Saiquan Jamison Goes Out Snagging Rebounds With The Expectations To Try And Break Records

Saiquan Jamison (203-F/C-1998, college: Bowie St.) is a 24 year old 203cm player from Maryland playing his third professional season with the Vitoria SC/Costa Guerreiro Lda. (Portugal-Liga Betclic) averaging 10,3ppg, 8,9rpg and 1,0apg.. Last season he played with the Surrey Scorchers (United Kingdom-BBL) averaging 12.4ppg, 14.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.9%, FT: 69.7%. he began his professional career with the Salon Vilpas Vikings (Finland-Korisliiga) and then moved to Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) averaging 20.6ppg, Reb-1 (20.6rpg), 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 62.5%. He began his basketball career with the University of Mount Olive (NCAA2) averaging 7.6ppg, 8.2rpg, FGP: 58.0%, FT: 46.3%. He then finished at Bowie State University (NCAA2) playing 88 games in 3 seasons avergaing 7.1ppg, 9.1rpg, FGP: 50.6%, FT: 54.3% in his second season and 9.7ppg, 11.1rpg, FGP: 54.0% in his junior season and 10.4ppg, 9.0rpg, FGP: 55.8%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 62.5% as a senior. He spoke to about basketball.

Thanks Saiquan for talking to One could almost say you’re the second Kevin Love. In Finland you averaged 20/20 in a season. That is pretty mind boggling and very rare. Is Kevin Love a guy you have watched on video?

That’s funny but I watched a lot of him and Dennis Rodman but more Dennis than Kevin sometimes because I liked Rodman’s drive and all out passion for the game.

Let’s talk about your game. You’re an undersized 203cm big. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I can play 4/5, but i’d def compare myself to like Dennis Rodman or someone like Montrezl Harrel.

You’re a player that likes to do the dirty work. Have you always been like that or did that come with time and maturity?

I have always been like that tbh I wasn’t always the most skilled guy so I used my motor a lot and found that I can be a great rebounder and a physical and strong presence so I just came into that role and that’s the reason I am where I am now.

Your a rebound monster and have very good athleticism. What other strengths does your game have?

I can shoot the ball a bit mid range to 3 , not a high volume guy will take the shots that I think are good for the team or feel as though I put myself in the best spot to get my shot.

What is your secret to being that dominant rebounder? Is it mostly anticipation and how much does that will to get the rebound lead you to success?

There isn’t really a secret it’s a WANT of mine and I just go out snag rebounds with the expectation to try and break records while I do it.

On what areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve your game?

Definitely my face up game, playing off the dribble a little more, and also hitting open 3s so just being very versatile

Where do you see yourself presently as a defender after two years as a professional? What kind of a defender do you want to become in the next years?

I feel like I’m a great defender and think I can guard 1-5 at a good level. I want to be the defender that I am but just a little quicker laterally and being better off ball.

Last season you played with the Surrey Scorchers (United Kingdom-BBL) averaging 12.4ppg, 14.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.9%, FT: 69.7%. What did you enjoy most about the experience in the UK on and off the court?

I loved the area for sure loved the team and most importantly the fans and they were the absolute best.

You played twice against top team London Lions registering 2 double doubles. What was it like battling ex NBA player Julian Washburn? You proved that NCAA 2 players can ball with anyone.

D1,D2,D3 or Juco never really was a worry of mine. We all lace our shoes the same way only difference is resources that are available but other than that I’m going compete and be tough with any opponent, but Julian definitely was a smart and very versatile did a lot of different things on the floor. But again regardless of level or where a player has played or been I’m taking myself 10/10 times.

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

The weather for sure and the darkness at freaking 2 in the afternoon and also just knowing I couldn’t just drive to my family at any given moment.

You began your rookie season with the Salon Vilpas Vikings (Finland-Korisliiga) You played only 6 games and then left. Why didn’t this situation work out?

It was a contract where I played/practices with both Top League Vilpas and Peru Basket which is the feeder team for the Vilpas, but Vilpas there were more stipulations like an American had to be injured in order for me to play.

You finished the season with at Pernion Urheilijat Basket (Finland-1st Division) averaging 20.6ppg, Reb-1 (20.6rpg), 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 60.2%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 62.5%. You had 38 rebounds in a game. I mean that is insane? How do you do that?

Work, Hard grind really and just wanting to do whatever for my team and just doing whatever it took to win games. The 38 rebounds game I actually thought I had more every rebound that came off the rim was mine.

There are guys that get 19 rebounds in a game and it is a major deal, but you double that. Was that your greatest game in your career?

Best rebounding game for sure but greatest game of course not, It was huge highlight of my career though something that definitely isn’t done on a regular basis.

You began your NCAA 2 career at University of Mount Olive averaging 7.6ppg, 8.2rpg, FGP: 58.0%, FT: 46.3%. What do you remember from your freshman year and what do you believe did you get most out of it?

I do not remember too much, but I do remember just waiting my turn for my opportunity and when it came I took full advantage of it and after that I became a full time starter as a freshman.

You then played 3 seasons and 88 games with Bowie State University. You averaged 10 rebounds per season. What was your fondest moment there?

Ahh too many. I had a lot of big time games but definitely the 2 game winning putbacks that I had against Virginia Union and Elizabeth City.

You had many great games in the NCAA 2 but was your 35/16/5 explosion over Winston Salem a game that you will always remember?

That definitely was a crazy game and glad we won it in 3 OT was definitely a long game, and had to wake up the next day and play another game on a high note and hoping to duplicate that game.

How did head coach Darrell Brooks groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

He helped a lot definitely was tough on us and just helped me become a better player, while also becoming an even better man.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Yohance Fleming?

We went back and forth some days but for the most part we were on the same team.

Who was the toughest player that you ever faced that reached the NBA?

Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter both those guys for sure

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Tough to name honestly I loved all of my teammates that I’ve had would do it all over for sure between any of them.

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Kevin Durant Dennis Rodman Kevin Garnett Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant

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


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


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

Yeah definitely, it’s crazy because I actually watched it today lol it’s not as bad as people speak on it but definitely was not necessary

Thanks Saiquan for the chat.


 Lok Bernau Stay Calm And Poised In Crunch Time Prevailing 77-69 Over The Dragons Rhondorf

Saying it’s good to be home after a long road trip is a normal procedure, but saying it’s really really really good to be home is something the Dragons Rhondorf are saying now even after having played the weekend before winning a massive game against SC Rist Wedel. The Dragons Rhondorf had to play their first 2 home games of the season in another gym because the Dragon Dome was being renovated. Now they were finally home for good and had a solid 5-2 record. But now came the big showdown against 5-1 team Lok Bernau who are the farm team of Euroleague team Alba Berlin. They began in lightening fashion winning their first 5 games, but last weekend lost a brutal nailbiter against Itzehoe 91-87. On a very cold December evening, the Dragons Rhondorf welcomed Lok Bernau and also had top scorer American Devon Goodman back in the lineup after missing the last 2 games due to injury. Lok Bernau had a top roster there and they played a sound game for 40 minutes keeping the Dragons Rhondorf at bay and then when they rallied in crunch time stayed calm and poised and executed when needed to gain the satisfying 77-69 win. After the big win New Jersey native and Lok Bernau forward Isiah Small (202-SF-1998, college: Texas St.) was all smiles describing the reasons for the win. ‘We could of played better, but they scouted us very well. We started off fast and played our style, but in the second half we slowed down and shot more three’s instead of using our strength and attacking. We finished strong though’, stressed Isiah Small. The Dragon’s Rhondorf played good basketball for long phases, but it was usually dumb mistakes that hurt them especially at the end where they got stops, but poor execution cost them the game. ‘We fought hard until the end. We played way too slow in the first half. That wasn’t our game. We hit nothing. That won’t help you win games. We came back in the second half and played fast and got stops which helped us run our offense. In the end when your down 20 points, it will always be hard to win. We paid the price for our poor start’, stressed Dragons Rhondorf captain Paul Albrecht.

Isiah Small from outside

Even if both teams found their offensive rhythm quickly in the first quarter, it was Lok Bernau that played with a tad more intensity and energy and executed better. Greek junior national player Rafail Lanaras was an instant scoring machine scoring 8 of the team’s first 10 points. Rhondorf countered with Florian Koch and Zaba Bangala buckets, but the guests still led 10-6. Lok Bernau kept the pressure on and went on a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 22-10. Lok Bernau guard Abdulah Kameric who won the 2018 German NBBL title with Franz Wagner and Alba Berlin added 5 points and Small who plays like a Swiss army knife was all over the place and mustered 4 points. The Dragons Rhondorf had massive difficulty coming to terms with the physicality of Lok Bernau under the boards and the guests did a good job taking away the three ball. It also didn’t help Rhondorf’s cause that team top scorer Devon Goodman had a terrible start and would never recover. Rhondorf got a key three pointer from 16 year old Italian Leonardo Valesin and buckets from Koch and Paul Albrecht, but Lok Bernau still led 26-17 after 10 minutes. ‘We had problems with their physicality. There is a reason why they are the leagues best offensive rebound team. We were always a step to late. No arrive at the ball. They have good scorers and executed easily’, stated Paul Albrecht.

Devon Goodman at the FT line

In the second quarter Lok Bernau continued to have control of the game and even when the Dragons Rhondorf attempted a little rally, they blocked it and recovered well and went into the break with a 18 point advantage. Possibly the games 2 widest players Bangala and Akim Jonah got both teams going right away as Bangala scored 4 points and Jonah got 6 points with free throws, a lay in and a powerful stuff for the 32-21 lead. Lok Bernau continued to bang the ball inside and use mis matches which led to easy baskets. Rhondorf had problems executing against the stiff Bernau defensive pressure that led to turnovers. The Dragons Rhondorf then found some daylight going on a little 6-2 run to trail only 34-27 and getting some momentum on their side. In the run, the Dragons got key buckets from Koch, a floater from Jonas Falkenstein and a lay in from Devin Goodman. The game showed again why basketball is a game of runs as Rhondorf totally broke down allowing Lok Bernau to flee on a 11-0 run to lead masterfully 45-27 at half-time. Instrumental in the run was Rikus Schulte who played his first Euroleague game this season with Alba Berlin as he got back to back field goals. He had been cold all game long, but now stepped up as Lok Bernau also profited from costly Rhondorf turnovers. Lok Bernau continued to attack inside using mis matches and getting to the free throw line. Small also continued to annoy Rhondorf with his game at both ends. ‘Small is a very unconventional player. He is long and skinny and likes the mid range shot. He was like a Swiss army knife. We couldn’t contain him’, warned Paul Albrecht. The Dragons Rhondorf shot a pathetic 27% from the field and only 7% from outside while Lok Bernau shot 47% from the field and 27% from outside. Rhondorf had the surprising 23-22 rebound edge but 12 turnovers while Lok Bernau had 6 turnovers.

