Myles Hesson(British National Team) Is More Of A Leader and Can Impact The Game In More Ways Now Than When He Played In Germany

Myles is a 29 year old 198cm forward from Great Britain playing his 11th professional season and fifth in France currently playing with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-Jeep ELITE ProA) averaging 10,3ppg and 3,0rpg. In France he also gained further experience with teams like : JDA Dijon Bourgogne (France-ProA) Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA) and JSF Nanterre (France-ProA). Previously he played 3 seasosn in Germany with Weissenhorn, rataiopharm Ulm, Giessen and Bremerhaven. He began his basketball career in England with the Birmingham Aces (EBL2) and also played with the Essex Pirates Basketball Club (BBL) and the Liverpool Mersey Tigers (BBL). He spoke to during the eurobasket qualifyers about his basketball career.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Myles Hesson in 2014 in Giessen

Myles thanks for talking to Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
Hi Miles, I am currently in Montenegro preparing for the upcoming eurobasket qualifiers. Its been a bumpy ride the past few years but I’m healthy and playing so its all good.

In a span of 2.5 years from December 2012 to May 2015 we did 19 interviews together as you were with 4 teams Weissenhorn, Giessen, The British national team and Bremerhaven. Has time flown by since our last interview? This May it will have been 5 years since our last chat.
Yeah it has been a while. It definitely feels like it has gone by quite fast.

Before we talk about the British national team let us talk a bit about what you have been up to in the last 5 years. Your playing your fifth season in France’s Pro A first division league and first with ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-Jeep ELITE ProA). Has France become like a second home to you now?
Yeah I feel really comfortable in France, I have been here quite a while now, I have enjoyed playing and living here.

What have you learned to appreciate the most about the basketball and the country the most?
Its an exciting up-tempo league where any team can win any game which keeps it interesting. I’ve enjoyed being able to travel and see most of the major cities there. I love the way they have the youth system for sports set up here, its something I wish we had/have in England

You played BBL with Ulm and Bremerhaven. Now spending so long in the France Pro A do you think that your athletic game suits the style of the Pro A better?
I think I can adapt to any style of basketball. The style of basketball in Jeep Elite doesn’t suit everyone though, it is very up-tempo and athletic.

After being 3 years in Germany, your now in your fifth in France. Do you ever wonder how your career may have gone had you stayed in Germany?
Sometimes I do, but I don’t usually get caught up with what could have been, I can only focus on what I’m doing right now.

What do you remember most from the German BBL? What is your fondest memory of playing in the German BBL that you will never forget?
I have a lot of good memories of my time in Germany. My first game for Ulm is probably the moment that stands out the most for me.

Chalon has a losing record and with a lot of talent, I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised you aren’t in playoff range. Does that show just how competitive the France Pro A has become?
Yeah I joined the team late in the season after they got off to a bad start but I feel as though we are in a good place right now and are starting to play better so hopefully we can make a late playoff push.

You have a lot of very talented teammates, but just how gifted is Sean Armand? Can you soak anything up from his lights out qualities?
Since Sean arrived at the team he has played great and has helped raise the level of all of us. His confidence and poise in the clutch is really something to be admired.

Last season you played with BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-Jeep ELITE ProA) averaging 9.8ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 74.2%. How enlightening was it being teammates with very experienced veteran Alain Koffi? What memories do you have of him and is he a guy that play until he is 40?
Alain was a great teammate, he was always in good spirits and was a great role model to the younger players, he practiced hard and gave his all in games. As long as he stays healthy I’m sure he can play till that age, his mid range jump shot will always be good.

In 2017-2018 you played with JSF Nanterre (France-ProA) but left in January playing 5 Pro A games averaging 7.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 46.2%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 66.7%; and played 5 BCL games averaging 5.8ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.4spg, FGP: 28.6%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 62.5%. How tough was this season with injury and having it cut short. What remained with you from this season and what did you learn from this whole experience?
It was a really frustrating time for me. After only a few games with the team, I was essentially playing on a broken leg, the pain eventually became unbearable so I requested a scan and it revealed that my shin was starting to break again so I needed another surgery. The most frustrating thing for me was when I was told that the first surgery I had wasn’t the right thing for the injury I had, and that’s why it didn’t heal like it was supposed to have. i am thankful for JSF Nanterre for looking after me and allowing me to get the best surgery and rehab possible.

In 2016-2017 you played with BCM Gravelines Dunkerque Grand Littoral (France-ProA) playing 19 games averaging 12.4ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.3%, 3PT: 29.6%, FT: 73.8%; and played 12 FIBA Europe Cup averaging 12.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 49.3%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 80.6%. You scored 29 points in a 91-81 win over Naterre. Was this one of your most memorable personal games in France?

Yeah that was my best game of the season and probably one of the main reasons they wanted to sign me the next season.

You have played with many point guards over your career, but where does a Justin Cobbs rank in the most calm players in pressure situations?
Justin Is a great player, definitely one of the best guards I’ve played with, I was always confident in him making the right plays when the game was on the line.

You played your first season in France with JDA Dijon Bourgogne (France-ProA) playing 34 games averaging 10.9ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 44.5%, 3PT: 37.4%, FT: 71.6%. What was your wake up call to being your first season in France where you knew that you were far away from home in England?

I was already used to being away from home at that point. But I will say that the preasosn training camp we had in the mountains was one of the toughest things I have had to do as a professional.

You are with the British national team getting ready for 2 euro qualifying games including a game against Germany. Does the whole experience mean more to you the older you get knowing it might be your last chance?
Every game means a bit more now that I am getting older so I try to enjoy the moment and give my all so I have no regrets. Qualifying and playing in the next eurobasket is our main goal, and I hope it is something we can achieve.
A 24 man squad has been named as you try to qualify for your 5th European championships. In the group is Germany, France and Montenegro. How realistic do you see the chances of Great Britan reaching the next Euro
It will be tough, but it’s a challenge we are all ready for, we have been playing good basketball in recent time, so if we continue to do that, I don’t see why we cant win against these teams.

There is a lot of talent with guys playing in Spain, France, Estonia, Italy, Turkey and Great Britain. How talented is this squad in comparison to other years? You have a good experienced core with guys like Andrew Lawrence, Ovie Soko, Luke Nelson and yourself. Who are some other guys that you can see making an impact?
I think we have a really talented team. Most of us have been involved with the men’s team at some point in the past few years so for the most part we know each other well now. We will all have a role to play in the team’s success so its hard to say anyone in particular.
You have always been a guy that has filled the stat sheet, but it seems like you do it even more than when you played in Germany. How is Myles Hesson a different player now then when he was playing in Germany?
I’ve gotten older and more experienced now so I don’t make a lot of the mistakes I used to when I was younger. I think’I’m more of a leader now and impact the team in more ways than just what shows on the stats sheet at the end of the game.

Germany has a lot of younger players mainly from the BBL as the NBA and Euroleague players aren’t allowed to attend because of their club commitments. I would say there about 70% guys you never played against. Guys you might remember would be Robin Benzing, Maik Zirbes and Ismet Akpinar. One guy you may remember from your Giessen days is Joschiko Saibou. How excited are you to be playing against Germany and what will be key to winning?
Yeah there will be a few guys I remember from my time in Germany. it will be great to see and compete against Joshi again. Its no more important to me than any other game I play. locking in on defense and being confident and unselfish on offense is what will win most games in my opinion.

