a seasoned veteran who passed along vital attributes to him. ‘Jeb Ivey was playing his last season as a pro. He knew it was his last season but still his work ethic was unbelievable to see. He set the tone in every practice and made every drill competitive. It was great to learn from him and get to play with him his last season’, expressed Elvar Fridriksson. He definitely got his self-confidence back as he exploded for 40 points against Breidablik. In the next season in 2018-2019 he went to Sweden to play for Boras Basket (Sweden-Basketligan) where he didn’t disappoint finding his groove averaging 17.1ppg, 2.9rpg, Assists-1 (7.8apg), FGP: 51.8%, 3PT: 39.3%, FT: 78.6%. This was definatley a season he will never forget, because it helped his leverage on the basketball ladder and sort of got him better on the map in European basketball. ‘My season in Boras was very good, we had a good team and we finished number 1 in the league before the season was canceled due to Covid. It was a make or break season for me after a tough start in France so it was very important to get into a situation like I was in Boras. My confidence grew and I also had a great coach there that helped me a lot’, remembered Elvar Fridriksson. He scored in double figures in 27 of 31 Swedish-Basketligan games including 7 double doubles. He scored 27 points apiece against Djurgarden and Jamtland. Last season he played with BC Siauliai (Lithuania-LKL) being able to make another step in his game playing 36 games and averaging 15.3ppg, 2.9rpg, 7.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 54.6%, 3PT: 37.0%, FT: 77.6%. He was fifth in scoring and first in assists. For a player that already has a high IQ, playing in a country like Lithuania brought that part of his basketball knowledge to the next step. ‘I really enjoyed playing in Lithuania, unfortunately I played without fans in the arena but it was still amazing. The knowledge they have for the game is at a high level. Playing with veterans like Mindaugas Lukauskis and Kaspars Berzins was a good experience and I learned a lot from them. My coach at Siauliai was also a great teacher of the game, he taught me a lot of little details that helped me a lot so playing with and against players with high IQ definitely helped me get a better understanding of the game’, remembered Elvar Fridriksson.

So now let’s fast forward to 2022 as the ex Barry (NCAA29 standout who lists Lebron James as his personal GOAT played with the Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League). and finished the season with Derthona Basket Tortona (Italy-Serie A). Despite playing for a great organization and city, the last two years haven’t been easy with Covid as he saw how it all developed in Sweden, Lithuania and then Belgium. It was a severe challenge, but one that also made him stronger as a man. ‘The biggest challenge on the court is to stay in rhythm because last season in Lithuania I spent a lot of time in and out of quarantine. Coming back from a 10 day break without practicing basketball breaks up the rhythm also here in Belgium I tested positive for the second time in 6 months so I am recovering from that now. Off the court it has been challenging to be without my family for a long time. There was a lockdown in Lithuania so I wasn’t able to see my wife and son for a long time so that was pretty tough. It definitely made me stronger, also made me appreciate the little things more. Trying to enjoy the moment more and have fun on the court’, warned Elvar Fridriksson. He has had the fortune to see new countries and leagues the last few years and it hasn’t been any different in Belgium. ‘It was a good experience playing in Belgium and also playing in a European competition. It is a completely different league from Lithuania so it took some time to adjust to the style that is played here. But I would say the level between those two leagues are very similar’, said Elvar Fridriksson. The Telenet Giants have won 14 titles and the ambition to perform very well is a goal for the team each season. ‘The long term goal is of course to finish as high as we can. We need to improve a lot of things and work hard to be able to play our best basketball when it matters the most. We aim high this season’, added Elvar Fridriksson. Over the years the club has had well known guys suit up like Jason Clark, Tremmel Darden, Paris Lee, Kevin Punter, or Michael Roll. It isn’t any different this season as the team got Markel Brown who played parts of three seasons in the NBA has given the team a push. ‘It has been great to play with Markel, he is a guy with experience from the highest level and he knows the game very well. I can learn a lot from him but whatever he did in the past does not give me confirmation that I can play at a certain level. I need to prove that myself with my game so hopefully I keep climbing the ladder and reach the highest level so I can show that I can play there’, warned Elvar Fridriksson. He also has worked his way into the Icelandic national team starting in 2013 and took part at the 2015 and 2017 European championships qualifiers, but had a limited role. But his role skyrocketed in 2021 at the 2023 European championships qualifiers as he played 8 games averaging 17.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 4.4apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 85.7%. He had a three point buzzer beater in the thrilling 86-85 win over Luxemburg and nailed Denmark for 30 points in a 91-70 win. He feels very much accepted by the national team now. ‘It was very important to get the trust from the coach and therefore I gained more confidence and more experience to play on that level which I believe will benefit me’, stressed Elvar Fridriksson.