Akim Jonah at the FT line

The Dragons Rhondorf played their best quarter in the third fighting back and trailing only by 6 points after 30 minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf came out of the locker room reborn and slapped Lok Bernau in the face with a swift 7-0 run to trail only 45-34. In the run Zaba Bangala came to life and upped his aggressiveness 3 gears up scoring 3 buckets in a row. ‘When he gets really aggressive, he is hard to stop. His passion and good defense helped spark us. He carried us’, warned Paul Albrecht. Rhondorf upped their defensive intensity and got 5 stops in a row as Lok Bernau still looked like they were in the dressing room. Lok Bernau finally got on the board at the 6,56 minute mark as Kameric scored on transition. Nicolas Buchholz who had been contained well in the first half, finally connected on a trey, but Elias Rapique matched him with a trey and Lok Bernau still led 50-37. The Dragons Rhondorf began to believe more and more that they could have a successful comeback and continued to chip away at the Lok Bernau lead and slowly come closer. The inside game continued to plague Rhondorf as beast Akim Jonah scored twice including a big dunk, but Buchholz slowly really came to life. He scored 5 points in a row and Bangala got free in the paint and also scored twice as Rhondorf trailed 55-48, but Buchholz closed out the third quarter with another trey as Lok Bernau led only 57-51. Both teams shot over 50% from the field, but were still disastrous from outside as the Dragons shot 17% and Lok Bernau 27%. ‘We were more aggressive and were arriving with the ball on defense. When we defend like that, then no team in the Pro B can compete with us’, warned Paul Albrecht. ‘We didn’t stick to our game plan. We gave up long rebounds and they pushed the ball and we didn’t get back on transition’, warned Isiah Small.

Florian Koch from down town

In the fourth quarter the Dragons Rhondorf continued to fight and cut the lead down to as much as 3 points, but couldn’t ultimately get over the hump. The Dragons Rhondorf got some early punch from Goodman and Albrecht to cut the Lok Bernau lead down to 61-57, but the guests always had a answer in Rhondorf’s burst’s of comebacks. Rapique and Schulte answered with baskets and suddenly Rhondorf trailed 65-57. Koch gave Rhondorf some instant production with 2 three’s, but Rhondorf just couldn’t get stops. Lok Bernau remained calm and poised and got key baskets from Small who made a dunk and Rapique a three pointer as Lok Bernau led 74-67. Lok Bernau may be a very young team averaging 21 years per player, but they played like a veteran team as they simply made smart plays and executed whenever needed. In crunch-time Rhondorf got 3 stops, but couldn’t capital on it making turnovers and missing open looks. Buchholz made a late lay in to trail 74-69, but a Small free throw and Jonah tip in in the last minute sealed the win for Lok Bernau. ‘We panicked the last game, but this time, we stayed calm and trusted each other. This was a team win’, stressed Isiah Small. ‘We made mental mistakes which led to turnovers while they stayed calm. We played on adrenaline and they played their game until the end to win’, stated Paul Albrecht. Lok Bernau was led by Abdulah Kameric with 15 points. Isiah Small and Akim Jonah added 14 points a piece while Rafail Lanaras added 13 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Zaba Bangala with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Nicolas Buchholz added 15 points and Florian Koch 14 points. Lok Bernau shot 48% from the field and 26% from outside and had 39 rebounds and 21 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 37% from the field and 20% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 22 turnovers.


The Miles Vs Chris Miller Weekly Basketball Conversation Volume 9

Christopher Miller (192-G-1993, college: Salem) is a 29 year old 193cm guard from Brooklyn, New York who is playing his eighth professional season and first with GoldCoast Wallabies NLB (2nd League). He played 3 seasons with the Giessen Pointers (Germany-RegionalligaThis season for Bensheim he averaged 19,5ppg, 3,8rpg, 2,0apg and 1,5spg. He has had experience in countries like El Salvador and Bosnia. He recently played for the South Shore Monarchs (TBL) playing 8 games averaging 22.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 4.3apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 35.0%, FT: 83.3%. He began his basketball career at Clinton Community College and also played two years at Salem University (NCAA2). This season he teams up with Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with weekly chats about his basketball season.

Congrats on the 85-51 win over Grand Saconnex. Was achieving the win more difficult than the score shows?

Thank you. This game was a much needed game we took care of business and everyone got to play. Our young guys got game reps in and we got over the hump and got ourselves a win.

Talk a little about the 40 minutes. How pleased are you with how the team played over 40 minutes?

I was pleased with our overall game . If I’m honest not the full 40 but we came in the first half ready to go and had a 20 point lead in the first 5 minutes. I like the hunger everyone came in with to get this win.

What was the team’s biggest strength on the night on defense?

We were trying to be a stingy team on defense. We have a lot of athletes and when we are all locked in I think we can have more outcomes like this. Our goal was not to let them score hound them be aggressive on defense and attack first.

Despite the big win how much do the 22 turnovers concern you? The bench gave up 13 turnovers.

This doesn’t concern me. Our young guys got extended minutes and can’t develop if they don’t make mistakes. I am happy they were able to get time to feel out live game action for themselves.

You had another good game scoring 26 points. How content were you with your game?

I am happy we won. I always feel I should of done more 10-19 is too many misses in my mind. Overall it got the job done for this week but I’m still working.

You filled the stats nicely and had good shooting percentages. Are you getting better used to the style game by game?

Yes I feel the team is turning a corner and I am getting to know the league a bit better. Most importantly our chemistry is there and and the team respects me as a leader.

You next play against Morges-Saint with a record of 5-3. Will the team have extra confidence going in after getting that blow out win?

I think this week we can take our energy and hope to use this to get more wins. We need to make some adjustments but I feel if we can come out with similar energy we will have a good chance.

Morges-Saint is a very good defensive team. What will be key to getting the win?

Playing together being on the same page executing our game plan. If we do this we have a good chance with any team in this league.

Thanks Chris for the chat.


Fenerbahce Will Always Be In The Heart Of Jan Vesely(FC Barcelona)

Foto pic courtesy of FCBbasket

Jan Vesely (213-C-1990, agency: BeoBasket) is a 32 year old 213cm center playing his first season in the Spanish ACB for FC Barcelona Lassa . He played 8 years with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) winning 9 titles and a Euroleague title in 2017. He also spent 3 years in the NBA with the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets playing a total of 161 NBA games. He began his basketball career with BK Snakes Ostrava U19 team (U19 League) and then played 3 years with BC Partizan Igokea Beograd (Serbia-A League) before being drafted at #6 by the Washington Wizards. spoke to Jan Vesely who has played 270 Euroleague games before a Euroleague game against Alba Berlin.

Thanks Jan for talking to You played 8 years for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. One may have thought that you would have finished your career there. When you look back now what do you miss most besides having won 9 titles?

I really miss the city. To be 8 years in one city is a very long time. I also miss the fans. But now I decided to go to another club and attempt a new challenge. Fenerbahce will always be in my heart.

Your playing your first season with FC Barcelona. What kind of an experience has it been playing for this famous team? What have you experienced in the first few months there that you would never have thought could have happened?

I’m still getting used to my new team and figuring things out. I have noticed just what kind of brand FC Barcelona is. So many people follow the club. I’m seeing Czech fans coming to the games. I never had Czech fans coming to my Fenerbahce games. The arena is next to the football stadium. I have the feeling that the brand is huge in the world. All know Barca.

This is the first time in your career where you have played less than 20 minutes in league and Euroleague play. What kind of player have you had to become with your role?

I knew when I came here that I wouldn’t play 35 minutes per game. This is actually a good thing. I have a different role where I go step by step and give everything to the team. We have a long roster. It feels good not having to have to play so much. When you play so many minutes, there is that risk to get burned out at the end of the season. I do the best I can with the minutes I get and give all to my team.

You have been such a consistent player your whole career. What has been your secret to being able to play so well year in and year out?

I really don’t know. It isn’t easy being consistent when your playing at such a high level each season. I think very important is my maturity. I know what to expect of my teammates and they know what to expect from me. I also don’t get rattled easily when things aren’t going well.

It has been 12 years since FC Barcelona won the Euroleague title. You have played against FC Barcelona the last years. What is special about tis seasons team?

That is hard to say since the season is still young and we are getting to know each other still. It is still a process, but I still have a good feeling about this team. We have great guys that sacrifice themselves for the good of the team. That is a big key for our success.

How enriching is it being teammates with ex NBA player Tomas Satoransky? How is he a better player now before he went to the NBA?

He is very mature now. He is a similar player to when he went to the NBA. The difference now is that he is very consistent. He has improved in so many areas of his game. He is a great point guard and teammate. He is always trying to help the team the best way he can.

You have played with Tomas Satoransky for many years in the Czech National team. What is something about him that not many know?

He is very passionate about the game.

Your teammates with ex NBA player Mike Tobey. How much do you feel has his game profited from being able to play with Slovenia the last years?

He has played at a high level for some years now, but having played for Slovenia gave him something extra in his game. He is a great player.

You won the 2017 Euroleague title with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. What do you remember being the most special thing about this team?

It wasn’t an easy season. We started Ok but had problems midway through the season with injuries. We never had full rosters. But when we began the playoffs, we had the full roster. Then everyone sacrificed themselves for the team.

How vital was head coach Zeljko Obradovic in your further development with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul? How did you become a better player there under him after your NBA run?

I had come from the NBA and he gave me a chance. He had trust in my game and allowed me to play my game. He gave me the needed confidence to be myself. He allowed me to love basketball and I worked very hard which gave me additional confidence.

How key was having Pero Antic as a teammate? How do you remember him helping you become a better player during the Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul years?

He was very experienced and wasn’t afraid of anyone.

You played against Luka Doncic back when he was with Real Madrid. Do you remember seeing an incredible play from him then where you thought OK this kid is good?

I remember always hearing about how great of a talent he was. He was a big talent then and it was only a matter of time before he would reach the NBA. But I would never have thought then that he would become this great in the NBA. He really benefited from the Real Madrid system. They trusted his abilities when he was very young and that allowed him to believe in himself. They allowed him to prove himself at a young age. That was key in him getting as far as he has come.

You played in the NBA for 3 seasons with Washington and Denver. If you were to play in the NBA today at the age that you were back in 2011, how do you feel would you do today? It is a lot more athletic today.