What do you remember from Joschiko’s Saibou besides his aggressive and hard play on the court. Isn’t he one of those guys that every coach would love to have as a player, but not an opponent?
Joshi was a great team mate, its been good to see him continue getting better over years, we were both at the start of our careers when we played for Giessen. His floater shot is still one of the best I’ve seen.
Your turning 30 yeasr old in June. You haven’t won many titles yet? Is that your biggest goal in the next years to win as many as possible?
No I haven’t been lucky enough to win any team titles yet, its something I will continue to strive for. Yes Its definitely a goal of mine.
Where were you as you heard of the death of Kobe Brant and what did he mean to you as a player growing up?
I was at home and saw the headlines on social media and was in total disbelief. Growing up, for me, he was a huge role model, his work ethic and competitiveness was unmatched. He is the reason why I turn up to practice early and leave late, his legacy will live on.
When all is said and done where do you think where Luka Doncic rank one day with the best to ever have played in the NBA?
If he stays healthy which I hope, there is no reason why he wouldn’t be in the conversastion of being one of the best to ever play the game. He has done things in his young career already that I don’t think anyone else will ever replicate and the sky is the limit for him.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The Irishman

Thanks Myles for the chat.

Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners Register Their Biggest Win Of Season Dumping IBAM 78-60 In NBBL Play

In the last years fans saw a huge German talent play in the BCM with Oscar Da Silva and each time he left the floor as the winner helping his team IBAM progress further through the playoffs. In his last game, he denied future NBA player Isaac Bonga of taking part in the NBBL Final 4 on home turf as it was being held in Frankfurt in 2017. Oscar da Silva is playing his third season in the States in the NCAA for elite school Stanford. The 21 year old 207cm forward has made great strides there on the floor and improved his stats each season and currently is putting up 16/6 numbers. Also off the court he is a model student and an ex teammate wouldn´t be surprised if he passes up a professional basketball career, because he has vast interests off the court. He isn´t the only talented Da Silva in the family, but he also has a younger brother named Tristan who made his BCM debut against Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners. It isn´t easy playing in the shadow of his brother Oscar but he put up stellar stats last season averaging 18.4ppg, 7.4rpg, 3.2apg, 2.2spg, Blocks-2(2.1bpg), 2PT: 68.8%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 66.7%. Tristan is 4 centimeters smaller but holding his own averaging big numbers as well in his last year with 17,7ppg, 6,8rpg, 3,9apg and 2,4spg.The younger Da Silva wanted to keep up the stellar Da Silva record in the BCM as well as help sweep the season series as IBAM had won the first game at home 77-65 where they forced Frankfurt to 25 turnovers and hit 9 three´s, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had other ideas as they played a very consistent game for 40 minutes registering their biggest win of the season dumping IBAM 78-60. Frankfurt led a vicious charge from the get go paralyzing IBAM with a lethal offense and aggressive defense scoring 25 points in the first quarter and allowing only 5 points. “We had everyone on board except for Jordan Samare. We came out with a lot of energy on defense. We pressured well so that they always got late into their offense and couldn´t find a rhythm. This was our strongest first quarter this season”, warned 17 year old Len Schoormann. Granted IBAM only had 25 minutes warm up time on account of their jerseys arriving late and were without two key players Bent Leuchten and Leander Schwalm, but still had more than a capable 12 man roster and one could of expected a lot more from them. After the tough loss a shaken Tristan Da Silva tried to explain what went wrong. “Our problem today was that we woke up too late. We were down by 20 after one quarter and lost by 18 points. That can´t happen. I feel like if you had taken away the first quarter that we would of won. We can´t make any excuses that we were without two key players”, stressed Tristan Da Silva.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Tristan Da Silva who contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds in the loss

            Even if there are 30 more minutes to play after the first quarter, one could say that the first quarter was the turning point of the game, because IBAM never recovered after being down a miserable 20 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners didn´t waste anytime getting to work doing it at both ends of the court from the get go. On offense they got the ball inside and got instant free throws from big man Julian Steinfeld and guard Len Schoormann. On the defensive end, they quickly created a stopper mentality as Julian Steinfeld registered back to back blocks which led to a Maxi Begue lay in and soon after 2017 JBBL finalist Calvin Schaum dropped a trey and IBAM was staring at a brutal 8-0 deficit. Steinfeld is having a super season averaging 14,0ppg and 8,0rpg in his first year of NBBL play at age 18 after spending the last two years in the States playing high school ball. “I am very surprised by his play, but he has very much much much much potential. He has amazing timing on blocks. Now he has to continue eating and getting bigger”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Miran Cumurija. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued their lethal quest to put the ball in the net getting a hook shot basket from Steinfeld and two more buckets from Begue. A third Steinfeld block was denied as Rafael Rodriguez who hails from Porto Alegre  got a goaltending call and IBAM trailed 14-2 and head coach Robbie Scheinfeld was reeling with disgust on the sidelines. Frankfurt played great team basketball and shared the ball the way a good team should. IBAM had massive problems stopping the Frankfurt 1-1 play. Begue also did a great job at defending IBAM´s top player Oscar da Silva who had 0 points. Frankfurt continued to execute with ease on offense getting more baskets from Schaum and young German Ben Karbe who came from Mainz hit two clutch three´s off the bench. Rodriguez got another lay in, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had done gigantic damage leading 25-5 after one quarter. “We communicated and rotated well on defense. We came better into our offense with good defense”, stressed Len Schoormann. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and had 17 rebounds and 2 turnovers while IBAM shot a pathetic 11% from the field and 0% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

            Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners kept up their stellar play in the second quarter at both ends of the court, but IBAM began to find their rhythm better and to execute better on offense. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still controlled the game and had a comfortable 18 point advantage at the break. Schaum got Frankfurt on the board first with a trey and free throw, but IBAM didn´t wait until their eight possession to score like in the first quarter and rattled off a pretty pick and roll play with a Rodriguez two handed stuff to trail 29-7. IBAM then stifled Frankfurt a bit going on a 10-5 run to trail only 34-17. In the run, IBAM finally got their outside game going as two ex FC Bayern Munich players Jonas Maerz and Mohamed Barako who won titles last season nailed trey´s. Bastian Maerz who will play at a NAIA school in the States next season also made a lay in. The Maerz brothers gave IBAM a lot of energy on offense and came up with key buckets in the run. But a big deficit on this night was the inability of IBAM to have a better stop rate on Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners players. IBAM would have cut better into the Frankfurt lead had they been able to get more stops. IBAM got some confidence after that run and started another run after a Steinfeld 20 footer from the wing. Just like Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners, IBAM had a deep bench and got good minutes from their players. IBAM cruised out on a 7-0 run to trail only 36-24 and it seemed like they might have solved their bad start with much better play in the second frame. In the run, they got a trey from Bulgarian forward Ivan Borissov who won the 2019 JBBL title with FC Bayern Munich last season and got lay ins from ex Wurzburg guard John Saigge and Rodriguez again. IBAM then began an aggressive press which led to a Frankfurt turnover, but Frankfurt quickly solved the press and got added baskets from Begue and Steinfeld, while IBAM got more energy and two baskets from another bench player with big man Clint Schoenheiter who was another exile player from FC Bayern Munich as he scored twice, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still led 40-27. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners closed out the second quarter strong with a 7-2 run to go into the break with a nice 47-29 lead. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got vital free throws from Schoorman who got 4 points and a key offensive rebound and put back from superb role player Risto Vasiljevic who began his career at BC Darmstadt. 20 minutes had been played and Oscar Da Silva still had the big goose egg in the points department. “ We continued to play our game. IBAM put in a press, but we quickly found a way to beat it. It was important that we found a way to adapt”, added Len Schoormann. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 54% form the field and 56% from the three point line and had 23 boards and 8 turnovers while IBAM shot 35% form the field and 20% from the three point line and had 15 boards and 6 turnovers.