The 182cm guard who lists Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Steph Curry on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore is a player where one could compare his game to a Facundo Campazzo or JJ Barea. He can score a lot, but also has put up high assist stats his whole life. But one couldn’t call him a pass first guard. ‘I would say a little mix of both, depends on the role that the team I am on needs me to play. I personally think when I am aggressive to score it opens up more passing options for me’, stated Elvar Fridriksson. He ability to create is very dangerous and will punish a team in so many ways with his playmaking. There isn’t one kind of pass that he prefers more over others. ‘There is not a specific assist that comes to my mind but I would say my favorite assist is when it gets the team going. A dump off or an alley-oop for a dunk or for a three point shot’, stressed Elvar Fridriksson. The guy can do so much more than just score and dish out dimes, but is an above average rebounder for his size and a very aggressive defender. ‘My strengths are using the pick n roll to create or score and in the open court where there is a lot of space to attack. That’s where I am most comfortable’, expressed Elvar Fridriksson. He is nearing his prime, but may have a few more years to go, but he has the healthy mind set and work ethic where he knows as soon as he doesn’t have the hunger to keep grinding in the gym, then it’s time to pack it in. He knows that he still has many area’s where he can still get better at. ‘The areas I can improve most is to cut down turnovers, better decision making and more consistency in shooting the mid range. With more experience I will also improve all parts of my game but those are the ones I need to work on to get to the highest level’, stressed Elvar Fridriksson. One thing is for sure, no matter where Elvar Fridriksson lands in the next years, his best friend Martin Hermannsson will continue to support him. ‘He is not only my best friend but also we have been pushing each other to get better all our lives. On the court it could get heated and messy sometimes but right after the game it was like nothing happened. We call each other almost everyday and there is nothing we don’t know about each other’, stressed Martin Hermannsson. Perhaps one day they will play on the same team again outside the Icelandic national team. Then they can have daily one on one matches. Iceland will never lose at the end of a match anywhere in the world.


Rayshawn Simmons Has Become A More Complete And Confident Player Since His Ehingen Days

Rayshawn Simmons (192-PG-1993, college: CMU) is a 28 year old 192cm guard from St Louis, Missouri, that completed his fifth professional season and second in Germany with Science City Jena (Germany-ProA) playing 40 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, Assists-2 (7.7apg), FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. In 2019-2020 he played with the Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen (Belgium-Euromillions League) averaging 9.2ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 83.9%. In his first year in germany he played with Team Ehingen averaging 11,5ppg, 3,4rpg and 9,4apg. He also played with the Logan Thunder (Australia-QBL) playing 18 games averaging 12.6ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (8.4apg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 76.2%. As a rookie he played with Orli Prostejov (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 15 games averaging 11.9ppg, 4.5rpg, Assists-4 (5.3apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 71.2%. He began his basketball career with Moberly Area CC and then finished at Central Michigan (NCAA) playing 95 NCAA games over the course of three seasons and as a senior played 33 game averaging 12.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 64.1%. He spoke to after the 21-22 season.

Thanks Rayshawn for talking to It has almost been three years since our last interview. Has time flown despite Covid?

Personally I feel like time has moved slow and two years has felt like five especially with so many changes in the world.

Congrats on a successful team season with Jena. Was the disappointment big losing in the semi-finals. The goal was too move up to the easyCredit BBL.

Yes, it was a disappointment for me. I didn’t expect anything less than a championship. But you need a little luck and luck wasn’t with us in the Semi Finals.

The team had a great start winning 11 of 12 games, but let up a bit at the end losing 6 of 11 games. The team was the fourth best defensive team during the season. Why did the team begin to give up more points?

I think we began to give up more points because teams started to get better and figured out some of our some of our defensive rotations.

How did you experience the very exciting 5 game playoff series against Paderborn. What will you always remember from that series?

I will always remember playing against my good friend Jordan Barnes who’s also from Saint Louis, Missouri (USA).