I have no idea. But the NBA was already athletic when I played. There are so many factors that come to play. I can’t say.

You played with so many great players in the Wizards organization. If you look back what player do you remember having the best relationship with?

I have to say the other rookies with me Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack. We always practiced together and stuck together.

Do you have any special memories playing against Kobe Bryant or Lebron James in the NBA? Is there a memory that you can tell your grandchildren?

They are great players. It was so long ago.

Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NBA that you will never forget?

I didn’t play much.

Thanks Jan for the chat.


Jay Threat´s(Golden Eagle Ylii) Secret To Consistency And 11 Years Overseas has Been His Ability To Adapt In Different Styles Of Basketball Making Him A Versatile Player

Jay Threatt (180-PG-1989, college: Delaware St.) is a 33 year old 180cm point guard from Virginia that is playing his 11th professional season and first with Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosovo-Superliga). He has sampled extensive experience overseas having played in Iceland, Germany, Finland, Romania, Hungry, France, Poland and Greece. He began his NCAA career at George Mason and then finished at Delaware State averaging 8.9ppg, 3.7rpg, 6.0apg, Steals-1 (3.0spg), FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 26.4%, FT: 82.1%. He spoke to eurobasket before a Fiba Europe Cup game against Bamberg.

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

Wassup Miles. I’m currently playing in Kosovo for Golden Eagle Ylli on a 2 month FIBA Europe Cup deal. Anytime I’m blessed enough to be doing what I love to do I’m happy.

The last time I interviewed you is more than 8,5 years ago. Has time flown by? T

This is year 11 for me as a pro. Some days I can’t even believe it. Time has flown by.

How blessed are you to still playing the game that you love? If someone had told you in your second year in Heidelberg that you would still be playing in 2022 what would you have said?

It’s a HUGE blessing to still be playing this game at a high level; especially what the world has went through the last couple years. A lot of players I started this journey with aren’t doing it anymore so I’m blessed.

What kind of a player were you in 2013 and what kind of player are you today? You had a great second season for the MLP Academics averaging 15.3ppg, 3.9rpg, Assists-3 (6.1apg), 1.4spg, FGP: 52.4%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 79.6%

Honestly I feel like I’m the same player but just stronger and way more experienced. I have seen it all at this point in my career.

Your playing in your 9th country with Golden Eagle Ylli (Kosovo-Superliga). You did play some years for different French clubs but still you have seen a lot. Has the globetrotter life been more enriching then staying in 1-3 places in your pro career?

Playing in different countries has allowed me to obviously experience different cultures but different styles of basketball. Which in the end has made me a more versatile player. I feel like I can play anywhere and have success. But after this next month I would like to sign a 2 year deal and stay in one place.

What kind of an experience has it been playing in Kosovo? What have you learned to appreciate the most about living in this country?

Kosovo is very different but the people have been very nice and welcoming to me. I appreciate the passion from the fans at games even though sometimes it can get out of hand on the road games.

The team is quite experienced. You’re the oldest on the team. Do you have a big role as veteran or not so since there are so many experienced guys?

Yes I definitely have a big role on the team but like you said it a few guys alongside coach that have experience. Still a lot of teaching to the younger players.

What has it been like playing with a guy like Malcolm Armstead that is 33 like you? Can a guy like you still learn something new from a guy like that?

Its great having another guy my age who has played on high levels, who understands the game. I don’t have to dominate the ball when he’s out there, which allows me to go off the ball and become a different type of threat.

Basketball life has changed a bit in the last 10 years. The team isn’t as dominant as back when you were in Germany. How do you remember Bamberg back in 2013 as you could follow the BBL from the Pro A?

Yea we already played the game in Bamberg 2 weeks ago and won. It was great playing back in Germany again. Bamberg has a rich basketball history that I’m well aware of and to beat them with a team from Kosovo was huge.

I can imagine that you were really focused to play in Bamberg and win?

Yea it was and still (next two FIBA GAMES) great to play against quality BBL teams. I’ve always loved Germany as a country so any chance I get to show teams there that I’m still more than capable of playing on that level I’m going to take advantage. I could of been came back over the years but the money or situation wasn’t right. but maybe in a month when I’m free.

American guards were always good in the German Pro A. When you look back to 2013 and all the guards that you competed against what percent of Americans do you feel could have done well in the BBL?

It all depends on situations. Having the right coach and team around a player makes all the difference.

How have you followed your second pro team MLP Academics in the last years? They are in the BBL now. How much do you have to tip the hat to manager Matthias Lautenschlaeger? How do you remember his passion for the game in 2013?

I spoke to Matthias within the last year. We just caught up a bit and I told him I’m proud of him and the club. Wish them nothing but the best.

Your ex teammate Shy Ely is still with the MLP Academics. Did you know back then that he could become a lifer in Heidelberg?

Shy is my guy. We speak pretty often about the year we were together, possibly playing together again and just life in general. But nah we both had no idea back then he would stay there forever.

You have always put up consistent stats in your career. What has been your secret to being able to play so consistent in so many different places and for different organizations?

I appreciate you noticing my consistency. I pride myself on that. Teams know exactly what your going to get from me and a team that’s going to compete. I think like I said earlier my ability to adapt in different styles of basketball has made me a very versatile player.

You always have high assist rates. How would you describe your playmaking qualities. Have you always been a pass first guard or did that change during your career? You already averaged 6.0 assists at Delaware State (NCAA).

It’s very hard to guard me 1 on 1 so teams always used to send more than one guy at me to stop me. So I learned by getting my teammates involved and in a rhythm, teams couldn’t just focus on me. Which in the end would open the lanes back up for me. When everybody on the court feel involved teams normally play better.

In your third pro season you played with BC Nokia (Finland-1st Division) averaging 13.4ppg, 4.9rpg, Assists-3 (5.1apg), 1.7spg, FGP: 46.9%, 3PT: 37.2%, FT: 85.5%. You won the league title. What do you remember being so special about this team?

This season was all about winning. That was everybody’s goal and we all sacrificed a lot to get it done. But I remember it being extremely cold out there.

In your third professional season you played with CS Phoenix Galati (Romania-Liga National) averaging 13.5ppg, 3.1rpg, Assists-2 (6.6apg), 1.3spg, FGP: 40.1%, 3PT: 42.1%, FT: 76.1%. What memories do you have of Romania? What was special about playing there?

I remember just taking a team that had just moved up to the top league to a 7th place finish and just all the hard work it took to accomplish that. Was a very difficult season dealing when a lot of things that weren’t right off the court. That season taught me to focus only on the things I can control.

In 2016-2017 you played with Sopron KC (Hungary-A Division) averaging 10.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 5.2apg, 2.0spg, 2FGP: 41.9%, 3FGP: 28.0%, FT: 71.4% in the Fiba Europe Cup and 14.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 6.2apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 44.7%, 3FGP: 47.8%, FT: 75.8%, in the Hungarian league. It was the first time that you played in an international club tournament. Is it tough that you didn’t play in more?

That was another grind. Playing the whole Euro cup injured was difficult but I enjoyed the traveling and playing twice a week. That was the reason I decided to do it again now I missed that stage.

What do you remember it being like being teammates with high rebounding guard Julien Mills? Do you still have contact to him?

Not much. he was older then and not I have no contact with him.

You finished the season in France and then played parts of the next 2 seasons in France with Denain ASC Voltaire averaging 10.3ppg, 3.7rpg, Assists-5 (5.8apg), 1.6spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 76.5% and with Union Poitiers Basket 86 (France-ProB) averaging 15.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 8.0apg, 1.2spg, 2FGP: 55.2%, 3FGP: 36.0%, FT: 80.0%. How do you remember France. You won a cup there.

I have played the longest in France and it’s like a second home to me. The leagues are different from everywhere else in Europe with the athleticism. Wining the leaders cup there was a huge accomplishment for me and the club. Just showed that if I’m given the right pieces I can win.

I always felt like the France Pro B is an underrated league. How would you compare it then in skill level to the German Pro A?

France Pro B is the hardest second league in Europe by far. Even better than some first leagues. Anybody that’s played there knows. A lot of talent there. Way more athletic than German pro A.

You also got experience playing in Lithuania with Pieno Zvaigzdes Pasvalys (Lithuania-LKL) averaging 13.4ppg, 3.6rpg, Assists-1 (5.7apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 45.9%, 3PT: 33.9%, FT: 78.7%. Is the country as passionate about the game as people always say? What experience do you remember having with fans that proved that?

Basketball in Lithuania is #1. not soccer. They love it and the understand the game. Which made it real easy for me to play out there. The fans of all teams showed me a lot of love because of how I played and impacted winning. They always wanted pics with me after the games and I appreciated that.

In 2019-2020 you played with BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp. (Poland-EBL) averaging 13.6ppg, 3.0rpg, Assists-1 (7.0apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 41.4%, 3PT: 36.5%, FT: 85.5%. What was it like playing in Poland? You won the assist title. This is another league on the rise?

Poland is definitely a league on the rise. More money has been put into basketball the last couple of years which has made better players come to the league, which then has made the polish players better. You are seeing the results of that in World Cups.

Many players had misfortune during Covid, but you had a lot of luck and made the France Pro A and Greek first division. Was that a testament of your consistent hard work to reach high leagues late in your career?

Yes I think it was just years of consistent play and the respect teams and coaches have for me across Europe.

Were you able to bond with one of my favorite guard Vincent Sanford who went from the German Pro B to the France Pro A. How quickly did you notice his chip on his shoulder?

That’s my guy right there. We talk a few times a month. Great guy and great player. We both have chips on our shoulder that’s why we get along so well.

You only played 4 games in Greece. How do you remember that league? I’m sure you would have loved to have played against Panathinaikos?

Yea I tore my hamstring after slipping on a sticker last year. Team started losing and they fired the coaches and 3 players. I didn’t want stay through all that so I decided to leave. Plus the money problems that everybody knows Greece has but the brand of basketball there is still good. Very high IQ league. Wish I got a chance to play against the Euroleague teams there before I left.

You were really close to a triple double a few times in your career and once had 15 assists. What was your best game in your pro career so far?

Ummmm I honestly don’t know what my best game was in my career. But having 36 pts 7 rebs 8 assist 45 eval in Romainia is up there.

Do you feel like you could play 5 more years? How much longer do you feel you will play?

This is the question everybody always ask me. I think I have a good 3 years left in my for sure. After that we will just have to see what happens.

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Daniel Bailey Shy Ely Jalen Hudson CJ Williams Malachi Richardson

Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Allen Iverson (I’m from Virginia I’m biased) MJ Bron Shaq

What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest Jordan or Lebron? Will his bad start in L.A this season tarnish his career? It seems he is waiting to beat Kareem’s scoring record.