            In the third quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to keep control of the game as IBAM was never able to cut the deficit down to more than 14 points as they trailed by 18 points after the third frame. IBAM actually began the third quarter with good energy stopping Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners on their first three possessions and on offense were able to execute well going on a mini 4-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 47-33. In the run, IBAM got a tap in from Rodriguez who continued to make a good figure on the court despite not having been playing the game long and being classified as a long term project who probably will get scooped up by a top team once he develops better. The big man made a tap in as containing his wide body gave Frankfurt problems and Bastian Maerz hit free throws. When in need Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners can always call up their two top players and roommates Begue and Schoormann who gave Frankfurt some instant offense with lay ins as their top athleticism give teams big problems. Da Silva was finally freed by his scoring drought finally scoring his first field goal at the 7,19 minute mark of the third quarter. That score didn´t impress Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners as they then reeled off a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 58-36 as Schoorman scored twice with lay in´s in traffic. Schoorman had his finger on the aggressive button all night long as he always tried to penetrate and was more often than not successful. Steinfeld also scored in the paint as he was unstoppable all night long as IBAM had absolutely no defensive answer for him. The German showed how IBAM couldn´t withstand the 1-1 play, but at the same time showing team basketball at other moments. IBAM would show some flashes of execution, but couldn´t master it consistently as Saigge who began his career with the Art Duesseldorf dropped a trey and then made a steal and coast to coast lay in and free throw to cut Frankfurt´s advantage to 58-42. Begue continued to stay aggressive on offensive showing his versatile inside out game making a tip in and trey while Rodriguez closed out the third quarter with a left handed running hook shot, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 63-46. “Both teams showed signs of fatigue, but we continued to show that we were the stronger team”, stated Len Schoormann. “We continued to defend badly with no help side. We weren´t allowed to play our game. We live off our momentum and when we play bad, you really notice it”, warned Tristan Da Silva. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 47% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 33 rebound1 turnovers while IBAM shot 38% from the field and 29% from the parking lot and had 21 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Len Schoormann who led all scorers with 23 points

            In the fourth quarter, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was able to keep their big lead mainly because they could match IBAM in the scoring department and the guests couldn´t break away as the quarter ended 15-15. Da Silva continued to execute better on offense and finished the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds on a bad shooting night of 4/12. After the bitter loss, the German who is the little brother of current Stanford(NCAA) standout Oscar Da Silva was disappointed with the loss and his play. “When I´m not scoring, I try to continue to play well for the team in other areas. If I go into halftime with 5 assists then that makes me just as happy as if I had made three three pointers”, added Tristan Da Silva. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Sky

liners continued to get good scoring production from Begue who hit another trey as his shot selection and accuracy shooting 2/3 from outside was spot on and Steinfeld continued to dominate in the paint making a tip in extending the Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners lead to 70-51. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play an excellent inside out game keeping IBAM on their toes as their 1-1 defense continued to be weak, while Frankfurt also still had energy on the defensive end forcing IBAM to more turnovers. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners won the scoring in the last minutes 8-7. Fans witnessed some more scoring from Da Silva  who displayed his versatile play with an offensive rebound and put back and runner while Schoormann also had one more exiting highlight ready as he roamed through the zone and for once had no bodies to fly over, but flew alone to the rim finishing with a massive one handed dunk something he already displayed as a 15 year old in NBBL play two years ago. Da Silva closed out the game with a free throw leaving Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners with their biggest victory of the season 78-60. “They got tired and you could feel their frustration. We continued to pressure them and didn´t get hectic. We remained calm in our offensive sets which was very important”, expressed Len Schoormann. “We didn´t stick together. We were  abit tired at the end. There is no excuse to let a Schoormann dunk on us like that”, warned Tristan da Silva. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led by Len Schoormann with 23 points. Maxi Begue added 19 points and 8 rebounds. Julian Steinfeld contributed with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks while IBAM was led by Rafael Rodriguez with 17 points and 7 rebounds and Tristan da Silva had 10 points and 8 boards. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 28% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 15 turnovers while IBAM shot 38% from the field and 21% form outside and had 30 rebounds and 15 turnovers.

Eric Kibi(BHY Tiro Federal y Deportivo Morteros Argentina-La Liga) I Imagined Being Kobe Bryant On The Playground

Eric Kibi is a 28 year old 198cm forward from Ontario, Canada that is playing his eighth professional season. He began the season with Libertad Sunchales (Argentina-La Liga) averaging 3.6ppg, 3.0rpg an now is playing with BHY Tiro Federal y Deportivo Morteros (Argentina-La Liga). Last season he played with Golbey Epinal Thaon Vosges (France-NM1) where he played 5 games averaging 6.8ppg, 6.0rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 29.2%, 3FGP: 27.3%, FT: 73.3%, in Dec.’18 moved to MBK Handlova (Slovakia-SBL) playing 3 games and then in January 2019 signed at Al Mina (Iraq-IBL) where he averaged 22,0ppg, 15rpg and 2,0apg. Two seasons ago he played with C.B. Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet (Spain-LEB Silver) where he played 33 games averaging 4.5ppg, 3.2rpg In 2016-2017 he played with Randers Cimbria Basketball (Denmark-Ligaen) playing 31 games averaging 10.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 27.8%, FT: 70.2%. In 2015-2016 he played in Germany with the Hertener Loewen Basketball (Germany-ProB) playing 3 games averaging 4.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg, left in Oct.’15, in Jan.’16 moved to KK Strsljen Gusinje (Montenegro-Erste Liga) playing 4 games averaging 3.8ppg, 5.5rpg, in Mar.’16 signed at London Lightning (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 23 games averaging 1.7ppg, 2.5rpg. He also played with Basketball Club Rendsburg (Germany-Regionalliga), Ottawa SkyHawks (NBLKibi Canada) and BG Halstenbek/Pinneberg (Germany-Regionalliga). He started his basketball career in 2008 with Jacksonville College (NJCAA) where he played until 2010. He then played a season with UALR (NCAA) playing 29 games: 4.4ppg, 4.2rpg. He finished his college career in 2012 with Abil.Christian (NCAA2) playing 20 games: 8.2ppg, 5.7rpg, FGP: 60.0%. He spoke to about his memories of Kobe Bryant.

Where were you and how did you find about the death of Kobe Bryant?

I’m currently in Argentina, So I was just at home at the apartment when all the news about this tragedy started flowing in on social media.

When I heard about it, I thought it was a hoax. What were your first thoughts when you heard about it?

Honestly I thought the exact same thing, Until it was finally confirmed then I was in shock just like everyone else. Very painful news to receive on a Sunday morning.

How much of your day the day after did you take informing yourself about his death and watching videos?

I spent a lot of the day looking all over the internet to see as many videos as possible on YouTube and on all the sports network to inform myself. The most difficult thing was having to play a basketball game that same evening. It was crazy because my team was on a losing streak and the team we were facing had beat us by 30 a few days before and we ended up breaking a lengthy losing streak. Feel like he had something to do with that.