In the semi’s you met a very tough Rostock series. How key was their guard rotation? Was that depth the difference between the title and not?

I think Rostock was a balanced team, very similar to us but ultimately played at a higher level than we did.

Jena lost game 4 77-76. Where does that game rate in your toughest loses as a professional?

The last loss is always the toughest for me.

Is that game winner by Tyler Nelson that will be forever remembered in Rostock, one of those shots that you won’t forget either?

Yes, that’s a game I’ll never forget.

Let’s talk a little about your teammates. How cool was it being teammates with veteran Brandon Thomas? Was he like a mentor for you and what won’t you ever forget about him?

Being Brandon Thomas’ teammate is definitely one of my favorite and most memorable moments playing basketball. My respect level and appreciation for him is at an all-time high. I’ll never forget the way he carried himself and showed up everyday giving it everything he had in him everyday.

Alex Herrera has shown in the Pro A that he is a top forward. What did you appreciate most about his game?

Alex is one of those guys I’ve always wanted to play with and a workhouse. He’s mentally one of the toughest guys I know.

How key was the pick up of Davonte Lacy another player that has proven to be a top player in the Pro A. What did you appreciate most about his game and how did he help the team most?

Davonte was a great pick up for us. It allowed us to be a bit more dynamic. We could just throw him the ball and he could go score. He really pushed me to be more aggressive to score and especially shoot 3s.

Jena had some solid role players as veterans but also young guys getting some minutes. Which player do you feel developed the best this season?

I’d say Vuk developed the most over the season. He got better everyday and was a willing learner.

You sat out the 20-21 season. When you look back at this do you feel like this could have effected the further development of your game?

I think it affected the further development of my game in a positive way. It gave me time to sit back and reevaluate a lot of things. I ultimately came back a better player.

Two seasons ago you had a solid season in the competitive Euromillions league in Belgium with Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen averaging 9.2ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 83.9%. How would you compare the German pro A with the Euromillions league in terms of skill and competitive level?

The Belgian league is more physical and more skilled. There’s like 4-5 teams in that league that play internationally as well. I think the top 2 teams or so could compete middle to bottom of the league. Overall though, not the same level.

With Jena you played 40 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 7.7apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. How content were you with your season? What kind of a grade would you give it?

I’d give myself a B.

What kind of a player is Rayshawn Simmons now in 2022 than you were in 2019 with Ehingen?

I am a more complete and confident player in 2022 vs 2019.

On what areas of your game will you work on most this summer so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?

I will work on shooting and finishing as those are two areas that can really separate a player.

You had so many great games with Jena. What was your personal most memorable game? Possibly the 113-109 win over PS Karlsruhe?

That’s tough. Honestly there were a few. I’d like to say the game winner over Paderborn in the 1st Round of Playoffs has to be up there though.

You played against so many tough players this season, but who was the toughest?

I have to go with Jordan Barnes. Hometown guy. He put on a show this year.

What is your take on all the bashing guys like James Harden and Kevin Durant are getting?

I think it comes with the territory. People want to win and nothing else matters.

Is Luca Doncic a top 5 player finally or even a top 3 player now?

I wouldn’t go that far. He’s good though.

What is something special you plan to do this summer that you haven’t done in a while?

I plan to spend time with my son who’s 8months old. I haven’t gotten to see him much other than the time he visited me during the season with my grandmother.

Thanks Rayshawn for the chat.

Daeqwon Plowden Knows Just Being Himself Will Bring Him The Most Success With The New Orleans Pelicans