I grew up in the Jordan era. For me it’s not even close. MJ is the GOAT. But I think Bron will go down as the best all around player. I don’t think anything that’s going on now will hurt Brons legacy. He will be at the top of every basketball record.

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

YES they should of left that one alone.

Thanks Jay for the chat.


It Was Tears Of Joy For Markel Starks (Darussafaka Istanbul)When Fenerbahce Called And He Became A Euroleague Player

Markel Starks (187-PG-1991, college: Georgetown, agency: BeoBasket) is a 31 year old 187cm point guard from North Bethesda, Maryland playing his 9th professional season and first with Darussafaka Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). He has spent time overseas playing in countries like Italy, Australia, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Russia and Bosnia. He began his basketball career at Georgetown prep school and then played at Georgetown University (NCAA) from 2010-2014 playing 125 games. He spoke to about his basketball career before a Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

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

Thanks for having me! Currently in Istanbul, playing with Darussafaka. Basketball life is good. There’s always good and bad days, but every day you have an opportunity to wake up and play, is always a blessing!

Before we start I have to go back to your brief stint in Frankfurt. You were teammates with Quantez Robertson as a young player. He is turning 38 in 2 months and this is probably his last year. Could you imagine playing as long as him or will you be in politics sooner?

First, congrats to Quantez on an amazing career, if this is his last season. To be honest with you, I don’t know. Playing at a high level at 38 is a testament to him and being able to stay healthy and youthful in a sense, shows how he’s been able to take care of his body. But, for myself, tough question. I’m just trying to make the most of my opportunities as they come.

He is a defensive stopper and athletic. What will you always remember about him and do you have a memorable story about him?

He always played hard and with a high motor. He was focused into game plans and overall a great captain during my stint there. He always had guys laughing and always did stuff that brought the team together. He was a first class guy and obviously being in Frankfurt as long as he has shows his character and the great person he truly is.

Your playing your first season with Darussafaka Istanbul (Turkey-BS). You have had previous stints in Turkey and last year won your first title as a professional with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Has Turkey become like a second home for you?

Yes, this is my third team in Turkey. My first time in Turkey I played 2nd division for Yalova with my good friend Mikael Hopkins. Then midway thru I played with Deji Akindele as the other import. Then last year with Fenerbahce.

There are 7 professional teams in Istanbul. That would be like having 7 NBA teams in New York. How can you describe the basketball atmosphere in Istanbul? Are there bars where you as a player of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul could never go to?

The basketball atmosphere is the best. Obviously futbol always comes first in most of Europe and here somewhat lol. But, overal the basketball in Istanbul is unbelievable. You feel the passion from the fans and the basketball clubs. Everyone wants to win. Everyone is a huge basketball supporter and surprisingly enough, most people really understand the game.
As a Fenerbahce player, I didn’t have the same notoriety as say Marko Guduric lol, so I was okay in many places. But, for the main guys, it was definitely tough for them when we would go to certain places for sure. Though, I can say I was around true professionals and they never treated anyone poorly.

After winning the Turkish league title last season with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul how do you top that this season? I can imagine the BCL is a more realistic goal than the Turkish title?

Obviously, a great accomplishment last year. Extremely memorable and I thank Fenerbahce for giving me such an amazing opportunity to be a part of the great history of the club and share in that moment.This season is different.We have a young locker room in some ways but we also have some veteran guys that have been around and have played a lot. Currently, we’re still trying to figure it out collectively and I think we are starting to gel as a unit. BCL and TBL are both extremely tough this year. There are no off nights in either league. So, our group is constantly being challenged and we will respond. So we have great aspirations in both BCL and Turkish league. We aren’t limiting ourselves because the competitions are tough.

The team only has 2 Americans. That is pretty unusual in Turkey. Is this a club that expects more from their Turkish players?

This is a club that expects more from everyone. Everyone is held to a high standard. And, this is how the club operates and it’s worked in years past. This is a great club that I’m truly happy to be a part of.

Your putting up solid stats but not explosive stats. I would think you could have that type of Shane Larkin role where you are one of the central main players on the team?

Right now I’m finding my groove. The club expects a lot from me and I have the same standards for myself. The season is still early but I’m not going to sell myself short, I have to do more. I’m capable of more and I will continue to work and put my best foot forward. I put the work in and obviously I’m just not having the results I want at this moment but the time will come.

Last season you began with BC Igokea Aleksandrovac (Bosnia-Division I) averaging BCL averaging 12.7ppg, 1.3rpg, Assists-3 (6.8apg), Steals-4 (1.8spg), FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 75.0% in the Basketball Champions League. You have proved in other leagues as well that you can grab 6-7 assists per game in a season. At Georgetown you never averaged more than 3 assists. What was instrumental in you becoming a real playmaker as a professional?

I learned how to be a point guard/playmaker in Europe. I’ve had some really great coaches, teammates that have been instrumental in my development. At Georgetown I didn’t play the game dominating the ball. I learned how to read and react, which helped, but in Europe the playmaker is asked to do a lot with the basketball. Create, score, defend, lead, and in big moments, make plays. But I credit a lot to my teammates because ultimately those are the guys that help make the plays as well.

What is the Bosnian league like in terms of skill level and competition to other leagues you have played in in your career?

I can’t speak for the Bosnian league but I can speak for the ABA Liga. In terms of tactical basketball by far the best basketball I’ve seen. A lot of great history, clubs, and players have come from ABA Liga.

You were teammates with American James Robinson. Did it surprise you that he retired relatively early in his career? What memories will you always share with him?

That’s my guy! Want to say thank you to James for being a great teammate and even better friend. We grew up playing against each other in the DMV area and also in college. But it was great having him as a teammate. He made me a better player with our everyday battles in practice. He understood the game and saw things 2-3 plays in advance. He would constantly tell me different things to look out and be ready for. It definitely was a shocker when he told me he was becoming a coach but realistically, he will be a phenomenal coach. Any player, especially point guards, would love to play for him. He has a great basketball mind but furthermore, a great person. The most memorable, the car rides after practice to lunch and dinner at the hotel in Latasi. When he reads this he’ll start laughing because he knows those car rides would range from practice stuff, growing up in the DMV, high school games, our parents being heavily involved, various people we knew from the area, etc. That’s my guy!

How cool was it ending the season with Euroleague team with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. You didn’t play many games but still won your first title.

It was tears of joy for me. Many times in life I was overlooked or not fortunate enough to have certain opportunities and Fenerbahce gave me that opportunity. All the years of unseen hours in the gym, summers waiting on clubs to call, frustrated that my big break hadn’t happened and just wondering if it would ever happen for me. When the call came, I couldn’t believe it. But it was a testament for the many people that help me every summer and the constant work that I put in.Funny enough, James Robinson and I were together. We were at dinner and afterwards talked in the car for over an hour. Just about the journey and how you never know what God has planned for you. It was one of the best calls I’ve ever received. So I will always be thankful for Fenerbahce. But, now I’m with Dacka, an excellent club that needs me to be me!

You only played 4 Euroleague games. What kind of an experience was that for you? I feel you were a little off the radar the last years for being able to get an opportunity like that. Are there simply too many great guards in Europe and too little available spots?

Great experience! You don’t realize how physical and fast the game is until you’re physically out there. Definitely wasn’t on the radar but the right place, at the right time. It’s so many other great guards that could’ve been chosen but fortunately enough I was the one that they went with.

You played 2 seasons for Avtodor Saratov (Russia-VTB United League) averaging 14.4ppg, 2.3rpg, Assists-5 (5.9apg), 1.2spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT-2 (95.0%) and in your second season averaged 11.2ppg, 1.7rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 87.5%. You also played for head coach Gordon Herbert. He must of always been a supporter of you? He had brought you to Frankfurt.

Coach Gordie was very instrumental in my development as well. We had history and the first time around I wasn’t mentally ready for that opportunity and I thanked him for cutting me when he was hired to coach Avtodor. I needed the wake up call during that time. But ultimately it made me a better player. It forced me to really learn and adapt to basketball overseas. My first couple years I didn’t understand the game. I was just playing basketball. But life humbles you and teaches you many things if you’re willing to listen.

He was fired during the season. I remember him telling me that was a crazy season as many guys got fired. Herbert didn’t do a bad job coaching and the record wasn’t bad, but he still had to pack his bags.

Tough situation and when I heard the news I reached out to him and thanked him for his contribution and it was a definitely a shocker but I was in Avtodor the year before so it wasn’t unusual for things like that to happen. The club expects a lot.

You played the 2018-2019 season in Poland with Stelmet Enea BC Zielona Gora (Poland-EBL) averaging 13.7ppg, 2.4rpg, 5.6apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 55.0%, 3PT: 40.2%, FT: 80.5%. What memories do you have of that season? How important was it that for you leading a team in the VTB league?

That year was my first year playing top level basketball. We competed in the Polish league and the first year in the VTB league. So, it was a big jump coming from 2nd division Turkey. I went from playing against 2 Americans, 18-21yrs and 35-38yrs Turkish players to now playing against CSKA and Zenit. It’s a major difference. But overall, it was great experience. It helped get my name out there in some ways. Helped get my career back on track.

You played twice against Euroleague powerhouse CSKA Moscow losing by 24 points and 41 points. You held your own against some of Europe’s finest. What do you believe is missing for a new Euroleague chance with minutes?

Believing in my ability, if I could say anything. But, honestly, the opportunity may not come again. And if it doesn’t that’s okay. I’m at the place where I should be. I’m happy being a player with Dacka.

In the 2017-2018 season you played in the second Turkish league with Yalova Group Belediye Spor (Turkey-TBL) averaging 22.2ppg), 3.4rpg, Assists-2 (7.3apg), Steals-2 (1.9spg), FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT-3 (89.2%). How vital was taking a step back? A guy like Kam Taylor did it in Germany and a few years later he was a Euroleague player.

I think most guys have to adapt to playing the game overseas. My focus that year was showing that I could play. Yes winning is always important at every level. But the great streetball legend Pee Wee Kirkland told me many years ago, ‘Coaches come to see players, not teams.’

In your second professional season you split time with the Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (Germany-BBL) playing 4 games averaging 10.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 2.0apg. You didn’t have bad stats. Why was your stay so short?

The year before they had great success with Jordan Theodore and he was able to lead the team in many ways. And, I wasn’t the player that could fulfill that role during that time. Though, many players left and have had outstanding careers. It was hard to replace so many players from the year before and have the same level of success. But, ultimately, it wasn’t my time to be there.