You were born in 1990. You were 6 when he began with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. Can you remember about when you first knew about Kobe Bryant and what was your first impression of him as a kid?

The first time I really took interest in Kobe was when he went through the legs in the dunk contest in 1997. He had so much flair and confidence that you immediately compared him to MJ.

How did your love for Kobe Bryant develop over time as you got through childhood and high school? How do you remember following his career?. You were 10 when he won his first titles and 20 when he won again in 2010?

When Kobe started out winning titles with Shaq we were all huge fans. I remember staying up late in the 7th grade to watch the Lakers play because I was on east coast time in Ottawa, Canada and Los Angeles is obviously on the west coast. We all started growing that mini Afro just like Kobe. Then once I got older, Lebron became my favorite player but Kobe’s mentality and relentless we all idolized. He really brought the best out of Lebron and his titles in 2010 with Gasol and Artest were very impressive because it feels like he re-invented his game after a few injuries.

Kobe Bryant was for so many the greatest ever. What did you appreciate most about his game? Was he a guy that you pretended to be on the playgrounds?

We all imagined being Kobe on the playground, Me what I appreciated the most was his mentality and his confidence. If you remember at 19 or 20 he shot 3 straight air balls in a clutch moment in a huge playoff game against Utah but he had the confidence. Then in 2002 in the NBA finals against Indiana he was 21 and Shaq was in foul trouble in game 5 and they needed a boost and Kobe was fearless. So for me definitely his confidence I appreciated the most.

Kobe Bryant had so many amazing games like his 81 points and countless other games where it was lights out as well as winning 5 titles. What was your fondest memory of him of what he did on the court?

For me for sure it was the 81 point game it was so surreal because we always hear about Wilt Chamberlains 100 point game but obviously it wasn’t in our generation and we never believed anyone would get anywhere near that. On top of that it was against my favorite team The Toronto Raptors.

The outpouring of sadness was incredible in the last 24 hours. Guys were crying and leaving heart felt messages on Social Media. How long do you think it will take until the basketball world comes to terms with this tragedy?

Man this is a really tough one, I cried just like everyone else, this is a tough one to swallow because we all felt he was so invincible. I had just watched a podcast he did with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson a few days before his death and it really felt like he was just heading towards greatness in his after basketball life so it hurts to see that cut short and it will hurt for a long time.

When you look back in 20 years on the career of Kobe Bryant how will you remember his legacy best?

For me he is a top 5 player of all time. I have always been a Lebron guy but I always admired Kobe and wished Lebron had Kobe’s mentality. So I think he will go down as one of the most complete and fearless players of all time. He influenced a whole generation, For me it was a must to go get a Kobe tattoo because that’s how much he influenced this generation.

One of my last questions in my standard interviews is what is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Often players remind me that I left out Kobe Bryant.I have been thinking about this a lot. How worthy is a Kobe Bryant to be seen as the greatest of all-time?

He is very worth in my opinion, But I still think Michael is untouchable. Kobe for me is top 5 of all time with Lebron in there as well. His resume is impeccable.

My last question isn’t what is the last movie you saw, but what video of Kobe Bryant will you take a look again when you have some time to look back at his great career?

Like I said the podcast he did with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson a few days before is death was amazing. But also I took pleasure in watching a lot of his after basketball interviews because he really seemed on the verge of becoming great as well off the court. It’s also been nice to watch what all the athletes and non athletes tell stories about Kobe about how he impacted their lives. The ripple effect that his death has had world wide really shows you how much of a global icon he was. RIP Kobe and Gigi as well as the 7 others who lost their lives. Mamba mentality will live forever.

Thanks Eric for sharing your memories of Kobe Bryant

Cody Demps(Stockton Kings/USA National Team) Tyrone Ellis Really Wants To Win But Also Really Cares For You As A Person

Cody Demps is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Elk Grove playing his third professional season and second with the Stockton Kings. Last season he was given a 10 day NBA contract by the Sacramento Kings, but didn´t play a game. Last season with the Stockton Kings he played 50 games averaging  11.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 30.5%, FT: 80.5%. As a rookie he played with the Reno Bighorns (NBA G League) playing 44 games averaging 7.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 76.9%. He played 114 NCAA games with Sacramento State from 2012-2016 and as senior played  22 games averaging 12.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 4.7apg, FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 64.4%. He spoke to during the 2020 Americup qualifying games

No I don’t. You’l have to enlighten me.

Your currently playing for head coach Tyrone Ellis with G-League team Stockton Kings who won a league title in Germany in 2004, your current teammate Eric Mika played in Germany last season as well as James Webb and your ex teammate Nick Hornsby with Sacramento State is playing his third professional season in Germany.

Nick Hornsby is my boy. When I hear things like this I realize how small the basketball world is. It is great to see where basketball can take you.

Has coach Ellis mentioned his title win in Germany at some point this season possibly as motivation in certain moments of a game or practice?

He won’t really get into his title or stats from back then, but moreover will give insight of how his time was in Germany and will get into detail of what it was like being a player then.

Your teammate Nick Hornsby won the Pro B title last year and was forward of the year. Do you still keep in touch with him and see what he is up too?

Yes I do keep in touch with Nick. We will work out during the summers. I will be attending his wedding this summer. He is one of my close friends.

Congrats on being on the USA 12 man roster for the 2020 qualifying for the AmeriCup. Besides the normal blab la for it being an honor to paly for your country, what else is really cool about having this experience?

Obviously it is great representing my own country, but at the same time it is very eye opening that I’m representing something very special and it is more than just representing my city.

The team is primarily composed of G-League players and experienced Kyle Fogg who is earning his money in China. Does this feel like being part of a G-League allstar team?

Yes in a way it does. I have played with and against these guys and it is a blessing being able to play together with these guys. They are all very talented players.

How cool is it being there with teammate Eric Mika? Is he a guy that you have gelled well with this season on and off the court?

Yes he definitely is a guy that I have gelled well with. I work out with him as well and already knew him before he came to Sacramento. We have a very comfortable level with each other.

Besides playing helping your team win the games, do you see this as another step for you towards the ultimate goal of reaching the NBA?

Just being able to play for my country will be another step in my career. The exposure will be good on the international level and more eyes will see me.

What do you feel will be the most important thing that you want to soak up form well known head coach Mike Fratello?

Coach Fratello has a lot of knowledge and experience. Just being able to be around him and soak up as much as possible will be huge. He has been around so many great NBA players and just being able to hear him talk about them and what their mentality was like in certain situations will be beneficial.

Even though assistant coach Othello Harrington was a big man in the NBA, what have you appreciated from him the most in the few days that you have got to know him?

He is one of those guys that you can go to and ask him anything. He has been more than willing to help me out and give me tips and tricks about certain things on the court.

Your playing your third professional season and third in the G-League. What kind of experience has it been playing in this league and with so much experience and always heightening your game each season, do you sense a feeling that the NBA could become more of a reality or is the business just to unpredictable?

One of my goals is reaching the NBA and has been one that has always been on my mind. Coach Ellis has been very important in my development in helping me win games and improve my game. I have been very thankful for his guidance and that I have been able to focus on myself in certain situations and been able to improve my game and get closer to my goal.

You have played a very good season in the G-League with the Stockton Kings. Do you feel like consistency on the scoring end is something that will get you to the NBA sooner?