In the NBA Summer League you have certain type of players situations that basically make out what type of minutes they will get. First you have the NBA Draft picks of that season that play heavy minutes, then you have the borderline NBA players that get a real good look, then you have rookies that somehow got hooked up to play and last but not least guys sometimes older and from overseas that also got hooked up and still are looking to somehow slip into the NBA. Daeqwon Plowden (6’6”-G/F-1998, college: BGSU, agency: One Motive Sports) of Bowling Green State who has Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Shaq on his personal own NBA Mount Rushmore is a rookie that got invited thanks to agent Drew Kelso’s good connections and played so well that the New Orleans Pelicans rewarded him with an exhibit 10 contract. Let me rewind a bit to September 2018. I was back home in Boston and wanted to see if I could connect with some of the Boston Celtics exhibit 10 players. With the help of German basketball insider Fabian Beierlein who seems to know everyone, he got me the number of Justin Bibbs a product from Virginia (NCAA) and we connected. We met in a hotel in Cambridge not far from the Red Auerbach training facility and he told me his basketball journey. I remember the happiness in his face about having this once in a lifetime experience and being able to share the court with Kyrie Irving and upcoming superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. I also bumped into other exhibit 10 players like Jeff Roberson who is currently balling in Germany with the MHP Riesen, and Nick King who last season played in the Italian Serie A. It was great seeing the zeal and carefree attitude that they had, because they knew they had absolutely nothing to lose. An exhibit 10 contract is a 1 year minimum salary NBA contract. This gives an organization the flexibility to make it into a 2 way deal, but the club has to make it happen before the start of the regular season. Exhibit 10 contracts are usually non guaranteed which means the team can waive the player. If a player doesn’t mind landing in the G-league after, having an Exhibit 10 contract can be beneficial, but if your wanting to latch on overseas after, it is a risk as most teams are completed for the new season. There are many guys that get these Exhibition 10 contracts and only a few number reach the NBA. It will be interesting to see where the journey will go for American Daeqwon Plowden. He knows that if he is just himself during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans then that will bring him the most success.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing ex Virginia(NCAA) great Justin Bibbs in 2018 in Boston when he was an exhibit 10 player with the Boston Celtics

Daeqwon Plowden at the 2022 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

Daeqwon Plowden who couldn’t take himself and currently sees him and ex Bowling Green State teammate Trey Diggs tied in a 1-1 series is a 23 year old 198cm swingman from the city of brotherly love Philadelphia and left a mark at Mastery Charter Noth High School leaving as the all-time leading scorer. He was a 2 time Public League Liberty division MVP as well as a 2 time first team and all-state selection. In 2017 he was ranked in the top 100 at his position in the country by ESPN and was the 20th best player in Pennsylvania by ESPN in 2017. He then took the next step and attended Bowling State University where in 5 seasons he played a total of 153 NCAA games. He averaged only 18 minutes per game in his first two seasons, but in his last 3 seasons became a serious impact player averaging 32 minutes per game and was able to improve his scoring average each season. ‘I just felt like I came into the MAC not knowing how that level would be, but after watching some great players on both ends of the basketball and practicing against them helped me shape into an all around player’, added Daeqwon Plowden. He averaged 15,0ppg and 7,0rpg in his last 3 seasons and head coach Michael Huger was a massive aid in him being able to make the transition to the pro level on and off the court. ‘He mostly helped me become a better person before everything basketball wise translated over, but with basketball just what it takes to be a pro’, stressed Daeqwon Plowden. In is last 3 seasons he scored in double figures in 69 games in a total of 88 games. He had the number of the University of Miami at Ohio scorching them for 27 points in one game and hauled down 18 boards in another game. Taking care and dominating Miami at Ohio or many other games wasn’t his favorite moment at Bowling Green State, but moreover games where other guys could shine. I have never heard this kind of a quote from a player before. This just shows the type of first class character that he has. ‘ My favorite game was this past season when Isaac Elsasser and my other teammates that didn’t get a lot of playing time but were 2 feet into our program and devoted to helping us get better got in the games’, stated Daeqwon Plowden. After his stellar 5 year career he can look back at making 2 All-Mac third teams, one second team and once made the MAC all defensive team. He also set the school record for most games played and was the first player in the history of the program that logged at least 1,200 career points, 800 rebounds and 100 blocks. He also was 4th in club history in rebounds 935 and 4th in blocks with 126. He also reached the MAC final in 2019 and hit Michigan and Franz Wagner for 15 points, but what he will remember most from his long tenure is something that will last a lifetime. ‘Just the friendships I’ve built over the course of 5 years! Those relationships are long lasting and I plan on keeping in touch with everyone’, expressed Daeqwon Plowden. After his many achievements in the NCAA, it was only obvious that NBA teams took notice.