You finished the season with ASA Koroivos Amaliadas (Greece-A1) averaging 13.6ppg), 2.0rpg, Assists-3 (4.9apg), FGP: 43.1%, 3PT: 18.5%, FT: 79.2%. You had a 17/9 game in a loss to Euroleague team Olympiakos. What memories do you have battling legend Vassilis Spanoulis?

The legend, Spanoulis! I actually had a small head collision with him in that game lol. But, we were a low level team so he didn’t play much. But nonetheless, the fact I was on the floor with the legend said enough.

The 2015-2016 season you split time with Cairns Taipans (Australia-NBL) averaging 12.5ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.3apg, 2FGP: 52.9%, 3FGP: 22.4%, FT: 84.1%, in Feb.’16 moved to Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A,) averaging 8.2ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 66.7%. What kind of an experience was it playing down under? That league has grown and grown with many NBA guys playing there now. How do you remember the league?

Let me tell you, great competition down under. Obviously look at all the players that have come from that league and have had success. It’s great basketball in Australia. You have athletes, physicality, and great guard play. And those guys compete everyday. And just culturally, great people and teammates! Guys I’m still in contact with to this day.

You were teammates with Torey Craig a guy that played 3 seasons in Australia and since 2016 in the NBA. Would you have thought then that he would find his way to the elite league in the world and stick?

Torrey is a great friend of mine. Torrey was an unbelievable talent. Long arms, defended at an extremely high level, and just always worked on his game. He was a late bloomer in many ways. Where he might not have been that guy at 17 but by 26-27 he was ready. I’m extremely happy for all he’s accomplished. He deserves it!

You played your rookie season with FMC Ferentino (Italy-Serie A2 Gold) averaging 14.7ppg, 2.4rpg, Assists-5 (4.0apg), FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 27.4%, FT: 87.9%. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?

My 3rd day in Italy lol. I called home and said I’m really gone from everything I know. I talked with my family for a couple hours they told me it was ok. They said I was doing something nobody in our family had ever done or experienced. So that made me feel good and gave me the support I needed at that time. But shortly after, my great friend and teammate Omar Thomas arrived and he and his family took great care of me.

You played NBA Summer League with the Pistons and Timberwolves. What was your summary of this experience? Did you notice quickly that a career overseas would be more beneficial then pressing your luck in the NBA?

I’m not an NBA athlete lol. I realized then these guys are unbelievable. And these aren’t even the guys that are the superstars. These are just guys that are trying to make the roster or rookies getting their introduction into the NBA.

You reached the NCAA tournament 3 times with Georgetown. Which one do you remember being the most memorable for you?

Florida Golf Coast. Enough said.

You played with many talented bigs that reached the NBA. Please say 1 meaningful sentence about each player and what they meant to you with Hollis Thompson, Otto Porter, Henry Sims and Greg Whittington?

Hollis Thompson was a true worker. He believed in his ability no matter what anyone had to say. And was one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen.

Otto Porter was a baller. I watched him transform into a great player from his Freshman to Sophomore year. And he was always the same whether he played good or bad.

Henry Sims, the most skilled center I ever played with. He could do everything. Shoot, pass, defend, hook with either hand. Great player!

Greg Whittington was the best all around athlete I’ve ever played with. We actually roomed together along with Mikael Hopkins, how funny is that! Greg was special, could handle the ball, shoot, jump, and defend. I don’t think people really had a chance to see how special we could’ve been at Georgetown.

How important was Jason Clark for you in your first 2 seasons at Georgetown? Was he like a mentor for you?

Jason Clark used to give me buckets every day. I never told him this, but he was by far was the most difficult person I’ve ever had to defend. In a given week, I would have maybe 2 good days (maybe lol) but the other days, he was cooking. It was plenty of frustrating days after summer workouts for me. JClark you’ll always have my respect!

How did head coach John Thompson groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

He prepared me for tough coaching. He prepared me mentally to endure coaches that weren’t going to be my friend. I’m there to do a job and if you don’t do your job you won’t play. So he made me work harder and give more into my craft. Helped me become more obsessed with the grind of getting better. Made me have tougher skin when being coached hard.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Jason Clark

Back in college JClark for sure would’ve got me. I had to deal with that every day. Made me a better player. Most times you need a guy like that; helps you sharpen your tools.

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

Kemba Walker

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

Omar Thomas
Rob Olson
Torrey Craig
Otto Porter
Jehvye Floyd

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present heads?

Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
LeBron James

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

Michael Jordan

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

Definitely should’ve left it alone. The original Coming to America is in my top 5 favorite movies. But there were so many legends in the sequel that they felt it necessary to have everybody in one film so what can you do.

Thanks Markel for the chat.


Wayne McCullough(Darussafaka Istanbul) Is A Role Model For D-2 Players As His Hunger And Willingness To Do Things Other Guys Are Too Good For Have Helped Him Achieve His Edge

Seven years ago, Wayne McCullough (195-SG-1994, college: CCU) was living in beautiful Lakewood, Colorado that had around 155,000 inhabitants in the area and probably didn’t have too much problems navigating around the area in a car. Maybe he even took the bus to get around. 4 years ago, he probably had an even easier time getting from point A to point B in beautiful Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island which has 36,000 inhabitants. Perhaps he even had a bike there to observe the beauty of Canada to help take away from the struggles on the court where he hardly played in the Canadian NBL and might have been wondering why he chose the job professional basketball player. Today in 2022, he has way more problems trying to weave in and out of traffic in Istanbul, Turkey like the jolly frog in the legendary Nintendo game Frogger. I have never been in Istanbul, but have witnessed the craziness of driving in Buenos Aires, Argentina where you sometimes fear for your life in the small black cabs that go in and out of the seemingly trillion buses chugging up and down the street. The American has come a very long way from his days in Colorado and Canada and is playing in the top league in Turkey BSL and competing in the Basketball Champions League. The jovial forward always had talent, but his trek up the basketball ladder was never easy. In a way having these struggles may have been a blessing in disguise, because he has never lost the hunger to get closer to the peak. ‘I have always had a chip on my shoulder, I had zero offers until after my senior year of high school. Coming out of college I knew nobody and nothing about professional basketball. So, when I got my chance I knew coming from CCU (Colorado Christian University) I had to stand out some way. The hunger and willingness to do things other guys were ‘too good for’ help me get my edge. To this day, every game I feel like I have something to prove. My chip has only gotten bigger. Hopefully the steps I have taken and my path will help the next D2 guy to get to the highest level possible. Getting to play the game I love is a blessing’, stressed Wayne McCullough.

The American who remembers division 2 player Derrick White later a NBA first round pick and now of the Boston Celtics being his toughest cover in school was born on June 22, 1994 in Hockley, Texas. He attended Rosehill Christian high school and then went to Colorado Christian University from 2012-2016 playing a total of 108 games being able to improve his scoring average each season. He reached the ultimate crest in 2015 winning the NCAA 2 title. His time there was very instrumental in his development as a player and person. ‘My four years at CCU turned me into the man I am today. My coach, my teammates, and my experiences there were fun and memorable. I met my wife there, and have friendships with some of those people today. When I got there my freshman year I was just a young skinny kid who loved to play basketball. When I left I was about to get married and grew so much mentally, spiritually, and as a man. We did win the NCCAA national championship which was a fun special group, but the lessons I learned have shaped me into who I am today’, stressed Wayne McCullough. In his senior year he scored in double figures in 15 games. He had some huge games in losses scoring 27 points against Colorado Mesa and 21 points against Western State, but then exploded for 27 points in a 72-68 win against Black Hills State. One individual who was key for him becoming the player he did was head coach Kevin Lubbers. ‘Coach Lubbers was and still is one of the wisest men I know. We still talk to this day and he is someone I have in my corner helping me. For him it wasn’t about basketball. We had motivational speakers come talk to us, people who have crazy life stories, many different team bonding events that had nothing to do with basketball, etc. All these things help prepare me for life. Not just basketball, but life and the challenges it brings. He is always reminding me that basketball is what I do, not who I am’, stated Wayne McCullough. He didn’t have to think long when confronted with the who won 1-1 duels back in the day him or Ty McGhee? ‘Ty and me had some great battles back in the day. Both had our days, but I got to say I took home more wins than him’, remembered Wayne McCullough.

It is never a given for former division 2 guys to go pro. The chances in the States are minimal, because anything below NBA, G-League or NBL (Canada) won’t help earn a serious living. So players often look to go overseas. But getting there isn’t always easy. If you don’t have an agent, it gets even harder. The forward who lists Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, and Hakeem Olajuwo on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore always wanted to get overseas, but for him, it just took longer. He decided to stay in Noth America and toiled 4 years in Canada. Some may have thought why Europe wasn’t an option? ‘I probably get asked this question the most. What people don’t understand I had zero connections. The third and fourth year I started to network and meet agents and people, but for the most part I knew nobody that could get me to Europe. Later, I had many agents that promised me different jobs and nothing came. The other part is, when opportunities started to come it needed to be the right situation for me and my family. Money, safe, right step for a bigger step, etc. Obviously would have loved to come to Europe sooner, but God’s timing not mine. I think it worked out just fine’, commented Wayne McCullough. The first 2 years were very tough as he played for NBL team Island Storm. He only played 24 games and never averaged more than 3,5ppg. But sometimes experiencing growing pains and wading through the mud can help prepare you for anything as well as helping get rewarded and not to mention having the support of your loved ones. ‘My first 3 years of my career shaped my perspective of professional basketball. To make a long story short, I was cut from the Island storm back to back years. My third year I got invited to the Phoenix Suns G League team and had a great training camp and was the last cut. That is were my career really started. I learned what I have to do to make and stay on a roster. I learned the business side of professional basketball. I learned how to be aggressive. Those experiences have changed my perspective on my career and life in a good way. If it wasn’t for my wife I would have quit playing during that time’, remembered Wayne McCullough. Building relationships with players in tough times can be beneficial especially with other guys with giant chips on their shoulders like Rob Nortman a guy that paid his dues in Canada before reaching the second highest level in Germany. ‘ I am big on building relationships and not just being somewhere to play basketball. I did not spend much time with Rob, but I do remember him. Rob was a super energetic and funny guy. I remember thinking that he should be a Globetrotter. Doing all the tricks with a basketball and cracking jokes. Great guy with great energy. I was also happy to see him doing well in Germany’, said Wayne McCullough.