I think that my scoring will catch the eyes of people, but that isn’t the most important factor. Scoring is an important component to my game, but as soon as people discover that, then they will investigate other parts of my game like am I a team player and can I play defense. Scoring gets the attention, but it’s definitely not the only factor.

How important have ex NBA players like Hollis Thompson and Isaiah Canaan been for you? Have they given you some advice about reaching the big show?

You can get a lot out of these guys. They are always willing to answer my questions. I will ask them what they went through in practices or about former coaches. I just try to pick their brains as much as possible and soak up their tips as best as I can.

I started my basketball career in basketball in 2004 covering Tyrone Ellis win a title and have followed him since. I have never seen him coach. What have you learned to appreciate most about his coaching style?

I appreciate how he takes care and passion to details. I have noticed in my time here that he really takes details to another level. He always wants to win, but at the same time really cares for you as a person. He is always on the look out for you and watches out for you. He is a guy that I will be able to come to later in life and be able to pick his brain about anything.

Obviously is scoring not everything, but an interesting stat I have uncovered from you is that you improved your scoring each season in the NCAA as well as in the G-League. Is this something that you have noticed or am I the only one?

I have also noticed it. During the summers, I always work on my ability to score. During the season I don’t focus on my scoring. When the season is over, I will look back on my stats and then see where I can further improve my game in the off season.

How do you feel have you developed as a professional in the G-League and on what things are you working on hardest now to continue to move up the basketball ladder?

I feel like my understanding of tactics and strategies of the game is continuing to grow. My finishing skills and ability to get to the basket are two things that I’ve really gotten good at. I’m continuing to improve my shot making ability to move up the basketball ladder.

Last season was your first with the Stockton Kings (NBA G League) where you averaged 11.7ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 30.5%, FT: 80.5%. The Sacramento Kings signed you to a 10 day contract, but you didn’t play a game. What kind of experience was it breathing some real NBA air?

It was an awesome experience. I met the team on the road. I saw how similar the preparation is in the NBA and the G League. I got to know some of the players and then seeing them in action from the bench and actually understanding I was really there was awesome.

Was your 32 points in the thrilling 114-113 win over the NAZ Suns one of your most fondest wins as a professional?

That game stuck out. I won against my former teammate Eric Stuteville of Sacramento State. It was a good win and a stat performance for me.

You were able to see how guards like Ben Mclemore, Buddy Hield and Deaaron Fox operated. Which one of these players impressed you the most with their game?

I would take Deaaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Everyone always talks about how flashy Fox is. He has another type of speed. Hield puts in so much work. I like how much confidence he has in taking shots. Even if he misses a couple shots, he still has that crazy confidence that he will make the next ones. I like to put in that extra work and develop that crazy confidence that he has.

As a rookie you played with the Reno Bighorns (NBA G League) averaging 7.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.8%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 76.9%. What was your wake up call to being a professional where you knew that the NCAA was very far away?

A wake up call was definitely the travel. That was a lot different to what I was used to. In college, the longest that I was ever on the road was something like 3-4 days. But in the G-League you can be away from home for something like 2-3 weeks. That was a big adjustment for me. Another big eye opener for me was playing with guys and then seeing them get called up to the NBA. Then realizing that I was just playing with them. That gave me that extra confidence that I’m not that far away from the NBA.

What has been the best example in the last years where you witnessed close hand that the NBA will always be a business first before anything else?

Seeing the player transactions and how the NBA teams can go about handling it. Sometimes you will see a player having been with a team for a long time and you would figure that there would be some superior loyalty, but in the end the most important thing is winning and if a team has to make changes then they will do it even if it means moving that guy who has been there for a while. It is hard for an organization to be emotional when changes have to be made. In the end it is always a business, but we players are human. When something like that happens a player might need comforting

What kind of an effect did 2004 NCAA champion Marcus Williams have on you in your first two professional seasons? You were lucky to be with him in Reno and Stockton. Was he like a mentor for you early on?

Yes he was. When I got there, I knew who he was, but I still needed to do some research on him. I not only profited from him on the court, but also off the court. He is a cool guy and I got to know him off the court. He is one of my good friends. He had a lot of experience and always had control for the game. I tried to adopt his patience. It was always a treat to watch him work the offense and see his control on the floor. He had had experience at all levels of basketball. His presence was huge for me when he was my teammate.

You played at Sacramento State from 2012-2016 playing a total of 114 NCAA games. What were your fondest memories on the court? You left as the seventh best in assists?

I think one of my biggest memories was being a part of the win against Weber State. My teammate Dylan Garrity hit a game winner from away from the hoop. Being able to see the game winner later on ESPN Sports Center was great.

You had many memorable games in school, but where does the 66-63 win over Arizona State rank where you had 22 points, 7 boards and 5 dimes?

That performance ranks up with the Weber State win. That was a huge win beating a top Pac 12 team where we were the underdog. That was a very happy moment. It is nice to look back at a win like that and see that hard work paid off.

How did head coach Brian Katz groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?

He prepared me best emotionally. I came to Sacramento State as a 18 year old and left as a 22 year old. I went through a lot of maturity in this time. He guided me on the court not only with basketball, but also off the court on how to become a man I really appreciate the faith and confidence that he had in me.

What are your fondest memories of Nick Hornsby? What will you never forget him about his game and character?

On the court Nick was super competitive. He is a very skilled player and did everything he could to win. He is very passionate to win and is a guy that I would always have on my pick up basketball team. He is the total opposite off the court. He is totally goofy, but very fun to be around.

How much potential and skill does he have to get very far up the basketball ladder?

I see Nick reaching the top level overseas. I have seen him improve each year, because he has been putting in the work over the summer. He has the right work ethic to reach the top.

Who won a one on one in practice back at Sacramento State who wins today in practice with the Kings you or Marcus Graves?

I had a couple of years on him. I won back then and would win now, but it would be a lot closer now.

You didn’t leave school in 2016 as you were two credits short and played football as a receiver catching 15 passes for 158 yards. Did this year of football benefit you in anyway for basketball in terms of how your body was used for football?

I think that playing football helped my basketball game. During my basketball days at Sacramento State, I was always floating around 190 pounds. When I played football, I ran less so my weight rose to 215 pounds. Now I weigh around 205 pounds. I feel most comfortable now. Putting on that weight definitely helped.

Who is the toughest guy that you faced in the NCAA that is in the NBA?

The toughest team I faced was UCLA. Zach Levine impressed me the most. Back when I played him, I didn’t know that he would reach the potential that he has now.

Please name your five best teammates of all-time?

Nick Hornsby, Mikh Mckinney, Eric Stuteville, Marcus Graves, Xavier Thames

Please construct your personal NBA Rushmore?

Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaq, Dwayne Wade

Everybody is always comparing Michael Jordan to Lebron James, but how well does Kobe Bryant fit into this equation? Can one name him the greatest of all-time?

This question is so hard to answer. They played in different eras and were different players. All have been influential in some way. Steph Curry also has changed the game with the three pointer. Jordan will alwas be up there. Lebron’s career isn’t over yet. It is very sad that Kobe passed away. He brought so many positive things to the game. It’s a hard argument.

What was the last movie that you saw?

Batman The Dark Knight. It is one of my favorite movies. I watch it all the time.

Thanks Cody for the chat.