Daeqwon Plowden with Bowling State Green University

After his last NCAA game on March 4th against Toledo where the athletic player that list currently -Justin Turner, Caleb Fields ,Antwon Lillard, Marlon Sierra, and Dylan Frye as his 5 best teammates of all-time was invited to some NBA workouts by the Pelicans, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards. He passed the test with the Pelicans and prompt was rewarded with a 2022 NBA Summer League roster spot. So there he was in Las Vegas one of the most spectacular and glitzy cities in the world, but gambling was far from his mind unless if it had to do with getting into a passing lane or not. In his first game against Portland, he found action playing 3 minutes and making 2 free throws. Most important in this first moment of breathing NBA air wasn’t self, but how he can help his team most. ‘Just being a good teammate really! No matter if I’m in the game or on the bench, but the type of energy I bring allows me to be involved and supportive to our group. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve played this against all levels of competition all my life and that day was another day I get to play again. My preparation for the summer league was great so I didn’t have anything to be nervous about as long as I trusted my game and what I’ve worked on’, remembered Daeqwon Plowden. Instead of getting a DNP in the next game or again little minutes, the club showed extreme trust in his abilities as he played 24 minutes in a big 101-73 victory over Atlanta scoring 16 points on 5/7 shooting and hauled down 6 boards and swatted away 1 shot. ‘It felt good! It just showed that I am versatile on both ends of the floor and willing to do what’s necessary to win. Anybody can get a confidence boost solely from seeing a few shots go in. For me, it just came from knowing how I prepared for my opportunity. Defense is also a fueling thing for me, so when I am disrupting people on the defensive end it gives me a confidence boost as well. I went in expecting nothing but to support my teammates regardless. If I’m getting playing time that’s a plus. I felt like being in the Pelicans Organization a good amount leading up to the Summer League helped that be possible’, expressed Daeqwon Plowden. Once you hit that first shot and the basket looks like the ocean and find yourself in a flow, the perception of your teammates about you changes. You suddenly become a scoring option. I feel like that is a common thing. Once guys get going and have the hot hand its second nature to get the ball in their hands, so for me it was something like that once I showed that I can make and create shots’, added Daeqwon Plowden.

The versatile player that remembers NBA player EJ Liddell being his toughest cover in the NCAA had a rise in self-confidence and again had a potent game in his third try against Washington scoring 18 points on 6/9 shooting, had 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 21 minutes of action in a 106-88 win. He once again held his own against guys that have played overseas like Pierria Henry and Pat Spencer or against other experienced players like Jordan Goodwin, Craig Sword, Devon Dotson and Jordan Schakel to name just a few. ‘It just goes back to preparation and understanding how to get what I want. Just like they have experience, I have experience as well and I think that was the biggest thing when playing against other high level guys, but also getting help from my teammates. They continued to talk me through different situations with defensive and offensive reads, so I am grateful they were there to help me through those situations’, said Daeqwon Plowden. Even if the NBA Summer League is very short, there is still enough off court time where players can form relationships with one another. He was teammates with athletic Elijah Stewart who has carved out a solid career overseas. ‘I feel like I formed a relationship with all my teammates during the summer league. Elijah was one of those players. Great guy who has experienced a part of the world that I have not and is knowledgeable and down to earth type of guy. Great to meet him and play alongside him throughout the Summer League’, remembered Daeqwon Plowden. He missed the last two games, because he wasn’t totally fit to play. After 3games he averaged 12,0ppg and 4,0rpg while shooting 50% from downtown. ‘I would simply say the Summer League was a success. I went in and built some new friendships and I’m proud of that. I feel like I am the same player before and after Summer League, but I feel like my biggest improvement is my experience I gained playing in an NBA system’, warned Daeqwon Plowden. Attributes like his drive, three pointer, athleticism and defense stood out, but the most important thing he left behind for the NBA was something you won’t learn from a coach. ‘I think my competitive nature and how hard I play stuck out. Those are things that cannot be taught, so when someone is showing high levels of that it sticks around’, stressed Daeqwon Plowden. His NBA journey is just beginning now and the next months will be very interesting and exciting. He knows exactly what to do so his success will continue at the NBA level. ‘Continue to be me as a player! I think that’s the best advice my coaches reminded me of because when I’m being myself everything feels good while I’m performing. It’s less to think about when I’m being myself out there, but it was great to hear that from my coaches’, added Daeqwon Plowden. It’s obvious that a player’s agent is their biggest fan and it isn’t any different with Drew Kelso of One Motive Sports. ‘I’m unbelievably proud of Daeqwon for agreeing to terms with an NBA organization like New Orleans. He had been so overlooked during this whole Pre Draft process and we knew all he needed was a chance to shine and obviously he did at Summer League. I truly believe he has a chance to play at the highest levels in the world for a very long time. Terrific player, but a better person. He’s the best kid we’ve ever had. That’s what’s going to carry him”, stressed Drew Kelso. Having the skills is half the rent, but if you also have that special character then you have the whole package. Daeqwon Plowden is definitely a guy worth keeping on the radar. He will go places.