The Texas native who has Lebron over Jordan for his GOAT then had more luck as he moved to Moncton and won his first chip. He finally had a huge work load playing 53 games averaging 9.6ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3PT: 33.6%, FT: 68.6%. One could say this was his much desired break through as a professional after paying his dues in his first 2 years. ‘That year was special from the beginning. I had just got cut from the G League and did not know what I was going to do. I ended up signing with Moncton and Coach Joe had put a really strong roster together. My confidence was higher and I knew what I needed to do to get minutes and help the team win. I think the biggest thing that year was our chemistry and the rolls were very defined. Every one knew what was expected of them, they were great at that role, and more importantly they accepted that role’, added Wayne McCullough. He scored in double figures in 25 games including 24 points against Sudbury F, 23 points against his ex team Island Storm and 20 points against Cape Breton. He got the dub beating Saint John’s F in the final in 4 games, but it will be that exciting 7 game semi-final series against Halifax H that will always standout especially that game 7 that was won 85-82. ‘I will never forget that series. My guy Trey Kell had a huge series and game. The last minute they hit a huge shot that made the game feel like we were going to lose. Trey came down back to back and hit tough buckets to put us up and win the game’, expressed Wayne McCullough. He remained with Moncton for another year and even was able to heighten his stats averaging 13.4ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 61.7%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 59.8%. Despite having a very good season, that time will always have a bitter taste in his mouth, because COVID came and stopped everything including a possible back to back title run. ‘When a train is rolling there isn’t much that can stop it, and we were rolling. Seven guys returned, and we had one mission, back to back. Beating teams by thirty and forty. I was playing well, we were having fun and knew we were the best team in the league by far. Who knows what would have happen, but we believed we would have won it’, exclaimed Wayne McCullough. During COVID, he didn’t have any misfortune, but actually finally made it overseas to Finland. This is a country where Americans flock to and is a good jumping pad when successful to make the next step in Europe. He played for Lahti Basketball (Finland-Korisliiga) averaging 17.8ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.8apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 38.3%, FT: 70.4%. He didn’t only make good use with his scoring tools on the court, but off the court had the bike ready for all weather surprises. ‘Finland was one of the most fun years of my career. I made friendships that will last a lifetime. I think the biggest wake up call in Finland would be dark twenty hours a day and get to about negative 20 F. The best part was, my transportation was a bicycle. So I would be riding my bike in the middle of winter with a bike light on and about four layers of cloths going to the gym twice a day. I remember thinking to myself, ‘yup, not in Texas anymore’, laughed Wayne McCullough. He scored in double figures in 23 of 25 games including a 33 point explosion against Pyrinto, 29 points against Ura Baskets and 28 points against Helsinki. The season ended in the playoffs against Vilpas where 3 of the 4 games were lost by only a combined total of 11 points. He played his heart out averaging 16,0ppg, 7,0rpg and 2,0apg in the series. ‘That was a great battle against a really good team. They were playing the best basketball in Finland at the right time. Well coached with some great vets. I do remember those close games, and after the series thinking to myself ‘we had them, We were right there.’ Took them to overtime and gave them everything we had. I am very proud of the group we had. Some tough losses, but we never gave up. Made it a little easier on ourselves after the season since they won the championship that year’, stressed Wayne McCullough.

Currently the American who lists Brad States, Isaiah Pinero, George King, Gabe Olaseni, and Joey Trinkleas his best teammates of all-time is playing his second season for Darussafaka Istanbul (Turkey-BSL). Last season he played in 37 BSL games averaging a solid 8.6ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.2apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 57.3%, 3PT: 32.6%, FT: 69.7%; and in the BCL averaged a solid 8.1ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 81.5%. After paying his dues for 5 years, it is fair to say that he is a late bloomer. ‘Yes, I’m a late bloomer for sure. In high school I grew six inches my senior year that helped me to play in college. I did not dunk in a game until my sophomore year of college, and grew another 3 inches and put on 30 pounds. So, yes a late bloomer but I think it worked to my advantage’, said Wayne McCullough. In the BSL league he had some stellar games against Afyon scoring 22 and 16 points and had 20 points against Merkezefendi while in the BCL had 2 great games against Italian side Brindisi and Spanish club Manresa scoring 22 points a piece. He also held his own against Euroleague teams Efes and Fenerbahce scoring in double figures. Even if he had that first break through season in Canada, one can say that his first season in Turkey did wonders for his game. ‘Canada and Finland are years I am very grateful for. Now that I am playing in the Turkish BSL I found out there are levels to the game. Last year was one of the most challenging years of my career, on and off the court. Since last year my confidence is the biggest part of my game that has changed. Just like any player, if you come back to the same league with the same team your confidence should grow. It has been fun and I will only continue to grow and get better’, warned Wayne McCullough. Once again it isn’t only witnessing incredible things on the court that are enriching, but also off the court with the teammates like Gabriel Olaseni. ‘I call him the British Airways, and I love that guy. Great teammate and genuine guy. He brings a lot of experience, and not just on the court but off the court and leading guys more when their confidence is low or struggling on the court. Great guy and have had some great conversations with him. A friend I’ll have for life’, stressed Wayne McCullough. Every night he faces against top players and some of the toughest in Turkey for him have been Shane Larkin, Rodrigue Beaubois, Jamar Smith, and Jamar Gully. He always has to be ready and has 3 things that he uses that can make him impactful in any game. ‘I do not look at myself as a scorer, I just try to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. Some games that is four shots, and some games that’s twenty. I have confidence in my ability to make shots and think that can help a team win. I think my roll this year is to score and defend at a high level. Sometimes that is coming off the bench or starting, but playing confident, aggressive, and smart are three things that can make me impactful’, added Wayne McCullough. There is no stopping Wayne McCullough now as he always has the right mind set. Can he continue to make the step up to even higher leagues? ‘I’m always blessed to play the game I love. Never take it for granted and hopefully my play shows that. Yes, I am confident I will stay in top leagues, but feel like I have more to prove and higher levels to reach’, warned Wayne McCullough. It will be interesting to see where his journey will go in the next years. One thing for sure is that his shoulder will still be sore, because that chip will never go away.


The Fraport Skyliners Stage Another Late Comeback, But Aren´t rewarded Losing Again This Time To Ratiopharm Ulm 97-82

After having a long 2 week break to regroup after starting 1-5, you would have thought that Frankfurt head coach Geert Hammnik would have had something special prepared for Brose Bamberg, but instead were destroyed 100-83. With every new loss, the Bundesliga life of the Fraport Skyliners keeps diminishing. Frankfurt more than desperately needed a win, but it didn’t get any better against the always tough ratiopharm Ulm squad coached by Anton Gavel. Despite another talented roster, Ulm began the season off on the wrong note losing 5 games in a row. But as of late the team seems to have gotten out of their funk having won 3 of their last 4 games including Eurocup action. On a cool Sunday afternoon in late November, Quantez Robertson wanted to have another good game after having hit Bamberg with 18 points the week before and also help spark his team to success. But once again Quantez Robertson had a disappointed expression on his face after 40 minutes and had to search for new answers why the club lost once again this time to Ratiopharm Ulm 97-82. ‘We didn’t get enough defensive stops, didn’t rebound well enough and gave up too many fast break baskets. We didn’t do much well. Our communication on defense was there and we didn’t play good pick and roll defense’, stated ex Auburn (NCAA) great Quantez Robertson. Ratiopharm Ulm came out strong and played good consistent ball for the most part of the game something that the Fraprt Skyliners would love to do so much, but can’t. Ex Fraport Skyliner Tyrone Mccoy who played more than 2 decades ago for them and now is an assistant coach with ratiopharm Ulm was pleased with the team effort. ‘We started off well. We had some guys out, but still felt comfortable playing with each other. We played very well in the second half and went on a run that was helped by Robin Christen (202-SF-1991) big shots that helped get our lead to 20 points. We then did a good job managing the lead until the end. I felt that you could see that every guy is finding their role and as a whole everyone was trying to give a little bit more’, warned Tyrone Mccoy.

Josh Hawley at the FT line

Both teams found their offensive rhythm right away in the first quarter and no team could escape the other as ratiopharm Ulm led 22-20 after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners started the offensive attack first as German national player Lukas Wank found his game instantly scoring 5 unanswered points, but the guests didn’t waste anytime getting 2 pretty baskets as ex Rasta Vechta forward Robin Christen fed German beats Nicolas Bretzel for the alley op dunk and ex NBA Summer League player Karim Jallow added a reverse lay up to trail 5-4. Both teams tried to get their big men involved with Matt Haarms and Bretzel as both answered with buckets, and both had good games combining for 30 points. After both exchanged baskets, it was ex Tarleton State (NCAA2) great Josh Hawley that gave Ulm the 15-14 advantage with a hard two hand dunk as Frankfurt would have massive problems all day long with 1-1 defense. Then ex Alba Berlin youth player Nolan Adekunle was inserted. He had wooed everyone only 18 hours earlier making 29 points in the Pro B win against Orange Academy in front of the eyes of head coach Geert Hammink. But at the end of 40 minutes, the athletic German had only logged 2,48 minutes. It was a shame that he hadn’t received more minutes something he would have deserved. He made a pretty basket for the 16-15 Frankfurt lead. Ratiopharm Ulm then grabbed the lead back and didn’t give it up again the rest of the game. Spanish guard Juan Nunez made a lay in and then got to the free throw line as Montenegran forward Fedor Zugic made 4 of 5 free throws and Hawley also made one as the guests led 22-18. Then with 5,6 seconds left came the games most spectacular play of the game as American JJ Frazier went coast to coast making an acrobatic lay in as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 22-20. ‘There was no defense played on either side. Both teams were getting to their spots. We had problems taking care of the ball’, stated Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot very well with 44% from the field and 50% from outside while ratiopharm Ulm was still looking for their touch from outside as they were at 20%. Ulm had the slim 10-8 rebound edge while Frankfurt had 5 turnovers.

Laurynas Beliauskas from outside

The contest remained tight in the second quarter, but the Fraport Skyliners could never get the lead back and were constantly playing catch up basketball. Frankfurt got some early support from Joshua Obiesie who continues to show that he wants to take responsibility as he scored 5 points, but Frankfurt couldn’t get stops as Karim Jallow beat everyone on transition for an easy basket and Hawley nailed a trey as Ulm led 29-28. Ratiopharm Ulm then found some daylight escaping out on a 8-2 run to lead 37-30. Ulm got two three’s from Brazilian Yago Matheus and Austrian Thomas Klepeisz and a lay in from Hawley as Frankfurt simply gave too many open looks. But what the guests could so, so could Frankfurt as they responded on a 8-3 run to trail only 40-38. Wank continued to hit shots as did Lithuanian Laurynas Bellauskas from down town and Quantez Robertson inside getting the pretty pass from Wank. Wank finished with a career high 10 assists, but continues to be an underrated passer. ‘That pass impressed me the most in the game. He has great court vision and has the skills to be able to make passes like that’, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm came back with a Matheus trey and Bretzel offensive rebound and put back for the 45-40 advantage, but Quantez Robertson closed out the second quarter with another lay in as Wank once again made the perfect pass, but Ratiopharm Ulm led 45-42 at the break. ‘Frankfurt didn’t have consistent offense. Frankfurt had problems controlling Matheus and Bretzel hurt the team also too much in the paint’, stated Fraport Skyliner Junior Calvin Schaum. Despite trailing the Fraport Skyliners were shooting better than ratiopharm Ulm over 50% from the field and outside, but had 5 turnovers more while both teams had 18 rebounds a piece.