Pharroh Gordon Knows He Has To Maintain A Level Of Mental Consistency When Operating Even When He Is Feeling Frustrated

Pharroh Gordon is a 23 year old 198cm forward from Manchester, England that split the season with TKS 49ers RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) playing 6 games averaging 5.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 42.1%, 3FGP: 23.8%, FT: 50.0%, and in Jan.’20 moved to Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) where he is currently averaging 3,5ppg, 6,3rpg and 3,0apg. He began his basketball career with the Manchester Magic. He then spent five years in the states as he played with St.Rose, NY (NCAA2) from 2014-2017 amassing 49 games and then moved to William Jewell (NCAA2) where he played 29 games as a junior averaging 14.8ppg, 10.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 74.0% and in his senior year at William Jewell (NCAA2) played 20 games averaging 14.7ppg, 7.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 65.3%. He gave an interview during his time in Germany.

Pharroh thanks for talking to You have 6 siblings. What were the main advantages growing up and now as an adult having so many brothers and sisters?

You learn how to share, you learn how to teach and how to be taught new things. Yes really just a great thing having people you know you can rely on.

Congrats on signing your first professional basketball career in Germany with RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB). What were the main reasons for starting your career in Germany and not in England?

I was playing at an almost professional level in England from around 16 to 18, so I felt I should see what other places have to offer. I also love travelling and exploring new places.

RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) is very high on your abilities. You will be teammates with many young talented German kids. What was so appealing about the organization RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) that made you want to go there?

Really the coach was what really swung me. He didn’t sugar coat anything, he made it clear what he wanted from me and how we could help each other moving forward.

What do you in general about the country Germany and basketball? Did you talk with your youth national team teammate Jules Akodo about Germany? He played a few years in the Fraport Skyliners organization.

I didn’t actually, when I moved to America for college I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about that so I figured I would be okay this time too. That’s not to say Jules wouldn’t be willing to help me out, he’s a good guy. I have been to Germany a couple times before though, so I wasn’t too uncomfortable.

In 2014 you played at the well known Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany (Unofficial World Championships U18) averaging 12.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 56.9%, 3PT: 41.7%, FT: 58.3%. What memories do you of this time where you got an early introduction to Germany and German basketball?

That was a fun trip, we played pretty well if I remember right. We lost to Serbia by 2 or 4 in the second game of the tournament that really hurt us. Overall it was eye opening as to the level of talent there is in Europe. I hadn’t played in an international tournament of that calibre before that one.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 198cm forward that is a very versatile player. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I think maybe a less athletic Kawhi haha. I’m a good defender, I like to push the ball off rebounds, and I have a decent stroke from outside. Finishing too, I’m alright at that.

You spent 5 years in the States playing 98 NCAA 2 games for St Rose and William Jewel. How do you feel are you a different player now then when you first landed in America?

I’m a lot more mature, a lot more sure of myself. Back then I would look for validation from my coaches, and I’d overthink things if I didn’t get it. Now I know what I need to do and what my standards are for myself. My IQ is a lot higher too.

You’re a guy that can do a lot on the court. You can score, rebound and pass the ball well lifting any team’s offense. What other strengths do you have on the offensive end that will help RSV Eintracht Stahnsdorf (Germany-ProB) this season be successful?

My IQ means I know how to make scoring easier for other guys. I know where to set certain screens, when there will be opportunities for slips, those kind of things. I know when it’s my time to attack, and when the best option is just to swing the ball to generate some mo

vement. Not all of these things show up on the box score but they help.

You’re a physical player and can guard many positions. What do you feel is your biggest strength on the defensive end?

Again, my IQ. I don’t foul a lot because I know where I should position myself, and how to disrupt without fouling. Obviously I’m not perfect and still have a lot to improve on though.

You’re a player that can fill the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed when your on the court?

I think people underestimate my guard play. They see the points and the rebounds and think I’m strictly a wing/forward, but I played point guard for several years growing up, so I think I can handle some responsibility in that area too.

On what parts of your game have you been focusing most on during the summer so you will best prepared for your rookie season in Germany?

I’ve really focused on my mental strength. This season isn’t going to be like college or high school where you can really lean on others when things go wrong. I have to be able to maintain a level of mental consistency that allows me to operate even when I’m feeling frustrated or angry. I think that has held me back in the past. In terms of physical skills, I’ve been getting a lot of shots to readjust to the deeper 3 point line, and ball handling off of screens etc.

You began your career with the Manchester Magic. What memories do you have of this time. What were some of the early benefits at your game got being able to play in this organization?

They really pushed you to achieve. I know that nowadays it’s more about giving your best and taking part, but back then if we didn’t win something was wrong. They taught me how to work hard, how to lead, and how to be coachable. Also the fact that they really push for development, with their younger teams playing up, and allowing junior players into the men’s team was really good for me.

You played at ST Rose (NCAA2) from 2014-2017. You had one solid season, but two other seasons that were difficult. What memories do you have of these three years and what positives did you get out of it?

Well my first year I redshirted, so that one was a bit different, but my third year was hard for me. But, I learned a lot, both about the basketball world and about myself, and if I could go back I wouldn’t change it. I met a lot of good people, and I think I needed that hard time to push me towards bigger and better.

You finished at William Jewell (NCAA2) where your game exploded averaging 14.8ppg, 10.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 58.1%, 3PT: 41.5%, FT: 74.0% as a junior and 14.7ppg, 7.2rpg, 3.2apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 30.3%, FT: 65.3% as a senior. How did your game develop in this time and what did you learn about your game that helped you be successful?

I became better all over the floor, to be honest. I wasn’t happy with my senior season, although I felt I was playing better overall than I did the year before. I learned more about myself as a player and my confidence jumped up, which really helped me.

What memories do you have of your 45/12 explosion against Lewis? You shot 14/17 on the night. Was this the typical example of you be
ing in the zone?

I was locked in, but I wasn’t playing the perfect game. I think I started around 1/4 or 5, but then I started getting into the groove. Our leading scorer was out that game so I knew I needed to pick it up a bit, and I knew from the scouting report that they would struggle to guard me, so it wasn’t too difficult.

You had many great games at William Jewel, but where do you rank your 23 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals game in the win over S Indiana?

That was a great win, I think everyone played well that night, and my family had come to see me for the first time since I had been in America, so it was special.

How did head coach Larry Holley groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career at William Jewel?

It was more off the court than on. He is the perfect example of how to carry yourself in a respectable manner, and although we disagreed on some things, I know he always had my best interests at heart. He also reminded me that being yourself is better than conforming to how someone else wants you to behave.

Who won a one on one in practice you or Eysan Wiley?

I bust his ass daily hahah. Eysan is one of my favorite teammates because he, unlike many people, really pushed me to get better. He’s going to have a great career.

Who was the toughest opponent that you played in the NCAA 2 that is in the NBA or in Europe now?

I’d say probably Dante Gittens, from Franklin Pierce. I’m not sure he was the toughest guy I ever played against, but I know he’s a pro now which not all of the other guys are.

Please list your five best teammates of all-time?

Garrett Skipworth, Clark Minnifield, Patrick Whelan, Aaron Menzies, Kingsley Nwagboso, Joe Swindells and Jamaal Greenwood. I know that’s 7 but I couldn’t leave any of them out.

Please name your personal own NBA Rushmore. Which four heads would you pick past or present for your list?

MJ, Lebron, Kobe and Magic

What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James?

I’m not even going to get involved in this one, I might get into trouble.

What was the last movie that you saw?

The newest Spider-Man, I took my brother when it came out.

Thanks Pharroh for the chat.