More Closing Words For Rickey Paulding From Bryce Taylor: I Appreciated That He Could Score 30 And Never Say A Word Of Trash Talk

Bryce Taylor (195-SG-1986, agency: BeoBasket) is a former professional player that enjoyed a fruitful 13 year career playing in Italy as a rookie and the last 12 years in Germany with the Telekom Baskets Bonn, Alba Berlin, Artland Dragons, FC Bayern Munich, Brose Bamberg and the Hamburg Towers. He began his career at Harvard Westlake high school before embarking on a 4 year career at Oregon (NCAA). Last season he got his first coaching experience in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers and now is an assistant coach with the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. He spoke to about his memories of Rickey Paulding.

Thanks Bryce for talking to When you hear the name Rickey Paulding what is the first thing that you think about?

Longevity, Excellence, Leadership, Competitor, Sportsmanship.

You came into the BBL in 2009 the year after Rickey Paulding won his only BBL title. What do you remember hearing about him that first season in Bonn?

I used to watch him play on TV in college, his team U of Missouri Tigers was really good so they were on national tv quite a lot and I remembered his game from that time. And then coming to Bonn, who had just lost in the BBL Finals to Oldenburg, I heard a lot about him and their team. He was still young at that time so he was an incredible athlete and slasher, but he could also shoot the ball from deep. He was a nightmare matchup.

Your last game against Rickey Paulding was in 2021 with the Hamburg Towers losing 89-88. What do you remember from that game? Despite his old age then he belonged to the best players on the court that day.

I remember going to Pedro Calles, our coach, the day before the game and telling him I wanted to match up with Paulding. He was going to have Kameron Taylor guard him, but I knew Rickey’s game very well after many years of battles. I think we defended him well as a team that game, but he always found ways to get it going even on his ‘off’ nights.

Did you have any closing words for him maybe telling him your time was about to end as a player or was it the typical good game see you next season bla bla?

We spoke about it before the game during warm ups, I was going back and forth with myself about leaving Germany and we discussed that possibility. Rickey Paulding retired with 40 years of age.

You played against a lot of great players in Germany that played a long time like Derrick Allen for example, but did you ever see a guy like Rickey Paulding that was able to play so well at a high level for his age?

I have never seen an athlete of Rickey’s caliber, perform at such a level for that long, without sustaining any major injuries. And I doubt we will ever again either. What he accomplished as a player is incredible.

Do you believe that you had a record above or below 500 against Rickey Paulding?

My guess would be about .500

You were 8-9 in your career? The first game that you played against Rickey Paulding was in the 2009-2010 season and you lost that first game badly. What do you remember from that game?

I don’t remember the exact game but I remember every time we played against one another, I had to bring my best focus and energy to that game.

What was your personal fondest memory against him as a player? I can imagine that thrilling 5 game playoff series that you won with FC Bayern Munich?

Yes, that series was awesome. We got up 2-0 and Rickey, Julius Jenkins, Dru Joyce, Adam Chubb fought back and ended up bringing them back into the series. They ran out of gas in Game 5 but it was a really competitive and fun series. What I appreciated about Rickey is that he would drop 30 points on you, and he would never say one word of trash talk. He would just keep the same facial expression and encourage his teammates with a positive demeanor. It made him impossible to dislike

What kind of a legacy will Rickey Paulding leave in German basketball? Will we ever see another player like him be able to remain with 1 club for as long as he did?

Basically Rickey is like the Kobe Bryant (RIP) of the BBL, I don’t know that the league will ever see a player of his talent level and professionalism play in the BBL for that long again, let alone for the same club. Most players as good as him will leave the league after a couple of seasons, but he made Oldenburg his home and helped them build a top level basketball organization.

Please leave some closing words for Rickey Paulding?

I wish Rickey all the best on his next chapter of life and I am sure he will enjoy the new experiences with his family in America. I also thank him for what he did for our league, bringing continued growth and respectability to basketball in Germany. I think figures like him are very important for the development of our sport. I am confident I will be seeing him soon in Oldenburg this season.

Thanks Bryce for the chat.