Juan Nunez with the floater

The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as ratiopharm Ulm had a 31 point explosion and just steam rolled the Fraport Skyliners. Ratiopharm Ulm began with an explosive 12-3 run to extend their lead to 57-45. Instrumental in the run was ex Pro A player Robin Christen who was a late bloomer who played 6 years in the Pro A before becoming a solid easyCredit BBL role player. In the run he nailed 2 uncharachteristic touch three’s that you don’t see every day. ‘That shot is hard to make. He must be used to making that shot thanks to his quick release. He has been able to incorporate that into his game. He is a good role model and example of what hard work can do. It can help you reach the highest level’, expressed Bennet Schubert. ‘I practice this shot every day. It isn’t unusual that I can make that shot’, said Robin Christen. After a Haarms lay in and Wank trey, it was Christen again who showed his mastery at scoring making 5 points as Frankfurt trailed 62-49. ‘Frankfurt wanted to come out of half-time making a run. Frankfurt didn’t have clear plays and Ulm was more focused. They wanted to shut the door on Frankfurt. Frankfurt made dumb mistakes like that Jallow dunk’, added Bennet Schubert. Frankfurt simply had to little bright spots as even when a Joshua Obiesie sparkled with a trey, ratiopharm Ulm simply had a better bench on this day. Ratiopharm Ulm got steady support from David Fuchs who is a vital player for their farm team as well as a Nunez floater and 5 points from Zugic as ratiopharm had the very comfortable 76-54 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘We moved the ball well and got open shots. We had a good feel for the pick and roll and just did what we wanted to. We moved the ball and had 2-3 passes and then took the open shot’, stressed Tyrone Mccoy. ‘They executed their offense at a t. I thought we got good looks, but just couldn’t make shots when we needed to’, exclaimed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot solidly over 40% from the field and outside, but now ratiopharm Ulm had upped their shooting percentages to 53% from the field and 47% from the parking lot. The guests had upped their rebound work having the 28-23 rebound edge and Frankfurt had 14 turnovers and Ulm only 6.

Joshua Obiesie at the FT line

Ratiopharm Ulm managed their lead well, until they were challenged by Lukas Wank who still had a little energy in his tank as his hot hitting brought Frankfurt closer, but really Ulm was never seriously challenged in crunch-time. At the 8,53 minute mark, new Fraport Skyliner Marcus Lewis who played at Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) made his first field goal in the BBL. He ended with 8 points in 16 minutes work. Frankfurt got a clutch three pointer from big man Jordan Samare and Matt Haarms continued to execute in the paint, but the Fraport Skyliners couldn’t make any ground as ratiopharm Ulm also continued to execute as Hawley and Matheus scored. One player they couldn’t control at all was beast Nicolas Bretzel who finished with 13 points and 10 boards as he continued to make easy baskets giving Ulm the 85-72 lead. But then came the big moment of Lukas Wank as he nailed back to back three’s and had the Fraport Arena cooking as suddenly Frankfurt trailed 86-78 with a few minutes to play. Wank finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. ‘This was his best game of the season. He was already at 8/8 at the half. He was moving ball and finding guys while being very aggressive on offense’, stated Quantez Robertson. But that was as close as the Fraport Skyliners would get as ratiopharm Ulm closed out the game with a potent 11-4 run to win the game easily. Nunez made 2 clutch lay ins and Klepeisz a trey to seal the deal. With a few seconds remaining and Frankfurt already getting ready to shake hands, Matheus hit a last second three to sugar coat his stat line. ‘Frankfurt did a good job at the end switching and slowing us down. It made us stagnant and made us go 1-1. We had a good lead and Nunez made big baskets at the end to finish the game for us’, said Tyrone Mccoy. ‘Frankfurt always plays well in the last quarter. But when you have been fighting the whole game to come back, it is just really hard to get consecutive stops when your down’, stressed Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Robin Christen with 18 points. Yago Matheus added 15 points and Nicolas Bretzel 13 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Lukas Wank with 18 points and Matt Haarms added 17 points. Ratiopharm Ulm shot 55% from the field and 42% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 42% form outside and had 27 rebounds 15 turnovers.


Nolan Adekunle Powers The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past Orange Academy 100-72

It has been an up and down season for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they didn’t have a good start losing their first 3 games, but then recovered beating FC Bayern Munich and Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg. But then the team suffered the same day easyCredit BBL game something that happens every season where they traveled to Oberaching without many of their routine players and had 5 NBBL players on board. The season wasn’t a rosy one either for Frankfurt opponent Orange Academy who like Frankfurt often don’t have their full roster because of BBL commitments. Orange Academy came to Frankfurt with a poor 1-5 record, despite being close at the end in 3 of the 5 loses. On a cool Saturday evening in late November, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors began with a bang with unbelievable aggressive defense and played a consistent game for 40 minutes tearing apart Orange Academy 100-72. After the big win ex Alba Berlin wing player Nolan Adekunle (200-PF-2002) who steered home 29 points in the win was all smiles and summed up the reasons for the win well. ‘We came out with the right aggressiveness and totally surprised them. We played very well against the best rebounding team in the league. We beat them on the fast break and set play and integrated all in the win. It was a team win’, stressed Nolan Adekunle. Orange Academy head coach Baldur Ragnarsson looked speechless after the loss, but still found a way to sum up the embarrassing loss. ‘This was a tough loss for us. We had big problems on the 1-1 defense and pick and roll defense. It was a real struggle for us. They moved the ball really well and shot well. They were simply better for us. You will never win when you have 30 turnovers. We have talented young players, but they need to make the next step on defense and take better care of the ball’, warned Baldur Ragnarsson.

Jordan Samare at the FT line

The first few minutes was a real turnover fest dominated by Orange Academy as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out with extreme intensity as Nolan Adekunle and Justin Onyejiaka were a wrecking crew forcing 5 turnovers as Frankfurt took a rapid 6-0 lead in the first 4 minutes. ‘That phase was unbelievable. It was like that in chapters during the game. We were lacking in confidence’, stressed Baldur Ragnarsson. Big man Jordan Samare made a massive dunk and Adekunle made 2 transition buckets. German big man Antonio Dorn finally got Orange Academy on the board with a lay in at the 6,46 minute mark. Despite the guests getting a huge trey from you German Maximillian Langenfeld who recently scored 9 points in a Eurocup game, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors found their offensive rhythm early getting an offensive rebound and put back by Samare, a Adekunle three pointer and lay in by veteran Marco Voeller for the 13-6 Frankfurt advantage. Their quick begin with good defense sparked their offense on transition and then in the set play as their extra pass never let them down. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn’t let down and kept up the pressure and closed out the first 10 minutes with a forceful 19-7 run. Frankfurt continued to play smooth inside out basketball as Adekunle, Philipp Hadenfeld and Onyejiaka nailed three’s while Voeller had another lay in, ex Isaac Bonga teammate Alvin Onyia scored on a drive as did ex Wurzburg forward Nils Leonhardt. After 10 minutes, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the overwhelming 32-13 lead. ‘We had good ball movement, were cutting well and got in the open court. On defense we were very aggressive and got into passing lanes well. Orange Academy were rushing too much’, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot very well at 65% from the field and 57% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 4 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 33% from the field and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 10 turnovers.

Orange Academy sniper Lenny Liedtke from outside

In the second quarter the guests had a good start to get back into the game, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got back on track and still led by double digits points at the break. Orange Academy stepped up their intensity and aggressiveness and caught Frankfurt off guard racking up an annoying 11-2 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead down to 34-26. In the run the guests got 2 quick buckets from their 2022 JBBL (U-16) champions Joel Cwick and Eric Reibe as well as 5 points from Danish youth national player Tobias Jenson. Frankfurt lost a little of steam from their first quarter explosion and got too comfortable with their lead while Orange Academy began to believe more in themselves. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then found back to their game and soon were able to lead by double digits again. Instruemental in Frankfurt getting back into the game was JBBL (U-16) winner with Alba Berlin Nolan Adekunle who continued to be all over the court. He fed Samare for a basket and then scored another three pointer and scored on transition as Frankfurt led 43-29. Adekunle finished with a Pro B high 29 points. ‘Nolan takes pride in stopping g guys and he makes big shots. When the team needs big baskets, he makes them and he loves to attack the rim’, stated Quantez Robertson. Orange Academy received clutch three’s from Lenny Liedtke and Antonio Dorn, but it wasn’t enough as Frankfurt continued to execute well on offense as Albert Schweitzer tournament winner Hadenfeldt made a pull up jumper and ex Rasta Vechta guard Justin Onyejiaka made a lay in as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 48-34 at half time. ‘It was only natural that Orange Academy would make a run. We executed better on both ends but then ran out of gas. Frankfurt got big support from Adekunle and changed the rhythm back to Frankfurt’s side’, stressed ratiopharm Ulm assistant coach Tyrone Mccoy. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were still shooting well at 53% from the field and 42% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 12 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 44% from the field and 38% from the three point line and had 14 rebounds and 18 turnovers.

Alvin Onyia drives to the hole

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to heighten their game in the third quarter and led by more than 20 points. Frankfurt began well continuing to play beautiful team basketball where the extra pass was king as Onyejiaka made a lay in with the sweet back door pass by Marco Voeller and a Samare offensive rebound and put back by Samare for the 52-34 Frankfurt lead. Orange Academy then had a good spurt again going on a 8-2 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead down to 54-42 as Austrian youth national player David Fuchs and Tobias Jenson connected for three’s and Liedtke made a lay in. But Frankfurt never suffered long lapses on offense as they were capable to slap runs right back into the guests faces. Frankfurt responded with a 8-2 run to lead by 21 points again 66-45. In the run, Frankfurt was led by Hadenfeldt trey and lay in’s by Adekunle and Samare. Both teams continued to execute their offenses, but Orange Academy just couldn’t get over the hump. Orange Academy got buckets from Liedtke, and 2 from Dorn while Frankfurt got baskets from Adekunle, a pull up jumper from Hadenfeldt and a trey from Bennet Schubert. ‘We struggled on defense the whole game. We didn’t find ways to execute and just couldn’t take care of the ball’, stressed Baldur Ragnarsson. ‘Coach had a good speech at the break. He expected us to keep being aggressive and be calm’, stated Nolan Adekunle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 58% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 27 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 49% from the field and 48% from the parking lot and had 20 rebounds and 24 turnovers.