Curtis Hollis Got The Chills When He Watched Kobe Bryant Play

Curtis Hollis a 21 year old 198cm forward from Arlington, Texas that played his first season overseas and first in Germany with the Dragons Rhondorf averaging 22,4ppg,8,2rpg,3,8apg and 3,1spg. He left the club to go back home on account of personal reasons. He began his career at Mansfield Summit High School. In 2017-2018 he played with Hutchinson CC (JUCO) playing 34 games averaging 6.9ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 66.3%. In 2018 he played in Lavar Ball’s new league with the Houston Ballers (JBL) playing 7 games: Score-5 (29.3ppg), 11.3rpg, 5.3apg, 2.6spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 21.2%, FT: 71.8%. He spoke to about his memories about Kobe Bryant.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Curtis Hollins in Rhondorf in 2019

Where were you and how did you find about the death of Kobe Bryant?

I was at my friends house I found out on Twitter like as soon as it happened. 

When I heard about it, I thought it was a hoax. What were your first thoughts when you heard about it?

I thought it was fake or wasn’t real.

How much of your day the day after did you take informing yourself about his death and watching videos?

I didn’t do too much I believed it I was still in shock. 

You were born in 1998. Can you remember about when you first knew about Kobe Bryant and what was your first impression of him as a kid?

Honestly I can’t I just remember him always being a great competitor and playing extremely hard. 

How did your love for Kobe Bryant develop over time as you got through childhood and high school? You were too young for his first wave of titles with Shaq around the millennium, but you must have witnessed the 2010 title against my Boston Celtics. 

Yes I did it was greatness!

Kobe Bryant was for so many the greatest ever. What did you appreciate most about his game? Was he a guy that you pretended to be on the playgrounds?

I just appreciated that he played hard, wanted to kill and give everybody buckets and just always working extremely hard.

Kobe Bryant had so many amazing games like his 81 points and countless other games where it was lights out as well as winning 5 titles. What is your fondest memory of him of what he did on the court?

Probably his last game when he went out like that. It was amazing to me!

The outpouring of sadness was incredible in the last 24 hours. Guys were crying and leaving heart felt messages on Social Media. How long do you think it will take until the basketball world comes to terms with this tragedy?

It will take a very very long time. Kobe was a special person on and off the court and had a huge impact. This ones gonna hurt for a while.

When you look back in 20 years on the career of Kobe Bryant how will you remember his legacy best?

Him being one of the greatest. One of the best scorers and competitors ever to play the game. A great guy off the floor as well.

One of my last questions in my standard interviews is what is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Often players remind me that I left out Kobe Bryant.I have been thinking about this a lot in the last. How worthy is a Kobe Bryant to be seen as the greatest of all-time?

He’s absolutely one of the best to play the game. My favorite ever is Micheal Jordan and Kobe was the closest to him we have ever seen. He will be greatly missed.

My last question isn’t what is the last movie you saw, but what video of Kobe Bryant will you take a look again when you have some time to look back at his great career?

Probably all of his highlights. I get the chills watching him play.

The TSV Oberaching Tropics Let It Splash In Crunch-Time Toppling The Fraport Skyliners Juniors 93-86

In the past years since the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have been playing in the Pro B there have been many interesting players that have played here like Johannes Voigtman, Danilo Barthel and Isaac Bonga that have progressed to the Euroleague and NBA, but also guys that have remained and due to certain circumstances come back. One of those is TSV Oberaching head coach Mario Matic who coached Nordlingen for some years in the Pro B and knows the BCM too well. But also some of the young bucks like Justin Headley and William Bessoir played NBBL in the last years. Matic and Headley were ready for action and had revenge on their minds after losing the first contest in their own living room 89-71. In that game the Fraport Skyliners lit it up form the parking lot dropping 12 three´s and easily won the rebound and bench battle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came into the game with a lot of self -confidence having won three games in a row and last weekend beat Baunach on the road thanks to 32 points and 10 three´s from American Nigel Pruitt while the TSV Oberaching Tropics entered the game having lost 7 of their last 9 games including a shoot out last weekend against Hanau 101-93. But on this mild Saturday evening which felt more like April than February, the Bavarian side came to play despite having severe injury woes and had control for most of the game and then when Frankfurt cut the contest  to 2 points in crunch-time, they instantly let it splash toppling Frankfurt 93-86. For the TSV Oberhaching Tropics, it was a huge win as they continue to battle to get into good position in the playdowns so they have some leverage in the 6 game competition for the last 4 teams wanting to return to the Pro B next season while 2 move back to the Regionalliga. After the victory American point guard John Boyer of TSV Oberaching Tropics who once had 13 steals in a Regionalliga game reflected on the 40 minute affair. “We have ben playing better the last games despite having injuries so we have been banking on our team chemistry. We stayed together and were always able to answer when they went on runs. We hit big shots at the end when we needed them, secured rebounds and hit our free throws”, stressed ex Buffalo(NCAA) guard John Boyer. It was a tough loss for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as their 3 game winning streak was snapped. They had been playing better defense the last weeks, but on this night got back to bad old habits and couldn´t make key stops in crunch-time. “We gave up way too many points tonight. When you give up many points, it is hard to find a good rhythm on offense. The first and third quarters were good. We were able to defend better in the third quarter”, added Fraport Skyliner Junior forward Cosmo Gruehn.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Omari Knox after dropping 28 points in the win

The first quarter was a tight affair that saw both teams find their offensive rhythm quickly and there were 7 lead changes, but at the end of 10 minutes, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 23-20 advantage. Frankfurt was without Bruno Vrcic and Konstantin Schubert while the TSV Oberaching Tropics were without 6 players including their vital big man Moritz Wohlers who played in the BBL more than a decade ago with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. The Bavarian side got quick buckets from German Janosch Koegler and Serbian big man Miljan Grujic, but Frankfurt were on their toes as 17 year old 2019 Addias Next Generation Tournament player Len Schoormann found his range quickly scoring on a lay in and an and one plus a trey to give Frankfurt their first lead at 6-5. Both teams played at a very high tempo and now both teams would change leads the way Paris Hilton does her shoes. Grujic came up big again finishing the pick and roll nicely with John Boyer who made a fancy no look pass. His whole passing game reminded one a bit of the legendary Canadian point guard Steve Nash. “I have always like Nash´s style and how he made the game flashy. We both like to push the ball”, stressed John Boyer. After Bruno Peric free throws, it was Boyer who was aggressive whenever he had the ball scoring with a fast drive to the hole giving the Bavarian side the 11-8 advantage. Frankfurt grabbed the lead back with a mini 5-0 run as Peric scored on a lay in and Cosmo Gruehn dropped a lethal trey for the 13-11 lead. Both teams´s offenses were flowing as now the Tropics were led on a 5-0 run by Koegler who made a lay in and sunk a trey getting the nice kick out pass from Boyer for the 16-13 lead. The TSV Oberaching Tropics were doing a good job continuously attacking the rim while Frankfurt was spreading the ball around well. In the last few minutes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to grab the lead back getting key free throws from ex Coburg center Noah Kamdem and Nigel Pruitt and a clutch trey from little used forward Leon Pullen who began his career with TV Langen. The Bavarian side got two key two point buckets and a block from American Omari “Fort” Knox  “I can´t remember ever having 2 blocks in a game. Most of the time for me defense are instincts. I just came off surgery and am not at 100% yet. I just go out and make the play”, warned Omari Knox. After one frame the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 23-20. “Both teams were feeling each other out. We had heavy legs and had been on the bus since 11 am this morning. We played pretty good defense to get into offensive rhythm”, stressed john Boyer. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 40% from the field and 43% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 45% from the field and 13% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 0 turnovers.

In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors let up on the defensive end and allowed the TSV Oberaching Tropics go on a run and control the game until half-time. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors never lost track and battled and made a run at the end to trail only by 8 points at the break. The TSV Oberaching Tropics exploded in the first minutes racing out on a lethal 12-0 run to lead comfortably 32-23. In the run the guys from head coach Mario Matic got solid production from their import players John Boyer and Omari Knox. Knox contributed 5 points including a three pointer. Knox has been a deadly three point shooter his whole career once averaging 27 and 26 points per game for Dachau and has been lighting it up this season in the Pro B as well. Frankfurt was giving him too much room to operate and not covering him tight enough. Boyer also made a bucket while German shooter Peter Zeis who played 69 BBL games with medi Bayreuth made free throws and a trey to close out the run. Frankfurt was getting overwhelmed from the super Tropics execution and got careless on offense coughing up the ball too many times. The guests had a great offensive rhythm and their decision making was spot on. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors finally got on the board with their first points at the 6,19 minute mark as German Maxi Begue played to his strength nailing a mid distance shot cutting the Tropics lead to 32-25. The TSV Oberaching Tropics were getting good production from every player who played a slim 8 man rotation. German guard Chris Wuermseher who has 106 Regionalliga game on his resume  got aggressive scoring two baskets. On the last one caught Frankfurt napping on the inbounds pass as German Justin Hedley found him all alone underneath for the easy lay in as the guests led 36-25. After a disastrous beginning to the second quarter, Frankfurt finished the last minutes with some pride going on a vital 11-5 run to break the double digit lead of the Tropics and trail only 41-36 with a few seconds remaining. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors received some key buckets from Maxi Begue who continued to display his fine mid range game including a beautiful text book floater that Chris Paul couldn´t have executed better. Gruehn continued to be a huge offensive factor netting 5 points with a step back jumper and trey. With a few seconds to go, Frankfurt was leading 41-36, but they couldn´t withstand an exciting buzzer beater three from Peter Zeis as the guests led 44-36 at the break. “We did a good job reading their defense. They switched a lot on the pick and roll and we worked on that creating mismatches”, explained John Boyer. The TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 47% from the field and 28% from the three point line and had 17 boards and 4 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 41% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing John Boyer who added 7 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 15 minutes of work in the win

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors went on a huge run to begin the quarter, but couldn´t get away from the TSV Oberaching Tropics as the game remained tight and the guests had the slim two point advantage after 30 minutes. Frankfurt erupted to begin the second half with a massive 13-2 run to capture back the lead 49-46. In the run the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got heavy three point production as Len Schoormann who came into the contest shooting 30% from the parking lot ripped home two three´s and Cosmo Gruehn also delivered again with a trey. Peric hit free throws and Knoxville Tennessee native Nigel Pruitt who was being contained very well at the three point line had some luck getting a loose ball down low and easily scoring. Grujic hit a old school hook shot for the lone Tropics score. But the TSV Oberaching Tropics continued to battle and didn´t allow Frankfurt to break way getting a basket from ex Hanau guard Justin Hedley and Koegler free throws to dead lock the game at 51-51. The TSV Oberaching Tropics were able to gain the lead again thanks to their valuable bench/role player Sebastian Rauch. Rauch played 8 years for Gotha and has been that Regionalliga/Pro B journey man for his whole career, but is one of those guys that every coach would love to have. He scored two big buckets creating mis matches and scoring out of the post for easy baskets. “He always does what we need. If coach wants him to do the dirty work, he does it. He loves doing the dirty work. He was a big reason why we beat Orange Academy recently. The way he played there is how he played today. He gives us very valuable experience”, stressed john Boyer. The Tropics had gone on a 6-0 run for the 57-51 lead, but Frankfurt had some energy in the last minutes closing out the third quarter on a 6-2 run to trail only 59-57 as Begue again scored from mid range and Pruitt finally got free dropping a trey. “We panicked a bit and got too comfortable. They felt it and took the momentum and went on a run”, expressed ex Bloomfield(NCAA2) guard Omari Knox. “We found a good rhythm and defended well in the run and were able to come back. When you get stops on defense, you automatically feel better on offense”, warned Cosmo Gruehn. TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 45% from the field and 24% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 26 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors allowed the TSV Oberaching Tropics to break away again and to lead by as much as 10 points. Frankfurt came back to cut the deficit to 2 points, but then couldn´t get over the hump in crunch-time to win back the lead. The guests broke out on an annoying 12—4 run to extend their lead to 71-61 over Frankfurt and it seemed like they might coast home to victory. In the run the TSV Oberaching Tropics got valuable production inside as the Frankfurt 1-1 defense was beginning to get weak. The Tropics got easy baskets inside from Koegler, Headley and Rauch. They also got a valuable trey from Omari Knox who once hit Bad Aibling for 48 points in a Regionalliga game nailed a trey and Zeis made free throws. Frankfurt received a jumper from Begue and lay in from Peric. The Fraport Skyliners knew now was the time to act or go home disappointed and they did that starting to chip away at the Tropics lead and claw back. Frankfurt got a runner from Schoormann and then a lay in from Peric. On the lay in from Peric, it was a broken play where he was smart and didn´t let a Knox throw off his body go out of bounds and got the ball and scored to cut the Tropics lead to 73-66. But Frankfurt made basketball life very difficult for themselves not executing on defense. They were unable to defend better on man and suffered more easy baskets. After another clutch trey from Gruehn to cut the Tropics advantage to 75-69, Knox came back with a jumper and three pointer to extend the Tropics lead to 80-71. Frankfurt never was able to get a handle on the Brooklyn, New York native as he hit them hard all night long with his precision shooting. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then made their move breaking out on a 10-3 run to cut the Tropics lead to only 83-81 and stealing the momentum back with only 1,53 minutes to play. Cosmo Gruehn entered beast mode in the run scoring an incredible 8 points to show why he is such an important player for the team this season. “I have been able to take more responsibility in the last year. I feel comfortable taking responsibility”, warned Cosmo Gruehn. But then came the deciding moment of the game as the TSV Oberaching Tropics took control letting it splash back to back three´s from Omari Knox and Peter Zeis for the 89-81 lead with 53 seconds to play and would never look back. Frankfurt did get a bucket from Peric and trey from Pruitt in the last minute, but free throws from Knox and Rauch iced the cake for the guests for the win. “Those two three´s were huge. During that time the long bus ride was in my mind. I didn´t want to go home with a loss. We just kept making the right plays and were rewarded with the win”, stressed Omari Knox. “We let them play their game in the fourth quarter with that run and gun and couldn´t play our game and get a real rhythm. The two three´s hurt us which was the turning point of the game”, added Cosmo Gruehn. The TSV Oberaching Tropics were led by Omari Knox with 28 points. Janosch Koegler added 16 points and Peter Zeis contributed 15 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Cosmo Gruehn with 22 points. Len Schoormann added 19 points. Bruno Peric contributed 16 points and Maxi Begue 13 points. The TSV Oberaching Tropics shot 52% from the field and 36% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 49% from the field and 40% from outside and had 31 rebounds and 19 turnovers.