Austrian youth national player David Fuchs at the FT line

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to execute their offense and defend solidly while Orange Academy just couldn’t find a way to consistently get defensive stops. Orange Academy got a burst of instant energy by Thomas Guas as he began the fourth quarter with 5 points on a runner and three pointer as Frankfurt led only 75-60. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to execute well and spread the offensive love around getting a three pointer by Voeller, free throws by Leonhardt and 4 points by Onyejiaka while David Fuchs found some offensive inspiration scoring 6 points, but Orange Academy still trailed 83-65. Frankfurt got a late three pointer by Drago Crnjac, but it was Nolan Adekunle who continued to be in attack mode and sparked his stats with 8 points and 2 three’s. A few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen his outside shot as a strength on the scouting report, but in 2022, he can say it’s a weapon. ‘I’m very confident taking the three now. I have made big steps the last 2 years and especially last summer with the youth national team. I had confidence from my teammates and took three’s. I was the second best shooter at the tournament’, warned Nolan Adekunle. 16 year old huge German talent Joel Cwick also hit a late three pointer and finished with 12 points in 16 minutes and continues to excel at the men’s level. ‘Joel played well today. He always plays hard on defense and takes his chances on offense. He was one of the few positive aspects in the game for us. I was happy with his performance but in the end we need our older guys to step up’, warned Baldur Ragnarsson. With time running down, little used role player Isaac Obanor scored the 100th Frankfurt point on free throws. As always tradition in basketball Germany is for that player who scores the 100 to buy a case for the team or in some cases something else. ‘Isaac owes us donuts. I don’t know what it costs, but it isn’t cheap’, laughed Nolan Adekunle. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had 5 guys in double figures and were led by Nolan Adekunle with 29 points. Jordan Samare and Juston Onyejiaka added 14 points a piece while Philipp Hadenfeldt added 11 points while orange Academy was led by Joel Cwick and Antonio Dorn with 12 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 56% from the field and 48% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 20 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 46% from the field and 41% from outside and had 24 rebounds and 30 turnovers.


IBAM Have Massive Fourth Quarter Winning 76-66 As Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners Let Game Slip Away

Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners came into the game against IBAM sporting a 0-4 record. They were in striking range in the loses against Ludwigsburg and Bamberg, but had little chance against Urspring and FC Bayern Munich losing by 20 plus points. The biggest problem for the Frankfurt squad is scoring points consistently as they average only 61 per game while on defense are still searching for their identity as they allow 79 per game. Their opponent IBAM came to Frankfurt with a 2-1 record. After opening the season with a tough loss to Urspring, they bounced back with convincing wins against Jena and FC Bayern Munich. On a cool afternoon in late November Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners learned the hard way that a basketball game has 40 minutes as they played very well for 30 minutes, but had a total black out in the fourth quarter allowing a 22-4 run that allowed IBAM to fight back and win 76-66. IBAM didn’t play their best basketball in the first half, but slowly step by step heightened their game and played their best in the fourth quarter when it counted most. ‘We won the game in the second half. We didn’t play with energy in the first half. We cut down on the small mistakes in the second half. We had better stability on defense and executed better on offense. We had very good team spirit and took their strengths away in the second half’, stressed IBAM guard Tin Udovicic (190-PG-2005). Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija was down after the loss which was understandable as the team didn’t play bad for long phases, but it was just that horrible fourth quarter that decided the game. ‘I thought that we played well for 3 quarters. But then in the fourth quarter they hit back to back three’s and after that we got shaky not finding the right solutions anymore. We have to do a better job cutting down on our turnovers. We just aren’t ready yet to find the right solutions yet’, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija.

Marvin Esser at the FT line

The first quarter score wise looked more a like a low scoring NFL football game then a basketball game as no team could establish an offensive rhythm. IBAM star Tin Udovicic didn’t even start the game. Spaniard Alexander Moreno who played 23 EBA games for Zaragoza got the first bucket of the game, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got the lead back rapidly with a trey from German guard Julian Haskins. Both teams then traded the lead as IBAM 100 kilo man Philipp Roos made an old school hook shot and athletic Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners player Alexander Lageman scored on the drive and Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 5-4. Then 17 year old Croatian U-16 national player Tin Odovicic was inserted and made a pretty step back jumper that reminded one instantly of Luka Doncic as IBAM led 6-5. Both teams were plagued with turnovers and the inability to hit three’s. IBAM then got a step back jumper from Jamie Jaeger as IBAM led 8-5. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners didn’t back down but got a vital three pointer from 18 year old 198cm forward Viktor Malinowsky who made his Pro B debut recently to dead lock the contest at 8-8. Daniel Riedlich and Marvin Esser closed out the first quarter with free throws. ‘Both teams defended well. We had no idea on offense. We ran good plays, but shots weren’t falling’, stressed Tin Udovicic. Both teams had low percentages from the field and were only combined 2/14 shooting from downtown while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also had coughed up the ball 7 times.

Alexander Moreno at the FT line

In the second quarter both teams finally found their offensive rhythms, but it was Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners that exploded on offense with 29 points and got the momentum and closed out the game in potent fashion going on a 20-8 run to lead 38-28 at half-time. Esser got Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners on the board first and then Ognyen Cocic and Haskins traded three’s and Jeremy Kolev made a lay in to tie the game at 14-14. Both teams stepped up their intensity and aggressiveness, but still no team could get away from the other. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners then was able to lead 18-14 with free throws form Lagermann and Collin Toelke, but IBAM stood up and escaped out on a 6-0 run to recapture the lead 20-18. In the run IBAM was benefited by another bread and butter shot from Mr mid range Tin Udovicic, but the last 2 buckets were early Christmas presents. Moreno scored both times as on the first one he got an easy lay up on an inbounds pass and on the second made a transition basket after Syllah made the steal on a bad Frankfurt turnover. IBAM was playing heads up basketball while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had gotten lazy and too contemplative in their sets. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners woke up and played their best phase of the game closing out the second quarter with a positive 20-8 run to lead 38-28. In the run Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led and carried by athletic German Alexander Lagerman who supplied 7 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also got key support from the bench from young German Finley Pruever who scored 5 points as well as Hector Izquierdo and Barnabas Bode who scored. IBAM received buckets from Silver Bieling, Daniel Riedlich and Tin Udovicic. ‘We totally got away from our game. We lost our identity on defense and made bad decisions and shots’, added Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners upped their shooting at 42% from the field and 33% from outside and had 26 rebounds and 13 turnovers while IBAM shot 32% from the field and 8% from outside and had 19 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

Barnabas Bode from outside

Both teams executed well in the third quarter, but IBAM couldn’t make a dent in Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners offense as the home team still had the comfortable 58-48 advantage after 30 minutes. Lagermann gave Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners a huge boost to begin the second half with a trey and 41-28 lead, but IBAM was never to let down as they slowly raised their game step by step. IBAM put an early scare into Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners game rattling off a nasty 7-0 run to cut into Frankfurt’s lead and trail only 41-35. IBAM executed very well and moved the ball well. Udovicic ran the pick and roll well with Syllah who scored and Kolev nailed a trey and Udovicic a 20 footer. But at this phase Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still had answers to IBAM runs something they would lack in the fourth quarter. Lagermann and Esser combined for 6 points as Frankfurt suddenly led in double digits again 47-35. Both teams continued to execute well, but IBAM couldn’t make any ground. Both team’s stars Lagermann and Udovicic continued to carry each other’s teams scoring multiple baskets as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners increased their lead to 55-42. IBAM did a better job on the offensive rebound as Roos made an offensive rebound and put back while Moreno made a jumper and Udovicic a 20 footer, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still led 58-48. IBAM definatley upped their intensity something that would increase even more in the fourth quarter. ‘We got back to doing our basics well and moved the ball better. We also rebounded the ball better and stayed away from dumb fouls’, stated Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot well at 43% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 35 rebounds and 18 turnovers while IBAM shot 35% from the field and 11% from the three point line and had 30 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

Tin Udovicic from down town

The giant turning point of the contest came in the fourth quarter as IBAM went on massive run by which Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners couldn’t recover from. IBAM went into the fourth quarter having shot a pathetic 2/18 from outside, but then bang let it rain 3 three’s from Riedlich, Moreno and Udovicic which totally changed the game as suddenly Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led only 60-57. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners just totally lost their intensity and began to think more and more about each new IBAM 3 and just let the mental part effect their execution. IBAM was reborn and just 1-2 steps ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners in every phase of the game especially on the boards. The best example was an offensive rebound and put back by Kisma Syllah who was all alone under the basket as no Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliner player was there to contest as the game was deadlocked 60-60. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners lacked effort and fight. Syllah then made the and one free throw for the 61-60 and IBAM would never look back. Silver Bieling then added a trey for the 64-60 advantage. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a bit more aggressive getting to the free throw line but couldn’t execute as well getting only free throws from Haskins and Zentgraf to trail 64-62. IBAM then put the final exclamation mark on the win with a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 71-62. In the run IBAM received a clutch basket from Udovicic who came into the game averaging 22,0ppg. He had another solid stat line with 23/6/8/3. ‘I didn’t have a good first half shooting wise. I went into the second half wanting to make better decisions and take better shots as well as putting my team in the best position to win’, expressed Tin Udovicic. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners made stupid turnovers in the last minutes and IBAM sealed the win with class with free throws by Moreno and Bieling. ‘We showed big time energy in the fourth quarter. We believed that we could win and had the momentum on our side. We rebounded even better, got the loose balls and did transition. We played the total opposite to the first half’, expressed Tin Udovicic. ‘We were too nervous and thought too much. They did a good job taking our entry pass away something they couldn’t in the first half. We took what they gave us in the first half and didn’t do that in the second half’, stated Miran Cumurija. IBAM was led by Tin Udovicic with 23 points while Alexander Moreno had 12 points and Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was led by Alexander Lagermann with 28 points and Julian Haskins added 10 points. IBAM shot 39% from the field and 22% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 16 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 32% from the field and 32% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 29 turnovers.